SF Bay Area build (done!!!)

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
614
OV, CA
I would find out the exact code so you can get as much space behind the pad as possible. If the term "retaining wall" becomes a issue with the code then you could most likely at least terrace it to give some extra space back there.
They will certainly be able to install a wall or terrace after the equipment is in However it would be to your benefit to have the wall done first. It will certainly cost more to have to work around the equipment and there is always the possibility of a careless worker damaging something on the pad.
If there is a potential code issue. maybe deal with it later. Are you reading between the lines?
 

OGSW20

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2019
73
San Jose, CA
The building code for us is 5ft from
the property line in SJ. If yours is 3ft, you’re lucky. Also I went and measured my equipment pad/area and it’s nearly 12ft in length. Hopefully you have enough room so it’s not all crammed together.

I think it would be very awkward to have the equipment on the walkway side. Hopefully, you still have enough room to build out the wall. Would it make sense to just grade everything out to the fence line to give you more room?
 
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NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
Good productive meeting with PB today.

Wall issue has a potential solution i am happy with. Just need to see if it is possible to pull off.

Code here has no restriction on short wooden retaining wall placement. CMU block with footings would require permit though.

Equipment installation is on hold until retaining wall issue is resolved

Weeping wall is taking shape

And drainage behind the extended raised wall position will be addressed with a sump pump. Gives us flexibility to route things to the nearest drain (not close)
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
614
OV, CA
Good productive meeting with PB today.
Wall issue has a potential solution i am happy with. Just need to see if it is possible to pull off.
Code here has no restriction on short wooden retaining wall placement. CMU block with footings would require permit though.
Equipment installation is on hold until retaining wall issue is resolved
Weeping wall is taking shape
And drainage behind the extended raised wall position will be addressed with a sump pump. Gives us flexibility to route things to the nearest drain (not close)
right.. short wooden wall could not be considered permanent. whereas a Block wall with footings definitely is. At least it could be made to match the other retaining all behind your cans.
 
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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
436
MA
right.. short wooden wall could not be considered permanent. whereas a Block wall with footings definitely is. At least it could be made to match the other retaining all behind your cans.
Sounds good, and as mguzzy was was trying to say without saying.... If you push the wood wall as far back as possible, if it ever does need replacing you can replace it with block and at that point in time with no other major project going on permits might not be required.
 
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NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
Forgot pool pics

Weeping wall in progress. Not the BEST wall ever (they were heavy on grout) but I do like how it looks. They need to cap it off and put a rock to cover the pipe then adjust the flow of water. So it is close but not quite done.

Grotto is pending interior design choice. We are leaning carved concrete / stamped stucco interior but waiting to hear back from a sub who specializes in it. The PB in house crew doesn't do that type of stuff. They will start putting the exterior rock on soon though.

And the redesign to extend the wall has reached ledger phase. Every day is 1 step. Started with coping...then CMU blocks...then rebar and concrete inside. I have a step by step collection of photos for you Kim. Your own personal finger ledge tutorial. Remind me when this is all done and I will post in a separate topic.

After the wall is done I am putting water proof membrane on the backside. Drainage is a tricky issue to resolve so we decided on a sump pump. I purchased a 1/3 HP with a vertical float and vertical suction with a check valve. After debating hard pipe or hose I decided hose. Hose gives flexibility to route it where needed. This is a drainage option we think will rarely be used but we wanted something in place just in case. Plan is to backfill with gravel then black lava rock. A fabric layer on top then dirt and black bark to top it off.

LS is basically done...just some punch list items remaining. However there was an unexpected last minute delivery of 6 canna tropicana 5 gallon. I was given the option to decline but I couldn't say no. So you may see some extra spread around the yard in these new photos.
 

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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
436
MA
Difficult to tell from the pics exactly how much storm surface water is heading for the back of the weeping wall, grotto and new wall extension, for example where does the water go from the upper patio surface? The pics make it look like there could be enough water to start washing bark mulch over the walls in a major storm event. I would recommend a clean stone edge along the entire back of weeping wall, grotto and wall extension to receive storm water with a perforated pipe going into sump pit. This can be topped with a decorative stone.

What size hose are you using for the sump pump? Be sure whatever size you use it will not restrict the max flow of the pump.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
40,670
Tallahassee, FL
have a step by step collection of photos for you Kim. Your own personal finger ledge tutorial. Remind me when this is all done and I will post in a separate topic.
I can't wait!!! That will be a learning too for many to come!!

last minute delivery of 6 canna tropicana 5 gallon.
Guess what I found in town!!! They are holding them for me until I can find THE pots I want them in. They told me they will "spread" if not kept in a pot. What are your plans when they do in your yard? They talked about "separating" them. So how big around of a pot can I get. How tall should it be?

Kim:kim:
 

NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
Difficult to tell from the pics exactly how much storm surface water is heading for the back of the weeping wall, grotto and new wall extension, for example where does the water go from the upper patio surface? The pics make it look like there could be enough water to start washing bark mulch over the walls in a major storm event. I would recommend a clean stone edge along the entire back of weeping wall, grotto and wall extension to receive storm water with a perforated pipe going into sump pit. This can be topped with a decorative stone.

What size hose are you using for the sump pump? Be sure whatever size you use it will not restrict the max flow of the pump.
LS installed new drainage behind the weeping wall. We don't usually get major storm events in my part of CA but I will keep an eye on things after storms.

LS was unable to install drainage on the right of the grotto under the original design due to slope and elevation with respect to rest of the drainage system. I tested the upper patio with the hose and some of it does run off down the slope towards the pool. That is why I made the design change and extended the wall to the grotto. Plan is back fill with base or drain rock (whatever its called) to raise the elevation and eliminate the crazy slope. LS was originally going to return and put a normal drainage pipe once the elevation was raised and run it around the back of grotto and tie into the drainage behind weeping wall. PB suggested the sump pump approach instead and said they would install at no cost if I supplied pump. We talked pros/cons and I decided sump pump behind the raised wall is probably better.

I'm hoping we addressed all the issues but I see spots like the end of my weeping wall (on the far left) as a potential problem site. Will keep an eye on it and see how things go.

I haven't discussed the details of the sump pump yet.

Here is what I bought

Wayne vertical float switch with top suction

I have 0 knowledge of sump pumps so I was relying on the discussion with my PB about it. He was telling me his experience with sump pumps in SF and commercial sites he has worked. Said my need is real simple and won't be difficult to do. I showed him this model and he said it should work just fine. We actually don't expect it to activate more than a few times a year. But when it is needed then it will prevent a disaster situation flooding over the wall and into the pool.
 

NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
Guess what I found in town!!! They are holding them for me until I can find THE pots I want them in. They told me they will "spread" if not kept in a pot. What are your plans when they do in your yard? They talked about "separating" them. So how big around of a pot can I get. How tall should it be?

Kim:kim:
My wife and I discussed and we don't care if canna spreads all over. We already made it the centerpiece of the yard. I am totally fine with the hill behind the weeping wall becoming canna hill with all the colors and variations. I have 3 different canna types planted there right now (tropicana...australia....wyoming).

I don't know if it becomes an insane problem 10+ years down the road but I guess we will find out.

The plant that worries us down the road is the giant bird of paradise. I actually had LS dig them up and push them back a few more feet b/c I kept thinking about them causing damage. 7 feet is the closest distance from any of that type plant to any concrete or the grotto.
 

Rwmiller80

Active member
Jun 2, 2019
41
San Jose, CA
I just cut down a giant bird of paradise in preparation for my pool installation. It was in a corner of the lawn next to the concrete patio and there was no indication of damage to the patio - it was probably there 5 years. Before cutting down, it was 7 feet tall not including the flower stalks.

Bob
 
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NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
I just cut down a giant bird of paradise in preparation for my pool installation. It was in a corner of the lawn next to the concrete patio and there was no indication of damage to the patio - it was probably there 5 years. Before cutting down, it was 7 feet tall not including the flower stalks.

Bob
That will help me sleep at night.

I was reading about how a giant bird of paradise is like a hydraulic jack and can tear things apart


We have a wall of 5 we hope grow to form a privacy type barrier and tropical back drop.

Behind my house is literally nothing. We are the urban limit line. There is a developer fight about what to put back there. We are basically preparing for the worst so we still enjoy our view
 

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NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
Ok time for an update!!

Start with some good and actual progress

My cannas make me happy

My hibiscus made me sad....apparently squirrels LOVE hibiscus

My dog caught and killed one squirrel (gave us a scare too b/c squirrel got a good bite in before dying)

I had to build critter cages and so far so good

We are beyond happy to have a covered patio. The only complaint is it blocks my view from the 2nd floor of the nice curve outline.

My dolphin 300 also arrived and I already have my rebate completed
 

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NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
And now for the bad...

I have been silent while letting my PB work out some minor issues.

Pool equipment is in after and the retaining wall is partially done.

My solar is installed. 9 panels sit on top of my covered patio now

Grotto work done on the top. They put a footer and then our jasper selection around in the horse shoe type pattern.
After that they used our flagstone coping to finish off the top.

And then we hit the problem. 0 progress on the front facing or inside the grotto for 3 weeks as of today. I was ok waiting because we had over 100 temps so plaster wasn't a good idea anyways. Temps are back in the low 90s though and I want progress.


Today was the final straw. I have gone from patient to complaining.

Monday evening or Tuesday morning the PB was supposed to drop by and we confirm any pending decisions and plow forward through the mistake.

No show (pattern that has happened frequently recently)

I complained to the owner and the PB came out Wed after 6pm

We had what I felt was a good productive talk.

The grotto has proven tricky due to a minor mistake. There is no lip/ledge so we can't support much weight on the facing or inside on the walls. My wife and I don't like it because it means no jasper on the front but we are practical and said ok give us plan B. Plan B is cut flagstone into smaller pieces so not too much weight. Will look similar to the lip on the top. Sounds fine to us. Get us going full speed again.

According to my PB I have 2-3 days of mason work remaining before plaster. We already have a signed pre-plaster inspection and the plaster company has already done an on-site visit. They just need the green light from PB. The problem is the PB masons are not here.

Was told we are a priority project and crews will be pulled from current jobs and on site Thurs to wrap this up.

Thursday and Friday...no crews.

PB not answering phone/text

Owner didn't answer phone today

I think I am officially in delay limbo (not the word needed here but that word will not get past the adult word filter-Kim TFP MOD)
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
40,670
Tallahassee, FL
Time to take a good book with some yummy snacks and do a "sit in" at their office! Wave at each person coming in and say "Just wait to hear why my pool is not done yet" and see how fast they work to get you out of there!!!
 

NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
205
Brentwood, CA
Time to take a good book with some yummy snacks and do a "sit in" at their office! Wave at each person coming in and say "Just wait to hear why my pool is not done yet" and see how fast they work to get you out of there!!!
The frustrating part is I am happy with work so far. We love how the grotto top came out.

They aren't taking obvious short cuts to finish. They are just too busy to show up here and it is freaking annoying because there is nothing realistic to do about it.

I like the advice someone gave about pool construction being like child birth I feel we are in the cursing and yelling phase phase to get that final push before it ends and we forget all the hassle
 
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