New Pool and Backyard overhaul - Orange County, CA 3/31/21 Update

ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Hello everyone! My pool/backyard rebuild broke ground on November 23,2020. I think we're about 75% done now. It's an interesting build because we have a pretty small back yard, and about half of the yard was taken up by a slope. So in order to get the pool built we had to remove about 8 feet of slope across the length of the yard (about 73 feet). We also removed an old semi-in ground spa that had been in place since 1984 and had seen better days.

In order to serve as a retaining wall wall to hold back the remainder of the slope, the pool's bond beam was raised 6 feet above ground level.
We're also redoing the entire back yard with paving and landscaping. One other matter we're undertaking is relocating the Air Conditioning condenser unit. It's quite noisy, so we're moving it to the side of the house near where the pool equipment will be located.

Not one inch of backyard area is being left untouched.

Work is progressing slowly, but I'm hoping we'll be done by mid-to-late April, 2021. Attached are some photos of what the back yard looked like just before work begun. I've posted some renderings of what it will generally look like when we're done.
 

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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Here’s what it looked like after the slope was partially removed and dug out. The main swim area is basically 12’x37.5’ with an 8’x8’ spa, and a 7’x12’ tanning shelf area.
 

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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
About 11 trucks full of dirt had to be hauled away. Thereafter we had a lot of rebar and 9 cement trucks full of shotcrete pumped in.
 

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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Next in was the coping. They put in molds and the poured in concrete. And thereafter, the team started putting in the tile. We used 1x1 Master Tile Baroque 1"x1" tile pieces, and Baroque 1"x2" tile pieces along the waterline. We also had the scuppers put in and tiled portions of the bond beam with limestone tile.
 

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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
As of today, we're beginning to install the pavers. It's starting to take even more shape.
 

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Snoobug

Silver Supporter
Jun 2, 2020
160
Iowa
Pool Size
19500
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Wow! It's going to be beautiful! What kind of pavers did you go with? What is the coping?
 

ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Wow! It's going to be beautiful! What kind of pavers did you go with? What is the coping?
Thank you! The Pavers are made by Belgard. The style is Melville Plank, There's a total of six paver sizes being used in repeating patterns. All of them run horizontally to accentuate the length of the project. The coping is a concrete poured as a single slab, they used molds to cantilever it off the edge, then cut at intervals using a thin diamond tipped bled to get a nice, clean cut.
 
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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Looking good! Can’t wait to see the completed project. What company did you go with?
Thanks! The builder is Tom Fuller of Timeless Pools. His company a relatively small outfit. But I've been most impressed with Tom's communication and attention to detail.

I had about 6 companies come to bid on it initially. 2 of them came out to evaluate the project, and I never heard back from them. One thanked me, but told me what I was looking for was too complicated given the slope/terrain and tight working quarters. So I was left with 3 viable bids. Tom's bid was the most expensive (slightly more than one, and significantly more than another). But he was the one that inspired most confidence in his ability to get it done. So far, I'm very happy.
 
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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
3/31/21 Update: At the recommendation of our pool builder I decided to have the upper wrought iron refreshed and the cinder block walls painted the same color as the stucco retaining wall will eventually be. I also installed vinyl inserts on the east fence line to match what was already on my west fence line. The symmetry is nice.
Our builder has started to create our fireplace, and installed our Jandy Watercolors HydroCool lights (9 total).

Next up: Landscaping and retaining wall stucco. We’re hoping to have that done in the next week or so.
 

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ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Impressive. I'm curious what the cost of this project was? Do you mind sharing?
Keep in mind not a single inch of the backyard is being left untouched. The hillside/slop removal and retaining wall construction itself was a very big job. The amount of concrete and rebar that went in to holding back that hillside is incredible.

But all-in... I'm looking at right at about $250k. That includes all the work our pool builder is doing, plus the fencing and paint. It also includes unexpected costs such as significant air conditioning improvements necessitated by my AC condenser relocation request. We're also commissioned a 10-foot long custom BBQ island, an Alumawood patio cover, a Samsung Terrace "outdoor" TV to fit above the fireplace, all new patio furniture, accessories and a small "off the grid" self-contained bathroom.

It's amazing how it all starts to add up.

Given our yard dimensions and our design, we had no room to install a real outdoor bathroom and stay within our lot line set back requirements. So I commissioned a small 4'x6' Tuff Shed to be built and installed the side yard/pool equipment area. The Tuff Shed will be used to create a dry flush bathroom, using a Laveo Dry Flush Toilet. Here's a video showing how the Laveo works:


I'm also including a small self-contained sink inside the Tuff Shed, kind of like this:


With a 12 year old boy and a lot of his tween friends, I just don't want them running all soggy and wet through the house. So giving them a basic place to do their business is paramount.

Yep, so it's a lot of money... So given how much we knew we were going to have spend to get our desired back yard, we very seriously considered moving to a home with a nice pool before committing to the build. But in the process of looking for a new house, we really couldn't find anything we liked that we could really afford, that offered what we already had in our house. Our house isn't new or particularly large (built in 1981, and 2200sq. ft. with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths). But in early 2020, we re-felted our tile roof. And in 2018, we undertook significant interior renovations, including a new kitchen, interior paint, new windows, shutters, remodeled stairs, fireplaces, closet doors, and 1 1/2 bathrooms. So, interior-wise, the house is relatively new and just to our liking.

Everything with a pool we could afford in our price range was too far of a commute, or was in a condition that would have required significant additional renovations. And anything we liked that represented a "clear upgrade" worth moving into was several hundred thousand more than I could afford. The SoCal housing market went crazy once the pandemic hit. So.... this with the pool being constructed, this is now our forever house.... Or at least until my wife and I are so old we can no longer walk up the stairs. :)
 
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sinac

New member
Mar 17, 2021
2
Northern California
Thank you for posting these pictures. I love your pool (and your glass tile). It looks like a work of art with the 6 foot retaining wall. You have something unique and imo should be posted as inspiration for how to deal with a sleep slope. I look forward to seeing the finale!

I am hoping to find out more about your pavers (ie: the color). Is it Riviera or Rio? The Melville plank was one we were considering but I eliminated until I saw your pics. Now it's definitely back in the running.
 

ofcounsel

Member
Dec 30, 2020
22
Brea, CA
Thank you for posting these pictures. I love your pool (and your glass tile). It looks like a work of art with the 6 foot retaining wall. You have something unique and imo should be posted as inspiration for how to deal with a sleep slope. I look forward to seeing the finale!

I am hoping to find out more about your pavers (ie: the color). Is it Riviera or Rio? The Melville plank was one we were considering but I eliminated until I saw your pics. Now it's definitely back in the running.
Thank you for the kind words. :) We're really happy with the concepts that our builder came up with.

And the color on the tile is Rio! Good eye!

Note, mine is not sealed yet, so when the sealant is applied my understanding is it may be just a "smidge" darker with a little more contrast between the light and dark portions. I'll make sure to take some photos once they're sealed up.
 

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
11,879
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
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Chlorine
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Oh man... I cant wait for the next update!
 

MrBBQ

Member
Feb 10, 2021
5
Ca
Yes, we did! We needed it to get a sense of what was needed for the retaining wall. And for my peace of mind. It's a big hill that continues for quite a ways behind my fence line.
I live in SoCal as well and we are stuck on the soils report. My house was built approx 10 years ago so I was able locate the original geologist/company that did all the research for our development.

It has been like pulling teeth trying to get them to complete a report or to even give me a price on doing the report. The idea is that they may be able to complete the report without ever leaving the office which saves me money.

I have called other geologist and they vouch for the company that did our development however they quote me high prices to complete a report since they have no prior knowledge of my area and thats why I am harassing the original geologist to do the report. Just not making any progress and feeling frustrated.
 

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