New Owner-Builder - Gilbert, Arizona

Scott1975

Member
Sep 13, 2020
5
Gilbert, AZ
First off. This forum, and TFP website is awesome. A lot of great information, and a responsive forum community.

I am working on refinancing the house to build a pool, and take advantage of low interest rates.
This will be our very 1st pool.

We had set a $50k budget. Over the summer we meet with 6 pool builders in the area. Like everybody else. $30-$40k intro price quickly turned into $70-$100k. Especially after visiting my house.

We narrowed the builders down to 2. And then decided to put them both on hold. I found this website, and BYOP, and other owner-builder websites.

So far we know we want salt water, a spa, a rectangular pool, year round (Arizona), and full automation.

Here come the questions.

1. Engineering vs designing. Are both needed to build a pool or one over the other?

2. We have 4 huge Ash tree's in our backyard. When the leaf's drop, we get about 25-30 50gal yard bags full.
With that said, I am expecting a lot of leaf's in the pool...The pool builders recommended their best systems. Paramount PCC2000, and Blue Square Q-360. Are in floor systems any good now a days? Are they even available to owner builder? Get both a robot, and in-floor system?

3. Bugs. Do you do anything special to keep bugs out of your pools? I think the entire state has a Cicada problem, and my kids are scared of them. Will the salt water / chemicals just keep them at bay?

4. Water drainage. One of the builders wanted to raise up the pool 12" at a $10k charge. Others said we were fine. Another wanted $1k for a 45 l.f. hidden drainage system in the travertine pool deck. Is this common? Is one drainage system better than another?

5. Salt...IC40 vs IC60. Does it make a difference if the pool is < 15k gal?

6. Salt system with a Ozone system? Will this truly extend the life of the salt cell?

7. There are a million paver options. my head is spinning from looking at all the different options. How in the world did you decide which ones to go with? Just let the wife pick the pretty ones that she likes?

8. How can we jazz up our design without breaking the bank?
My wife thought about doing stone fire pillars around the outside of the deck...and tying that into the propane tanks, and the automation...but that sounds like an expensive nightmare.

Thank you again for your thoughts and ideas.

Scott
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
32,962
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
I will take a shot at some of your questions.
1. For your permit you will need engineering drawings. You do need to design the system, especially with a spa, etc.
2. To be honest, get rid of the trees. It will be a nuisance beyond belief. If you leave them, you will want to be able to capture as many leaves as you can before they sink.
As far as cleaning systems, some people love in floor systems, some hate them. They take lots of pump run time at high flow rates, so they are very expensive to operate. And complex to repair. A robot works great.
3. No idea. Don't have many bugs here in Laughlin.
4. You want drainage. You do not want runoff going into the pool. Ever.
5. IC40 will be fine.
6. Ozone is a waste of money. SWCG is sufficient.
7. Pretty much. They will be hot in the summer.
8. Most of the bling you will use once or twice and then rarely ever again. That include waterfalls, sheer descents, deck jets, bubblers, etc.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 
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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
200
Byran TX
I mentioned this on another new build thread. A spa is about $18K. Do you have to have a spa?
Bugs. Bugs are attracted to lights, especially at night. So either you pay for pool lights or you skip them. Why have them if all they do is attract bugs? You can add solar pathway lights, uplight your house, spot lights, or add lanterns and battery/solar lights.
If you want to keep your trees, get an automated cover for your pool. (We were quoted $14K and weren't told until the quote came in that the housing for it takes up a couple of feet of pool length) Get some type of cover. And invest in a good bug man.
Also on the trees, you can just trim them a bit. Cut off a few branches. The main thing is making sure the pool build doesn't hit tree roots.
Unless you change the size of your pool, maybe make it less deep. . .
If there is slope to your property, take advantage of it. You want the water away from the house and flow out to the street via a side yard.
You can always add decking later if you're breaking the budget now.
 
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Scott1975

Member
Sep 13, 2020
5
Gilbert, AZ
Thank you for the replies.
That "ABC's of pool chemistry" is a lot to absorb. I am going to have to read it over a few times.

Tree's - Unfortunately we cannot cut them down. They provide the house with a lot of shade in the hottest part of the day. We also cannot avoid hitting the roots. Roots go to where the water is, the water is in the grass, which is being dug. We are hoping that enough roots would go to the other grassy areas so the tree's don't die. Also we will be adding some deep water spikes to help. We will be trimming the tree's, and cutting off some branches that would overhang the pool.

Yes, I had thought about a pool over. The AZ sun is brutal though, and from what I have been told they don't last long. Maybe an automated one will last longer with it's housing.

The pool goes down to 6ft, over at the grass area by the steps. I am 6'9" tall, so reducing the depth would make me sad.

Any gotcha's or concerns about going with someone like BYOP?

Thank you.

Scott
 

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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
200
Byran TX
Trimming the branches over the water would help a lot.
Okay. One link and an interview with a pool owner/pool designer. He put in a raised edge around the pool to keep the leaves out. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, key in on 15 minutes in. He uses a raised edge around the pool to keep the leaves out.

You might also do research and look into the Wet Edge Primera Stone series.

 
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Scott1975

Member
Sep 13, 2020
5
Gilbert, AZ
Now that I have had chance to read this to the wife, and have further conversations with her...we are going back to the design phase, and trying to find ways to damage the tree's less.
She sketching up some idea's, and has already suggested putting them here for feedback.

My patio cover has gutters so I am not to worried about water runoff. I am going to redo the gutters and direct the water to the other side of the stairs where I have orange and lemon tree's.

Time to watch another video.
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
200
Byran TX
You could also look into what time of the year means less impact on your trees. So if your trees 'hibernate' for the winter, that would be a good time to dig. You could also have an arborist come out -- Do they do free consults? They could tell you how deep the roots go for the tree size -- How far they extend out in your type of soil. They may say fertilize (or not) and can tell you how much to trim off. If you can't find someone maybe your county master gardeners. I'd do all that before designing your pool.
 
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Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
256
Alpine, Ca
To help you with #1, do dome research for someone that will do the permit process for you. My excavator recommended someone and the shotcrete company did too. Can you do it yourself? Yes, I did on our first home but it was a major pain. Second time around (second home), thanks to the excavator, I had someone else do it for $1,000. For me it was worth it. They did the plans, paid for the engineering, and went to the permit office. They returned a week later with the permit and plans.
 
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Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
256
Alpine, Ca
On another note, do you need them to design the pool shape? Not necessarily. The permit person just put a generic shape on mine. As long as I did not violate any set backs we were good. I did not have a shape until the morning of the dig. Excavator leveled the area and took out an inch or two of dirt to set the height. Then we painted out the shape and started digging.

This is the second pool I've done. First one was staked out using measurements on the plan, but it was a tiny yard. This time I had room to spare but had obstacles. Two rocks I wanted to keep to flank the pool, existing patio that was partially demo'd, and fake grass i did not want to touch. I did the demolition myself then fit the pool in the space that was left. Came out really nice. Anyhow, not sure if you can do that everywhere, dig a pool that is different than the plans. All the people I spoke to said it is not an issue unless you go over a set back, it is drastically larger or deeper, or in a totally different location in the yard. Something to inquire about. Hope that helps. I know sometimes plans change, like hitting a rock. Happened to a friend of mine and we just put a baja shelf in that location. Sometimes the land will change your pool design on the fly.
 
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Scott1975

Member
Sep 13, 2020
5
Gilbert, AZ
Ok. Let's try this again.
The wife and I brainstormed, and re-orientated the pool 10 different ways, and tried multiple designs.
This one seems to have bubbled to the top.
It puts the pool 14-24ft away from the tree's, and is raised up 4ft with a zero edge wall. This should keep the majority of the leafs out.
The 4ft wall concerns the wife. Due to it having to hold the weight of all the water.
We would still add a drainage system, as well as redo the gutters. Especially since it will be closer to the house, and at the same level as the existing patio.
The Spa could be raised up ~12-18" or at a similar level of the pool.
I added stairs to the right.
We would have lights in the catch basin to shine on the pool sides.

A number of websites I found said that DYI/owner-builder zero edge is not recommended.

Thoughts?

Be gentle, lol. The drawing was done with Microsoft paint in 45 minutes.

Thank you.
 

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Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
256
Alpine, Ca
I have an exposed wall. About two feet high. It is not zero edge, the water does not flow over. Why I did not do a zero edge?

1. Cost
2. Has to be engineered correctly or it is not going to work.
3. Perfectly level weir wall
4. Extra pump to move water from catch basin back to pool.
5. Hassle to keep basin clean. Have to manually clean or maybe you could drop a robot in there.

I'm sure I'm missing something. Plus they appear to get calcium or maybe salt deposits on the weir wall when they are not flowing and the water evaporates and leaves stuff behind. I'm sure someone who has experience with that issue can chime in. I think it is more than a water chemistry issue.

For me, the cost to do one, was not worth the cost or maintenance hassle. I tried pricing it out and it would have been a considerable cost upgrade.
 
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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
200
Byran TX
Take your idea to various pool builders and have them work with the design. Ask for a bid. All that work is free - You don't owe them a penny. Then see where you stand and if you want to go ahead.

You can also page thru the various builds here on this forum. Lots of ideas out there.
 
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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
200
Byran TX
I guess it depends on where you live. I called one place and a rep came out in half an hour. Spent half an hour with me in my yard, taking pictures, measuring, and talking about slope. He asked for the survey and we got going right away. I was impressed.
 
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Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
268
NE Oklahoma
Another option for the wall, you could do a knife edge top, instead of the zero edge wall. Still looks really cool and no additional plumbing or cleaning necessary. Check out DB-Coopers pool here, he did a knife edge on the far side of his. Really slick.


--Jeff
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,478
NY
Check out DB-Coopers pool here, he did a knife edge on the far side of his. Really slick.
He is my gold standard for what can be done to a pool. I have been in many many homes and seen some of the wildest rich peoples pools out there. None of them have a pool into a canyon at treetop level, up there with the birds. His pool can also easily hold its own in the visually stunning category without the view.
 
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Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
268
NE Oklahoma
He is my gold standard for what can be done to a pool. I have been in many many homes and seen some of the wildest rich peoples pools out there. None of them have a pool into a canyon at treetop level, up there with the birds. His pool can easily hold its own in the visually stunning category without the view.
No kidding. That is one of the coolest builds ever! I'm sure that one is a feather in his PB's cap.

--Jeff
 

Scott1975

Member
Sep 13, 2020
5
Gilbert, AZ
DB-Cooper's pool does look awesome. Wish I had a view like that.
Thanks for the advise, I had already reached out to a few PB's to get their opinions.
One has already stated $100-125k. :oops:. and suggested that if we dropped the zero edge, and lowered the exposed edge to 2ft, and put some steps between the existing patio and pool deck, it would be $80-90k.
But the wife and I really don't like steps. it's easy to have issues with steps when you or your family/friends are drunk.

What I find funny, is that on this slope, the pool is almost an above ground pool. the PB would only have to go down a couple of feet.