New build at modern-style home

tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
Hi everyone, I've been relying on your excellent advice for a few years now to maintain my 30x15' above-ground pool with a deck surround. The pool is old and decaying, and the deck is poorly built and probably verging on unsafe. So, we're planning a complete remodel of the back yard, with a new, smaller pool.

Here's the current situation, looking towards the rear of the house from the back of the pool:

Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 7.14.18 PM.png

We're going to make some pretty drastic changes and move the pool and deck over to the other side of the yard, underneath the big blank face of the house. Here is the rough model.

Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 7.15.49 PM.png Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 7.19.06 PM.jpg
We're still working out the details of the design, but I wanted to get some input on the design of the pool itself and learn what kind of options are out there. We want a modern look, rectangular, with minimal coping. An autocover for sure. We don't need a deep end, but a shallow shelf would be really nice. Here are my questions so far:

As you can see, it's going to be sort of an on-ground pool. I'm not sure if they'll even have to excavate near the house. What would be the preferred build method for a pool like this? I've seen models with stainless steel walls (from Vinyl Liner Pool Walls - Latham Pools) or polymer. But I would like to avoid a vinyl liner. Would a gunite build be possible here, without the pool being fully in-ground?

I've looked at Modular Shipping Container Swimming Pool and Hot Tub and I love the idea and how quickly it could be installed, but I don't think there's any way for us to get crane access to our site.

Are there any other newer, high-tech, or modular systems that I should be considering, besides the standard steel walls + liner or gunite?

Thanks much! I will do my best to keep the forum updated on the progress. Here's one shot from today when we started demolition and removed the old liner. Some amazing algae and rust patterns:

IMG_7306 copy.jpg

Tim
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,368
Tallahassee, FL
You CAN have a plaster pool above ground if your wallet is fat enough. It does take a good engineer to make sure the walls and such are enough to support all of that water safely.

Thanks for letting us come along for the ride!

Kim:kim:
 

ModernCha

Well-known member
May 29, 2019
80
Charlotte, NC
Exciting, love the modern look you are contemplating. There is no reason you can't do an above ground plaster pool and that's probably the only one I would do. The crew that shot ours did an epic above ground pool shoot the two days before us in Western NC. It was for a modern home out there and had a great infinity edge overlooking the blue ridge mountains. But I would expect to pay a premium but no clue how big of a premium.
 

jimmythegreek

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In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
2,744
Morris Cnty NJ
You can do a fiberglass pool and build retaining walls around it ending up with an above ground pool sort of. You can also do a concrete pool and use the pool walls as part of the retaining wall. You need deck space on at least one side but you also need enough room to accommodate railings being so far above grade. A 14" thick steel reinforced wall can hold almost any pool wall on it's own. You just need to figure out how much space you have to work with and the general layout.
 

tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
Hi everyone! We met with our first pool builder today. We've also made a few changes to the design. Here is the latest render:

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 8.03.18 PM.png

We fixed some of the "staircase soup" transition from pool deck to ground, changed the privacy screen, and added a spa. We're currently trying to work out the spa details. Our architect and pool builder suggest a custom spa plumbed to the pool. It would be nice for the water to be shared, but that configuration puts a lot of restrictions on our design: the tub has to be at the same level or higher than the pool, and that means sacrificing some privacy, and probably having railings in your face. We kind of want the tub to be lower, tucked into the woods, and private, which doesn't really fit into the combines pool/spa design.

So we're thinking of just putting a portable spa in another part of the yard. That gives us the flexibility to at least get rid of the spa if we decide we aren't used it enough...

Anyway, our pool builder is working on a quote right now for a 12x18' concrete pool with a heat pump, sand filter, and a salt cell, and he's adding an option for a custom spa. His company has done a bunch of very complicated custom pools and I think ours would be on the simpler end of their range.

In non-pool progress, we got the pool entirely removed, and about half the old deck demolished. What a shambolic structure--it was built a long time ago and had no joist hangers or lag bolts or anything--just joists nailed to the sides of the posts. Most of the posts were just sitting on soil, including a corner by some stairs which now has at least a 10 degree tilt. We did find a few real concrete "footings", but I'm looking forward to a major upgrade in build quality with the new deck. :)

IMG_1790.JPG IMG_7341 copy.jpg IMG_7365 copy.jpg

I will post another update once we've gotten our first bid. Thanks for reading, and have a good night!
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,368
Tallahassee, FL
Man that is going to be something else!!

Doggy is saying "Where did my pool go??"

:shock: they built it how??? doing what??? Make you wonder how it lasted as long as it did!!

Kim:kim:
 

tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
I know! I guess it held up well enough for long enough...but I want to see some lag bolts! We've done a lot of work on this house and we continue to find interesting and creative building techniques.

The poor dogs were resigned to their fate during demolition--they were out of the work zone but could watch us. Once we had the temporary fence moved, we let them explore the newly uncovered area. They were tentative at first but have definitely settled in to tracking a lot of sand and mud inside. (Of course, the humans are doing that too!)

This is Rufus on the right, and Flicker on the left:

IMG_7389 copy.jpg
 
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kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
46,368
Tallahassee, FL
we continue to find interesting and creative building techniques.
That is code for-------------what in the world did they do??????? LOL

The dogs look very evenly matched! I hear ya on the dirt tracked in. Then there is the hair! BUT it is all worth it for the love they have for life and their families!

Kim:kim:
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,428
Northern NJ
What is the depth of your 12’x18’ pool going to be? At that size I would consider putting in seating and spa jets in one corner so it can be used as a large spa.
 

tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
What is the depth of your 12’x18’ pool going to be? At that size I would consider putting in seating and spa jets in one corner so it can be used as a large spa.
Hi Allen, we're looking at a 4.5' depth across the whole thing. But I'm not sure if that's the right choice. Since it is a small pool, I was thinking a deeper section might be nice. The pool builder also suggested putting a spa section in at one end, with an autocover that could be set up to uncover just the spa section. I have to admit, having only one body of water to maintain is really appealing.

We might have room for the pool to be a foot or two bigger on each side, too...I think that might be worthwhile, since 12'x18 is pretty small, especially coming from a 15x35' pool. ?
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,428
Northern NJ
Be very clear with your builder if you are talking about water depth when the pool water is halfway up the skimmer. Custom gunite/plaster depths can vary from the design more then some people like.

I like a pool where I can stand with water up to my armpits or shoulders. For me at 6’3” a 4.5’ depth would be too shallow to stand around in with a third of my body out of the water. I would slope it from 4.5 to 5.5’ from one end to the other so people can find the water level they like.
 
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tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
Be very clear with your builder if you are talking about water depth when the pool water is halfway up the skimmer. Custom gunite/plaster depths can vary from the design more then some people like.
Thanks, Allen, that sounds like good advice.

Who will be using the pool?
It will be the two of us humans primarily, plus two dogs. On occasion, we'll have friends and family with kids visiting. I am a little concerned that the smaller pool will be too small when it's full of kids and dogs...
 

tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
Well, we have a design update! After a lot of thought and discussion about the pool/spa, we decided to take the pool builder's advice and design around a plunge pool with built-in spa. The builder and architect decided they could probably find a way to build the pool without a lot of railings.

With that idea in place we've been working through a lot of details like fencing, gate locations, and pool size, and the pool footprint kept creeping more and more north, closer to a gigantic old tulip tree poplar and our architect mentioned that we would be doing a lot of excavation within its dripline and it might put the tree at risk. ?

Not gonna happen!! We quickly brainstormed a few possible options and found one that will solve a number of our problems.

Screen Shot 2020-03-08 at 6.21.20 PM.png

This moves the pool more towards the centerline of the house. It'll put that little downstairs room in a bit more shadow, but it shouldn't be too bad. It has a few other advantages:

- it pushes the deck away from the closest neighbor which should give us a nice private feel, especially with the privacy wall on their side.
- it will let us get to 22'x18' which should be a lot more comfortable especially since the spa will take some space!

A question:

- We're going to surround the entire back yard with a new, 8' black chain link fence. Gates will open outward, and be auto-closing. We're hoping this will satisfy the inspector and we won't need any other gates or fencing at the pool, but our architect is concerned that they won't allow it. Has anyone done something similar?

Now we're waiting for a few more survey elevations and the rest of the design! Hoping to break ground this summer but I suppose it might be closer to fall...

Have a good night!

-Tim
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
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Jul 10, 2012
46,368
Tallahassee, FL
We're going to surround the entire back yard with a new, 8' black chain link fence. Gates will open outward, and be auto-closing. We're hoping this will satisfy the inspector and we won't need any other gates or fencing at the pool, but our architect is concerned that they won't allow it. Has anyone done something similar?
I would not take ANY chances with this. Put in a call to YOUR inspectors. Each area is so different we cannot tell you what works in our part of the world and have it work for you in yours!

Kim:kim:
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,428
Northern NJ
A question:

- We're going to surround the entire back yard with a new, 8' black chain link fence. Gates will open outward, and be auto-closing. We're hoping this will satisfy the inspector and we won't need any other gates or fencing at the pool, but our architect is concerned that they won't allow it. Has anyone done something similar?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,368
Tallahassee, FL
Allen in for the win again!! THANKS ALLEN!! :hug:

One that stuck out to me is the talk of the chain link hole size. That is going to be very important to look at.

Kim:kim:
 

tybstar

Member
Mar 27, 2016
12
Chapel Hill, NC
@kimkats: Good call, definitely! We've been doing some research and our architect is going to run a few questions past the permitting office soon. Our fence is being constructed by a local company who should be able to build something that meets code.

@ajw22: Thanks! I think the key will be convincing the inspector that the whole yard is the "pool area". If not, hopefully we can design something that fits in.