Planning a pool and dealing with trees and leaves

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
273
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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.
If you haven't already planned to, I would highly suggest a heater for the pool. We are in Ottawa and can swim from about early May to late October. The heater really helps extend the swimming season.
 

RuralTexas

Well-known member
Mar 3, 2019
105
Houston area
We have a lot of trees. Our old pool had 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Because of the trees, our new pool will have 2 skimmers and 6 returns. The trees do create a lot of pool work. Here in south Texas we get two major leaf drops a year, the traditional fall drop, and the live oaks months later - the live oaks lose their leaves in late winter. We cover the pool from October until after the live oak leaf drop and bloom drop. The live oaks bloom after the leaf drop leaving a mess of pollen and tiny flower bits everywhere.

The tree mess does clean up easily from the deck with a pressure washer. The trees are a big part of the reason that we wanted minimal decking with the new pool.

Our PB recommended we get a Poolmaster Big Sucker Pool Leaf Vacuum. We are going to try it.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
Sorry for the delay in replying. This weekend was 100° or so for both days, and super-high humidity. (Typical for Chesterfield, VA in the summer!) I was out both days and did okay until Monday morning, when I got up and realized I was wiped out, so it's taken me time to get back to posting. I have friends who work with a local alcoholism treatment program nearby (one of the best in the country, or so I hear). The people in the program often don't have ways to make money because the program is months long and intense, so, at the start, they don't have jobs. I offer them $10 an hour, for a minimum of 5 hours a day and will drive in to pick up 2-4 of them for the Sunday (about the only day they have much time off!) and bring them out. Even the urban guys love getting away from the program and doing physical work instead of mental and emotional work for a day. They also love that they can see what they've done - and you can't see the results of all that emotional and spiritual work. So I bring them out, they will usually work for 6-7 hours, then I pay them and take them back. They are always eager to come out and grateful for the chance to make some cash.

And, of course, on my end, I get some good work done - stuff that would take me days to do on my own and it's at a good pay. (I also feed them and supply them with as much water and Gatorade as they can drink and, since there's now power in that area, I have fans they can set out where they work - which they love. I try to treat them well and with respect and they deeply appreciate it for me. Often they'll look over what I'm trying to do and come up with easier or better ways to do it. They really get invested in doing it well.

So I was getting things ready on Saturday and was working with the crew I had out here on Sunday. And the AC in my Outback died. You do NOT want to know what it was like driving them home with all 5 of us with clothes soaked through with sweat sitting in that car!

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.
So, if I understand you correctly, you don't close the pool when it's a certain day or when you're done, you close it when the water temp drops below 60°? You mention algae, so I take it that, with the cover on and no light hitting the water, if the temp is above 60° and you have the cover on, you get algae problems? (I often do this to make sure I understand someone - I rephrase what they've said in my own words to verify I understand them.)

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!
There are various pics I can share, but I have agreed with my wife to not share pics of our house. I would love to, since it's unusual, but she's a super-introvert (she doesn't mind me saying that about her!) and we've agreed we're not going to post house pics so they don't get spread around the internet. I can post some house picks - stuff that doesn't show the whole house and may show parts of rooms. I can send some other pics in PMs, I guess. Pics of the barn, pond, and pool (all in the same area) are different - I can post more of those.

I can give more history, which is interesting, and post pics of the barn area, but I'm wondering if the best way to do that is to start a thread, something like, "Tango's Barn, Pond, and Pool," and post pics there. That way, as more work is done, I can update it with more pictures. Or is there a better way to do it?

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?
Thank you!

I think the punk kid was trying is best and wanted the job, but was intimidated by the size of it. Which is funny, since I had NO experience and ended up doing the job by myself - proving it can be done. One contracter (not the kid) quoted me about $100,000 for the driveway (and that didn't include the roadway to the barn). I did it for about $50,000 or so, and that includes the $21,000 I spent on a Kubota BX25D tractor. 25HP with a front loader and 2 buckets (one is a multi-bucket with a claw) and a backhoe. Buying that tractor saved me a LOT of money in the long run!

The kid did contact me again. Basically he had boxed in part of the driveway and I had paid him. He got me the 3 culverts, 30" diameter, that I needed, but he had to go 2 hours away to get them. I later found if he had checked a well known supplier that was located near where he lives (about 40 minutes from here), he could have gotten them closer, and cheaper AND had them delivered. So I think he's well intentioned and works hard, but there is a LOT he doesn't know!

He was supposed to bring a load of gravel for the very front of the driveway on Monday and didn't. I called and asked him about it. That's when he said, "Oh, I won't be able to get out there at all this week." We had agreed I'd pay him weekly, so I asked him to text me his address and I'd send him the check for the culverts. He agreed, but didn't text me. But once he had said, "I can't get out there this week," something just kind of snapped in me. No need to yell, just a decision, "He's fired." I just figured I'd send him his check and not call him back.

Thursday I text him about that address so I can send the check. No response until the next Tuesday. He wants to meet me so I can give him the check. In other words, he wants to see me in person to get back on the job and to get paid because he doesn't have another job that'll pay him at this point. I told him I was now doing the driveway and didn't have time to meet because all the places he mentioned were about 40 minutes out of my way. So I got his address, sent him the check, and never heard from him again.

If I ever bump into him again and he asks what happened, I'm just going to tell him he didn't keep his word on timing and I wasn't about to spend over $1,000 a week for the Bobcat when he wasn't going to use it that week. (Lesson: Make them rent it so they know the clock is ticking or rent it yourself if you're going to be using it a lot, too - but know if they aren't paying for it, they aren't going to move quickly.)

I do have to give the kid credit. He was willing to make a few trips out to look things over. (One initial trip and one later, after the field was bush hogged for the first time in 2 years so we could see the lay of the land - and one more after that to review the topography with the county permit people.) He had figured out how to handle the routing so we wouldn't have to put in another expensive culvert. He was invested in the job originally - but his "one week more" thing when he knew we had to get the well in ASAP for the full permit was just too much.

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:
Yeah, beach entry sounds like a good description. It also seems to me that, in some ways, that can cost less, since there's less work in making a form for walls with a beach entry. I'm hoping to do a good part of the pool like that. I know I can't do a lazy river that way, but I can do the main swimming area like that.

And I will DEFINITELY need good skimmers!

Nope, sorry :). I had a lot of issues with trees and pool, so I have to admit I dont like trees around pool :)
Yeah, I did throw a lot out there. I seriously considered putting the pool in our front field at one point, but ruled that out because it's too easily visible from the road. Other than the front field, the rest of the lot is wooded - so I don't have a choice. Guess I got trees near the pool if I want them or not.

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.
I get that. I'm stuck, though. Yes, in some directions, I could cut a lot of trees, but that would really destroy the natural beauty of the area.

It's been years, but when I've been to Kings Dominion (not too far from here) in the past, I loved the way the flume ride went through a wooded area. (I have no idea how it looks now!) I really liked that. It gave you a feel of going down a river or big creek in the woods. I wish I could do that with the lazy river, but I think that's just asking for trouble! I might be able to do it if I planned on putting some kind of roof over it, eventually, but that would mean the water there would stay colder and it would spoil the atmosphere I'd want to create.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
As requested, pics of our critters, these are my little darlings. The tri-colored (white, black and brown) and short hair is Tango (also known as "CBD" for "Cozy Blanket Dog," since he loves curling up in blankets). The mostly black one (with some white) is Mambo. When I was getting them from a breeder, my wife (well, fiancée at the time) couldn't come with me. When I got there, I used Facetime so she could see them and I started describing their personalities and behavior in terms of ballroom dances. "This one is all over the place and really high energy, like a mambo. This one is more of a thinker, but can move fast, more like Argentine tango. This other one is calmer and more deliberate, like a rumba...." So we decided on the ones that were more like a Mambo and a Tango. They are from different litters, born 2 weeks apart, but were kept together once the litters were old enough to be mixed.

(As you might have guessed from that, my name, and avatar, my wife and I have a serious addiction - ballroom dance and Argentine tango.)

112268112269
 

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frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
The gears are whirling...

Do you need to float through your lazy river?

Or could you create a creek? You'd need a booster pump, a waterfall or chute down, and then simply some downgrade to the end. The gravity would push the leaves potentially into a leaf catcher.

You could have your water through, with some natural creek behavior that might not catch leaves on it's way.

Make a nice trail beside it, and enjoy your lagoon.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
583
MA
Before investing too much money in site clearing It might be wise to do a few test holes in the proposed area. You could even look into getting some core samples that might be cheaper then digging. Those old farmers loved to burry stuff so if you have non structural material where you want the pool it could run into many thousands of dollars to deal with it. This will also let you know the approx water table so you know what you are dealing with. If you do choose to dig some test holes you will want a very good idea on the depths of the pool so you do not over excavate into any virgin soil below where the pool floor will go.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,111
Tallahassee, FL
did okay until Monday morning, when I got up and realized I was wiped out, so it's taken me time to get back to posting. Even the urban guys love getting away from the program and doing physical work instead of mental and emotional work for a day. They also love that they can see what they've done - and you can't see the results of all that emotional and spiritual work. So I bring them out, they will usually work for 6-7 hours, then I pay them and take them back. They are always eager to come out and grateful for the chance to make some cash.

And, of course, on my end, I get some good work done - stuff that would take me days to do on my own and it's at a good pay. (I also feed them and supply them with as much water and Gatorade as they can drink and, since there's now power in that area, I have fans they can set out where they work - which they love. I try to treat them well and with respect and they deeply appreciate it for me. Often they'll look over what I'm trying to do and come up with easier or better ways to do it. They really get invested in doing it well.

Win-Win to the max!!! Good stuff for everyone on all levels. Well done sir!

And the AC in my Outback died. You do NOT want to know what it was like driving them home with all 5 of us with clothes soaked through with sweat sitting in that car!

EWWWWWWWWWWWWW has it aired out yet???

So, if I understand you correctly, you don't close the pool when it's a certain day or when you're done, you close it when the water temp drops below 60°? You mention algae, so I take it that, with the cover on and no light hitting the water, if the temp is above 60° and you have the cover on, you get algae problems? (I often do this to make sure I understand someone - I rephrase what they've said in my own words to verify I understand them.)

You nailed it! The only thing I need to point out is having the cover on does not really make a difference. Cover on or off your pool could get algae if it the FC is not kept up if the water temp is over 60 or so.

There are various pics I can share, but I have agreed with my wife to not share pics of our house. I would love to, since it's unusual, but she's a super-introvert (she doesn't mind me saying that about her!) and we've agreed we're not going to post house pics so they don't get spread around the internet. I can post some house picks - stuff that doesn't show the whole house and may show parts of rooms. I can send some other pics in PMs, I guess. Pics of the barn, pond, and pool (all in the same area) are different - I can post more of those.

Let only do Wife approved pics then! I so understand where she is coming from. Better safe than sorry with this! I will take what SHE feels comfortable sharing. :hug:

I can give more history, which is interesting, and post pics of the barn area, but I'm wondering if the best way to do that is to start a thread, something like, "Tango's Barn, Pond, and Pool," and post pics there. That way, as more work is done, I can update it with more pictures. Or is there a better way to do it?

Lets keep it all here. It is like the story of your pool and the whole area is a part of the story. This is your thread so you are welcome to share all things here. We had one build that had a pet goat and he was a big part of the build story. LOL


I did it for about $50,000 or so, and that includes the $21,000 I spent on a Kubota BX25D tractor. 25HP with a front loader and 2 buckets (one is a multi-bucket with a claw) and a backhoe. Buying that tractor saved me a LOT of money in the long run!

SWEET! You got a big toy out of it that WILL serve you and your wallet well!

So I think he's well intentioned and works hard, but there is a LOT he doesn't know!

I bet he learns from this with your guidance and input. This can be a life lesson for him. He needs some age on him and experience.

(Lesson: Make them rent it so they know the clock is ticking or rent it yourself if you're going to be using it a lot, too - but know if they aren't paying for it, they aren't going to move quickly.)

There is one of those life lesson we can ALL learn from! Thanks for sharing!

Yeah, beach entry sounds like a good description. It also seems to me that, in some ways, that can cost less, since there's less work in making a form for walls with a beach entry. I'm hoping to do a good part of the pool like that. I know I can't do a lazy river that way, but I can do the main swimming area like that.

I don't know about doing the beach entry around most of the pool. I DO like the idea...............I am going to call in a Master Pool builder to see what his input is on this idea @bdavis466 He will be able to talk to you about ease and cost of this idea I bet.
My replies are in purple under your quoted material. You might have to click on "expand" to bring them down.

Kim:kim:
 
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anotherpyr

Well-known member
Jun 22, 2007
78
Columbia, MD
The problem with trees is that they basically poop in your pool. The recent heat wave caused my trees to drop leaves in the pool along with the storms that followed basically doubling down on the drop rate. I started closing my pool on Labor Day just to beat the beginning of the annual leaf shedding. If I wait, them I’m constantly leaves out of the pool. While I like the shade, I could do with less Crud in the pool, so some of them will be removed in the near future just to reduce the work load they create for me and the pool.
 
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TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
The gears are whirling...

Do you need to float through your lazy river?

Or could you create a creek? You'd need a booster pump, a waterfall or chute down, and then simply some downgrade to the end. The gravity would push the leaves potentially into a leaf catcher.

You could have your water through, with some natural creek behavior that might not catch leaves on it's way.

Make a nice trail beside it, and enjoy your lagoon.
I really want to float through the lazy river. I'll be quite honest about the pool, the barn, and the pond. While I want it all, it's also grandkid bait! I think everyone will enjoy the lazy river more if we can just get an inner tube or the equivalent and float around in it for a while. I'm working with designs that are posted as examples that have been built and work. I'll modify things and then run them by the designers and suppliers to see what they say about how things will work. The idea is you can get in it with an inner tube and float around and around in it for a while. (I can imagine getting a book and sitting in it and reading and floating around for a good part of the afternoon.) My idea, currently, is that the "out" side and "return" side will be next to each other. That takes a wall to separate them, but only one. (As opposed to building 2 walls and having to fill the area between them.) At the end, they'll split to provide a wide curve for the turn to loop back.

The wall will come out of the ground a bit - to keep dirt out - and beside the wall, I was thinking of a walkway made out of pavers that might be about 3' wide. So it'll have a walkway around it. I think that'll look nice.

I'm still thinking about bringing water back in - I may have a cascade somewhere for that. I could also do a gurgling creek for that, too.

I have also had a few ideas that would put parts of the pool "in" the lagoon pond. There would be a thick wall between the pool water and pond water. I had a few cool ideas, but the RPA limits them. (The RPA delineation was a pain in itself, since the survey/site work company screwed it up. The county came out and redid it for me and gave me about 40' extra of the lagoon to use for the pool.)

I also have some materials I'm still trying to figure out how to use. That includes some marble slabs that were about 4' by 2', originally. Now they're about 2'x2' after breakage. Plus have a fair amount of stones left over. These stones look like rounded river stones of various sizes. One side is flat. They basically go on concrete to make a wall look like it's built of stone. See the attached photos of the creek crossing for examples.

IMG_1563-Small.jpg IMG_1564-Small.jpg IMG_1565-Small.jpg
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,223
Northern NJ
Things like a gurgling creek creates aeration and will constantly raise your pH.

You have to consider the maintainability of your water chemistry in your design unless you want your personal water park to be a full time job.
 
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TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
Kim,

Things got long enough I'm not replying inline - just starting fresh.

The Outback has aired out and had the AC fixed - and it promptly quit 20 minutes after I took possession and started driving it. It's back in the shop. Gotta get it fixed for this weekend!

I was thrilled about the tractor deal - being able to roll the cost into the driveway budget. It's possible that, after everything is built, I may not need a tractor, but I have needed it for the past 2 years and I've given Bessie a lot of heavy use! It's a joke at the local Kubota and Titan Tire places (not in a mean way, they understand what I'm doing!) about how much use my small tractor gets. They've both said nobody gets as much use out of a SCUT (Sub Compact Utility Tractor) as I do and that I do things with it that many people won't do with bigger tractors. The tires need regular replacement because of the amount of heavy loads I carry with it.

As for the kid contractor, well, I wasn't about to waste time explaining to him why I was nixing him. I'm sure he's thinking that I used him for what I could then dumped him. The truth is I wanted him to keep up and finish it, but wasn't going to keep letting him put me off when he knew we needed the driveway to get the well done, so we could get permits, so we could build the house, then move in and get married. He knew we didn't want unneeded delays, but he kept taking on those small jobs he figured he could fit in. If I ever run into him, I'll be glad to explain how he screwed himself out of a good chunk of change. But if he had done his job, I wouldn't have learned a lot, bought a tractor, and saved myself a lot of other money.

I'm still working on the pool design overall. First step is to decide what I want and how to lay it out. Then I figure it's time to get feedback and, from there, start figuring out where to put a lot of skimmers and everything else I need.
 

TangoOversway

Active member
Jul 19, 2019
27
Richmond, VA, USA
Things like a gurgling creek creates aeration and will constantly raise your pH.

You have to consider the maintainability of your water chemistry in your design unless you want your personal water park to be a full time job.
Thank you. This is why I'm on a forum now - because I know I'm an ignorant neophyte and totally clueless in a lot of things. A community is always helpful and I need to know when I'm about to do something stupid.

So, basically, anything that creates more aeration, like a gurgling creek, or some kind of waterfall, will raise the pH?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,223
Northern NJ
So, basically, anything that creates more aeration, like a gurgling creek, or some kind of waterfall, will raise the pH?
Yes. Aeration is the way we recommend adjusting pH up rather than using chemicals.

Gurgling creeks, waterfalls, jets, sheer descents, water features, spillovers all create aeration. You can end up needing to add acid to lower pH every day or two. Or install some automated acid injection system.

Commercial water parks have automated systems for CL and pH management. There is lots going on behibd the scenes that residential pools typically do not have.
 
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sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,442
Chapel Hill, NC
We have pine and "weed" trees all around our pool. They fill the (single) skimmer and the Polaris 380 every day but we clean them out regularly. The problem arises when we leave town and everything fills up. Aside from blocking the skimmer (we don't have a main drain so this impedes flow to the pump/filter) and filling up the Polaris, the debris sits on the surface and eventually sinks to the bottom leaving temporary stains. For this reason, I'd have 2 skimmers and a main drain and consider your options when leaving town for any length of time (shocking the pool and leaving everything off, turning flow rates down real low, etc, etc).

But it can be done!

112300
 
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Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
273
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The problem with trees is that they basically poop in your pool. The recent heat wave caused my trees to drop leaves in the pool along with the storms that followed basically doubling down on the drop rate. I started closing my pool on Labor Day just to beat the beginning of the annual leaf shedding. If I wait, them I’m constantly leaves out of the pool. While I like the shade, I could do with less Crud in the pool, so some of them will be removed in the near future just to reduce the work load they create for me and the pool.
Your leaf drop starts early! Too bad about the Labor Day closing. We close mid-late October. I will admit, battling leaves in October sucks.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,111
Tallahassee, FL
Bessie has earned her keep for sure!! With that much land you will ALWAYS need a tractor!! Keep her in "shoes" and long live Bessie!!

AC went bad out AFTER you picked it up??? GURRRRRRRRR not good AC guys, NOT good!!

Can you draw out what you mean for the lazy river? I THINK I understand but want to make sure.

I LOVE those stones! We had one member who had small ones like that for her waterline tile! SO pretty. I like them just about as much as I love the BLING ones. If you have ready anything about/from me you KNOW I love BLING so that is saying something!

I am going to call @bdavis466 again to ask about the idea of the of the beach entry most of the way around the pool and such.

Kim:kim:
 
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PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,883
Damascus, MD
I didn't read all the comments but coming from just a few trees, your trees would be a nightmare. You entire day will be spent fishing leaves out of the pool. My strong suggestion is you invest in a totally enclosed screened room like they use in Florida. I would also do everything you can to move the pool closer to the house.
 
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Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
273
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I didn't read all the comments but coming from just a few trees, your trees would be a nightmare. You entire day will be spent fishing leaves out of the pool. My strong suggestion is you invest in a totally enclosed screened room like they use in Florida. I would also do everything you can to move the pool closer to the house.
I agree completely about the trees (and I also thought the pool sounds pretty far from the house). I cannot emphasize enough how much work it adds trying to keep on top of the Crud that trees put into the pool