Project for 2021--New Pool Above or In Ground--Rebuild Deck For Walkout

Aerobee

Member
Aug 9, 2020
10
Connecticut
We're in a shoreline suburb of New Haven, Connecticut, about two miles from the water. For ten-plus years I've been putting up in June/taking down in October Intex 18' diameter pools, buying a new one every three or so years.

I'm ready for a permanent pool installation, probably above-ground but maybe in-ground if I can figure out how to get it fenced in. Either way I want to rebuild the deck with walk-down steps in place of the railing about five feet above the ground.

Here are some pictures, facing southeast from the house. It won't be practical to run fencing to the stone walls, and I don't know where to put fencing for an in-ground pool. Connecticut doesn't require fencing for an above-ground pool.

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kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
47,412
Tallahassee, FL
What a pretty yard!!!!

So how did you get down to the pool before? I do like the idea of steps going from that decking down to the yard.

How big is your wallet for this job? When you say in ground do you mean putting an above ground pool into the ground?

As for fencing we can help you come up with a "pool yard" that will be easy to maintain and very pretty look to act as well have plenty of lounging space. We just need some more input on where you want to head with this project.

Kim:kim:
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,846
NY
Hey Aerobee and welcome !! You’ve been skirting the usual rules with the temporary Intex pool. Either of the other two will require permits and a fence. At least they do in NY and typically you guys have even more rules than us.

My kids were little last time so we fenced the pool area right at the patio edge with a big rectangle. This time they are plenty old enough so we will fence the yard instead on our next build at the new house.
 

Aerobee

Member
Aug 9, 2020
10
Connecticut
kimkats:
The current deck is a walkout from the living room. Access to the Intex pool is via steps down from the deck alongside the house which lands you in back of the garage that’s at ground level. Something like this picture that I glommed from the Internet except they have the steps down that I was thinking of converting to:
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Regarding budget, until the current plague we spent a lot—at least $30K/year—on travel. So I could rationalize spending maybe $80K on this project even though it will add approximately nothing to the resale value of the house.

In ground to me means something like this fiberglass pool, likewise clipped from the internet:
9571FA3F-9C1C-4283-B178-8CF099217534.jpeg

Newdude:
Looks like you’re right—the letter of the law requires putting a fence around any pool whether above ground, in ground, or on ground, with more than two feet of water in it.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,846
NY
So I could rationalize spending maybe $80K on this project even though it will add approximately nothing to the resale value of the house.
This is gray area material. It’s factually true but if you live in a neighborhood full of school age families, it can easily be the +1 for the future buyers with their own younger kids compared with the same house down the block without a pool. If you get your asking price when you would have had to otherwise come down $40k to sell, It technically didn’t add anything but it still got you $40k.

Let’s assume that you are staying long past when this pandemic is over. Even so, none of us are going to forget it anytime soon. We will all be waiting for the next one to come along and I think that pools will be looked at favorably for a long time to come
 
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spd500

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2020
564
Houston, TX
This is gray area material. It’s factually true but if you live in a neighborhood full of school age families, it can easily be the +1 for the future buyers with their own younger kids compared with the same house down the block without a pool. If you get your asking price when you would have had to otherwise come down $40k to sell, It technically didn’t add anything but it still got you $40k.

Let’s assume that you are staying long past when this pandemic is over. Even so, none of us are going to forget it anytime soon. We will all be waiting for the next one to come along and I think that pools will be looked at favorably for a long time to come
I agree. After having gone through building our pool I will never buy a home again that doesn't have a pool. I have heard that you will lose money on a pool with resale in our area, but that you can expect it to add about 50% of the cost of the pool to the resale value. So if you spend $80K you can realistically expect to gain $40K in resale. I am sure this varies from one area to another though, and have not really tried to verify it.
 

bmoreswim

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A picture from the backyard towards the house would be helpful. A full consideration of the access methods, drainage, space usage, furniture, fencing, landscaping, etc. is all part of this phase. There are some things that can be in a phase two if needed (peripheral items usually, as integral items look bad and are more expensive to add later), but you should look at the complete area surrounding the back of the house for the project.
 
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Aerobee

Member
Aug 9, 2020
10
Connecticut
Here's the view back to the house. The orange stick shows about where the power and water lines for the well pump head are located (assuming they run in a straight line from the basement water tank to the well). The orange stick is positioned about 30 feet out from the face of the deck.

Looking at this view, I realize there may be some serious earthmoving needed to create a level area for the pool and apron. The deck is 20 feet wide from left to right.

The easy fix would be to put an above-ground unit to the right of the deck where that plant is. The plant area is about 12 feet by 12 feet. But in-ground would be better with a good design.

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Aerobee

Member
Aug 9, 2020
10
Connecticut
A picture from the backyard towards the house would be helpful. A full consideration of the access methods, drainage, space usage, furniture, fencing, landscaping, etc. is all part of this phase. There are some things that can be in a phase two if needed (peripheral items usually, as integral items look bad and are more expensive to add later), but you should look at the complete area surrounding the back of the house for the project.
See above for a picture from the backyard towards the house.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

bmoreswim

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Are there currently no steps from the upper deck to the ground level? What is the area with a railing with the single door? I see what looks like a Bilco door on the left side of the picture for basement access so I don't think the other area is basement steps. Is the single door leading to a garage? Which side of the house will be the access point for guests? To the right of that single door? Is there a sidewalk or path around either side already? Do you want to have much landscaping inside of the fence? We have a lot because it's a big hobby of mine. How much deck space are you looking to have around the pool? Your current wooden deck space is nice but will be a little removed from the action. My deck area is very large, but since our pool is removed from the house, we needed to duplicate some of the space needs by the pool. You will essentially have one space, connected by steps. Think about how much space you need for picnic tables and seating areas. We have decent sized families and use 3 tables to seat them. And you ideally want a decent/lot of open deck space for people to roam around and kids to play, next to the pool. Will you want a standalone spa anywhere? Covered pavilion/pergola? Do you need shade? Can the green shrub come out? Do you have any interest/aversion to retaining walls? You may benefit from one/some. Though with proper grading, they don't look to be a requirement. Would you like to replace the deck railings (where they will still be there) with railings to match the fence? You could go with black aluminum, the most expensive type of fence/railing, and it would all tie together. That style is also the least obtrusive and will block the lease view of your beautifully landscaped back yard. Do you have dogs? Do they swim? Do you need to keep them out of the pool area? Will the pool be fenced separately from the house? This is more common where the pool gets closed for the winter.

Just a few starter questions to get the juices flowing. If you have a few more exterior photos from in the yard, especially from diagonally down the hill, that would help with grade thoughts and tying things together. I also having a hard time telling which part of the house is the front. It looks like the whole area we are looking at could have been an addition and the front is to the left. Knowing the orientation is helpful for me in thinking about the big picture.
 

Aerobee

Member
Aug 9, 2020
10
Connecticut
Are there currently no steps from the upper deck to the ground level? What is the area with a railing with the single door? I see what looks like a Bilco door on the left side of the picture for basement access so I don't think the other area is basement steps. Is the single door leading to a garage?
There are steps down, hidden behind the bush in the earlier picture, that run to the ground level walkway at right - - from there you either turn left through the white door and enter the back of the attached garage, or turn right and you're on the ground where the Intex pool is sited. Yes, at left is the Bilco door and steps down to the unfinished basement. Just to the right of the Bilco door, underground, is where the well water pipes enter through the basement wall. The orange stick indicates my guess of where the water pipe runs underground.
Which side of the house will be the access point for guests? To the right of that single door? Is there a sidewalk or path around either side already?
The only guest access from the house is the walkout from the living room onto the deck. I'm thinking of rebuilding the deck so that they can continue straight to the new pool. In other words, tearing out the railing that runs left to right at deck level and have broad bleacher-looking steps descending to ground level.
Do you want to have much landscaping inside of the fence? We have a lot because it's a big hobby of mine. How much deck space are you looking to have around the pool? Your current wooden deck space is nice but will be a little removed from the action. My deck area is very large, but since our pool is removed from the house, we needed to duplicate some of the space needs by the pool. You will essentially have one space, connected by steps. Think about how much space you need for picnic tables and seating areas. We have decent sized families and use 3 tables to seat them. And you ideally want a decent/lot of open deck space for people to roam around and kids to play, next to the pool.
Probably not much new landscaping since there are lots of plantings deeper into the yard as shown in the first set of pictures, and additional berms in front of the house and alongside the driveway not shown here. I imagine the surface of the deck, 20 feet left to right and 10 feet deep from back to front, might be echoed with a similar space starting at the foot of the steps-to-be-built and ending at water's edge. Probably lounges and umbrella table at ground level rather than a picnic table. We wouldn't need to seat more than 6 to 10 maximum.
Will you want a standalone spa anywhere? Covered pavilion/pergola? Do you need shade? Can the green shrub come out? Do you have any interest/aversion to retaining walls? You may benefit from one/some.
Probably no spa. As to shade we haven't provided more than an umbrella table up to now on the deck. The deck gets afternoon shade cast from the left (the camera in the earlier picture is facing almost due North). We have some sentimental attachment to the shrub--planted when we moved here--but frankly it's overgrown and the steps and lower level walkway behind it are green-mold-friendly. I'd like to avoid retaining walls.
Though with proper grading, they don't look to be a requirement. Would you like to replace the deck railings (where they will still be there) with railings to match the fence? You could go with black aluminum, the most expensive type of fence/railing, and it would all tie together. That style is also the least obtrusive and will block the lease view of your beautifully landscaped back yard.
Sounds good to me.
Do you have dogs? Do they swim? Do you need to keep them out of the pool area? Will the pool be fenced separately from the house? This is more common where the pool gets closed for the winter.
No dogs. Fence placement is the challenge. It would be great to have no fence between the deck and the pool, but I'm finding it hard to visualize three sides of fencing--side one straight out from the left side of the deck (looking toward the house; in line with the side of the house), side two behind the pool, and side three parallel to side one, as near as the right-hand side of the deck or farther to the right depending on what we do with the shrub and the existing walkway.

The alternative is to just build four sides of fencing around the pool. Side one the same as above, straight out from the left side of the deck (looking toward the house; in line with the side of the house). The new side two, separating the pool area from the deck, 20 feet wide and running parallel to the bottom of the bleacher steps, side three behind the pool, and side 4 perhaps in line with the right side of the bleacher steps or maybe a few feet beyond (whether or not we uproot the shrub). Overall the fenced-in area runs 10-12 feet out on the apron, then another 10 feet for the width of the pool itself, which is where the back fence (the foreground in the above picture) crosses. The width of the four-sided fence is 20 feet, the same as the width of the deck above and the length of the pool, so in round numbers the fenced area is something like 20 or 25 feet square.
Just a few starter questions to get the juices flowing. If you have a few more exterior photos from in the yard, especially from diagonally down the hill, that would help with grade thoughts and tying things together. I also having a hard time telling which part of the house is the front. It looks like the whole area we are looking at could have been an addition and the front is to the left. Knowing the orientation is helpful for me in thinking about the big picture.
The house was built all at once; the footprint is basically a colonial, four rooms over four rooms and a bumped-out kitchen and garage behind it. These pictures were taken at an angle, and give a better view of the lay of the land.
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[This last is a satellite view clipped from Bing. Taken in summer when the Intex pool was up. The blue halo is chromatic aberration--the Intex pool is smaller than the deck.]

Thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it!
 
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Aerobee

Member
Aug 9, 2020
10
Connecticut
Your current wooden deck space is nice but will be a little removed from the action. My deck area is very large, but since our pool is removed from the house, we needed to duplicate some of the space needs by the pool. ...Will the pool be fenced separately from the house? This is more common where the pool gets closed for the winter.
Below is an aerial view of another house in town. We would have to uproot one of the landscaped berms to make room but it’s an interesting alternative. Our lot is narrower so our pool wouldn’t be shifted that far over.

The pool area footprint is too big here, isn't it, versus the size of the house? What are reasonable dimensions for a fenced-in pool site?

GetMedia 1.jpeg

GetMedia 2.jpeg
 
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bmoreswim

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So I'm back. So sorry for leaving you hanging after your thoughtful replies. On the neighbor's picture above, I have absolutely no concern with the footprint of the pool area they've created. Bigger is almost always better if you have the space. And its interesting that they originally didn't build enough deck space there and ended up adding additional concrete. Don't get too fancy, maximize deck space.

Your house pictures were very helpful to get the sense of the property. I also wasn't picturing the house facing the way it does. Very pretty house and setting to start your project with.

For your scenario, I could see a really great destination pool in your yard if that is truly of interest. Eyeballing the yard, I like the area diagonally downfield, meaning mostly where the nice landscaped area is with the blue spruce in the middle. I could see perhaps keeping the large conifer at the left side and using the rest of the space (and more) for the pool area. Unless you want an autocover (in which case I'd suggest rectangle), that setup would lend itself beautifully towards a diagonally shaped freeform, and possibly kidney shaped pool.

This one is perhaps a little closer to the house than I was thinking, but it shows the idea of a sort of kidney shaped pool off diagonally from the house, including the black aluminum fence. If you do have the pool more or less contiguous with the house, I'd think something like 6' minimum from the base of the new wide steps and the fence parallel to the house would in order. Sort of a pass through between the two areas. But separate and still close to the house wouldn't be my first choice aesthetically, though below pic does look nice. But I'd be inclined to go "attached" to the house or out in the yard, say 20-50' from the house in your setup.

w-crandell1.jpg

As far as guest access, we tend to have pool guest not enter the house. In your setting, it would see ideal to include a sidewalk or nice stepping stone path around the back of the garage to the pool area.

In a nod to renovating the area, I'd remove the somewhat sentimental shrub and get the full benefit of redoing that area and also not having a slimy green walkway behind it. Also, it will partially block any view of a pool diagonally off that area. I could see some variety of dwarf evergreens, perhaps some yellow or green dwarf hinoki cypress and/or small blue spruce properly spaced for 15 year size in that area close to the house, but not right up next to the walkway.

Where is your head regarding the timeframe of the project planning? Just getting ideas and thinking 2022? Or considering 2021? PB's may be getting booked up for 2021 as all things house have taken center stage for folks these days.