If you’re reading this, chances are your backyard presents some challenges were installing a pool is concerned.
Many new and existing homeowners simply don’t have a flat lot; which can add complexities to a pool project for customers and contractors alike. We want you to know not all is lost – there are options available to you if you’re looking to install a pool on a sloped block. All you need is patience and a keen eye for detail.
Many homeowners enter into a pool project believing their pool contractor knows what will look good in their yard. At Australian Outdoor Living, we think it’s best everyone in the household asks all of their questions up front. If anyone is unsure what the final result of your new pool will be, don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarity. The good news is, managing a sloped lot isn’t difficult; it simply requires proper consultation, planning and design.
There are two basic solutions for installing pools on sloped blocks: retaining walls or site work.
Commonly used around homes and businesses, retaining walls are made of solid materials like stone, brick, interlocking block, or wood. Below are some of the most commonly used materials and their advantages:
Interlocking concrete block – Attractive and easy to install, an interlocking block is the most popular material used around swimming pools. Construction involves dry stacking blocks to create a single interlocked segment of retaining wall. Interlocking block walls can be designed around any free-form pool. Plus the blocks are available in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes.
Natural stone or cinder block – Natural stone, brick or cinder block are common materials for retaining walls. This type of retaining wall is filled with grout or concrete and reinforced with rebar. Constructing natural stone walls tends to take longer since the work requires greater detail. Natural stone retaining walls are available in a variety of veneers; common choices are brick, natural stone, and parging (finishing with a coat of mortar).
Turndown slab – This type of retaining wall is also referred to as a Monolithic pour. The wall is a concrete slab that remains level, getting thicker as it moves out into the lot. The wall will be thickest at the lowest area of the yard. Compared to other options, turndown slabs are inexpensive and easy to install. They look especially attractive with stamped concrete, which can add texture to the side of the concrete. Turndown slabs can curve to follow the contours of any pool, and blend seamlessly with concrete patios.
Wood – This is the most budget-friendly type of retaining wall. Wood retaining walls can be made with landscaped timbers, railroad ties, 6×6 planks, or virtually any type of treated lumber. If the retaining wall is high, it may require a “tie-back” type of reinforcement on the hillside. This type of wall can be easily dressed up with planting beds or bench seats. To install a wood retaining wall, you’ll need a run with straight angles
If your block has enough space, it may be possible to build up the lower side of the yard to make the pool area level. The most common approach is to build up this area with excavated dirt. The amount of dirt you need to create an acceptable degree of slope will depend on the distance your patio extends into the yard as well as the amount of flat ground outside the patio. While using dirt from the pool excavation is a common method, you should ensure only acceptable material is used and is compacted properly. This is perhaps the biggest error made by pool contractors, so proceed with caution if you have significant building up to do on your lot. The purpose of site work is to achieve a degree of slope which:
Can be maintained easily, and
Doesn’t conflict with yard elements like swing sets, sheds, etc.
With site work, it’s important to remember you’re the one who will live with, care for, and look at the final product. Try to work with your yard instead of against it. If you’re unhappy with the final result, you’ll face extra hassle and expense to haul in more dirt to decrease the slope further. Ask your pool contractor to show you exactly how the new yard will look so you know what to expect.
We hope you better understand the intricacies of managing a pool installation on a sloped lot. Remember, be clear with your pool contractor on how you want your yard to ultimately look, and never assume they understand your needs. Armed with the above information, you should be able to confidently convey your expectations for your finished pool project and have a result you’ll want to show off to all your family and friends for years to come!
If you’re thinking of installing a pool in your backyard, and you live in South Australia, our experienced team of Design and Installation Specialists are here to support you the whole way. To book in time to chat face to face with one of our team members click here to arrange a free measure and quote.
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