Install of 12x24' Semi In-Ground Doughboy Pool in Arkansas

Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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Arkansas
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Hello everyone! Last weekend we had a simple dry stacked retaining wall completed in preparation for a semi in-ground pool install next week. The semi in-ground pool is a Doughboy Hydrosphere 12x24' oval that will be buried 3 feet with 16 inches sticking out of the ground. We've got a decent slope in the backyard, and the retaining wall was not necessary but hoping to help. I'm a recent joiner of the TFP family and hope to glean information as we proceed in our journey. I thought sharing some pics of our progress would be helpful. I'd love to hear from any semi in-ground folks on how their process went and their decking ideas!

20210918_145717-COLLAGE.jpg
 

Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
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The hydrosphere is a really cool looking pool - i look forward to following your build!
Go ahead & get your test kit on order
Test Kits Compared
So u can be ready to go!
 
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Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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Arkansas
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Here is a great before and after. The installer was able to dig around 41'' on the high side. So, that leaves the rest of the 52 inches to be above the ground which the concrete will hopefully meet and cover to be flush with the first step of the wall you see in both pictures.

20210918_145923-COLLAGE.jpg
 

Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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This morning the crew added crunchy dust to the base, compacted it, and then brought in the concrete for the 5-6 inch footer. They then added the foam base and corners and finally the liner. Next week they'll take the original dirt from the hole and use it as backfill. I really like the installer and he's done several of these now. But I'm just concerned that it'll literally be backfilled dirt and that's it. Seems like on this forum I've seen discussions on better backfill options that help with compaction, drainage, and etc. But perhaps since this Hydrosphere product is meant to be semi-inground it can handle the loads better than some of the ABP's that are buried?20210930_120026-COLLAGE.jpg
 
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Mdragger88

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I thought doughboy generally recommends slurry mix for backfill? This recommendation is from before the hydrosphere pools were available though so who knows?
 

Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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Arkansas
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The current Doughboy Hydrosphere installation instructions suggest 10'' of concrete footing and only one line on backfill:
"It is recommended that the pool be backfilled with a non-compressive material. For further recommendations please contact your concrete contractor."

My installer certainly didn't do 10'' of concrete footing, but they're planning to completely bury it with backfill and then a 4'' concrete patio around it.

 
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Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
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The current Doughboy Hydrosphere installation instructions suggest 10'' of concrete footing and only one line on backfill:
"It is recommended that the pool be backfilled with a non-compressive material. For further recommendations please contact your concrete contractor."

My installer certainly didn't do 10'' of concrete footing, but they're planning to completely bury it with backfill and then a 4'' concrete patio around it.

The issue with a pure dirt backfill is that it settles. This takes time with rains & such. It’s not really possible to compact it because it’s so close to the pool.
So if that’s what you’re using you should wait until it settles at least several times to put concrete on top or else it may crack in the future.
 
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Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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The issue with a pure dirt backfill is that it settles. This takes time with rains & such. It’s not really possible to compact it because it’s so close to the pool.
So if that’s what you’re using you should wait until it settles at least several times to put concrete on top or else it may crack in the future.
They're now suggesting I hook up a soaker hose around the pool to help speed up the settling? Then I think they plan on bringing in more fill dirt and possible gravel, too? I want to trust these guys as they're very familiar with full inground pools. But I'm just worried they'll do something that doesn't sit well with the semi-inground Doughboy walls. :oops:

This week the mason is going to setup the concrete blocks that will stack along the high side or downslope exposed portion. The concrete guy will fill in the rest and pour concrete around it with a cantilever coping on all the sides, including the one with the stacked concrete blocks. I need to get some better pictures from around the pool, but I've been too focused on the changes to the yard with the fence and wood deck!

20211008_151458.jpg
 
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Mdragger88

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You definitely want to go through quite a few “settling” processes before putting a slab or deck. You’ll know it’s fully settled because it won’t settle anymore after getting wet. Basically- put dirt in the hole, stomp it down, get it wet, let it dry out - repeat until it doesn’t sink anymore. With mine I backfilled leaving a mound around the pool, then it rained & the mound became a trench - we did this numerous times & thought it was settled but alas it wasn’t. I also thought I had enough natural slope to drain water around & away from the pool - i was wrong. We will be pulling up deck boards soon so we can access the ground under the deck & add drainage pipe that runs all the way around the pool as well as adding more dirt & gravel & jacking up/fixing the settled portions of the deck that are closest to the pool.
I wouldn’t worry about your walls with the dirt vs slurry being as they are so thick & are made of material meant to be buried.
The trouble is that if there is a void in the dirt trench water/ice/heaving can push the sand cove out of its place under the pool compromising the support system of the wall. If u used foam cove & bottom this is much less of a concern.
Bottom line- Don’t be afraid to postpone the concrete/deck if u feel the backfill isn’t compacted enough.
 
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Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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Arkansas
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Our Hydrosphere semi inground project has been somewhat slow moving. We expect to have concrete decking poured on black Friday. This smaller pool somehow makes the 1hp pump feel like overkill. Haha. My plan is to cover it once the concrete decking is laid and ready to go.

One area I'm not too keen on is the current state of the downslope wall and the existing retaining wall. This is part of the problem with having a few different contractors involved and being unexperienced myself. You can see from the bottom picture how it doesn't exactly go together and kind of looks bad. I'm waiting until the concrete decking is down to figure out the best way to handle it.

Overall, I'm happy with what I'm getting for the cost. We never could've just put an inground pool back here and address the slope for this price. But I feel like someone other than myself could've helped design this better. My wife and I aren't very design conscious.
20211120_133420-COLLAGE.jpg

20211120_122139.jpg
 
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Mdragger88

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I think it looks nice & will look even nicer when the concrete goes in.
Will there be any drainage channels in the concrete?
If you don’t tell the water where to go it will just go wherever it wants - maybe right into your pool… 😳
 
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Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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Arkansas
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I think it looks nice & will look even nicer when the concrete goes in.
Will there be any drainage channels in the concrete?
If you don’t tell the water where to go it will just go wherever it wants - maybe right into your pool… 😳
Thanks @Mdragger88

You've been my sole support through this ;)

PB is getting the coping molds/brackets this week so he can pour the patio and concrete coping all together. He's leaving a planter space between the patio and the existing retaining wall for drainage and seems to think the grade sloping slightly away from the pool will carry the water backwards? They didn't indicate there would be any of the plastic drainage channels in the concrete. Does that planter space for water seem sufficient? You can see what I'm referring to in the photo below.

1638311511513.png
 

Mdragger88

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C229452B-75F5-4AD0-A75A-336E44CEAF05.jpegSloping away from the pool is good but I’m not understanding how that will do anything but pool up in the flower bed with no where to go (& possibly undermine your retaining wall) - is there other drainage in the yard to carry the water away before it reaches the pool ? The tiered slopes are to let water go down the hill in stages but some work up top (maybe french drains) to divert water around the pool area would be ideal. Have u had any hard rains with the current set up so far that allowed u to spot trouble areas?
I was thinking of french drain placement something like the lines drawn in the pic above. Kind of starting near where the gutters discharge and going around the outside of the retaining wall area on each side then ending past the pool a bit. Possibly some running across that flower bed as well headed down hill. Drain channel on the pool deck would also lead out & downhill if used
 

Feernot

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Jul 22, 2021
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View attachment 383746Sloping away from the pool is good but I’m not understanding how that will do anything but pool up in the flower bed with no where to go (& possibly undermine your retaining wall) - is there other drainage in the yard to carry the water away before it reaches the pool ? The tiered slopes are to let water go down the hill in stages but some work up top (maybe french drains) to divert water around the pool area would be ideal. Have u had any hard rains with the current set up so far that allowed u to spot trouble areas?
I was thinking of french drain placement something like the lines drawn in the pic above. Kind of starting near where the gutters discharge and going around the outside of the retaining wall area on each side then ending past the pool a bit. Possibly some running across that flower bed as well headed down hill. Drain channel on the pool deck would also lead out & downhill if used
These are great questions. :oops:

From the photo below we've only ever had water issues from the rain on the right-side where a river would flow through the yard. Never any water pooling or flowing directly behind the house. During the build we've never seen trouble spots beyond what I just indicated. The step side of the pool is being built up to specifically account for that part of the yard.

The PB made it sound like the minimal amount of rain falling would roll back into the planters and I guess drain down through all the gravel? Haha. I guess that sounded reasonable but I'm not an engineer?


1638368190125.png
 

Danimal92Sport

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Jul 5, 2017
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If you were really worried about the planters holding standing water, you could hook a PVC line up to a catch basin before the patio concrete goes in. So the catch basin goes in up top in the planter and the PVC slopes down to the rear of the property. That way if you need to add drainage, you’ve got a pipe buried under the concrete you can tie in to that will drain the water downslope toward the back of the property.
 

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