How do you use space? Standing area vs. Lazy River

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
39
Richmond, VA, USA
I'm still in design stage and this is part of the brainstorming - just toying with ideas and seeing what I can do.

I'm doing everything I can to include a lazy river (just LR for short) in my pool without me spending my entire retirement fund on it. I have a friend who is a mason and helping me work out what will cost more and less in terms of shapes, walls, and so on. I'm thinking of something around 100' or less for an LR. (My research and several sources say I can do that with one good jet - but that's not the issue here.)

When my ex was an apartment manager, I noticed that there was not much use of the deep end in the pool, other than diving, and that most late teens and adults used the pool mainly to stand around while talking to each other or swimming laps. Kids, of course, are an entirely different issue. Later I went into the same field, rental management, and found that there were apartment complexes that had pools where most of the pool was about 4' deep. One property manager told me that their chain did that because they catered to young adults and surveys showed that's what younger adults wanted: Standing space for talking with friends. (Which basically confirmed what I noticed earlier.)

Also, bear in mind this is a family pool. My wife and I live alone, but her kids and the grandkids visit whenever we can lure them over to visit. We're not talking crowds of 20 or more, but usually under 10. It's possible there might be a FEW times when we have larger groups, like major birthday parties. (Yeah - when I finally hit 30, I might have a huge birthday party. ;):ROFLMAO: )

I'm planning out my space usage and pool shape. I'm thinking of making the LR about 5' wide and 3 1/2' deep. While it seems most LRs are about 4' deep, 3 1/2' doesn't seem like it's too shallow. 5' wide seems to be within the normal width range from looking at samples. We know the LR jet won't be running all the time and, when it will, I suspect a lot of people in the pool will be on floats, going around in the LR.

I'm considering having a tanning ledge and shallow area for kids and a deep area for me. (I'm one of those who sits on the bottom or swims around in the deep area when nobody else is there.) I was also thinking of a decent area that was about 4' - 5' deep as an "adult end," but I'm wondering how necessary it is, since adult seem to just use areas like that for standing around and chatting.

I'm thinking I can use the LR in two ways: Normally, with the jet on, or, if not many people want to float around, with the jet off, when it would become a good area for standing around and chatting. (I could even bump it up to 4' deep for that, if it matters.)

I'm interested in thoughts on this, thinking of it as several different points:
- What do you notice about how most people use your pool space?
- How important is it to have a 4-5' deep area?
- Could the LR (if I made it 4' deep) double as an adult area?
- Would the LR replace, in part, a "stand and chat" area with a "float and chat" area?
 
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GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
450
Dallas, TX
We have pretty much an adults only pool. We have a tanning ledge and then it starts at about 3 ft and goes down to about 5' deep and we have an attached spa. The pool is perfect for what we wanted out of it. We might make it a little bigger next time (it's 18 by 30), but for the most part it is what we wanted and need. Most sit on the edge, feet on the tanning ledge or in the pool with arms on the tanning ledge or standing with drinks on the edge of the pool. The spa is the next best thing and we wouldn't build without that attached.

We have had kids in it a few times, mostly under the age of 6 and the tanning ledge was the go to place.

The LR sounds like a fun idea, but wouldn't you need to keep the jet on all the time so the water doesn't get stagnant half way through (would water move through it without it?) and 100' is kind of a long ways for only 10 to 12 people to be spread out. I could see it being very popular in the beginning and lots of use, but don't see it being constantly used unless there are a lot of active kids. Love the idea, but figure it would be more of a novelty that would wear off. Your results may be different.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
39
Richmond, VA, USA
My 9 year old loves diving in the deep end. She’d miss it if the pool was almost all shallow
I only mentioned the deep end in passing because, no matter what, there will be one for me. I like sitting on the bottom and bouncing around in a deeper area like a ping pong ball (if the walls aren't too far apart). I'm also considering a "jumping rock" above the deck area for the deep end. But since that's not in question, I was just not going to get to into that here.

We have pretty much an adults only pool. We have a tanning ledge and then it starts at about 3 ft and goes down to about 5' deep and we have an attached spa. The pool is perfect for what we wanted out of it. We might make it a little bigger next time (it's 18 by 30), but for the most part it is what we wanted and need. Most sit on the edge, feet on the tanning ledge or in the pool with arms on the tanning ledge or standing with drinks on the edge of the pool. The spa is the next best thing and we wouldn't build without that attached.
Our pool will be near an old barn we've renovated and I'm still hoping to put a hot tub on the deck near the house, so I'm still not sure about what I'll be doing about a hot tub or spa - down with the pool, or up by the house. For the pool, I'm thinking in terms of doing everything else, then seeing if I can fit a spa in. It's last in priority since I can always put the hot tub near the house.

We have had kids in it a few times, mostly under the age of 6 and the tanning ledge was the go to place.
We have one 3 year old grandkid now - expecting to have more (and hoping, of course!), plus, once the pool is done and that guest house area is complete, we're hoping some cousins will be visiting. That's why I was thinking of a shallow area by the tanning ledge. Do you have a drop-off from the tanning ledge to the 3' area? Or a long slope? One issue I'm looking it is the required 7:1 slope for the building code in our area. That takes up a LOT of space! I have figured some ways to get around it, though. I've been in contact with the plan reviewers in the Inspections Department with several ideas to be sure they're allowable or acceptable. (I dealt with the plan reviewers a lot during the design phases of our house and the barn renovation. I have a good relationship with them and with most of the inspectors in that department. They've saved me tends of thousands with design suggestions on each part of the whole project!)

I'm figuring we need a shallow area for kids for at least the next 10-12 years!

The LR sounds like a fun idea, but wouldn't you need to keep the jet on all the time so the water doesn't get stagnant half way through (would water move through it without it?) and 100' is kind of a long ways for only 10 to 12 people to be spread out. I could see it being very popular in the beginning and lots of use, but don't see it being constantly used unless there are a lot of active kids. Love the idea, but figure it would be more of a novelty that would wear off. Your results may be different.
Remember, 100' is not linear. The total span of the LR, end to end, is about 40', but that's still a good point. Unless you're drifting in a group, it's a distance from one end to the other for conversation.

I figure it'll either be one for a session or off. For a LR the size I mention, that's over 13,000 gallons of water, so it'll take time to get all that moving! A lot of the reason for the LR is for me! I do a lot of work on the lot and it gets hot here, in the summer! I want to be able to start the LR on a hot afternoon and sit in an inner tube and float around while reading a book. (I used to be a summer camp counselor and we'd take the kids out on a canoe trip each session and I used to do that when we were on the river. I'd bring a cheap book along and tie an inner tube to the back of the canoe and drift behind the canoe and read.) But the LR would not be kept on all the time, since I've been given figures for how much it costs to run. Not super expensive, about $1 an hour, if I remember, so that's not much if you turn it on when you want to use it, but it's enough to not have it on all the time. Possibly a timer to turn it on for an hour a day during swim season.

I'm working on a design that isn't too curvy (if possible) so if we do reach a point where we don't use the LR much, I think it could still be used for something like swimming laps.
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
450
Dallas, TX
The LR does sound fun and to be honest if it is something you think would be fun, have the space for it, the funds for it, then put it in. No one will enjoy the pool more than you. I don't see how you won't be able to keep it on all of the time however. If it takes two pumps then that is fine, but put 6 or 8 jets pointed along the way of the LR and turn on a decent variable speed pump and I can't see it adding much to the cost of the pool at all. However the water will have to flow and mix in with the pool to keep chlorinated and from growing algae every day I would think. You've got to get chlorinated water mixed in.

How will you keep it clean? Will dirt settle in it? Will you have a pressure side cleaner? A robot? Brush it every day? Lots of things to consider with something like that, but it does sound fun.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
39
Richmond, VA, USA
I started writing this reply a few days ago and thought I had posted it - but Chrome and TFP saved it and left it here for me.

The LR does sound fun and to be honest if it is something you think would be fun, have the space for it, the funds for it, then put it in. No one will enjoy the pool more than you. I don't see how you won't be able to keep it on all of the time however. If it takes two pumps then that is fine, but put 6 or 8 jets pointed along the way of the LR and turn on a decent variable speed pump and I can't see it adding much to the cost of the pool at all. However the water will have to flow and mix in with the pool to keep chlorinated and from growing algae every day I would think. You've got to get chlorinated water mixed in.
I've talked with several people about LRs and their design. When I say "one pump," I don't mean a small pump, I mean something rather heavy duty. One person I talked to said I could use smaller jets, but then it's a real problem getting the LR started. Using a number of small pumps or jets can take a long time and cost a lot of money to get things up to speed. One powerful pump apparently works best overall. The catch is distance. Again, what I've read is that you need one strong pump about every 100'. I'm not sure of the length yet, so it may work on one pump or we may need some small boosters in a spot or two. I'm hoping to keep it short enough one strong pump will do.

No way it's going to be on when not in use. Maybe I'll set it to turn on for a short while each day, just to avoid stagnation. The LR will be using the same chlorinated water as the pool. I'm planning on having entrances from several pool sections to the LR, planned so they won't create much turbulence for the flow.

How will you keep it clean? Will dirt settle in it? Will you have a pressure side cleaner? A robot? Brush it every day? Lots of things to consider with something like that, but it does sound fun.
I'm looking at several ways to keep it clean. That's the kind of thing I won't decide until I have the overall design worked out and can plan where to put skimmers, drains, and everything else.

I cant show this post to my wife. She will divorce me and come live with you. Nobody loves a LR like her.

I would guess that you need to make sure you have enough returns around the whole LR to keep the water flowing. Not sure just one pump will work.
Ha! Well, the LR will be within about 30' of the barn, which is our guest house with a quite large projection TV system, an arcade cabinet with hundreds of classic arcade games on it, and the pool table. (It was a creepy old pig barn that had not been used since, as best we can tell from neighbors, at least the early 1990s. It came with the lot and was an eyesore and a danger. We cleaned it up and turned it into a cool place!) So we won't tell your wife about the barn, either, okay? ;)