Sunken Lounge Inside Pool

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
6,869
Central California
@PCR, you've hit upon some of my in-pool-spa resistance. You want to be able to use it year-round. And don't you want it to be all it can be in terms of comfort and relaxation? PBs love to build 'em. They make a ton on those. Owner's love how they look on the plans: "Oooh, look, a waterfall!" But they're total inefficient at what they're supposed to be. You have to dump all their heat every day into the pool, so you have to heat it all the way up every time you want to use it. And (to me) they're just a hard, rough, underwater concrete bench with some bubbly water. A stand-alone is what a hot tub should be: multiple stations (differing heights, and positions), dozens of jets massaging you, and your feet, and your neck. Reclined, smooth, fiberglass comfort. And hot and ready to go, 24/7 if need be.

Of course, if your thing is to stew in a small, round concrete pit with a dozen people, then a stand-alone can't provide that where an in-pool can.

What I want to see someone build is a raised pit near the pool that houses and disguises a stand-alone. It would look like it was part of the pool, and provide a similar ambiance as it would be half-surrounded by the pool. The pit's walls would be of the same material, or complimentary, to the pool's, as in-pools are done. And could even have a water feature that simulates an in-pool's spillway. So it would look like an in-pool, but have all the bells and whistles and advantages of a stand alone!
For the OP's pool, this pit could even have a similar mote around it, to match the sunken sitting area, that would tie everything all together. Now THAT's a pool!
 

suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
@Dirk thanks for adding that thread.

@PCR , great questions and they all make sense re: what other pool features do I want? Whereas many others make the pool their main focus (and spend most of their budget here), I am building out the backyard more for what I think I personally will enjoy more, in addition to entertaining and hosting and hanging out with family/friends. The pool is secondary. Not saying that the pool is not important (it definitely is), but in terms of spending my money, that's not where I want to spend the most money. It's going to build out the sunken lounge where I or family/friends can relax and feel like they are in a Vegas pool party. The budget is going to build out 2 covered areas (1 pergola over a dining area and 1 pavillion over this sunken lounge) and the outdoor kitchen with the grills/griddles/tandoor/etc, in addition to getting day beds and sun beds to add more lounging opportunities. So I want a nice pool, but I'm OK diverting my budget towards some of these other things vs. a tanning ledge or a rock structure, etc. I will have 3 deck jets and the rain curtain, which I feel will add some oomph, in addition to pool, lounge and kitchen lighting. I already have my entire backyard lit up with color changing landscape lights (set to purple), so with my backyard lit up and the pool/lounge lights, rain curtain, etc, it should hopefully all look good at night all lit up. Given the layout of my backyard, I have a choice to go with a slightly larger pool or go with a 15x30 and leave some space for a day bed, movie screen, some sun beds, etc. I am choosing the latter. I don't have kids/divers and I'll most likely get 6-7 feet depth on the deep end. I will also most likely get a misting system put into the pavillion for hot days as we sit in the lounge. So, in the end, I'm making a conscious decision from the start to put my money in things that I feel like I will enjoy more, that will bring people together (safely distanced of course) and help me throw some good parties. I feel like most people won't care if there isn't a tanning ledge or a rock structure in my pool, but most will love the sunken lounge, gather around the kitchen with all my cooking contraptions, appreciate the rain curtain/misting system, etc. Kids will enjoy the pool no matter if it has 10 features or 2. Adults on the other hand are either going to mostly stand around in the pool with drinks or be lounging around it. At least that's what my friends will do. So knowing that, I'm putting my money in areas that will get both kids and adults to enjoy the backyard experience.

I do like the idea of using the hot tub 24x7 and will give it some serious consideration. Lastly, I had originally posted my budget post on this thread, but it was moved by an admin to another Build section.

@ModernCha what type of shiny tile material did you use to finish the outside of your spa?
 
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suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
For the OP's pool, this pit could even have a similar mote around it, to match the sunken sitting area, that would tie everything all together. Now THAT's a pool!
@Dirk I loved ModernCha's spa, but how is that different than a regular built-in hot tub that the PBs install in terms of comfort? His seems to have the same sort of seating, but it definitely looks beautiful.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,869
Central California
Suman, I think you are dead on. And it's great to hear how well you've thought this though. My g-kids and their friends will not get out of the pool. But when it's just adults, it's everything I can do to get any of them to put a toe in. Some will swim, but usually briefly, myself included. My adult daughter never goes in. They sit around the table, BBQ (or rather watch me BBQ), they eat, or sit around the fire pit. We play games out there. Chat. Etc. Your vision is going to be an adult wonderland! Go for it!!
 

Dirk

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Nov 12, 2017
6,869
Central California
@Dirk I loved ModernCha's spa, but how is that different than a regular built-in hot tub that the PBs install in terms of comfort? His seems to have the same sort of seating, but it definitely looks beautiful.
I was pointing you to their mote and how they did it, and to hopefully get them involved to let you know if it worked or not. And of course it is gorgeous to look at. But note that I wrote "could almost convince me." In terms of "spa" use, you're right, no different. Maybe worse? Where do you set down your cocktail!? ;) While I appreciate the aesthetics of an in-pool spa, along with the socializing aspect, I don't endorse them. The cost/comfort ratio is waaaaay off. I haven't spent a lot of time in either kind of spa, it's not really my thing, but I really enjoyed all the comforts of a stand alone. As I was describing, I'd love to see somebody figure out how to add a stand-alone but somehow disguise it as an in-pool: surrounded by stone or tile, fake spillway, the appearance of being half-way inside the pool, etc. Best of both dealio. I would sit in a conventional in-pool spa, but would never pay anything for one.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,869
Central California
I couldn't find any images of exactly what I'm describing, but some of these are in the ball park. You can only see the jets in one of the pics, but you can see how they all have custom exteriors.


You buy the "guts" of a stand-alone spa, but none of its exterior facade. Then you build a well into your pool out of gunite, where an in-pool spa would go, level with the pool, or raised. If raised, you finish the exterior sides with materials that match or compliment your pool (even build another mote around that, if you're feelin' it, to match your sunken sitting area). Then you drop into this well your pre-fab fiberglass spa that has all the goodies and jets and reclined seats and headrests and control knobs and bubblers, etc, etc. You can have a faux spillway water fall on the pool side of the well. You figure out how to have some sort of hidden access hatch on the opposite side, to be able to get at the mechanicals of the spa (or maybe it lifts out for that?). And there you go. A sudo-in-pool spa with all the comforts of a stand-alone spa. One that you could use year-round. One that you could keep heated all the time if you wish. You'd have none of the crazy plumbing that goes into an in-pool. If the thing wore out, or you wanted to upgrade, you could just replace it (if you tire of a built-in spa, too bad, you're stuck with it).

The downside is that you'd have two independent bodies of water to maintain. You'll have to chlorinate and balance them separately. This can be automated to some degree, but there would be more maintenance to this setup than if you have a true in-pool that shares its water with the pool. But then you couldn't use either in the winter.
 
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trivetman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 14, 2017
305
Jenkintown, PA
Suman - Wow. It’ll be awesome when its done. One quick hit on the main drain issue from me. I find it’s helpful to bring the water level down for winter closing. That’s something Dirk and other southerners don’t have to deal with. Without the main drain Id need to bring in a separate pump (and a large one to get it done quick) for closing up. Of course I am doing it myself and maybe you’d be outsourcing, but still.

Michigans my home state and I’m usually back there once a year. Let me know when its done and Ill invade the backyard with the whole family!! 😁
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,869
Central California
@trivetman, that's a good point, but I think he'd still be able to use the main pump. A vacuum hose connected to the suction port in the skimmer, run through the weir or through the skimmer access lid over the side, should work the same (almost as fast), shouldn't it? And without the drains, there's less pipes he'd have to blow out. Am I missing something? Wouldn't that make winterizing even easier?

How does one even clear the main drain pipe of water for winterizing?
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,509
NY
A vacuum hose connected to the suction port in the skimmer, run through the weir or through the skimmer access lid over the side, should work the same (almost as fast
The vac plate / adapter thingy isn’t exactly air tight. Just a flimsy gasket held temporarily under suction. With the pool full nobody realizes or cares that it sucks some extra top water in but once the water level reaches the level of the plate it would suck air and trip the pump rather quickly. It works fine for a small drain If a couple inches after a rain but not for a winter drain.

I’ll concur that my main drains make it oh so nice to drain the pool quickly. I dumped about 20k gallons to jump start my spring swamp SLAM in about 3 hours. Lowering 18 inches at closing takes about 20 minutes.

I also use mine frequently to catch floor sediment from all my trees. I’ll crank the pump and brush the pool to their general area. Kinda like a poor mans in floor cleaner system. It’s not perfect but it will get enough of my gunk out that I can put of vacuuming for a while.

but they are holes in the liner/shell that may cause problems one day so there is that to consider as well.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
6,869
Central California
Thanks dude and trivetman. I gotta defer to those that actually winterize, as I never have. I was picturing my skimmer. There is no plate, just the open port in the bottom. I can jam my vacuum hose into that port and there's nothing to leak.

The way you describe the cleaner aspect of a drain is how I remember cleaning a pool as a kid: brush, brush, brush, down to the drain. So there's a use for it.

If your skimmer has the component that seals it up when the level drops (sorry, forget what that's called), then a drain can be the secondary port though which the pump gets water, say if you're away and the pool evaporates too low, which would protect the pump from starving. That'd be an important aspect to consider. My pool's drain was connected to my skimmer, and the skimmer had no such gizmo, or even a diverter plate, so my drains were virtually useless.

So, yah, drains can be useful, of course. But I'd still contend that drains aren't necessary. I think there are some advantages to having drains, and some to not having drains, to be considered while planning a build.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,509
NY
The way you describe the cleaner aspect of a drain is how I remember cleaning a pool as a kid: brush, brush, brush, down to the drain. So there's a use for it.
Exactly like that. It kills 2 birds with one stone and between me trying not to have to vacuum, and actually vacuuming with the triangle head with brushes, I’ve rarely had to brush the pool for the sake of brushing it.
So, yah, drains can be useful, of course. But I'd still contend that drains aren't necessary.
I concur wholeheartedly. I am willing to accept the risks but I also respect anyone’s decision to ‘play it safe’.
 
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trivetman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 14, 2017
305
Jenkintown, PA
@trivetman, How does one even clear the main drain pipe of water for winterizing?
Blow a column of air into the line and then seal it in quickly with a valve. I’m amazed that the valves and pipe joints are airtight enough to stay completely sealed for the winter but in the spring I let the valve open and feel the whoosh of air being pushed out of the system by the water pressing on it.

So MD or not....theres some convenience to it for sure....until you have plumbing problems at some point 😂
 

suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
Suman - Wow. It’ll be awesome when its done. One quick hit on the main drain issue from me. I find it’s helpful to bring the water level down for winter closing. That’s something Dirk and other southerners don’t have to deal with. Without the main drain Id need to bring in a separate pump (and a large one to get it done quick) for closing up. Of course I am doing it myself and maybe you’d be outsourcing, but still.

Michigans my home state and I’m usually back there once a year. Let me know when its done and Ill invade the backyard with the whole family!! 😁
Thanks @trivetman. And yes, you're welcome to come by with the fam when it's all done. What good is building it out if I can't enjoy it with people? :) Now only If I can find a PB to actually give me the time of day to work through the finer details. They are all so busy!
 

suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
Has anyone installed a gobo projecting into their pool (see pic)? I'm thinking of adding one of these to project a C (for my last name) into the pool. Since I will have the sunken lounge and kitchen right in front of the pool and covered by a pavilion, I'm thinking of fixing the gobo to the underside of the pavilion roof, projecting into the pool. Of course, I would need to turn off my deck jets for guests to see this, but gobos are cheap and I figure it adds a cool touch to the pool. While on the topic of the pavilion, I'm also thinking of building a ledge on the underside of the pavilion to house a projector that will project across the pool onto a movie screen (foldable kind, but large) across the pool. See my sketch to understand what I'm thinking. That way, whoever is sitting inside the sunken lounge, kitchen and pool can watch the game or a UFC fight at night from all of those areas (thanks to a Roku attached to the projector and on outdoor wifi satellite also in the pavilion area). I will have to turn off the rain curtain of course. At night, once the party is over, I can remove the projector from the ledge and take the projector inside in case it rains. Anyone done something similar and any issues or things I should be aware of? I have really good sound quality outdoor waterproof wireless speakers that I can connect to the projector to keep the set up costs down and light weight. Not looking to spend thousands on an outdoor system when I already have multiple wireless speakers I already use today to play music in different areas of my backyard. Going back to my earlier post, there are areas where I will keep costs low but still bring in the effects I want and spend money in other areas. Most guests don't care if the speakers are wired or if I have 10 speakers vs. 5 as long as the music is playing and it sounds good and they are having fun.
 

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suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
Also, has anyone had custom sized outdoor cushions made? Curious on costs. I want to maximize the seating inside the sunken lounge. Sure, I can have the PB build the mote and then I can add 2 and 3 seater sofas in there, but it will not maximize my seating. Instead, I'd like to see if the PB or my landscaper can build me a bench seating (made of stone or whatever) like this (see my sketch attached). That will maximize seating (I might even remove the swivel bar stools and make all that bench seating), and then I'll add cushions on top of the bench. but with that comes custom cushions that I will need to get. If someone has ordered them online and has been happy with quality and cost, please let me know.

Found a few sites online like this one: Customizable Bench Cushions In Any Size And Fabric
 

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suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
Lol...came across this video as I was researching mood lighting. This would look bad a** above the sunken lounge changing color to the music! Add in a smoke machine and boom! My backyard rave is in full effect!

 
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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
217
Byran TX
Finally found this one from a member that has a sunken seating area off of the pool. On the last page he has a video from start to finish including flooding from Harvey. Maybe you can message him and ask questions about his seating. His pool is STUNNING!
 

suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
Finally found this one from a member that has a sunken seating area off of the pool. On the last page he has a video from start to finish including flooding from Harvey. Maybe you can message him and ask questions about his seating. His pool is STUNNING!
Thanks @Sollace , I just messaged him. Will see if he responds. Appreciate you posting the thread.
 

suman

Member
Aug 22, 2020
24
Michigan
Has anyone built out a sand pit in their backyard? Curious as to what you've done to minimize impact of the rain on the sandy area. Is there a specific type of sand that you use that dries faster than play sand?