2012 Home Renovations – Part 01 The Project – Pool, Lanai, Driveway, Retaining walls

A few months ago, while visiting relatives in Florida, Michelle went out to take in the neighborhood. She came back from this not just a little excited and told me that they’d found a house that was in foreclosure and that I should come and take a look-see.

The house was nicely appointed (what we could see from the outside) with an *enormous* lanai complete with a covered area with ceiling fans, a pool, an outdoor shower and plenty of room to spread out on the paving-stone deck.

We weighed the pros and cons of purchasing this as a second home and, helped by the realization that foreclosures are primarily the purview of speculators and homeless people, we distilled our desire for the place principally to it’s great outdoor area.

So, rather than saddle ourselves with the massive initial debt and ongoing obligations that go with owning such a property, especially considering that we really would only be able to enjoy it a few times a year, we have elected to take what we felt was best in that place and build it into our current home.

The project seemed pretty simple at first, how hard can it be to put in a pool with a screened enclosure?

They call our subdivision “Indian Hills” for a reason. Our house is set reasonably far back on just under a half acre of land with the front yard sloping down toward the street. The back yard is level behind the house for all of *maybe* 3-5 yards before it starts to slope upward. What this means is that we need to make our own level ground. For some reason you don’t install pools on an angle 🙂

Because our yard slopes, not only toward the house but also from West to East, there are drainage issues to consider. Add to this that we have a deteriorating railroad-tie retaining wall supporting our driveway – both of which are original with the 1970’s era house – and we end up with the following project:

  • Clear area for pool and lanai out back (about 25′ out from the house and about 42′ wide) including removing a bunch of trees
  • Pour retaining wall along one side and the back of the enclosure area to a height of about 4′
  • Level out as much of the remaining  back yard as possible to minimize the size of the needed retaining wall, otherwise this would need to be almost 7′ high
  • Install 28′ by 12′ by 4.5′ deep pool with an Endless Pools Fastlane
  • Build a drainage system to handle the backyard runoff that will be impacted by the retaining wall plus take all of our downspouts and route them appropriately away from the house
  • Remove and replace the existing driveway and retaining wall

The pool will be furnished by DesJoyaux pools and DC Enclosures will be building the Lanai and overseeing the construction related to the other aspects of the project.

We expect the project to span from February 11 until some time in May.

While we were trying to visualize the project, we were provided with some preliminary plans that serve to give an idea of the overall scope and impression of the project. We’ve since redesigned the pool to be more purely rectangular.

This first drawing shows the overall schematic

Here we see the pool as it is supposed to look coming out of our laundry room

This perspective is looking back *at* the laundry room door corner from the far side of the pool

And this one is an overview from a point slightly above our shed on the hillside


2012 Home Renovations – Part 02 The Before pictures

5 thoughts on “2012 Home Renovations – Part 01 The Project – Pool, Lanai, Driveway, Retaining walls”

  1. Good luck with all of that. I hope things go smoothly for you.

    One question about your pool. Why did you choose the 28 foot length? Do you figure you need that much length for the current to give you a proper swim, or other reasons?

  2. @king – We originally chose 12 x 24 as a size that would fit nicely in the back yard. Then we added the stairs on one end and the alcove for the fastlane on the other. Michelle decided she really preferred the rectangular shape with nothing bulging out. But she also didn’t want to lose any of the pool area to the stairs so we just extended the stairs across the width of the pool.

    For the fastlane, I forget the specs but I think 12 or 15 feet would be ample. The biggest consideration is ensuring that you have sufficient space on either side of the unit for the intake ports.

    So the short answer is that there is no *real* reason for that particular pool size..

  3. It is so interesting to see the progress of your pool reno.
    Have what you love and love what you have!

    Thanks for sharing!


  4. The pool looks great! We are considering doing a similar project at our house with a sloped yard. Would you mind sharing the cost involved with your process? Specifically the retaining wall and pool.

  5. @Robyn Desaulniers – Hi Robyn, It’s difficult to tease out just those costs since I scoped a much larger project that included a new driveway with its own engineered retaining wall plus pathways and Lanai (which many folks choose not to implement).

    From the documents I can give you these estimates:

    The pool itself rolled in around $40,000 including the pump, heating, fastlane and filter equipment.

    The retaining wall was about $10,000 including engineering, excavation, forms, rebar and pouring

    Around $4,000 for the stonework on the wall

    Permits were in the $1,000 range, I think that was for the whole job.

    You might also need:

    Pay to have trees cleared – This can be a few thousand depending on number and ease of access.

    Have landscaping regraded – both behind the wall and on the sides to direct water away from your pool area

    Haul away excavated dirt (we used ours to re-grade the driveway)

    Upgrade electrical panel for new pool equipment demand

    Upgrade gas meter for additional demand and install pipe to feed heater

    Install electrical lighting either in or around your new retaining wall for ambiance – do this while you’re building the wall! Also be careful how close the lights can be to the pool, we were surprised by this.

    Any plumbing you may need if you intend to have a heated shower or functional changing room near the pool

    If you go for the Lanai you are looking at about another $24,000. It really is like an addition onto your house. I *highly* recommend you do, it saves a ton of effort on pool maintenance and makes it far more pleasant to be out by the pool while everybody else is dealing with mosquitos and other pests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *