New "Swimmer's" Pool in Houston Texas

Dtkokay

Active member
Dec 31, 2019
27
Houston, Texas
Wife and I are almost ready to pull the trigger on our first ever pool. We have a bit of a unique requirement in that we're both swimmers, as in we typically swim at least 10K yards per week at our gym's indoor pool, which is 25 yards.

Because we have a decently wide back yard, an absolute requirement for us was the ability to swim meaningful length laps. We tested swimming various lengths at our gym pool by stopping early and then turning around. While 60 feet long was okay, 65 was long enough. 75 feet would be ideal but pushed us over our budget and would look strange for our backyard.

We met with a few builders and below is the design we like the best (also see the attachment).

Dimensions
* The swim lane is 65' long and 10' wide. The wider section is 26' long and 15.5' wide (10' of which is part of the swim lane).
* Depth of the swim lane goes from 4' to 6'. The swim lane will have subtle tiles every 1.5' to mark the swim lane, as well as the end of the lane.
* Alcove is 3.5' deep. Tanning ledge is 7' wide by 5.5' deep. [***Any thoughts on water depth for the ledge? I think we'll use this as a sitting / kiddie play area. I doubt we'll put chairs in it***]
* Around 25K gallons. 164' perimeter. 802 ft^2 surface area.

Equipment / Construction
* Gunite with Pebble Sheen
* Travertine coping and decking
* Inline chlorinator / UV [***I'm going to swap these for a SWCG***]
* 1 hp 85 gpm single speed pump [***PB said a single speed is less expensive to own over time than variable speed because the equipment is much cheaper. Thoughts?***]
* Separate pump for the water features.
* Cartridge filter (460 ft^2)
* iAqualink automation system
* Tropi Cal heat pump / chiller [***I want to extend our swimming season as long as possible, and cool the pool during the heat of summer. Our back yard gets full sun from morning until around 3 pm***]
* 2 skimmers and 5 returns. Single loop around the pool for the returns.
* Auto fill / auto drain
* 3 LED lights, one at each end and one in the middle.
* I requested no water feed for an automatic cleaner. I'm going to buy a robot.

We'd GREATLY appreciate any feedback. We've never had a pool before, so we're brand new to this.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,030
Evans, Georgia
GREAT pool! Good plans, except as you say ditch the UV/Ozone (come'on, Houston *gets* UV free from above!) for the SWG. <check!>
Good swimming depths <check!>
Do as Marty suggests and go with the VS.

My suggestion is that all the skimmers and returns be individually run to the equipment pad. This protects you if ever you have a problem with one line, your other lines will continue to work. It also allows you to tweak the current in the pool by adjusting valves on individual lines. That comes in handy at times.

Oh yeah, another is.... do you think you might want a bit of pergola over one area of steps or the shelf? You're getting a lot of sun and might want one spot of shade while still in the water.......? Just an idea.

Welcome aboard...keep us updated as this progresses please!

Maddie :flower:
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,365
Bedford, TX
D,

Your pool Builder is just full of Bull Stuff...

If you get a SWCG you will have to run your pump longer to generate the chlorine your pool will need. A VS is really the only way to go. I have to assume that your pool builder is old as dirt and still stuck with pool equipment from the 60's.. :mrgreen:

A saltwater pool is the best pool you can have. The water feels great and they are so easy to care for. Make sure the salt cell is rated for at least 40K as they are rated when running 24/7 at 100% output.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Dtkokay

Active member
Dec 31, 2019
27
Houston, Texas
Thanks, all, for the feedback. Variable speed pump it is.

My suggestion is that all the skimmers and returns be individually run to the equipment pad. This protects you if ever you have a problem with one line, your other lines will continue to work. It also allows you to tweak the current in the pool by adjusting valves on individual lines. That comes in handy at times.

Oh yeah, another is.... do you think you might want a bit of pergola over one area of steps or the shelf? You're getting a lot of sun and might want one spot of shade while still in the water.......? Just an idea.
On the individual returns, I'm not completely up to speed on pool plumbing. With a drain at the bottom of the pool, two skimmers, and 5 return jets, are you suggesting 8 separate pipes to the equipment pad?

We looked pretty hard at a pergola, but the issue is that we aren't sure where we'd put it. One plan had it over the table. The sun sets directly in front of our house, so the backyard starts to get shade by noon, and I think the tanning ledge will be shaded by 1 or 2 at the latest. Our plan is to use for the while and then see where / if we need to add shade. Appreciate the feedback!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
Here is my input. See that bench or such on the right end of the pool as well as the light? I would lose the bench and move the light. If you are a swimmer then you will do flip turns. You might hit your foot on the bench and push off on the light with it there.

Shelf-Sit on the floor. Where do you think you might want the water to hit you while you are sitting? Me? I think I would like it just below my shoulders. Another thing you could do is make another shelf beside that one that is higher or lower. I see that open area as dead space. Put those steps all the way across to the shelf. Talk about an awesome sitting area!

Kim:kim:
 

Dtkokay

Active member
Dec 31, 2019
27
Houston, Texas
Here is my input. See that bench or such on the right end of the pool as well as the light? I would lose the bench and move the light. If you are a swimmer then you will do flip turns. You might hit your foot on the bench and push off on the light with it there.

Shelf-Sit on the floor. Where do you think you might want the water to hit you while you are sitting? Me? I think I would like it just below my shoulders. Another thing you could do is make another shelf beside that one that is higher or lower. I see that open area as dead space. Put those steps all the way across to the shelf. Talk about an awesome sitting area!
First - Thanks for looking at the plan. Really appreciate it.

The "bench" on the far right is actually 4' deep and is intended to be used as a step to rest in between swim sets. That end of the pool will be 6' deep. I think that should be okay from a flip turn standpoint.

You raise a great point about the light and flip turns. The plan right now has a light at each end of the lap lane. I'll ask the builder about placement. Although with a 65' pool, I won't be doing strong flip turns because I want to spend more time doing swim strokes than gliding underwater.

In your second paragraph, I'm not sure I follow which area you're referring to. Are you suggesting that we make the steps go all the way across to the tanning ledge? If so, that's a pretty interesting idea.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
Okay with the bench on the end. The lights I will take another look at to give you my placement ideas.

YES on the steps all the way across to the shelf. Think about sitting there watching TV or just chilling!
 

Dtkokay

Active member
Dec 31, 2019
27
Houston, Texas
One thing just occurred to me: We have a long area of grass right next to the pool on the bottom right of the photo. I’m concerned about grass clippings going into the pool. It’ll be fine by the water feature wall because the wall should block grass clippings, but the rest of that side is only coping.

Any suggestions? I suppose I could put a narrow area of landscaping or river rocks to separate that edge of the pool from grass, although I’d prefer to maintain the grass if possible. Another more expensive alternative would be to have a 6 inch wall on that entire side of the pool, and raise the water feature wall by 6 inches to keep the same proportions.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,623
NY
I would (and did) make a long flowerbed across the back. I also did the sides. A couple feet wide of mulch and some colorful plants would make the whole thing pop while helping to trap the blowing grass clippings.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
Cutout area-YES go all the way across with the steps BUT I would make the shelf longer as well. Kind of half and half.

-Lights1-3 lights all facing away from the house-1 by the swim out so it will shine on it and the end, 1 by the shelf/steps-I am thinking right where they meet, 1 at the other end on middle of that wall.

-Lights2-see those pretty water falls? Did you know you can get lighted one???? YEAH! Then a small light on either end of the pool in the places stated above.

-coping/grass-how wide will the coping be? You want it to be wide enough so you can walk on it to brush the pool. I also like @Newdude idea. That would be SO pretty but dead if I took care of it :( LOL

Kim:kim:
 

Andrew69

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
68
Okay with the bench on the end. The lights I will take another look at to give you my placement ideas.
Im also in the final stages of building a lap pool (25m) so Ive had to toss around these issues at various stages.
We also have a step at the end of the pool to rest on, also around 4 ft deep so we can flip turn without smashing an ankle, so I dont think that will be an issue, but the light definitely will IMO
We went with 6 lights total. 5 along the length of the pool, on the sides and 1 shining over the steps.
We definitely expect to do laps with the lights on as I work long hours so its either a swim before work (often in the dark) or after (again apart from summer, mostly in the dark), so the last thing I wanted was a light shining in my face as I approach the wall.

Personally, I would try and either stretch the budget a little or maybe leave off something now that you could drop later (maybe the heater??) and try and get your full length 25yd pool
 

Dtkokay

Active member
Dec 31, 2019
27
Houston, Texas
I signed the contract today. In case it helps anyone, I was able to negotiate 2% off the original bid. None of my friends / colleagues that built pools tried to negotiate, but my view is it never hurts to ask. I even negotiated down my LASIK surgery price years ago.

Thanks everyone for the feedback, sincerely. While we didn't adopt all of the suggestions, they were all good thoughts that we gave consideration to.

I'll post pictures as the build progresses. I have a drone, so I plan to take photos that mimic the fancy computer rendering. Hopefully everything matches ;)
 

Dtkokay

Active member
Dec 31, 2019
27
Houston, Texas
Cost question: PB recommends adding 3 lights for more complete coverage, mainly due to the length of the pool. I agree with this, but I was hoping to get a sanity check on the pricing.

PB wants $2K extra to add the 3 LED lights, which would include additional conduit, labor, etc. PB says they're actually covering half the cost of this because it's an after the fact change that they recommended, implying that they would charge around $4K normally to install 3 LED lights.

In any event, does $2K to add 3 LED lights sound reasonable? Thanks for any info!
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
597
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I'll let others comment on the price, but how many lights will you have in total? For reference my pool is about half the length of yours and I have 3 lights in the pool and 1 in the spa and it seems about right. I would hate for your to spend $2k and feel like it is still dark.