Looking for Feedback on a New Pool Build in Charlotte, NC

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Hello everyone! I am very new to TFP, but am ecstatic that I found this very valuable forum as I embark on our pool journey. My wife and I along with 2 kids (aged 3 and ~2) reside in Charlotte, NC. As you may have guessed, we currently have plans on improving our backyard which involves the addition of a pool and spa. Our original plans were not to add a pool now simply due to the age of our kids and were simply looking to add a retaining wall and level the yard off to have a place for the kids to play. However, the landscape architect we have partnered with has suggested we move forward with the pool now to take advantage of using portions of the pool wall (rear and right sides) as the retaining wall versus installing a segmental block retaining wall now and installing a pool sometime in the future. We have ultimately decided to take his advice. We have chosen to use the back of the detached garage for a kid’s play area instead.

For your reference, I have uploaded several documents which include the following:

  1. Pictures of the front elevation
  2. Pictures of the rear elevation
  3. Topographic survey
  4. List of “must haves” and “wants”
  5. A conceptual drawing that I personally drafted in Excel to help facilitate our needs to the landscape architect. Please note that I am not qualified to be an architect, pool builder, or anything of that sort.
The plan attached is certainly not the official plan. The landscape architect will have some plans for us to review in several weeks. However, I wanted to provide this initial vision to you all to garner feedback from all the experts on TFP so I can more substantiate discussion with the architect moving forward. We welcome any feedback at this time so we can have better dialogue as we continue to work with the landscape architect. He will not only be responsible for designing the pool, but his responsibilities will be turnkey (hardscape, greenscape, landscape lighting, A/V, etc).

Please let me know of any questions you may have. I thank everyone in advance for the contributions!
 

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sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,904
Chapel Hill, NC
Definitely get it now - the earlier the better for kids. Our grandchildren (5 of them, ages between 2 and 6) are all swimmers already! We have a security system that "chimes" whenever anyone goes in or out of a door, a gate on the deck down to the pool and a security fence around the property to keep the neighborhood kids out when we're not there.
 

ald2002

Silver Supporter
Sep 10, 2020
167
Fort Mill, SC
Hello everyone! I am very new to TFP, but am ecstatic that I found this very valuable forum as I embark on our pool journey. My wife and I along with 2 kids (aged 3 and ~2) reside in Charlotte, NC. As you may have guessed, we currently have plans on improving our backyard which involves the addition of a pool and spa. Our original plans were not to add a pool now simply due to the age of our kids and were simply looking to add a retaining wall and level the yard off to have a place for the kids to play. However, the landscape architect we have partnered with has suggested we move forward with the pool now to take advantage of using portions of the pool wall (rear and right sides) as the retaining wall versus installing a segmental block retaining wall now and installing a pool sometime in the future. We have ultimately decided to take his advice. We have chosen to use the back of the detached garage for a kid’s play area instead.

For your reference, I have uploaded several documents which include the following:

  1. Pictures of the front elevation
  2. Pictures of the rear elevation
  3. Topographic survey
  4. List of “must haves” and “wants”
  5. A conceptual drawing that I personally drafted in Excel to help facilitate our needs to the landscape architect. Please note that I am not qualified to be an architect, pool builder, or anything of that sort.
The plan attached is certainly not the official plan. The landscape architect will have some plans for us to review in several weeks. However, I wanted to provide this initial vision to you all to garner feedback from all the experts on TFP so I can more substantiate discussion with the architect moving forward. We welcome any feedback at this time so we can have better dialogue as we continue to work with the landscape architect. He will not only be responsible for designing the pool, but his responsibilities will be turnkey (hardscape, greenscape, landscape lighting, A/V, etc).

Please let me know of any questions you may have. I thank everyone in advance for the contributions!
We are neighbors! Finding this forum before your build is golden. I wish I did. This community is awesome. Good luck with your build.
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
First question, what depths are recommended for a pool for a family who would anticipate using the pool primary to swim laps, play basketball and volleyball, and simply hang out with friends and family. I am leaning towards a sports/play pool setup for this purpose? Is that recommended?

In addition, our rear yard has many mature trees so we get a lot of shade with only a few hours of sun. Would a sports pool help keep the heat in and/or heat it up faster with the pool heater simply due to less gallons of water in the pool?

Thanks I’m advance for any feedback!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,047
Tallahassee, FL
What a pretty house and lot!

Know the kids and kid like adults WILL cannon ball into the pool. You will need 6' for that and even then they could hit their bums. That will turn you into the jump police. Just be ready for that. If you lay down the law and enforce it from the very beginning it can work. (I had to stop my husband and BIL from getting on top of the pool house to jump into our above ground pool :roll: so I know of what I speak LOL)

I like your lay out. The one thing to think about is the bench all the way across the one end. That will not allow for flip turns BUT it will allow people to sit and chat with people in the spa.

I point these things out to give you food for thought. None are right or wrong............just things to think about.

Kim:kim:
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Thanks for the feedback regarding pool depths. We are now considering the following options for a sports/play pool:

1) 3.5 —> 5 —> 3.5
2) 3.5 —> 5 —> 4.0

3) 3.5 —> 6 —> 3.5
4) 3.5 —> 6 —> 4.0
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Next question, what size pool would you guys recommend based on our use needs (sports, swimming laps, and simply hanging out)? Obviously we have some constraints due to our yard size, specifically the depth. We have plenty of space available for length.

We were initially thinking 16x32 but that seems a little small. Would 18x36 feel significantly larger? Please note that we also want a large tanning ledge within the pool. The hot tub or may not be fully within the pool. Once again, we don’t get a lot of sun, so trying to keep the water warm will also be important.

Thanks for the continued guidance! Very much appreciated.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,047
Tallahassee, FL
Oh you just opened up another idea! Have you thought about a L shaped pool? It is the best of all worlds. Follow me here:
-The "toes" are the shelf. Should be by the house so you can sit and watch tv and chat with those on the patio.
-From the shelf to the "heel" will be your 4' Shallow part. This will be for Watermelon Ball (look it up.........best pool game out there!) and volley ball and horse and all kinds of pool games.
-The leg becomes the cannon balling and swimming area as well a great place to float and relax.

Thoughts? You will not hurt my feelings if you don't like my idea............I have plenty more LOL
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
106
Tampa, FL
If you are going to be doing a lot of lap swimming, you may want longer. From the reading I have done, a lot of people recommend 40' minimum otherwise you are turning too much. I am getting 54'...but I also don't have the room for a wide pool so I won't be using it for things like volleyball...just lap swimming and floating :)
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Oh you just opened up another idea! Have you thought about a L shaped pool? It is the best of all worlds. Follow me here:
-The "toes" are the shelf. Should be by the house so you can sit and watch tv and chat with those on the patio.
-From the shelf to the "heel" will be your 4' Shallow part. This will be for Watermelon Ball (look it up.........best pool game out there!) and volley ball and horse and all kinds of pool games.
-The leg becomes the cannon balling and swimming area as well a great place to float and relax.

Thoughts? You will not hurt my feelings if you don't like my idea............I have plenty more LOL
Thanks for the creative idea! However, I don’t think a L shaped pool would work due to the layout of our backyard (see pics in initial post) and the topography (survey also included in initial post). Due to the topography alone, my landscape architect has verbally conveyed he will be designing a swim up bar to take advantage of the natural slope. Not only will this be a cool feature, however, it will save cost by needing less of a retaining wall (since the lower deck will be approximately counter height lower than the pool surface). On the dry side of the swim up bar, he is going to include the sunken/lower deck for a dining table and additional seating.

It looks like we will have an initial plan to review in the next few days. Please keep the ideas coming!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,047
Tallahassee, FL
Thanks for the reminder. I so love your house and yard! The swim up bar and seating area are a work of art. Useful and serves a purpose! SCORE!

So back tracking some to rethink ideas.

I say go as long/big as you can. This will lessen the slope from ends to the middle. I would go with the 4 x 6 x 4. Measure where 4' will hit the smallest adult in the house and see why I like it. The 6' will allow for cannon balls. Might need to come up with a creative way to "mark the 6' so every one will know where it is okay cannon ball from!

Swim up bar-I would have a "ledge" for the stools to sit on. This will help keep the cleaner from getting caught up on the stools.

Kim:kim:
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
If you are going to be doing a lot of lap swimming, you may want longer. From the reading I have done, a lot of people recommend 40' minimum otherwise you are turning too much. I am getting 54'...but I also don't have the room for a wide pool so I won't be using it for things like volleyball...just lap swimming and floating :)
Thanks for the reminder. I so love your house and yard! The swim up bar and seating area are a work of art. Useful and serves a purpose! SCORE!

So back tracking some to rethink ideas.

I say go as long/big as you can. This will lessen the slope from ends to the middle. I would go with the 4 x 6 x 4. Measure where 4' will hit the smallest adult in the house and see why I like it. The 6' will allow for cannon balls. Might need to come up with a creative way to "mark the 6' so every one will know where it is okay cannon ball from!

Swim up bar-I would have a "ledge" for the stools to sit on. This will help keep the cleaner from getting caught up on the stools.

Kim:kim:
You are making us reconsider the height of the deep end (middle). We were leaning towards 5’ but we may now just split it down the middle and go with 5.5’. We were trying to avoid a 6’ middle as most individuals would not be able to stand up in the center of the pool if it is indeed 6’. Would 5.5’ allow for doing cannonballs safely? We are already planning on having a no diving rule.

Regarding the swim-up bar, we would have never thought of that idea alone. Luckily for us, the topography just happens to be advantageous for this purpose. In fact this is an irony as what we most disliked about our home was the rear yard due to the topography. However, it has now becoming a huge benefit as we will be able to create multiple terraces which alone should be a cool feature. In addition, it naturally allows us to create separate spaces by using the lay of the land.

Lastly, we were thinking of not actually having built in stools in the pool for the swim-up bar. We were thinking people could simply stand. Will this be a mistake. Thoughts?
 

Riddler0520

Well-known member
Jul 26, 2020
113
Charlotte, NC
Hello neighbor..we are in Weddington and about 2/3 thru our build

We have a large mature lot as well very similar to yours... we opted for a HEAT PUMP so we can extend the season and make sure we maintain good swimming pool temps even during the summer as our yard probably gets about 3 hrs of direct sun a day, the rest partial

Heat Pump, more expensive upfront but affordable to run and maintain temps as it pull the warmth out of the ambient air to heat and maintain water...

More than welcome to DM me and if you wanted to swing over and look for ideas and the process you are more than welcome

The other thing to consider for heat retention is plaster color...assume you will do something pebble, make sure you know which type and color ahead of time as the upgrades can increase fast especially with darker colors, as we are considering

Good luck, it’s an experience for sure
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Hello neighbor..we are in Weddington and about 2/3 thru our build

We have a large mature lot as well very similar to yours... we opted for a HEAT PUMP so we can extend the season and make sure we maintain good swimming pool temps even during the summer as our yard probably gets about 3 hrs of direct sun a day, the rest partial

Heat Pump, more expensive upfront but affordable to run and maintain temps as it pull the warmth out of the ambient air to heat and maintain water...

More than welcome to DM me and if you wanted to swing over and look for ideas and the process you are more than welcome

The other thing to consider for heat retention is plaster color...assume you will do something pebble, make sure you know which type and color ahead of time as the upgrades can increase fast especially with darker colors, as we are considering

Good luck, it’s an experience for sure
Thanks for your suggestion! When you refer to a heat pump, is that different than a heater? If so, can you provide a brief description of the differences and maybe some pros and cons esp centerung around time to heat, utility requirements, maintenance, and operating costs!

I live about 15-20 mins from Weddington. I would love to take you up on your offer. Our take is the more people we talk to, the more we can learn. I’d also love to pay it forward when I can. Let’s connect via private message.

Thanks again!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,047
Tallahassee, FL
we were thinking of not actually having built in stools in the pool for the swim-up bar. We were thinking people could simply stand.
That is a good idea! That will take care of that concern. Good thinking!

A terraced yard will will be so pretty! One area could be for a fire pit. Another a reading/relaxing area, etc! SO many possibilities!
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Good morning! As expected, we received the 1st draft of the landscape plan for our backyard and pool project. I have attached it for your review. I have some thoughts on how to improve it, however, I am going to refrain from stating those until I hear the thoughts of many of you. Please let me know what you like, what you'd change, and any other consideration we should be thinking of. We are certainly open and nothing is set in stone. Thanks in advance for helping me review the plan thoroughly so I can provide robust feedback to the architect.

I have also attached it to the my original post for ease of reference.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,047
Tallahassee, FL
I love, love, love all of the different areas! Well done! The only thing I want you to think about is the fake turf. That stuff gets HOT and I mean HOT in the sun. I encourage you to get a sample and let it sit in the sun then put your bare foot on it.
 

Nikilyn

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2018
238
Gilbert, AZ
My BIL put it by his pool back in 2006. We were swimming and my son went to stand in the "grass" since the deck is hot when it's 110, and he was dancing as much on the turf as the deck. LOL! He's now 26 and looking for a house. One had turf and he said it was a no because he'd have to take it out because it's WAY too hot :LOL:. I know they've come a long way and are cooler than they used to be, but not cool enough.
 

shashivr4

Member
Aug 10, 2020
14
Charlotte, NC
Hoping this triggers some additional feedback.

We are thinking of modifying the plan as drawn by the landscape architect (1st draft) as follows:

1) Reducing the size of the bar on the “lower terrace” to now only be 8’ wide. It will still be the entire width of the pool at 16’. Is 8’ by 16’ sunken area large enough for a bar (seating, appliances, place to stand and hang out, etc). Not sure if we’ll cover (ex: pergola) it or not.

2) The space freed up on the lower terrace will now be utilized for the kid’s playground (wooden play set, sand box, etc). This area would actually be another 4-6’ lower than the current lower terrace as shown.

3) Since the kid’s play area will be moved to the lower terrace, this frees up space behind the detracted garage. We are unsure what to do here. Some thoughts are just keeping it lawn for the kids to have some grass to play on, putting artificial turf down to double up as a kids play area and a putting green (could also use this space for life size chess, Connect 4, Gignac, corn hole, etc).

I have attached the 1st draft of the landscape plan with my proposed modifications shown n red.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance!
 

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