This Guy Turned His Lawn Into a Swimmers Heaven – All With DIY Skills!

Has your backyard been looking a little, well, lackluster of late? Every summer we look at our sprawling yard and dream of doing something about it. For two different men their dreams turned to action in very dramatic ways. First up we’ll see how a  father turned his deck into a fiberglass plunge pool for his daughter and her friends. Then we’ll see how the another man channeled his grief to transform an eyesore into an oasis!

33.  Let’s start at the end: the final product.

Before we dig deep into the work that went into this transformation, let’s look at the end result. Here we have a fiberglass plunge pool that is perfectly suited for family and friends to enjoy. This hardworking dad created the pool for his daughter and her friends. What a guy!

32. Back to the beginning. Before any work had been done.

Now that we’ve seen the finished product, let’s go all the way back to the beginning. Here we have a 9 year old deck that stands at roughly 23 x 40. Clean, but uninspiring. Perfect spot for a pool.

31. Taking the first steps, literally.

Before we can turn this deck into a pool paradise we have to take away what isn’t needed. A few beers and a pile of rusty screws later, work is officially underway with the removal of these old steps.

30. Getting the angles.

The deck sits about 23″ high which is perfect for the pool. The deck had issues bowing in the center so new supports had to be ordered and installed — not ideal, but necessary.

29.  Excavation begins in a big way.

The decision to rent an excavator proves to be a good one. Excavation begins by digging out a 36″ hole into the ground which will leave room for the 30″ pool and a 6″ sand foundation. After all is said and done the hole is 9 x 21 with a depth of 36″.

28. The sand foundation has been laid.

Here you’ll see 4″ of sand laid out on the foundation. A rake laying nearby the pool was used to level and smooth the sand. The material that the family used was masonry and coarse sand mixed up from two prior projects. Talk about DIY recycling!

27. Meeting of the machinery

Living in the country has its perks. The fiberglass pool is hauled directly to the backyard while the excavator sits idly by. The green pipe you see in the pool is a 12′ sump well. This sump well is ready in case the pool ever needs to be drained to the basin.

26. Time to set the pool in, gently.

The fiberglass pool only weighs about 1,500 lbs so the excavator takes care of business here. This is a big chapter in the installation process. There begins to be a bright light at the end of the tunnel!

25.  Easy does it, perfect measurements in place.

All hands on deck as the crew gently lowers the pool into place. A laser leveler gets the job done within 1/2 of an inch from one end to the other.

24. A rain delay brings pool progress to a stop.

While everyone wants to get wet in the pool, nobody wants to get wet while installing it. A rain delay is assuaged by hot coffee and good pizza.

23. Father and daughter, for scale.

Dad and daughter hop into the pool to show off the the depth of the pool. This occurs after flexible piping from the pool to the pump/filter was installed.

22. The pool requires sand-wall reinforcements.

Once the pool is filled with water it begins to bow out around the middle. A sand wall is erected to provide support while holes for wooden posts are dug. There will be four total posts, most of them dug at a depth of 3 to 4 feet.

21. The pool is framed up.

The deck extension has been framed up and the perimeter of the pool now has its posts in place. Underneath the pool is a 2×4 beam that attaches the swimming hole to the deck, for support. The framing is built out of 2×8 pressure treated wood. The wood was cut by a sliding mitre saw and connected using galvanized joist hangers.

20. Concrete mixed and poured for the posts.

Using nothing more than standard concrete the posts are solidified in their spot. In order to bring the wooden posts to the proper height, a reciprocating saw is utilized.

19.  Work continues to fix up the deck.

Remember our ‘before’ picture? Nice deck boards are laid down to give the new pool a polished look. These are pressure treated wooden boards which should serve well for a wet and active area.

18. Pirate child for scale.

Whoa! Talk about a makeover. Here we see the pool nearing its final stages. The posts are finished, the fence looks great, and one pirate clad child looks happy with the work.

17. A wide view of the final work.

The fence went up in a single afternoon which gives swimmers a nice view of the backyard. We can see the pump out and about in this shot but it will be framed in and hidden before all is said and done. Plans for a garden are also beginning to brew.

16. Here it is: beautiful and modern.

We went from a standard ‘country backyard’ deck and turned it into a modern and refined swimming pool. Without any sort of mechanical heating, the pool is able to get up to 84′ via the sun. An abandoned trampoline sits dejectedly in the background.

15. Jumping ship! Moving on to a future backyard paradise.

Now we are switching yards. One man lost his beloved dog and decided to channel his grief toward transforming this ugly hole into a backyard oasis.

14. Drawing up the plans.

What you saw in our last slide was an ugly and abandoned hole. Here is what our landscaping guru has planned: a pool with two small grottos, surrounded by a natural rock formation. Pretty intimidating transformation, right?

13. The pool is excavated – by hand.

Our last crew used a nice excavator to take care of their digging burden but that isn’t the case here. Perhaps to keep his mind busy the hole is dug out via shovel and outlined with sandbags to help strengthen the foundation.

12. After being leveled off the plumbing begins.

Easily the most difficult task for most DIYers: plumbing. With the pool excavated and leveled off at different grades, the pool’s plumbing system begins to take shape.

11.  Heavy duty pump gets installed.

You can’t have a multi-level pool without a heavy duty pump to run it all. This giant pump is installed within a concrete pad pour in order to keep it stationary while it does the hard work of keeping the water moving.

10. Our pool is finally outlined.

The different sandbag sections define the various levels of the pool. When construction is complete you are going to see a multi-level pool that offers a bit of everything for everyone.

9.  Skimmer tanks and water discharge spots are installed.

In order to keep the pool functioning and the water clean, we see skimmer tanks get installed. These skimmer tanks will scrub the pool while the discharge spouts give a safe place to dump water.

8. The grotto begins to take shape.

Our favorite fixture of this backyard oasis is going to end up being the grotto. Here you see the rudimentary outline of what is to come.

7. Rebar is installed, concrete is poured.

Steel rebar is meticulously installed by hand which is easily the most physically demanding part of the construction process. With concrete poured into place we are starting to see some serious progress.

6.  Here is a baby for reference.

With the plans beginning to translate into physical action we can see that the pool is actually quite large. The man building this pool, who had lost his dog, wants a place for his son to create memories while growing up. Yeah, we can definitely say that he is doing a good job.

5. Shotcrete Pouring Machine is put to work.

In order to give the pool that smooth finish a shotcrete pouring machine is brought in to accomplish the task. Getting down and dirty with the pool now will pay huge dividends later on.

4. Wide view of the work.

What started off as a project to distract someone from grief has turned into a huge operation. Everyone is chipping in and the pool is quickly coming to life.

3. Shotcrete is poured, the pool is ready for water.

With the shotcrete machine done we can see the pool as it will soon stand. The finish gives a smooth and natural look and now we are ready to start pumping in the water. Only a few more steps before we are ready for a cold beer and a cool soak.

2. A well earned trip to the water.

With the water filled we only have minor housekeeping left to take care of. Our homeowner decides to take a dip in the pool. This is after two months of work and over $10,000 invested into the project. Talk about a look of relief.

1.  Here’s our swimming paradise.

With all of that work behind us, it’s nice to see the finished product come out so well. You’ve got a beautiful fire pit, a gorgeous swimming pool, and a nice and child-friendly water play area for the kids. Mission accomplished, may the doggy who inspired this work rest in peace. See the entire process here!

Thanks for enjoying the article! If you want to try some DIY projects of your own you can now access over 16,000 woodworking plans. Ted’s Woodworking plans have step-by-step instructions, photos and diagrams to make every project laughably easy. Watch this video to gain full access.

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