It’s been a long few months of getting our pool finished. We’re not there yet, but we are way closer than last time I updated you. It really is a process that you have no idea how it all works until you do it and experience it. It can be very stressful watching the process and waiting for the next steps, then coordinating other things that need to be done along the way too. What a journey this pool installation has been for us from the pool dig in March to now and I’m happy to say it’s finally on the home stretch and a few weeks ahead of schedule.
If you want to catch up on the pool from plans to the last post, go to this pool page with 3 posts.
Since the last update, after the shotcrete was done, we started getting deliveries for the silver travertine stone. That was exciting to see. This travertine tile also went on our retaining wall. They are beautiful and we’re so happy with the color. We are so glad we went with silver. A lot of people use white travertine around a pool, but the silver just goes with our backyard so well.
A crew came out and did the waterline tile first and then the pool coping (that’s the big tiles around the edge of the pool). You can see the stacks of silver travertine stone all waiting to be installed.
A bed of crushed rock and sand goes in and is leveled and packed down hard to get the surface ready for the travertine tiles to go in. It takes a lot of skill to do these type projects and it was fascinating to see them work.
We also added a 2 foot retaining wall to help with water runoff. After the wall started going in, I thought about something that we’d always want to do and that’s add a small run of steps back here to help with the slope. It seemed the logical thing to do to extend the wall over to the fence on the right and add stairs, so I contacted my pool designer before this was all delivered and she came out and we agreed on adding the steps and extra wall for a little more cost. I think it was well worth it, since it adds so much to the backyard.
They did a great job on the retaining wall, building it on a footer and using concrete blocks as the base. We were peeking out all the time watching this progress. In fact, I was at the beach when the tile and coping was installed in the pool and then I was home when the wall started.
It was exciting to see the progress and that wall come to life. Our sloping back yard has a purpose now and the wall and stairs add so much charm.
The crew worked on the decking travertine too, adding it all the way to the back stairs. We have just a little bit of dirt space left after the travertine went in and we’ll be adding artificial turf on the rest of the dirt around the pool. There’s a lot to figure out when you’re building a pool and our plans changed a couple of time throughout the process.
It was so fun to see all the travertine go in, we just love it.
Most of the travertine is in at this point.
Finished and the wall is going in at this point. They went pretty fast on this part and I think all of this took 3 days.
It was fun to envision what this was all going to look like. You can see a channel drain went in by the pool too, between the pool and patio, to drain any water coming off the patio.
Wall going in.
On the back side of the wall, it was evident that dirt would have to come back in so the pool company brought a truck load of dirt back in later to fill this in. They had taken out 4 truck loads and took out a little too much.
Travertine is all in at this point. See all that wood on the bottom of the pool? It sat like that for a few weeks and Mark and I got tired of looking at it, so we got in there and hauled it out and piled it outside the fence to be hauled away. That made it look better.
A shot from the window while they were working on the wall. They did a super job on the wall. We love looking out the window and envisioning what it will finally look like with sparkling blue water in the pool. We know it’s coming, it just seems like forever!
The crew was really fast and efficient and before we knew it, the steps were done with travertine. So pretty!
We love how that wall turned out and how well it flows with the existing wall that it comes off of.
Isn’t it beautiful? Picture hydrangeas planted at the top of the wall all along the top and on the right side too. I’m sure I’ll be adding planters with more plants and will figure that out later.
Mark collected some of the leftover cut stones and made this design under the gate and I think it turned out really nice. He used sand and some of the crushed stone that was left to level it out to add the stone. There’s a lot of finesse with this method and some of them broke while he was doing it, but I still think it looks great. We had always wanted to put some stone under here since no grass would grow.
That’s a look at the whole pool from the top deck, the wall finished and ready for the next step. We’ve got a lot of cleaning to do on the patio, it’s as dirty as can be. All the furniture on the patio and under the porch is so dirty too. The stone cutting they did threw a lot of dust around and it landed on everything.
I found these pretty artichoke finials at a local garden shop, called 4 Seasons Pottery on Hwy. 92 near Bells Ferry. They also do staining and these are solid concrete stained a charcoal color. I love how they turned out and they will be going on the wall when we’re all finished. They are over 2′ tall.
I took this shot from the deck one night while we were sitting outside, imagining what it will finally look like with water and lights on. As you can see, rain water has gotten in over and over. They just pump it out when needed.
Another little conundrum Mark and I had was after we extended the wall and added the stairs, it created a higher plane of dirt on that side of the sloped yard, so we went and got pressure treated wood and Mark built this small retaining wall to hold the dirt when it came back in. That was something that wasn’t in our contract so we just did it ourselves and spent about $300. He added some black perforated pipes and gravel and the pool company came back in and added more gravel and fixed the right side of the wall digging out more for more black pipe before they backfilled with dirt. So that was a little stressor we had, but it all worked out fine. We wanted to make sure it was handled the way we wanted it when the dirt came in.
So here’s a truck load of dirt brought back in to backfill and cover all the way to the top of the stairs. It looks so good now with a gentle slope coming down to the steps. We are really getting the vision now! You can see my hydrangeas in the planters on the patio. I can’t wait to get them back in the ground. We’ll be putting grass seed down on the hill and hope to get grass growing on that slope and planting beds as well. It’s going to be so nice to get it all cleaned up.
With the wall all done and backfilled with dirt, the last thing for the pool company to do is to get the Pebblesheen in the pool. They came this past week and cleaned up the pool to get it ready for the plaster finish. It’s getting real exciting now!
Pool is ready for Pebblesheen, a beautiful plaster finish that will smooth out our pool and get it ready for the water.
They prepared the pool for the Pebblesheen finish and the next day that crew came out and sprayed it on. It’s been so interesting watching the process of all the steps it take to get a pool ready to go, as well as the surrounding areas of the pool. It’s not just a pool install, it’s a lot more than that. You have hardscaping, fencing, and landscaping to be concerned about too.
After the Pebblesheen went in, it looks like this.
This color is called Pebblesheen French Gray. It should make the water a really pretty light blue color. We are thrilled with how it all came together.
Putting in a pool requires a lot of thought and attention to details. We had a few “got-ya” moments along the way, which always means more money. I’m just glad we were prepared for all of those extras. It always costs way more than you think it will to hire a project out. One of the extras was when we realized an old original retaining wall at the back of our property was rotten and needed replacing. We scrambled and got that done so it would all be ready before we put in the new fence and artificial turf. We would have had to address that anyway down the road, but the pool and landscaping expedited it for sure. Each project leads to the next one.
Another stressor that we had is realizing we will need a new fence installed. Our current fence that we put in almost 5 years ago is scalloped and dips down in each section, so those lower sections are not 5 feet tall, but about 5 or 6 inches lower. We could take a chance and see if it would pass, but based on our county’s code about pools and fences, they stated 5′ or no go. So we knew we would just be stressed out waiting to see if they might pass it after all. After consulting with the fence company we used last time, it wouldn’t help to just replace the pickets, they don’t want to add new pickets on old wood. We decided to go ahead and replace most of our fence too, yes it means more cost involved, but we are doing this right from the start and we hope it will all be done once and for all. We are adding a black metal fence along the back and then doing 5′ French Gothic pickets on the side fence. I know it will all look great when it’s done, but just having to spend more $$ can be stressful for sure.
Those are just a few of my cautions when you take on a project of this magnitude. Be prepared to spend more than you think it will cost. This whole project is costing about double what I ever thought we would have to spend when I even considered what a pool might cost. I definitely had to get over the sticker shock and just go for it. The time in which we live doesn’t help, with materials going sky high the last couple of years. But, we have no regrets and we know we will enjoy our backyard pool for many years to come.
We are almost at the finish line now and we cannot wait to be done. We hope to get everything up and running soon and swimming sooner than we thought. After water goes in the pool, they will get the equipment going and then we will be finishing up all the rest of the projects back there including the artificial turf. One project at a time! Next time I do a post, I will share the finale of the pool with everything done. We want to get the landscaping in and everything done and then I’ll share it all. What a dream it’s going to be!
It all looks very lovely and how exciting to be so close to finishing. I went back to the earlier posts because I have a question about the artificial turf. You mentioned your hope that using it would keep the area clean. When I’ve seen turf used this way in real life, it becomes a muddy mess over time because dirt works through from beneath and then rain and moisture get to it. You’ve mentioned your back yard is shady so mold would be likely. Have they improved turf to deal with those issues now?
Hi, Janet, I sure hope so. I see it used so often now and with the proper drainage which it will have, it should drain and hold up fine. It’s definitely come a long ways over the last decades.
I would suggest laying sod in that area rather than seed. You will find after every rain the dirt washing down and staining everything. Sod is not hard to lay ,we’ve done it several times.
Sharron Jones says
I am confused about fence height; in the original permit shouldn’t it state the required height of fence? Also,when we did our pool we were not allowed to put water in pool until all fencing was complete. It’s going to look fantastic when complete; especially with all your hydrangas planted!
Yes we knew up front that the fence had to be 5″. Our current fence dips down in the middle, making that section lower than 5′. They warned us that it may or may not pass, so we didn’t want to stress about that and just decided to redo it all now instead of taking a chance. Maybe they would have let it slide, but maybe not.
Rhoda, your vision for this backyard retreat is amazing! You and your hubby will surely enjoy it! You probably will not want to leave home now to go on vaca. The hydrangeas will be perfect on that wall. Just try not to overdo all the extra plantings this year so you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful pool and backyard.
It looks like it will be beautiful when it is finished.I’m sure you can hardly wait.
I’m so excited for you and Mark! And since you’re letting go of the moolah, I’d have sod laid on the slope, too!
We still have to price that out so will see what the budget holds.
It’s beautiful so far! I can’t wait to see the hydrangeas replanted. They’re my favorite plant. They’ll make a great privacy hedge.
Toni Gorrell says
So happy you are almost at the finish line! I had no idea there are so many steps to installing a pool. I can’t wait to see the finished product!!
Sue R. Davis says
It looks wonderful. I am very excited to see the final results. I know both you & Mark are super excited!!
I have watched it from beginning and can’t wait to see the beautiful and landscape all come together. You have patience of a Saint for sure. It’s going to be an outdoor oasis for you and Mark and your family. Happy for you.
MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says
Thanks for sharing your pool and yard progress with us! Rhoda, your plans with the landscaping sound great and how beautiful your yard is going to be once you have everything done. I am so happy for you and Mark. This is going to be a fabulous retreat for you and you are really going to enjoy your pool and all the gorgeous landscaping around it. Looking forward to seeing the end result. Thanks for taking us along on your pool and yard journey! Have a great week!
Roxanne Bernard says
This is going to be so beautiful! Hope you’ll be floating around soon. I saw the comment about the artificial turf…if you follow Rhonda Jones on IG, she has it around her pool and loves it!
Yes, I do follow Rhonda. Her pool is my inspiration and I love her backyard. It’s a gorgeous retreat.
Shauna Sullivan says
We went through 2 years of trying to get it started, and then more than a year to get it completed! It was a pain, and our yard was a mess…and my husband was deployed that year, so I had to find my ‘mean voice’ to deal with the once every 3 weeks work the crew did. They didn’t start hustling until my hubs came back, end of July and sent some ugly emails. Im a teacher, and our pool was filled up the first day of school! 😂🤦🏻♀️ Thoroughly enjoying every second of it this summer! My only regret is not doing it sooner! You will LOVE it!!
HI, Shauna, I can relate to the sentiment. I’ve had to use my mean voice a few times too. Putting in a pool is a lesson in patience for sure. They did tell us up front, don’t expect someone to be out every week to work on the pool. We had several weeks in between anything happening. It’s a lot of scheduling with sub contractors and they get there when they get there. But overall, we are so happy with how it’s gone and the timeline for us was originally end of July, so we are happy it moved up a month. We should be swimming soon! I’m so sorry for what you went through, that would have stressed us to the max.
Donna Vaughn says
It’s going to be gorgeous and I know you all will enjoy it so much! When we got to the finish line with our pool, we bit the bullet and laid sod. It’s such a muddy mess. Didn’t want that dirt in the pool. Regardless, it’s been exciting to watch you project! Can’t wait to see the finished project!
We will probably do the same. Haven’t even gotten estimates on that part yet. Everything is double what I think it should be.
diane in northern wis says
Wow….. your pool is looking great. Can’t wait to see the finished product and all the neat plants, etc. you’re going to put in around it. What a marvelous back yard you’re going to have.
This is going to be fabulous! You did far more hardscape than I was envisioning, but that is really taking it to the next level. You have maxed out “home as retreat and refuge”, and I am so very happy for you.
Thank you, Jane, with our small backyard it made sense to add more stone. We don’t want any dirt down there and this is a good way to alleviate that.
It’s looking great and I can’t wait for that finished product! And I know you are too. I can’t stand a mess so I’d be having an anxiety attack!! lol
Janet (I guess there is more than one of us!) says
Looking good! My last house had a pool, it was nice and sunny. The downside of a sunny pool was the algae growth. Your yard is mostly shady, right? That should definitely help.
Yes we have more shade than sun. I would have thought algae would be worse in shade, but I don’t know much about pool tending. About to find out!