New Pool Build - Marin, CA - Insight welcome!

kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
42x15, double infiniti edge on steep hill - Marin, CA

:wave: Hello everyone! We're excited to kick off a new pool build! This forum has been incredible. So many kind and generous people contributing their feedback and learnings. Thank you in advance for your insights!!

As background, we live in Marin, CA (northern California). Our property is up in the hills with some great views but we have a very steep property. Although this means lots of expensive retaining walls for the pool build, I'm an optimist, so I'm dreaming of infiniti edges and beautiful views beyond.

I figured I would start this new build thread early, meaning we are still in the design/sketch phase. That way we could better incorporate any feedback we get from everyone here.

Here are the initial specs we are leaning towards:

- 40'x16' rectangular pool
- 8'x8' attached spa
- Automatic pool cover
- 4' -> 8.5' deep
- Grotto/waterfall jumping area (no diving board)

Pool will be primarily used by wife and me as well as our 7 year old daughter. After reading about every thread on TFP on pool depths we are leaning towards having an 8.5' deep end for the grotto jumping. And then going right to 4' deep for the shallow end.

Hopefully the 40' length will still give us some space for the adults in the shallow area before it starts needing to dip down for the deep end. There might be some flexibility to lengthen the overall pool but will be tough to make it wider.

I've been soaking up every thread I can on this forum. But the amount of choices in a pool build are a little overwhelming!

Thank you in advance for any feedback! It's really early in the build so we can incorporate changes in easily now.

Below is the initial design. The steps that come out of the house drop the elevation down 2 feet (needed for our topography/space). There also are steps that come down along the top there that come from a deck above that connects to the kitchen.

Please feel free to provide ANY feedback!
 

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kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
Some areas I'd love feedback on:

- Benches: Too many, not enough? Where to put them? Too close to the jumping/grotto area? Benches or standing ledges?
- Is a 40' length with a 8.5' to 4' have enough room in the shallow area for the adults?
- Is 8.5' deep enough for a 4' jumping rock?
- Are waterfall jump rocks slippery?

Of course feel free to comment on anything you would change.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Our pool has built-in benches along an entire side of the 40' pool. We have it positioned in such as way that the sun sets behind our back when sitting, that way it's not in our eyes. Our 40' has about 20' of standing room for adults before it drops-off to the deeper end. An 8.5' might drop quicker. If you plan on playing games like volleyball you might want just a little more length. Easy for me to say - ha.
 

kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
Thanks Pat. Smart idea with the sun behind your eyes.

Is your built in bench along the 40' side or the shorter side? Do you like having it along the entire side?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,274
Tallahassee, FL
WOWER already!!!! I found this thread yesterday but did not have time to really dig in but I do now!

LOVE the view!!! Who is the kitty in your pic? They really need to learn to relax LOL

Now for the pool:

-I see you kept the swim lane open for laps and such! Well done!

-love the shelf and steps going into the pool! How deep will the shelf be? How big? What do you want to use it for?

-spa-I see it is raised above the pool. What is at that part of the house? Will the spa block the view from there into the pool?

-spa-make sure there are different heights for seating. Gives you some chooses when you are in it.

-waterfalls-I like all of the but want to ask about the one by the shelf/steps. Why a waterfall there? (just trying to get in your head)

-benches-like like the idea of the standing bench. With it between the two sitting ones though I worry about someone one walking on the seated ones then falling into the standing one thinking they go all the way at the same depth. Yeah, yeah, yeah..........watch where you are going and all of that :roll: but we live in the real world so.........Maybe have the standing one on the end towards the shallow end.

-sloop-you will need to get someone that really knows this stuff to sketch you out the view of the bottom to show you how much of a shallow end you will have before you start sloping to that that wonderful 8.5' deep end!

-jumping rock-yes it can be slippery if you have water coming off of it or if the waterfall splashes water up there. There are "rules" somewhere for the depth of the pool AND the sloop of the sides for diving boards and jumping rocks. I will look for them but feel free to so some searching while I look. We will both share what we find and learn together.

Well I THINK I covered it all. I can't wait to hear your input. This is going to be a fun one!

Kim:kim:
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
11,494
Evans, Georgia
If the jumping rock will be sealed in any fashion I think there is a product that can be added to add texture, hence less slippery.

I too wonder if the benches around the standing bench might not be ankle turners.

Maddie :flower:
 

dustin2471

Silver Supporter
Jun 19, 2014
112
Roseville / CA
Beautiful views, building around that should really set it all off! Are you DIY or are you going to hire a pool builder? the length should be pretty good for several people to be in the standing area and not be crowded, ours is 38' long and its a big pool (by our standards, take your garden hoses and lay them out in the yard to get an idea of how big a pool you are thinking about). The fire feature at the grotto is a concern since it can be slippery up there and if someone falls dont want them going towards firepit. Not sure but I think once you go beyond 8' deep in California it requires different engineering (more rebar = more money), I do know with the hill behind you it will require more engineering. Looks good!
 

kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
Hey guys, thanks for the great input already! Will go through each of your questions. Here is another photo to help give a better perspective on the build site.
 

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kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
Kim (btw, you are the best, I love you encouraging everyone on in the various build threads!). We have a cat very similar to that kitty in the profile pic but that guy I just grabbed off giphy ... I liked his style.

>-love the shelf and steps going into the pool! How deep will the shelf be? How big? What do you want to use it for?
That shelf originally was put in by me more as a design element that would allow you to enter the pool either from the steps by the spa or the steps by the pool. We aren't big "tanners" (is that sacrilege to say on a site like this?!?). So the primary purpose would be more of a getting in and maybe put a lounge chair in there. Not sure on depth yet, what do you think?

>-spa-I see it is raised above the pool. What is at that part of the house? Will the spa block the view from there into the pool?

We are re-doing the bottom floor layout of the house as well. Our plans are to put a family room and bathroom on that side by the pool. We've been told by friends to have a bathroom close to the pool so people don't have to walk far inside (with wet feet!) in the house.

We're planning on having ceiling to floor window for the family room and then no windows for the bathroom (well on that side - there will be a window on the non pool side). Including the floor layout pic below.

The view shouldn't be impacted as when you enter the pool area from the house, the steps take you down 2 feet. So the pool is 2' lower then the house. The spa is 18" above the pool but 6" below the house.

>-spa-make sure there are different heights for seating. Gives you some chooses when you are in it.

Ahh good point. What do you think should be the heights there?

>waterfalls-I like all of the but want to ask about the one by the shelf/steps. Why a waterfall there? (just trying to get in your head)

That was actually proposed by our landscape designer / pool designer. That corner (the top right) is actually 2' above the pool line so there would be an opportunity for a mini-waterfall. It would basically be pouring into the baja shelf though so I'm not sure if we should keep it or not.

>-benches-like like the idea of the standing bench. With it between the two sitting ones though I worry about someone one walking on the seated ones then falling into the standing one thinking they go all the way at the same depth. Yeah, yeah, yeah..........watch where you are going and all of that :roll: but we live in the real world so.........Maybe have the standing one on the end towards the shallow end.

:eek: Lol, didn't think about that. Good point! I'll adjust the design for that.

>slope-you will need to get someone that really knows this stuff to sketch you out the view of the bottom to show you how much of a shallow end you will have before you start sloping to that that wonderful 8.5' deep end!

Yeah, I'm not sure on the how long the deep ends needs to be, especially with the jumping rock. However, here is my back of the envelope math came out with the 3:1 slope requirement.

Depth ..... Pool Length
4' ........... 16.5'
4'->5' ...... 3'
5'->6' ...... 3'
6'->7' ...... 3'
7'->8.5' ... 4.5'
8.5' ......... 10'
............... 40'

Obviously if the deep ends needs to be deeper then we would lose more shallow space.

>-jumping rock-yes it can be slippery if you have water coming off of it or if the waterfall splashes water up there. There are "rules" somewhere for the depth of the pool AND the sloop of the sides for diving boards and jumping rocks. I will look for them but feel free to so some searching while I look. We will both share what we find and learn together.

Good points. I was looking at some pool videos and saw one interesting design element I saw is they used two flat rocks at the top of the grotto and the waterfall went over the lower rock. (see pic below). Thought that would be one way to keep it "dryer" up there and avoid slippiness.

Also I'm unsure with California requirements around these, my pool designer had even suggested some railings around the edges so you were kind of forced to jump in the pool. Not sure how cheesy that will look though. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

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kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
>(Maddie) I too wonder if the benches around the standing bench might not be ankle turners.

Thanks Maddie for the feedback! I updated the bench layout based on your and Kim's feedback. Does anyone else here have standing ledges? Do you like them?

>(Dustin) Are you DIY or are you going to hire a pool builder? the length should be pretty good for several people to be in the standing area and not be crowded, ours is 38' long and its a big pool (by our standards, take your garden hoses and lay them out in the yard to get an idea of how big a pool you are thinking about).
Definitely not a DIY :) We've been working with a landscape / pool designer. And then we'll bring in a good pool builder for the actual build.

I have some weak photoshop skills so I'm editing the designs he provides and moving things around. Good idea on the garden hose. I figure once I know how long the deep ends needs to be I can figure out how much room we'll have in the shallow area. We also might be able to go out a few feet longer then 40'.

>The fire feature at the grotto is a concern since it can be slippery up there and if someone falls dont want them going towards firepit.
Good point. I removed it from the current design (below).

>Not sure but I think once you go beyond 8' deep in California it requires different engineering (more rebar = more money), I do know with the hill behind you it will require more engineering. Looks good!
Yeah, we live on a really steep elevation so there will be lots of big retaining walls in this design.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,274
Tallahassee, FL
shelf step...........if it is going to be used mainly as a "step" into and out of the pool I would do it the "average" rise for steps (I THINK it is about 7"). I would NOT allow them to talk you into big risers for the steps. You have to think about the future and the possibility of someone needing an easier way in and out.

The waterfall on the shelf.......the more I think about it the less I like it.........I kind of worry about about the future of your plaster in that area..........the water falling down.......could it impact the plaster over time? Also if you do put a lounger there you will not want the waterfall going.

You will LOVE having a bathroom and "changing room" aka bedroom right by the pool.

Dustin! GOOD call on that fire bowl!

How big is your property? I see the fence going off that a way......is that all yours? What is below you?

You are off to a good start! I can't wait to get to the end and see everyone jumping into the pool!

Kim:kim:
 

kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
>shelf step...........if it is going to be used mainly as a "step" into and out of the pool I would do it the "average" rise for steps (I THINK it is about 7"). I would NOT allow them to talk you into big risers for the steps. You have to think about the future and the possibility of someone needing an easier way in and out.
Makes sense. Yeah, indoor step height is 7" (max 7-3/4"). We are going down to 4' depth so theoretically we would need about 6 steps to make that more manageable. I'll go in and add another step or two down. I could see the 1' steps getting a little tricky as we get up there in age.

>The waterfall on the shelf.......the more I think about it the less I like it.........I kind of worry about about the future of your plaster in that area..........the water falling down.......could it impact the plaster over time? Also if you do put a lounger there you will not want the waterfall going.
I was playing around with the design today (see below). I changed it up a little bit so that on the right side of the pool you don't go down steps to get to the spa. It is on the same elevation as the home (90.5 feet). The spa would be 2' high with 4 infiniti edges (one pouring into the pool).

Then I added another 2' water feature just above the spa. So the water would flow down 4' total (2' high water feature/spa and then another 2' to pool height). So this wouldn't really be a "waterfall" but I'm thinking more of just water cascading down against a stone or glass wall (a "water wall"?). So not really big splashing (which I agree would not be fun to sit by). Does that make sense?

>You will LOVE having a bathroom and "changing room" aka bedroom right by the pool.
Ahh good point. I didn't think about the changing room (bedroom) but I can now see where that will also be helpful

>How big is your property? I see the fence going off that a way......is that all yours? What is below you
It's about a 1/3 of an acre (see property pic below). Unfortunately, that fence line that you see going on is not ours. Below the pool would be a couple of retaining walls and then driveway is beneath that. To the left of the pool is the fence line, up is the fence line, to the right is the house. The below pic makes the property seem very flat but it is on a steep hill.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,274
Tallahassee, FL
What *fun* your surveyor must have when they have to write that lot up! You sure are making the most of it! SO pretty!

Steps-yeah got to think to the future......good job

That water wall............sigh.............so much BLING!!!! Be still my heart! Let me just sit here and look at all of the BLING!!! Okay all looked up now.....I see what you are saying and think that will look awesome. I do have to ask, and it hurts, will the sun hit right on that wall at anytime? If so it could be blinding due to the bling (asks the BLING :thequeen: who is worried this question might make the BLING wall not happen).

I like how you took out the extra set of steps by the spa. It cleans the lines up and since there will not be a sight line from the house to be blocked it will work out great.

Kim:kim:
 

kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
Lol yeah the property survey took awhile (included below). I found the topography map, you can see it goes up to 90.5' feet at the base of the house all the way down to 62' feet at the bottom of the driveway :eek:.

We do get a LOT of :sun: but the property is orientated so that the long bottom edge of the pool faces south. So, I _think_ we should be ok there with the bling reflection (good catch, nothing gets by you Kim!). Thanks again for all the input!!

We also have a deck above where the family room is (you can see it in the property survey) but we are going to try to cantilever it out to remove the posts which would block the view from the family room.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,274
Tallahassee, FL
Oh happy day :party: I bet to keep my BLING!!

That would be great to do the deck like that. MUCH $$ but............Go big or go home!!!

I forgot to say I REALLY like that waterfall with the two stones like that! It was be SO much fun to prowl through the stone yard to pick out the big stones for that! "Oh I like that one and that one.........oh look over there..........I like this one too!" LOL real life at my house, my poor husband :roll:

Kim:kim:
 

santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
687
Santa Cruz, CA
Hello from just south of you! The pool design looks great. I see what looks like an auto safety cover that will only cover the pool in your drawing. I don't see anything for the spa. Even with a small spa without a cover it will change your safety, fence and window/door alarm requirements a bit...

Something to figure out now with all the elevations around the pool, it might be hard to "enclose" the pool area enough to satisfy the city or county. Don't know if that is already in your plans, but thought I would bring it up.
 

kernul

Gold Supporter
Dec 27, 2017
62
Marin, CA
Kim - yeah the waterfall stones should be a lot of fun to look for!

Santa Cruz neighbor - Hmmm good point. We really wanted an automated pool cover for a variety of reasons (energy savings, keeps pool clean, ease of use) BUT for the life of me I can't find any type of information for automated spa covers?

Do these things even exist? I guess I was just thinking we would cover the spa as well with a traditional type cover and maybe that would satisfy the city/county? How do other people do it?