New build- Dallas, TX

texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
All-

Looking for some opinions on this one- we're about to start digging, and the PB came out for one last inspection. The house is new construction, and we've got some grading that is a little more pronounced than when we knocked down the previous house (the back yard was mostly concrete that's now out of the way). Pics below per the PB of current situation. For orientation purposes, the fountain wall is to the south (and further to the south is a fence behind which is an alley); it's probably 20ft from the end of the decking to the fence.

It's a ~24in drop at the south end of the decking to the grade. We were expecting maybe 12in. Trying not to break the bank any more than we already have. PB suggested step-downs covering the south "peninsula", wedding-cake-step style. I can't imagine that's not going to cost a lot, plus it will eat a lot of the yard. We'll probably add a single step down at the south side of the west end of the decking (just east of where it bumps against the screened porch) where the drop is ~12".

One other option is to bring in fill dirt and raise the yard 12" (so a 12" drop at worst) or even 18" (a 6" drop at worst, where we wouldn't need a step).

Or, we leave as-is. Kids are 12 and 15, and any running around they'd be doing, they'd still have a transition in height and material (grass to concrete) regardless.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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PoolGate

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I had about a 24" grade variance from corner to corner as well. They were able to build up the low side using the excavated dirt and didn't cost me extra. Alternatives were a retaining wall which is super expensive.
 

texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
I had about a 24" grade variance from corner to corner as well. They were able to build up the low side using the excavated dirt and didn't cost me extra. Alternatives were a retaining wall which is super expensive.
So if you didn't have a retaining wall, but you built up the low side, does that mean the low side is now steeper than it was before?
 

PoolGate

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So if you didn't have a retaining wall, but you built up the low side, does that mean the low side is now steeper than it was before?

Yes it is steeper. I was on a slight grade going from the back of my house about an acre down to the edge of my property line and the part with the pool is now a much steeper hill.
 

Liz315

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I think it depends on if you need extra usable yard space within the grass area. With our build our yard is wide not deep so behind the pool was only 15-17. On the left side of the pool we had about 30’ however the grade was very steep there as everything sloped to the back left of the property. We were very concerned and the pool builder kept say it was no big deal he just grades the yard from the pool to the property line. We explained we didn’t want a mound of dirt and thankfully we didn’t listen to him. The day they laid out the pool we saw how drastic it would be. It was like 3.5’ different. So we told them before they shot the gunite we were doing the back and left side of the pool raised. After everything was shot we used a string line to determine the slope of the grade and how to minimize it. The 18” raised pool wall helped but we wanted to be able to use the left of our yard for tents and tables if we had a party and corn hole so we decided to raise our grade on the left of tge pool 2 feet. It cost over $10k to do it but otherwise we would of had no yard. We now have an extra 70’x30’ of level land to the left of the pool. The area in the back behind the pool just slopes gradually.
We also wanted the retaining wall so that the fence in the front of the house looked straight. I think you need to decide if u need extra usable yard space. Sloped grass is not usable. Another option we thought about was adding a couple steps to a lower level. That’s a good option too again if it saves usable space. Do you have a plot of your property to see your Entire yard in relation to your house and pool.
 

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texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
Here's a bird's-eye view of the backyard. Corners labeled 3 and 4 are the raised corners in the previous pics. Corners 1 and 2 are mostly at ground level. Arrows point in the direction of the downward sloping. Agree that sloping yard is unusable, and we'd like it to be useable. Think the only thing we can do is raise the yard to be generally flat (everywhere the arrows are) up to the level of corner 1 and put in retaining walls. So it's 2 issues- making the useable yard flat, and trying to reduce the drop off at corners 3 and 4. Maybe I only address slope between the 3/4 line and the fence, so we still have the dropoff at corners 3 and 4, but the yard from there to the fence is flat and usable (and the retaining wall doesn't have to be as high).
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texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
so I think we're going to leave the drop where it is, and not add any topsoil. So now it's trying to make that drop look better. PB gave this options, but it's a lot more $$$. It's adding that additional 12" width with a cap and the veneer underneath. It looks really sharp, but wondering if there's a lower-cost option to make that concrete edge a little more visually appealing (without using bedding and plants/flowers/bushes)?

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PoolGate

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Can you post a pic of your yard? Any type of structure is going to be crazy expensive. If you have the room just putting fill dirt in there is the best solution.
 

texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
It might come down to that. Here's a cam shot from the southwest (realize it's hard to make out, but you'll see the green wall which faces the edge of the pool opposite the jump ledge). And to the left of the pic, that slab is the porch.

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texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
Hey all! We finally got started this past week. Here's what the finished product should look like:
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The house is still being built so pardon the construction :) The ~24" drop from decking to grade in the foreground, we're just going to leave as-is and figure out if we want to put some shrubbery around it or not after we're all done (I had another thread on that). PB is checking to see if they can apply the rock salt finish they're doing to the decking, to the vertical edges. I realize I need to take some better shots but here we are after digging and some basic plumbing:
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texasmax

Well-known member
May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
Rebar in place! I know enough from you all to check the box that yes, the edges are a curved continuous length of bar as opposed to ends tied together :) Also noticed that the floor in the deeper end twice the density of bar as the shallower end. Slant in the last pic should be steps- emailed the construction lead a pic.

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texasmax

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May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
Tile is on!
 

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texasmax

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May 24, 2010
173
Dallas, TX
...with some corner detail!
 

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