Planning a pool and dealing with trees and leaves

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
I'm starting the planning stages of building a swimming pool. While we have a decent amount of acreage, there is really only one place that works for a pool, which is by an old cinder block barn a few hundred feet from the house. There is an abandon former-cesspool near the old pig barn. (We'll just call that "the lagoon," okay? I really hate talking about having a huge cesspool on our lot and the previous owner dug it out years ago, so there's no more pig poop in it anyway. It's been 20-30 years since a pig was on this property.)

I've drained the lagoon, or mostly drained it. There are parts of it where I can't build, since it's in the RPA surrounding the wetlands, but I can use the upper part of the lagoon. There are some advantages to this. It's near the barn and, since the lagoon has usually had water in it, there are no trees growing in it. Also, since most of the pool won't be but so deep, placing the pool in an area that's already been dug out will save time and effort. (And when I need fill dirt and gravel, I have plenty off fill dirt around from other projects.) For a number of reasons, this is the only place on the lot I can put the pool - unless I put it deeper in the woods and cut down a lot more trees. (And in other areas, the trees are older, which means much taller and the branches are much longer.)

There's one problem, which I've already touched on: Trees.

You can see the mostly drained lagoon in the attached image, but you have to look closely to get some of the details. Most of the leaves and branches that look like they're in the lagoon area are in front of the image, on normal ground, in front of the lagoon basin. The one tree from the right that leans over the lagoon is beyond where the pool will go. (The lagoon is about 200' long and it's hard to get a sense of depth in this image.) A lot of the trees on the left will likely come down, since they're close to the barn we're renovating and even the county official in charge of wetlands and RPA regulations said to take them down to protect the barn foundation. I know they'll say the same about the pool - that cutting down trees within 10' or so of it should come down so the roots can't damage the structure. So there will be trees near it, but not leaning directly over it, but they could be as close as 10' away from the pool side.

Is having trees that will be dropping leaves in the fall a manageable situation? Is there anything I can do to make it easier to handle or deal with? Generally most leaves here don't start coming down until it's cold enough I can close it up for the season and put a cover over the whole pool. In this region I've noticed, generally, there isn't a big problem with falling leaves until the fall. Of course, there's pollen and such in the spring, too, but no larger things like leaves.

Any suggestions or experience people can share about how to deal with this?
 

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markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
566
Marrietta Ga
WE have tree's overhanging our pool that are on our neighbors property..Like you said not only leaves but pollen bugs etc..The other issue is getting sun, i like lots of sun first to keep the water warm and second to lay out by the pool..But some folks do like shade.
Yesterday we have a big rain storm and I noticed a huge brown are in the water..Cleared up but I think it was Crud off the tree's

You will get leafs from spring till the tree's are bare and then sticks.. But I can deal with that, just want sun :)

Just my 2 cents :)
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,277
Northern NJ
The more you can cut back the trees the better off you will be. A tree with high branches 10’ from the pool will drop stuff in the pool with any sort of wind.

In my area in NJ I need to close my pool and get the cover on by the third week of October. Leaves start falling. Especially during any big storm or wind event. The tanin from leaves in the pool will leave stains if not cleaned up.

During the spring trees drop seeds and other stuff that gets into the pool. And during big storms all sorts of stuff end up in the pool.

So big trees around the pool are a nuisance and create lots more work keeping the pool clean. The farther back the trees are the less problems they will create.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
WE have tree's overhanging our pool that are on our neighbors property..Like you said not only leaves but pollen bugs etc..The other issue is getting sun, i like lots of sun first to keep the water warm and second to lay out by the pool..But some folks do like shade.
Yesterday we have a big rain storm and I noticed a huge brown are in the water..Cleared up but I think it was Crud off the tree's

You will get leafs from spring till the tree's are bare and then sticks.. But I can deal with that, just want sun :)

Just my 2 cents :)
So, I take it, from your comments, that it's workable, but just means more skimming sometimes?

I would like more sun. My original idea for a pool was to include a pavilion or something for shade near it and over part of the water, but to be sure we could get as much sun as possible (so we could keep the water warm, of course). Part of the issue is that the wetlands are to the south of the location, so that pretty much prevents me from cutting or pruning any trees in that area!

I like the chihuahuas in your avatar. What are their names? We have two, but in this area, I don't let them out, since there are too many hawks around here.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
The more you can cut back the trees the better off you will be. A tree with high branches 10’ from the pool will drop stuff in the pool with any sort of wind.

In my area in NJ I need to close my pool and get the cover on by the third week of October. Leaves start falling. Especially during any big storm or wind event. The tanin from leaves in the pool will leave stains if not cleaned up.

During the spring trees drop seeds and other stuff that gets into the pool. And during big storms all sorts of stuff end up in the pool.

So big trees around the pool are a nuisance and create lots more work keeping the pool clean. The farther back the trees are the less problems they will create.
Interesting you're covering your pool by mid to late October. I know your fall comes a little later than ours in VA, but I was thinking, in terms of temperature, to get my pool closed down by the start of October. Our peak week for color, in mountains nearby, is mid-October. Right here, it's about the same or a bit later. So I figured it would be best to get the cover on by the start of the month. By then, it's cool enough to not go swimming that often.

Most of the trees in that area are less than 30 years old, but they're tall, so that height will the the problem more than the span of the branches.

Out of curiosity, about how far away do trees need to be to reduce the leaf and debris issues? I don't know if I can trim or cut too far out from the pool, but I can see how it goes.
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
566
Marrietta Ga
Little Mo and Princess..Princess ( small one ) is the aggressive one :) We have a few big birds so we watch them but our back pool area is kind of surrounded by tree's and a fence so would hard for a big bird to come down and try and grab them...If the bird landed Princess would take him out :)

I would clear as many tree's as possible to get sun in. Shade equals cold water :) Plus it's cheaper and easier to remove them now..
Also the tree's don't just drop leaves, they drop sap, I have to wash my deck couple times a year..Gets dirty looking and slick
 
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mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
832
OV, CA
I'm on the other coast.. but know enough about the east coast foliage. What kind of trees are they? And as ajw22 said some trees have lots of tannins and that's a mess to clean up. my pool is surrounded by coast and live oaks on one side and redwoods on the other they are green year round, but they still drop a ton of leaves in the fall and oak flowers in the spring. Also though nothing overhangs the pool we only get a few hours of direct sun during the day.. as a result our pool only heats up into the mid 70's while the neighbor with no shade get's into the 90's.
So! with that said, stake out where you want to put your pool and see how much sun you think it will get (I know you are still cutting the trees back). And when you design your pool keep in mind the amount of leaves that will likely descend on the area. So you have a filtration system that can handle it or you know how much leaf racking you have to do in the pool.
 
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TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
Little Mo and Princess..Princess ( small one ) is the aggressive one :) We have a few big birds so we watch them but our back pool area is kind of surrounded by tree's and a fence so would hard for a big bird to come down and try and grab them...If the bird landed Princess would take him out :)

I would clear as many tree's as possible to get sun in. Shade equals cold water :) Plus it's cheaper and easier to remove them now..
Also the tree's don't just drop leaves, they drop sap, I have to wash my deck couple times a year..Gets dirty looking and slick
I've heard the female chihuahuas tend to me more aggressive!

A lot of the tree clearing will depend on other things. (Including the continuance of domestic harmony...) I can't cut trees in the RPA - but I also just realized that I was working with a rotated plat of the area in my CAD program. I'm off on the directions. The barn is toward the south, so there will be trees cut down to the south and, with the barn porch there, that means a good distance on that side to trees. So I may get the sunshine I want after all. But, still, on the far end of the lagoon (which is the direction you're looking in if you look at the photo in my first post), is in the RPA and I can't cut down much there. Maybe if I can clear the other areas better, that'll reduce the leave and junk issue.

What is your deck made of? The parts that are closest to trees will not have much of a surface around them. I was thinking of a 3' walkway around them made up of patio blocks. I can probably pick something with a coloring that won't make the sap look as nasty. Do you think that might be possible?
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
I'm on the other coast.. but know enough about the east coast foliage. What kind of trees are they? And as ajw22 said some trees have lots of tannins and that's a mess to clean up. my pool is surrounded by coast and live oaks on one side and redwoods on the other they are green year round, but they still drop a ton of leaves in the fall and oak flowers in the spring. Also though nothing overhangs the pool we only get a few hours of direct sun during the day.. as a result our pool only heats up into the mid 70's while the neighbor with no shade get's into the 90's.
So! with that said, stake out where you want to put your pool and see how much sun you think it will get (I know you are still cutting the trees back). And when you design your pool keep in mind the amount of leaves that will likely descend on the area. So you have a filtration system that can handle it or you know how much leaf racking you have to do in the pool.
The filtration system was my first thought - extra skimmers to help handle it.

The trees around there vary. As I mentioned about this lot, it was a pig farm. As late as 1990, there were hardly any trees near the barn and the long concrete pad out back. (The barn is about 50'x25' and has a LONG concrete pad running out the back that's about 28' wide and 170' long. The lagoon runs about 15' away from the pad and is parallel to it.) So most of the trees in this area are about 4-5" in diameter or less and have grown in that 30 years time period. It's softwood around there. A few pine, but most of that is on the other side of the pad behind the barn, so they're at least 50' away. Near the lagoon are maple, sycamore, and beach. Probably a few others as well. No oak or large hardwoods in that area at this point and once things settle, I'll be managing that area so trees that get too big or threaten the barn, porch (which goes out about 32' along that concrete pad), or pool, will be cut down to allow more saplings to grow in their place.

I think I'll be able to at least keep anything from directly overhanging the pool.

I had an idea for a while that I've scrapped. I'm going to try to have a lazy river running off to one side, a loop going out and back. I had thought that would be neat for that loop to go up through the woods and back, but now I'm not going to do that. Too many leaves and tree debris!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,277
Northern NJ
Early this year I took out a tree that was about 70' from my pool, about 30' tall and 27" in diameter. Lots of it's leaves ended up in the pool.

I can't say how far trees need to be away from the pool. But you will be surprised how even a light wind carries stuff pretty far.
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
566
Marrietta Ga
I've heard the female chihuahuas tend to me more aggressive!

A lot of the tree clearing will depend on other things. (Including the continuance of domestic harmony...) I can't cut trees in the RPA - but I also just realized that I was working with a rotated plat of the area in my CAD program. I'm off on the directions. The barn is toward the south, so there will be trees cut down to the south and, with the barn porch there, that means a good distance on that side to trees. So I may get the sunshine I want after all. But, still, on the far end of the lagoon (which is the direction you're looking in if you look at the photo in my first post), is in the RPA and I can't cut down much there. Maybe if I can clear the other areas better, that'll reduce the leave and junk issue.

What is your deck made of? The parts that are closest to trees will not have much of a surface around them. I was thinking of a 3' walkway around them made up of patio blocks. I can probably pick something with a coloring that won't make the sap look as nasty. Do you think that might be possible?
Maybe get larger skimmers if that exist ;)
My deck is a type of cool deck which is epoxy i believe so it cleans up nice with a pressure washer and simple green.

You will enjoy it either way, i like having mine but rarely get in it ;) just like the view
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
Maybe get larger skimmers if that exist ;)
My deck is a type of cool deck which is epoxy i believe so it cleans up nice with a pressure washer and simple green.

You will enjoy it either way, i like having mine but rarely get in it ;) just like the view
I'm definitely going to look into maximum skimmage! ;) (That was my plan from the start - always let the machines do as much work for you as possible!)

I'm looking at a sloping "pond like" entrance into the wading end, so that area will be of the same surface as the pool, or something similar. (And I haven't gotten far enough to decide what surface to use!)

I mentioned I'm on about 24 acres, mostly wooded. We started work here in August of 2016. We needed to start with a 1/3 mile long driveway. I had a 22 or 23 year old kid who seemed to be quite able as a contractor say he could do it for a good price. But he kept one-weeking me. (The start date always got delayed another week, then another week...) I explained to him it was vital to finish most of the driveway ASAP, since we had to get to the well location and get the well dug before we could get a building permit. (County regulations - there's more to it, but it's a long story.) He told me it was time to start and took me to a Bobcat rental place, where I signed the papers and rented the Bobcat he'd be using. We got it out to the lot and he used it to do some work that Sunday - but then, after that, kept delaying. Well I was paying over $1,000 a week for that darn metal monster and the idea that it would be sitting there for a week because he put me off again did not sit well with me.

So I got in it, with no experience, and started boxing in the rest of the driveway. I got the construction entrance done (minimum of 6" of gravel and something like 10-12' wide and other regs about it). Looking back, it was comical that, when the dump truck got there, I didn't want to sound like an amateur or idiot, but had NO idea what I was talking about. The driver was a good guy and knew how to handle it. So I got that done and the kid wonder was still delaying on me. When I called him and he was giving me another delay and excuse, something snapped. I didn't yell, but just found a reason to get off the phone quickly and thought, "He's fired." And that's how I, a computer nerd with no experience, after about 5 hours in a Bobcat, ended up moving over 200 tons of dirt in one day about 2 days after that. I went on to build the entire driveway.

I also did almost all the roadwork for the branch road to the barn. (All told, about 1/2 a mile of roadway.) I've also built, by hand, retaining walls made of railroad ties, as well as a lot of other site work out here. What has been really cool is that when I was out building the driveway (including building a 700-900 ton causeway over a 30" culvert required to meet flood regulations), I felt like an idiot trying to figure out how to handle the Bobcat skid steer with some sense of control and was hoping nobody driving by on the road was watching me. But then I found out they WERE watching me. My neighbors on both sides are contractors. And so are their friends that live nearby. Other contractors had seen all the dumptrucks going back and forth on a nearby road and asked the supply place about them. That led them to my next door neighbor to find out if they knew where the work was being done.

So, after a few weeks, and thinking I had to be looking like a dork who didn't know how to use his new toy, it turned out that I was actually doing a good job. I had contractors who did site work stopping to talk to me to welcome me to the neighborhood and to talk to me about my work. Eventually, some of them were even asking me how I handled some of the situations I had run into and wanted details because they liked how I did it.

I've been working out in the Virginia heat (about 100° this weekend) for 3 summers now and I've done a lot of work myself and done things I never thought I'd know how to do. My last major challenge in this process will be building the swimming pool. But my big regret is that I've had to wait this long to get to the pool. I can't tell you how much I've wished I had a swimming hole over the past few summers! But when I do have the pool done, I won't be spending 10-12 hours a day out in the heat for most of the week all through the summer.
 
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frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
I like the idea of a lazy river. It could be done, with multiple skimmers and big pumps/many pipes, or two pumps. And maybe a groundskeeper for fall/winter. hehe. Sounds nice though!!
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
I like the idea of a lazy river. It could be done, with multiple skimmers and big pumps/many pipes, or two pumps. And maybe a groundskeeper for fall/winter. hehe. Sounds nice though!!
I've already talked with someone at River Flow Pumps several times about this. It'd take one pump and they aren't cheap. (Basically 1 pump for about every 100 feet of the lazy river.)
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
566
Marrietta Ga
Did you read the part that this is at the edge of the RPA around the wetlands and that means there are restrictions on that?
I think he is saying cut as many out as possible. I like tree's just not around my pool :) But my neighbor thinks they shade their house and won't let me cut one down that sits about 1' over on his property line :)
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,138
Tallahassee, FL
OH I am SO in on this one!!! This sounds like fun!

Closing the pool=when the water gets below 60 degrees. It is not the time of year it is the temp of the water as algae does not like water below 60. Opening the pool=BEFORE the gets up to 60.

A piggy farm? Lagoons? HUGE barn? What an adventure this is going to be! How big is the house? We would LOVE to see pics of it all! Of course we need to see pics of your critters also!

I LOVE your style!!! Good job taking care of the driveway on your own after the punk boy "weeked" you! Did the punk every try to get back to you to do the work and get paid for it?

We will work on the skimmers and such as you get the plans.

The "pond entry" will be referred to as a "beach entry" in pool builder talk. There are several materials you can use to do it. Most do not recommend using plaster for this as the plaster needs to stay wet. Take a look at this stone one! This is my fav way of doing it! pool beach entry - Google Search:

Kim:kim:
 

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
273
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
There is one big tree by our pool and let me tell you - it is an issue in spring and fall. Creates a lot of mess and extra cleaning duties. I love the tree, but don't like the cleanup from it. The pool and tree were already there when we bought the house. There is an amazing amount of leaves, pollen, etc from just that big tree.