Pool buried deep enough? Will retention wall work? Did I really screw up? Free laughs inside (Eastern, North Carolina)

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
Hello everyone and thanks in advance for your help. I've lurked here a bit and this is one of the most helpful forums I've ever seen.

Latham Olympia 16 Fiberglass

My yard is slightly sloped. Before work began, the PB said that the long side of the pool closest to the fence would be about a foot above the ground to account for the slope. It turns out that it's about 33 inches above the ground. So now I am quite concerned. To make matters worse, it does not seem I have any recourse based on what's in my contract.

1. Was this pool even buried deep enough? Based on how much sand/dirt was build up (33 inches) and looking at the pics of the dig, it look like it's not even close to being deep enough, assuming deep enough = the height of the pool.

2. The PB says the 33" tall x 3ft of sand/dirt/fill will support the long side of the pool nearest the fence. I'm no engineer but this just doesn't see right. A landscaper said that the pool would probably crack the concrete deck within a few years. PB says my options are a turndown wall or to just let the area slope down.

I'm at a loss here. The backyard looks completely goofy with the pool this high above the yard and these gaps around the fence.

What would you do in my situation?
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0154.jpg
    IMG_0154.jpg
    1,004.4 KB · Views: 147
  • IMG_7624.jpeg
    IMG_7624.jpeg
    778.8 KB · Views: 136
  • IMG_0079.jpg
    IMG_0079.jpg
    362.6 KB · Views: 133
  • 65809893471__4A8D2820-201C-4564-8587-39DE73C9DE0B.jpg
    65809893471__4A8D2820-201C-4564-8587-39DE73C9DE0B.jpg
    859.6 KB · Views: 139
  • IMG_0171.jpg
    IMG_0171.jpg
    1.2 MB · Views: 249
  • IMG_0165.jpg
    IMG_0165.jpg
    843.1 KB · Views: 143
  • IMG_0164.jpeg
    IMG_0164.jpeg
    768.1 KB · Views: 141
  • IMG_0162.jpg
    IMG_0162.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 146
  • IMG_0158.jpg
    IMG_0158.jpg
    905.9 KB · Views: 152

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
23,539
Bedford, TX
PD,

I think your only option is to install a retaining wall in place of the fence and then add a new fence on top of that..

I suspect that if they tried to put the pool any lower it would be floating on ground water.

Let's see what @JamesW has to say...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,291
Did you notice that it seemed off as the pool was going in?

Did they hit water during the dig?

What is the level of the bottom of the pool relative the the surface fo the retaining ponds?

What is the water level in this green tube?

1637093395541.png
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,783
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I would fill in the gap along the fence with top soil and do shrubbery along the fence line.

How thick will the deck be?

How will the deck be sloped between the pool and the house?

I would be most concerned with how water flows in a big storm. Will water runoff the deck into the pool? Or towards the house?

If the pool overflows in a storm will water flow to the house?
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
Did you notice that it seemed off as the pool was going in?
No

Did they hit water during the dig?
Not that I know of

What is the level of the bottom of the pool relative the the surface fo the retaining ponds?
Eyeballing it, seems like the pool bottom is several feet above retaining pond surface.

What is the water level in this green tube?
See pics. No water. I don't know what that means, if anything.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0174.jpg
    IMG_0174.jpg
    316.6 KB · Views: 65
  • IMG_0173.jpg
    IMG_0173.jpg
    154.4 KB · Views: 66

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
I would fill in the gap along the fence with top soil and do shrubbery along the fence line.

How thick will the deck be?

How will the deck be sloped between the pool and the house?

I would be most concerned with how water flows in a big storm. Will water runoff the deck into the pool? Or towards the house?

If the pool overflows in a storm will water flow to the house?
I like the shrubbery idea. We had even considered elevated plant boxes to accomplish the same view with plants and to avoid putting roots down right next to the fence. Though, come to think of it, I suppose a lot of shrubs don't have roots large enough to damage the fence.

The deck will be 3' on the pool's long edges and 6' on the short edges.

I am also concerned with water flow and need to ensure that everything flows away from the house. Concrete meeting is Friday and that will be the main topic of discussion.

I find it a bit strange that they aren't putting any sort of drainage in the fill/dirt around the pool in case water were to get in that, but I'm not sure if they should or not.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,783
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I find it a bit strange that they aren't putting any sort of drainage in the fill/dirt around the pool in case water were to get in that, but I'm not sure if they should or not.

I would put channel drains between the pool and the house to carry off any water that flows towards the house.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
7,018
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I'm sure it would be rather expensive, but having the concrete be turned down (taken down to existing soil level at the outside edge) would be a super permanent solution that would ensure zero erosion and eliminate any potential for the sand to migrate out leaving voids under your decking on the outside areas. They typically excavate a trench on the outside edge of the deck and the concrete is tall at that point, with the soil on the outside of the concrete being much lower or up against it some. The sides of your pool don't look to really need it, but the back could easily use and benefit from it.

Just for reference, our pool has a turned down wall around the entire thing. Here's a pic of the substructure. The walls on the lower 3 sides (turned down concrete) were poured first, then the deck was poured on top of stone that backfilled the gap.

IMG_6776 - TFP.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cena_sea

Danimal92Sport

Well-known member
Jul 5, 2017
145
Southern Indiana
Pool Size
4600
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
I find it a bit strange that they aren't putting any sort of drainage in the fill/dirt around the pool in case water were to get in that, but I'm not sure if they should or not.
I believe that’s what the green well tube is for - a submersible pump to drain out around the pool as needed.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,291
The tube looks empty, which means that the ground water is not a problem.

I would ask them to put the pool lower where you originally wanted it.

Did they explain why it was so high?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,291
At this point, you have to decide to make it work or dig it out and reset it lower.

If the elevation is not specified, then it is hard to prove that it is wrong.

Didn't the builder give you a set of detailed plans for how and where everything was supposed to go?
 
Last edited:

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
At this point, you have to decide to make it work or dig it out and reset it lower.

If the elevation is not specified, then it is hard to prove that it is wrong.

Didn't the builder give you a set of detailed plans for how and where everything was supposed to go?
The plans were not very detailed at all. I'm a first-time homeowner, first pool, and rookie mistake maker in this case. I really should have got much more detailed plans. Forewarning to anyone who stumbles across this thread.

I don't see anything in the plans regarding height.

I did get Latham's dig sheet (attached) and it's clear they did not follow Latham's recommendations, however, Latham states that their recommendations are optional for the builder to follow and warranty claims can be voided (statement attached).


Pool Builder's Plan. Yep, it's one sheet.
Screen Shot 2021-11-17 at 10.39.20 AM.png

This is Latham's Excavation Guide, not the pool builder's plan.
Screen Shot 2021-11-17 at 10.42.28 AM.png

Latham Warranty Statement about voiding warranty if builder doesn't follow best practices.
Screen Shot 2021-11-17 at 10.44.01 AM.png
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
7,018
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
To me the real elevation issue, after the water table concern is satisfied (and any water runoff concerns), is if you want to have steps down to the pool area from the house. Although steps are common, having a flat walkout area to the pool deck is very appealing and likely the most popular setup. You either needs steps down to a lower pool level, resulting in less dramatic height differences at the fence (and less of a "stage" appearance on the opposite side of the pool) or have it flat and get a nice single level setup, but with some additional challenges of slope to contend with.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigPapaSmurf

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,291
It looks too high to me.

You can ask the builder to dig it out and reset everything, but if they refuse, it will be hard to make them do it.

You can ask and see what they say.

If you want to sue them, you would probably need an expert to say that it is not correct.

The other option is to regrade the entire yard to make it work.

You will probably have to remove and redo the fences.

I would remove the back fence and install a retaining wall up to grade and then put a new fence on top of the retaining wall.

It looks like they are getting ready to pour decks around the pool.

There is no way that I would pour a deck on that backfill.

It will sink in no time.

You need a retaining wall in the back at least and everything needs to be well compacted.

Most likely, you will need a retaining wall to completely surround the pool and then new fence on top of the wall.

The backfill should be gravel and you need to be careful not to use a power compactor that will push backfill too hard against the walls.

If you regraded the entire yard to this new level, does it work with the house level or is there a problem with the level relative to the house?

img_0171-jpg.382230
 
Last edited:

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,291
The cost to regrade the whole yard will probably be more than the entire cost of the pool due to the structural retaining walls necessary to allow you to go up so high relative to the rest of the surrounding property.

I would ask the builder to dig it out and redo it to a level that you are happy with.

If you have to regrade the entire yard, I would ask the builder to assume some of the costs.

Overall, this was not well planned out.
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
@JamesW I just sent the builder an email asking if they would dig it out. If the entire yard were regraded, I suppose it works with the house level, though the HOA would almost certainly take issue with it. For instance, the rear fence is required to only be 4' tall. I think they would say something if I had a 4' fence on top of a 33"+ regraded yard which looks very different from all the neighbors.

I've also hopefully got a structural engineer coming out to offer their expertise. My hunch is they'll agree that there's no way this 'mound' of backfill holds up over time.

@bmoreswim Here's the layout. I should have included this pic in the original post. The pool is sitting pretty even with the house foundation. So there isn't a step down from the house to the pool. The distance happens on the 3 others sides of the pool as you can see below.

IMG_0178.jpg
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,783
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
One thing that the HOA or your neighbors may be concerned about is water runoff from your regraded property to adjacent properties. Water management and not causing water issues to adjacent properties is an issue the building department considers in the permitting in my area.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TampaKathy

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
1,071
Knoxville, TN
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60
I dunno, the plans don’t mentioned the elevation of the pool and so they probably assumed you wanted the deck level with the house foundation which is what they did. Builder should probably include elevation plans as well to avoid this kind of miscommunication.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread