Planning a pool and dealing with trees and leaves

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,580
Tallahassee, FL
We are all going to work together to come up with the best system ever to help him have a Trouble Free Pool WITH the trees he HAS to leave due to the rules of his land. It will be a challenge but I know we can come up with something to help him out.

Kim:kim:
 
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sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,422
Chapel Hill, NC
It's actually not that big of a deal for us - the Polaris does an excellent job with the leaves, pine needles, and the odd centipede, vole, frog, etc!

Having said that, we're retired and have "all the time in the world"!!!
 

TangoOversway

Member
Jul 19, 2019
24
Richmond, VA, USA
First, sorry for the delays. Right now we're prepping the barn area for the renovation. That means I have someone clearing trees, but, since it's in the RPA, I have to regularly review what he's doing, to be sure we don't infringe on the RPA more than necessary. (I have a good person doing this work - no bulldozers and he can work "surgically" and remove trees in one area and not the other. That's important considering the wetlands and RPA issues!) Plus I'm bringing in a crew, again, this Sunday, from the treatment program. That always takes prep work. Plus there are all the other stuff I'm doing connected with fixing this area up. (Oh, and real life stuff, too!)

Before I reply to specific posts, I am thrilled to find so many helpful people here and I really, and I mean I REALLY appreciate the help here and think this is a great community.

But I really need to stress that even though having almost 24 acres makes it sound like I would have a lot of choice in where the pool goes, that's not the case. The pool needs to go by the barn or not at all. The barn will be a guest house, pool house, recreation area (for movies, an arcade game, a MAME system, maybe air hockey or foosball, and other stuff like that), and it will have a workshop for me (with lots of cool power tools), as well as a huge screen porch for cookouts and other fun warm weather relaxation and fun. Yes, that means there will be trees. I live in a forest. I can't easily change that!

Right now I'm still working out the design and working through a few "Build your pool" kind of books. I'm trying to keep things as simple as possible, but that's tough. My normal design process is to work out all the features I want in something, then design something with all of them included. At that point it's as expensive and complex as I can imagine, but it's my start. From there, I start simplifying and combining features. I can usually get most or all of what I want, it just takes a lot of time in the simplifying and combining part of the process. During that process, I get some ideas that may be quite absurd, but my rule is to include them anyway because they often lead to something better.

(For instance, I really want the shallower wading area to be the main entrance from near the porch, so if any kiddies run out and in, they'll be in the shallow area. But I was also thinking of running the LR around the entire pool, so, for a while, I was thinking of building an arched concrete bridge over the LR and you would go over that bridge to get to the pool. It's complex, but it gives me other ideas. While that idea won't be used, in the end, the ideas it sparks might be.)

So let me see if I can get quotes in place so I can respond to people without posting 27 different replies.

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.
I haven't even started looking into dealing with pH yet - so I'm going to rephrase what you said to make sure I understand it. It sounds like you're saying that it's better to put in acid than to put in chemicals to make it more basic. In other words, it's better to use additives to make it more acidic than to make it more basic?

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!
I will definitely go with extra skimmers! Fortunately, I should have some time between when we finish the pool and get it working and when we have to leave it for a while. So I'll have a bit of time to learn about methods like shocking and so on. Thank you for those points!

I love your pool with the deck nearby. It looks like it's private and in a relaxing setting.

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:
Bessie really has earned her keep. At over $1,000 for a week's rental for the Bobcat, buying Bessie has saved money compared to the amount of work I've used her for and how many projects I've used her for!

AC is fixed now. This is a good repair place. My wife can take a car in for inspection and they will inspect it and let her go without trying to fix a million things. (And that was before they knew she was married and was with a man who might question the bills!) It turns out there was also an issue with a fan. Hey, it's 15 years old and has over 200,000 miles. I know things are going to break!

I'm working on a few designs for the pool and lazy river. Once I have a few sketches or rough outlines in the CAD program, I'll post them for feedback and to find what I'm doing wrong. Then, when all that stuff is ironed out, I'll be talking to the people with the jets for the LR to see what they think of the design.

My concern about the stones in the photo is that we don't know how they'll react to chemicals. I'm reluctant to use them for anything in the water, since I'd hate to see them bleach out and end up as all white. (But, if used in the right way and place, that could be a cool effect!) They're basically made of concrete.

Right now I'm not as inclined to have a beach entrance around the whole pool - but that could change next week!

We are all going to work together to come up with the best system ever to help him have a Trouble Free Pool WITH the trees he HAS to leave due to the rules of his land. It will be a challenge but I know we can come up with something to help him out.

Kim:kim:
Thank you, SO much for understanding the situation, Kim! And thank you for such a great attitude!
 

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
272
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I haven't even started looking into dealing with pH yet - so I'm going to rephrase what you said to make sure I understand it. It sounds like you're saying that it's better to put in acid than to put in chemicals to make it more basic. In other words, it's better to use additives to make it more acidic than to make it more basic
What they are saying is that you will always be battling high PH with all those features that aerate the water, so you water will tend toward being very basic and you would have to be adding acid regularly just to keep it in the ideal PH range.
 

TangoOversway

Member
Jul 19, 2019
24
Richmond, VA, USA
What they are saying is that you will always be battling high PH with all those features that aerate the water, so you water will tend toward being very basic and you would have to be adding acid regularly just to keep it in the ideal PH range.
Thank you!

This is why I often use that trick of rephrasing something someone has said. Either I'm right, in which case it helps me understand it better, or I'm wrong, in which case they can tell me that.

So, to try that with what you said, basically, no matter what, I'll always be dealing with trying to shift things toward acid or base and aeration tends to shift it to base.

With that in mind, if I add an aeration feature that I can turn on and off, then I could use that when things are too far on the acid end, instead of adding chemicals. (I figure I can also use it for display when I have people over, knowing that it's going to bring it more to the base end.)

One thing I would do is up that heater to a 400k btu especially in your climate. It'll heat the water almost 2x faster but is the same efficiency.
I definitely want a heater! Not at the point where I've worked out numbers, yet, but all comments like that (especially on this thread) will be a big help!
 

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
272
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thank you!

This is why I often use that trick of rephrasing something someone has said. Either I'm right, in which case it helps me understand it better, or I'm wrong, in which case they can tell me that.

So, to try that with what you said, basically, no matter what, I'll always be dealing with trying to shift things toward acid or base and aeration tends to shift it to base.

With that in mind, if I add an aeration feature that I can turn on and off, then I could use that when things are too far on the acid end, instead of adding chemicals. (I figure I can also use it for display when I have people over, knowing that it's going to bring it more to the base end.)



I definitely want a heater! Not at the point where I've worked out numbers, yet, but all comments like that (especially on this thread) will be a big help!
I have never had an issue with pool water tending towards the acid side in my own pool. Seems to always be dealing with Ph creeping upwards. Perhaps some people have more acidic fill water? I'm not sure what would cause acidic water other than that (but I'm sure more experienced people that I may chime in).
 

frogabog

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
2,833
Portland, Oregon
I have never had an issue with pool water tending towards the acid side in my own pool. Seems to always be dealing with Ph creeping upwards. Perhaps some people have more acidic fill water? I'm not sure what would cause acidic water other than that (but I'm sure more experienced people that I may chime in).
Everyone seems to have the same issue with high (or rising) pH, except me. I haven't sorted out why yet. It has nothing to do with fill water that I can tell since it falls without fill water. If I fill, then I get a slight rise. My pH tends to fall when I don't fill. (no, not using pucks)
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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Jul 16, 2012
5,430
Central MD
Interesting build concerns to address. I like the discussion. Obviously you are getting the idea that trees are the bane of pool owners, which is true. Do all you can to clear as many trees as possible (I understand you have wetland/RPA) but so many times I see folks try to "save" trees (when not required) then end up being frustrated by cold pools, too much shade, all season leaf drop (which they don't expect because you don't notice it until you have a pool), etc. Remove everything you can within 50-70' from the pool.

Kim is right on about closing late (below 60 degree water). For you that will be early November. But leaves will challenge you, so that's the conundrum. Open green or deal with leaves. It's likely one or the other. There is a solution though, but it's not cheap. An autocover. It will solve all early and late season pollen and leaf issues. But allocating $15K is a tough pill to swallow. But it will solve issues you will have. I love ours. Keep it covered in the fall while the pool cools down with zero leaves getting into the pool. Keep it covered while on vacation and zero concerns about filled skimmers, etc. Of course falling (big) branches could puncture it, which is another reason to clear all you can.

A lazy river will increase costs tremendously due to the duplication of walls. I'd skip that in a heartbeat and get an autocover. Your grands will love the pool because it has water and you are there.
 

Mr Bruce

TFP Guide
Mar 24, 2014
2,438
Greenville, SC
I absolutely agree on the auto-cover. I don't have one but I wish I did.

I am going to nominate myself as King of Deals with Trees. Have a look at my pool from space:

PUT A SKIMMER DOWNWIND! PUT A SKIMMER DOWNWIND! If you are on a farm you probably know the normal prevailing wind direction. For me that is W-WSW. If I had a skimmer on the east side of the pool that would make my life so much better.

If you have any walnut trees they need to go if possible. They are the worst offenders.


You are going to need a robot.

As soon as I am sure it is not going to freeze again (March-ish usually) I "open" the pool. That means put the pieces on the pump back together and the skimmer basket and weir back in. I do not remove the cover until the katkins (pollen strings) are done falling (early May?) Auto cover would solve this problem.

It's not too bad in the summer except for storms and even then, it's not all that bad. You may have to fish some larger branches and bunches of leaves out.

The DAY the leaves start falling more than like 1/minute the cover goes back on. HOWEVER, I don't shut everything off and take the baskets and the plugs out until the water is in the 50s, as mentioned by others. Again, auto cover would solve this problem. During the shoulder seasons while the pump is running but the cover is on, I just make sure there is some chlorine in the pool. The OTO test is great for that. I open crystal clear every year.

Sometimes I wish we were more "tree-free" but it really does give a comfortable place to sit at all times and keeps the house cooler so eh.

And +1 to nixing the lazy river. More effort than it is worth.
 
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