SW Missouri "Hilltop Hideaway" backyard paradise

Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Well am I glad I found this forum! I stumbled across it in the middle of my build while searching for pool maintenance information. As of the start of this thread, we have a pool in the ground that is to be started up today. In some ways I'm glad I didn't find ya'll before I started because sometimes not knowing what you don't know makes things easier (ignorance is bliss right?). I have a feeling if I had been here six months ago my pool budget would have been a runaway train. My background is construction management so I like technical things, methods, and problem solving. The planning and project itself is the fun part for me, the finished result is more for the rest of my family.

We finished building our house this spring. We left a neighborhood where the quiet community pool was literally next door so part of the deal was we had to take the pool with us. My wife and three kids basically live poolside during the season. She grew up a pool rat and a lifeguard and is still in love with lounging in the sun. We incorporated the pool concept into the design of the house in a few small ways. First a walk-out basement retaining wall was extended and wrapped-around to create a large more private and shaded area and utilities were routed around the open space. We used a sliding pass-through window at a basement wet bar so the kids can be served snacks and popsicles poolside. The basement bathroom was extended for a private changing area, quick access to a shower and all on tile through an extra sliding door. Flood lights were placed on the upper deck into the yard and the lower patio was over-sized.

I figured out that a fiberglass pool fit our needs best long before I chose a contractor but finding a fiberglass builder in our neck of the woods was a challenge. I lucked out when I found an experienced builder who moved from another area and is establishing their business with fiberglass here. They have been a great fit. We had originally planned to start next spring but the builder's schedule opened up at the same time my shop project stalled. I should mention I had been prepping the family for a pool two or three years from now...but surprised my wife with a pool contract on our anniversary in July. The kids had no clue until they came home to equipment digging in the yard : )

Our pool budget itself was not huge because our outdoor wishes the shop, hardscape/pavillion and other landscaping on 3 acres in addition to the pool. It's also not 100% completely turn-key because I am taking handling the concrete footer/collar, decking, dirt removal, hardscape and some other details. So we chose a 14'-6" x 28'-4" side entry model by Aqua Technics, an Australian company: https://aquatechnicspools.com/range/. Equipment is pretty basic, a single speed 1hp Jandy, CS200 filter, salt water chlorinator, single skimmer, 6? returns, 2 PAL lights with Commander control, and two deck jets. Had I dug in deeper before I built I am sure I would have upgraded to a variable speed pump and higher end controls and who knows what else, but I also like the simplicity and serviceability of what I got. Waterfalls, multiple pumps, and other such expenses were out of the budget. So I'll start with the pool area.
 

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Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Layout, excavation, etc. Not surprisingly but unfortunately we hit two huge rocks and spent three extra days rock breaking which was of course expensive. One of the rocks was several tons and solid granite like Mt Rushmore style...very tedious. But ultimately the rest of the soil condition is great for a pool and we got it exactly where we wanted it.
 

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Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Sigh of relief. On to the details. Start-up day is today, 9/18. I should mention I pulled the permit so I have been responsible for inspections. And coordinating my concrete guy, electrician and pool builder coordination. Nothing super complex here but details like block-outs for the deck jets.
 

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Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Here's the deal for the coping and surrounding areas. Local marble, sandblasted and eased edges, each stone weights 240lbs. Coming out of Phenix Marble Company north of Springfield. Also going for this grid look with artificial grass. I have a lot of grade work to do. Scheduling with my mason right now, hope to have the coping going soon, then work our way out from there while I get the pool opened, clean and balanced then ready for winterization.
 

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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,566
NY
Hey Levon and Welcome !!! The pool looks like you made an awesome choice. Is. Is that a mullet in the family pic ???? Bravo a 2nd time if so !!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Welcome to the Forum! you will find lots of info and friendly advice. Yeah good thing you didn't find us before the build we would have had you running all over the place!...Like:
Layout, excavation, etc. Not surprisingly but unfortunately we hit two huge rocks and spent three extra days rock breaking which was of course expensive. One of the rocks was several tons and solid granite like Mt Rushmore style...very tedious. But ultimately the rest of the soil condition is great for a pool and we got it exactly where we wanted it.
My first reaction was move the pool over 3 feet, you have 3 acres to play with... Then somewhere I saw a similar rock discovery and they pulled the rocks out and used them for their waterfall.. see you could have done that ;)

Somewhere I thought I saw a sub forum completely made up of mullet heads.
 
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Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Yeeaaaaaah, the rock. I didn't elaborate on that whole detour because it was somewhat avoidable. I asked the builder to pothole the deep end before we started because I know there is rock in that area from our house excavation, which he kind of did but not deep enough. After finding rock in the middle I asked him again to pothole the deep end to the bottom, this time both corners before we committed 100%. He dug one deep corner and it was clear so he carried on (I was at work). Problem was we soon found out that literally the rest of the deep end was solid granite. My pics don't do the size of it justice and it didn't come out in boulders, we're talking 12 hour days with a rock hammer on an excavator making chips. $5,700 later we at least got it where we originally wanted. I don't have any hard feelings about it though, pool builders aren't geotechnical engineers or large scale excavating companies and ultimately it is MY rock problem. We did save some large boulders for landscaping from the house excavation though but too late for waterfalls lol!
 

Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
The pool pump was started yesterday, everything went fine. There is a lot of silt and some pea gravel in the bottom of the pool. Should I vacuum then clean the filter? Any suggestions? Since we now have power, I had a ton of fun surprising the kids with a light show last night, they knew it would have lights but it blew their minds. 😲😲😲
 

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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Yean... vacuum and clean the filter often.. until you get the rest of your landscaping done you are going to find a lot of sand in your pool. How are you cleaning it by the way? did you get a robot or are you using a sweep gizmo attached to port.. I hope you are not hand vacuuming.. that is so 80's.. then again.. the mullets ;)
 
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Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Just the attachment, but I like automation because I'm lazy so the house is high tech...which means I guess I'll be shopping for a pool robot now lol. Doing it the old fashioned way for awhile might make us appreciate that purchase a little more. Any suggestions?
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,566
NY
The Dolphin S200 and all its sister clones is widely accepted here as the best bang for the buck. ($700) If you need the bells and whistles and Bluetooth drivability that really doesn’t work, you can spend $2700. Call Margaret at Marina Pools and Spa. It has to be a phone order to get the best price. The added bonus is she is a robot guru and will go over all your needs and wants.
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
Yes that one... if you search around the forum you will find LOTS of discussion about them. Everyone likes this one, especially as an entry level robot. The bells and whistles are nice.. but may not always work for some people. Personally I think the robot tech is still kind of new and its still being worked out. Some people have gotten years out of their bots and some not. So I am waiting for y current pool sweep to die an ugly death (like I find it floating on the surface of the pool, upside down, bloated and lifeless) and then I'll buy a bot to replace it.
 
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Leevon

Member
Sep 17, 2020
15
SW Missouri
Those robots are more affordable than I thought, I think we'll know after next season if it's a must. We're in the country so lots of bugs and pollen, but we don't have any leaves nearby. We're covering the entire area in hardscape to avoid mowing or trimming near the pool. I was surprised how easily it cleaned up this weekend. There was at least two pounds of pea gravel that I swept to a pile in the deep end and scooped or sucked out. I also brushed a lot of silt to the deep end. The vacuum made quick work of most of it, then I ran the pump all day Saturday and brushed the whole pool two more times to stir it up for filtration. By Sunday evening the water was crystal clear. Don't beat me up on terminology here yet; chlorine was a tad high at 3.0 I think because I had the pump running continuously (SWG at 30%) but PH was dead on 7.4. That's a sophisticated as I am for now, reading and taking in everything I can about water management. I also got to put some party lights up on the deck for wife's birthday present. And had time to make a plan for all my fill dirt going over to a shop building pad. I am feeling like I made the right choice, that going fiberglass met our budget and isn't too skimpy but fancy enough for our needs. Also, like most of life kids will always find a way to have a good time!
 

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Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
906
Verona, MO
Pool looks awesome! Jealous over here, we just have an Intex AGP.

Shouldn’t hijack build thread but: What is cya test? FC if 3 probably low not high.
With SWG CYA should be 70 or 80, with target FC of 5 and 6 respectively. Minimum wording in chlorine/cya chart a bit deceiving...you don’t want to hang around that number very long or will probably turn green on you.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,385
OV, CA
You should be following this chart for managing your chem.. the SWG column, FC/CYA Chart

Have you told us how you are testing? We on the forum have standardized on Taylor based test kits. The best kit we have found is sold through www.tftestkits.net. They assemble the kits with Taylor based reagents but in the proportions that are more typical for the kind of testing that supports the TFP protocol and home pools. Post up a set of numbers and we can all chime in on what the best way to manage your pool is.

We all got to talking mullets and looks like no one pointed you to the tutorials and stuff:
ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
Test Kits Compared
PoolMath


Wander around the site .. lots to learn if you are going to take this on yourself. And do realize that TFP is ahead of the pool industry curve. So what we recommend may not always align with what pool guys, and pool stores recommend.
 

DorsalSpine

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
714
Columbus, Ohio
You will really like your new test kit in comparison to that one. Be careful with the powdered shock I see in the background. It it's Trichlor it will add CYA to your water in addition to chlorine. Most of us prefer liquid pool shock instead. I also see "blue" in the title. Some of those products have metals in them which you really don't want.
 
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