Help with remodel design


Bronze Supporter
Jan 29, 2018
Tucson, AZ
In the process of rehabbing our '70s era rectangular pool we discovered that the pool floor wasn't much of a floor at all, just 1/2"-1" layer of concrete on top of dirt, without any reinforcement at all. Despite the fact that this somehow worked well for over 30 years thanks to very stable soil, we thought it wise to pour an actual floor in it before starting the replastering process. And then we figured while we're adding a bunch of concrete, we may as well change the layout a bit. I'm starting to learn that these pool builds/remodels tend to snowball rather quickly.

Currently the only access is a small step into the 14" deep baja shelf, and then a big drop down into the 4' deep pool. We're thinking that adding a step from the shelf into the pool to lessen that severe drop-off would be a good idea. It's 30-40" down from the shelf depending on which end you're looking at, so maybe we need two steps?

The baja shelf gets a lot of use from both kids and adults, and is a bit small once the 10" wide step is factored in. We're thinking about extending it another 2' into the pool to allow enough room for 2 chaise loungers. Extending it would also enable us to easily add an umbrella sleeve, and we could possibly tap into an abandoned return in the adjacent wall to add a couple of bubbler (or maybe even LED bubblers).

Another thought was to add a bench across the far end of the pool. When we have guests over, it seems that most of the people in the pool stay near the baja shelf, and aren't able to interact with people taking advantage of the shade in the gazebo near the other end of the pool. The thought was adding benches near the gazebo would encourage people in the pool to hang out in that area more. One thing I'd really appreciate help with is figuring out how tall/deep to make these benches. I'd also appreciate thoughts on one bench running the entire width of the pool vs having a bench on each side and an open spot in the middle.

We're going to cap off and plaster over the main drain, as we've never had a skimmer diverter plate to make use of it. We had considered plastering over the existing light niche too. It's not had a light fixture in it as long as we've owned it. But now we're thinking it might be nice to add an LED light fixture there. I like the idea of the smaller profile "nicheless" lights available these days, but there's already a niche in place. Does anyone know if the older niches relatively universal, or do I need to be looking at specific fixture brands/styles?

One last idea was to cut a section of the deck out, and build a small wall/bench with a sheer descent. I'd likely extend the waterline tile up to the top of the wall on the pool side, and wrap it with natural rock on the other 3 sides. There's an abandoned return line in the center of the long wall that I can tap into, but I'm worried that it might be too small to provide enough flow for a sheer descent. Any thoughts on alternative water features that would require less water?

I've attached the layout below, with initial proposed changes in blue. Any thoughts, ideas, or advice are greatly appreciated.