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

bmoreswim

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I think what your left with is something like my pool's exoskeleton wall shown earlier. Problem is, below the wall, the height can't more more than X" high per your code, or you need a railing. So the soil would need to be mounded against the wall like mine to be within that max dropoff.

Here's the finished picture of ours. You can see they mounded the soil up more and I also built a little block wall/bench to keep people from falling off.

 

pooldilemma

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Nov 16, 2021
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Wilmington, NC
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.
The builder didn't assume it would be level with the house and actually told me that the highest part of the pool would be 12 inches above the natural ground, which it's now 33 inches. So there was no miscommunication, they just did something different once it came time to dig. My fault for not getting elevation on the plans. I didn't know any better and should have got to this forum much sooner! Thanks for your help.
 

pooldilemma

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Nov 16, 2021
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Wilmington, NC
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.
This is a great point and water would certainly need to be routed toward the retention pond.
 

bmoreswim

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Any person has a tough time estimating elevation changes with accuracy with out shooting the grade with a laser level. If they don't do that, it's just a guess (possibly well educated - or not).

But just matter of making lemonade at this point. Can't imagine resetting the pool is gonna happen.
 

pooldilemma

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Nov 16, 2021
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Wilmington, NC
I think what your left with is something like my pool's exoskeleton wall shown earlier. Problem is, below the wall, the height can't more more than X" high per your code, or you need a railing. So the soil would need to be mounded against the wall like mine to be within that max dropoff.

Here's the finished picture of ours. You can see they mounded the soil up more and I also built a little block wall/bench to keep people from falling off.

First, that is some mighty fine lawn care in both your and your neighbors lawns!

I think I see the wall that you're referring to in your pic. The difference is the wall I have, if you can call it that, would be holding up the pool itself. I think they call it a lower wall rather than a wall "above" the pool like yours and I believe the lower wall option has to account for the pool's walls outward pressure in my case 33" above the ground pushing outward.

It also looks like the long edge of your pool furthest from your house does have a bit of support with the slope and you have the advantage of that slope going several feet (I can't tell, 25+ ft between the pool edge and surfboard) with a fairly gentle slope.

My main concern is that I've only got a few feet of back-fill and it's supposed to somehow keep the pool in place. You can see the red arrow in the pic below showing the small amount of backfill that should hold the pool in place. Scary. Hasn't rained since they put it in place either so who knows how that will go. Thanks for your help. Your yard looks amazing.

IMG_0178.jpg
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
Any person has a tough time estimating elevation changes with accuracy with out shooting the grade with a laser level. If they don't do that, it's just a guess (possibly well educated - or not).

But just matter of making lemonade at this point. Can't imagine resetting the pool is gonna happen.
Yeah there was no laser level involved. It seems though, that the pool could have at least been put all the way in the ground per the install guidelines and if it had been, the backfill 'mound' would be closer to a foot off the ground instead of 3 feet. But like you said, probably going to be making (some very expensive) lemonade at this point.

IMG_0079.jpg
 

Cena_sea

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If you cannot regrade and raise your fence, we went through something similar (filling in dirt to raised level against existing wood fence and new wall) and had to have the bottom length of the fence reinforced with pressure treated boards (or maybe it was copper treated?). It was the areas where the parts of the old fence were now against the new soil.

Just spitballing ideas but could you insert rocks and tubing in the back trench and make a large French drain?
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
If you cannot regrade and raise your fence, we went through something similar (filling in dirt to raised level against existing wood fence and new wall) and had to have the bottom length of the fence reinforced with pressure treated boards (or maybe it was copper treated?). It was the areas where the parts of the old fence were now against the new soil.

Just spitballing ideas but could you insert rocks and tubing in the back trench and make a large French drain?
I think french drains are in order for sure. I'm having an engineer come out to investigate soon. Hopefully that will give some peace of mind.
 

Bperry

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The builder didn't assume it would be level with the house and actually told me that the highest part of the pool would be 12 inches above the natural ground, which it's now 33 inches. So there was no miscommunication, they just did something different once it came time to dig. My fault for not getting elevation on the plans. I didn't know any better and should have got to this forum much sooner! Thanks for your help.
How high above the natural grade is it next to the house? If your backyard is sloped then where your measuring makes a big difference.
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
How high above the natural grade is it next to the house? If your backyard is sloped then where your measuring makes a big difference.
From the middle of the pool, cloest part to the house is maybe 6 inches above natural ground. Then the slope begins. At the furthest point from the house, the pool appears to be about 30 - 33 inches above the ground.

The 33" measurement is the distance from the ground to the top of the backfill pile on the long side of the pool furthest from the house i.e. the side of the pool that is highest above natural ground.IMG_0171.jpg
 

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Bperry

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From the middle of the pool, cloest part to the house is maybe 6 inches above natural ground. Then the slope begins. At the furthest point from the house, the pool appears to be about 30 - 33 inches above the ground.

The 33" measurement is the distance from the ground to the top of the backfill pile on the long side of the pool furthest from the house i.e. the side of the pool that is highest above natural ground.View attachment 382482

I guess the other option would be to lower the pool, and then you’d need to step down the same amount it’s lowered, but they’d need to add steps down to the lower level and the steps will take up some patio space though.

I think I’d replace the fence with a stone wall so the dirt could be filled in and make it all level. Then maybe add a short fence on top of that if the HOA would let you build it higher. That’s all assuming the pool builder won’t redo everything.
 
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Danimal92Sport

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Frankly, the yard has a big slope which presents a challenge. I also don’t see why the PB would feel obligated to completely redo the install at this point. Having the pool up level with the house will be quite convenient and, I think, would make the pool easier to use with less chance of someone falling as people go to/from the house and pool. You’ll be thankful there are no steps the first time you have 20 people over with slippery feet or flip flops; kids, older folks, or anyone with a beer in their hand…

All HOAs are different, but I doubt they’ll let you raise the back of your property and fence. Nor do I think that accomplishes anything other than eliminating the small space between the berm and fence. So I think what you have is about the only solution, and certainly not a bad one! You should have someone with some expertise help landscape the back of the yard and use that space creatively. As others have said, drainage needs to be considered, but keeping some slope rearward towards the retention ponds is surely enough to accomplish that.

The real concern is if the soil berm will stay put, so having an expert, who does not stand to profit from any of the work, provide an assessment is a very good call.

Enjoy your first home and pool!

Dan
 
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Cena_sea

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I like Bperry’s step down idea. The wall is basically in the front via lengthwise steps, pool is lowered and it means the fence could stay as is.

The other idea would be to tell them to put all the dirt back by the fence and keep the pool as is—now raised above ground. Any decking behind the pool is more level to the fence or original slope. You’d still need steps down on both short ends but the pool remains level to your house.

Edit: If I kept as is with no wall I wouldn’t do concrete on the fence side (front and sides cement would be fine). I'd do a pavers pathway in the back to avoid a potential crack.
 
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gingrbredman

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When they were putting in my pool, they set the height of it so the new, finished patio tied into the existing patio. My yard had a pretty good slope to the end of the property line and we were going to be left with a situation similar to yours, though not as drastic. My PB put in a small retaining wall and we planted some trees along that line. I don't have good pics of the wall itself, but it sits about 8" from the fence line. We put down some landscape fabric and then decorative rock down there. The area between the pool patio and the edge of the retaining wall still has a little slope to it, but its full of arborvitaes now and no one will be walking there. We didn't realize at first just how high the house sat compared to how much the yard sloped to the back but made it all work out.

The part of the wall that is closest to you in that picture is only about 8" high but the back part is probably 20" tall
New Trees.jpg

Here is that back slope with the trees all in

New Trees 2.jpg

With the other side of the pool, along the back fence, we ended up going with no grass and did the same rock on top of that slope. The back side isnt as dramatic, but there is a slope there.

Camera New 1.jpg
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
When they were putting in my pool, they set the height of it so the new, finished patio tied into the existing patio. My yard had a pretty good slope to the end of the property line and we were going to be left with a situation similar to yours, though not as drastic. My PB put in a small retaining wall and we planted some trees along that line. I don't have good pics of the wall itself, but it sits about 8" from the fence line. We put down some landscape fabric and then decorative rock down there. The area between the pool patio and the edge of the retaining wall still has a little slope to it, but its full of arborvitaes now and no one will be walking there. We didn't realize at first just how high the house sat compared to how much the yard sloped to the back but made it all work out.

The part of the wall that is closest to you in that picture is only about 8" high but the back part is probably 20" tall
View attachment 382526

Here is that back slope with the trees all in

View attachment 382527

With the other side of the pool, along the back fence, we ended up going with no grass and did the same rock on top of that slope. The back side isnt as dramatic, but there is a slope there.

View attachment 382528
Thank you so much. This gives me a lot of ideas!
 

pooldilemma

Member
Nov 16, 2021
16
Wilmington, NC
Frankly, the yard has a big slope which presents a challenge. I also don’t see why the PB would feel obligated to completely redo the install at this point. Having the pool up level with the house will be quite convenient and, I think, would make the pool easier to use with less chance of someone falling as people go to/from the house and pool. You’ll be thankful there are no steps the first time you have 20 people over with slippery feet or flip flops; kids, older folks, or anyone with a beer in their hand…

All HOAs are different, but I doubt they’ll let you raise the back of your property and fence. Nor do I think that accomplishes anything other than eliminating the small space between the berm and fence. So I think what you have is about the only solution, and certainly not a bad one! You should have someone with some expertise help landscape the back of the yard and use that space creatively. As others have said, drainage needs to be considered, but keeping some slope rearward towards the retention ponds is surely enough to accomplish that.

The real concern is if the soil berm will stay put, so having an expert, who does not stand to profit from any of the work, provide an assessment is a very good call.

Enjoy your first home and pool!

Dan
Your post actually makes me feel a lot better. Very good points. Engineer is coming out tomorrow shortly after meeting with PB.
 

Danimal92Sport

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The PB should make sure that every aspect of the build is acceptable to the customer.

They did not make sure that the elevation was acceptable and that makes them liable to make it right.
I suppose I should have worded that comment differently. I’m not saying they shouldn’t feel obligated to fix something the customer doesn’t find acceptable. I just know that most contractors would essentially just…not do that big of a tear up, pretty much ever.

Dan
 

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