Yeah, I know these are polarizing - taking up space in an otherwise small pool - but in our case we have family that doesn't like swimming and instead would rather sit in a chair with their feet in the water reading a book. So it'll be used, just not as the label would imply.Other things. I just saw this thread for the first time, so I'll skip my opinion of "sun shelf", since it's a done deal.
Basically came with the same thought process! I am looking forward to using it year round.You were absolutely right to get the integrated spa. We use ours 12 months. In December, I can set the valves to just circulate to and from the spa and can get it up to 100 degrees in 30 minutes. Our kids are grown and gone, so it is mostly us, except when the granddaughters come over. A major difference in integrated spa vs the functionally better standalone, is when you sell you house. Just ask a real estate agent. And besides that, a standalone "hot tub" just screams 1970!
We are weirdos with no irrigation (yet) so no concerns with underground plumbing at the moment. We use sodium salt in our softener and thus will be cheap enough to add salt after the fill is complete. We have a hard water tap on our system so will fill the pool with hard water.Soft water. If like ours, it is tied into the water after the irrigation system but before everything else. In our case, the autofill is tapped off one of the hose bibs, so it uses soft water (in our case it's potassium not sodium salt.) So you pay to take the calcium out of the water, then you pay again when you buy calcium to add to the pool water. Seems wrong, doesn't it? The water softener ended up costing us during pool construction, as at the dig, the irrigation system was whacked, so from then until the pool was done and we had Big Mike (I highly recommend him for sprinkler system work) reconnect and redesign the irrigation. So for three months we used potassium-softened water on our yard. A 40 lb bag every week to ten days, as it was a dry summer and we had a lot of new ornamental trees ( 20 of them on a corner lot) to keep alive. HEB sells potassium water softener pellets for $24--better than adding sodium to the water, though.
haha! No wax myrtles here!Landscaping. Our landscape architect specifically laid out our backyard for a future pool. Included in his landscaping were five Wax Myrtle trees, "because they're evergreen." CAUTION: Wax Myrtles are popular in this area, but they are a nightmare near a pool, as in their case "evergreen" means "forever dropping skinny leaves into your pool." Just say no to wax myrtles. If you already have them, get rid of them or be prepared to wish you had. We're stuck now, as ours are 15-18 feet tall and about that wide. Great for privacy, not so great for a clean pool.
Ours is actually north-facing so the porch stays nice and shady during the hottest part of the day. Is does get toasty as the evening sun drops and the porch shade is in the neighbor's yard, but we intend to add one of those roll screens to the side of the porch after it is complete to resolve that.Sun. We have a west facing back yard, too. Unless your porch extension goes all the way to your back fence, it's not going to be enough! Our best friend is the house (the house...not the people who live there) behind ours, as it provides some shade later in the afternoon. I wish we had put umbrella holders in the back wall of the pool, or extended the decking around the west side of the pool for umbrella holders. At least our spa is on the west side, so it gets shaded late in the afternoon. We finally put a 10' cantilevered umbrella off the west side the the spa. It shades the spa from noon until the trees and our back neighbor's house take over shade duties around 5pm or so. Better than nothing, though.