Okay, it’s my own fault. I admit it, and I’ve accepted it. I hope I can move on. Yep, I did it again. I put a pool in my backyard. I didn’t dig it with a shovel and a wheelbarrow like I did 31 years ago (Wow, has it been that long?) but I fell into the same trap: Dreaming of a hot late afternoon dip in my own pool, right in my own backyard.
If you haven’t read the debacle about building your own in-ground backyard oasis, click here Water Seeks Its Own Level .
My wife and I had originally envisioned an above ground pool in the area of our backyard where I spent a backbreaking summer sifting out the gravel and putting it back down. We even put in an outlet on that side of the yard for its eventual installation. Money to buy this pool, ranging anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 was going to take nothing short of a miracle, something like a sizable win in the lottery, or a good night at the casino. Well, just so happened, we had a good night at the casino a few weeks back, winning over a $1,000 and decided to check on getting that pool.
Thanks to “Amazon” and “Intex,” both card carrying members, I’m sure, of a satanic cult, we found an above ground pool within our budget with nothing else to buy. The “Intex Ultra Frame” above ground pool measuring 12’ by 24’ by 52″. I saw two lovely ladies in a video set this monster pool up in less than 60 minutes; on the lawn in the back of their house. A state of the art salt water filtration system, steps, maintenance tools and volleyball net were all included. All for the affordable price of $988. We were going to have money left over. I hit the “Buy It Now” button with the slightest hesitation.
I measured out a 16’ X 30’ area in the yard and began removing the gravel. It took three days. The whole time the temperature was an unrelenting 97 degrees, one day going past 100. I kept envisioning how great it would be to have that pool waiting to jump in to cool off. Then I started watching videos of other “suckers” who bought this pool and attempted to set it up. Some, like me, had no idea what they were doing and had catastrophic results. This is an 8,400 gallon vinyl bag suspended by a two inch diameter metal tube held upright with 18 U-shaped supports. All I kept hearing and reading is that the site had to be perfectly level.
A week into the project, the pool parts had arrived by truck and were strewn all over the house and yard. We were still trying to “perfectly” level the site. We had hauled and placed 18 concrete patio blocks that were 18” X 24” X 2” and weighed an incredible amount. We had no idea where to place them around the perimeter to match up with the U-shaped supports. Intex does not supply a diagram, or make any suggestion about the site for the pool other than to pick a perfectly level site in your yard (there are none anywhere on the planet) and to use treated plywood as a support under each U-shaped bracket unless you’re putting the pool on concrete. I decided on the ginormous concrete paver because I thought it would support the pool wall better than a ¾” piece of plywood, treated or not. I made a logical guess on the measurements around the pool and painstakingly leveled each block around the perimeter. We then added bag after bag of paver sand to the inside of the paver perimeter which appeared to be consuming the sand as fast as we emptied the bags. We finally got it to a point where, although not even close to perfect, was good enough for me. I was ready to put up this pool.
We spread the included ground tarp, something slightly thicker than a paper towel, and decided we needed another one just for insurance. Things can poke through a vinyl liner; there is even saw grass that can poke itself through a vinyl liner I guess. We sprayed the area completely with weed killer just in case. I have no idea what saw grass is and whether we have it in New Mexico, but I knew I didn’t want to take the chance. We put the liner, which weighs close to a ton, in the middle of the double layer tarp, and proceeded to unfold it the wrong way so it had to be turned. This process wrinkled up the tarp and after struggling with it for fifteen or twenty minutes, we decided, again, that it was good enough.
Next step was to insert the A, B, B, B, C poles into the channel at the top of the liner on the two sides and the D, E, F, poles into the ends. Then we connected the U-Shaped supports into the poles, none of which ended up in line with the pavers that were “perfectly” leveled and set around the pool perimeter. After more hours of moving the pavers, and with the help of three people we erected the sides of the pool. In all fairness, we weren’t just two attractive females, but we did manage to put this pool up in less than an hour. But then, that is only the beginning. We were now over $300 in for pavers, sand, tools and tarps.
STAYED TUNED FOR PART TWO.