Our Natural Swimming Pond Build: The (W)hole Disaster Concludes…

Even if you’ve been paying close attention as you’ve followed my journey into the unknown, you’re forgiven if you’ve lost track of where I’m at.  Even I’ve lost track of where I’m at 😛  A quick recap is undoubtedly warranted…

In the beginning there was an idea. That idea was to build a natural swimming pond. Now how hard can it be –  right?  Dig a hole, put in a pond liner, add water, go for a swim. But then along comes hubby and his “issues” with the project.  We have no budget and no time line.  Feel free to go back to my first post to discover how The Keystone Cops have somehow been resurrected in the middle of my dream.

Of course, some things never change.  We still have no budget, a time line that is being driven by everybody but us, three little kids on holidays from pre-school and school and a great big hole in our yard.

There's a big hole in the yard
There’s a big hole in the yard

The thing about holes is that they generally have to be filled back in.  Our hole has supposedly been dug to snuggly fit our factory-second fibreglass pool shell. You know… the one where hubby can see the waiting snakes before he dips his toes in!

On the “to do NOW list” is ‘put a nice bed of sand on the bottom of the hole so that when the shell arrives in the morning we are all ready to go’.  So hubby works into the night, shovelling sand into a hole and with a bit more work at sunrise we are ready to go (or so we think).

The pool guy arrives in his old ambulance towing our pool.  He’s already got his cranky pants on.  Something to do with the Police and trailer issues.  We are excited and the kids are amazed at this “huge pool”.

It's here!
It’s here!

Mr Cranky Pants takes one look at the hole and goes ballistic.  The hole is wrong – horrifically wrong.  It’s too big!, The slope of the land hasn’t been taken into account!  The depth isn’t right! The shape isn’t right!  In fact, I don’t think anything is right.

I feel sick.  The crane is arriving in just a few small hours.  I need to know what can be done – I’m solution focused at this minute but there is a volcanic eruption beginning just below the surface.  The excavator guy – the ‘mate’ without the ‘mates rates’ – who supposedly followed the engineering specs, clearly hasn’t.

Mr Cranky Pants asks for a bucket of water and gets a clear bit of hose and starts taking levels.  Discussion ensues.  How far out of the ground can the pool be; what sort of retaining wall can we build; what is the minimum depth we can make the bed of sand; how quickly can we get more sand.

We find a way to make the hole work in a whimsical sort of way, but we are really pressed for time.  The sand bed in the bottom has to be totally redone and then screeded before the crane arrives.  Why waste words when I can show you what that looks like.  Ready ….

5 kids and 3 adults in a hole
5 kids and 3 adults in a hole

Every last grain of sand is used.  We shovel it. We rake it.  We do everything but vacuum it out of the lawn!  We get it done before the crane arrives.

The excitement builds again and the kids (both big and small) are delighted to see this massive big red truck with an even bigger white jib arrive.

Crane guy is awesome.  Mr Cranky Pants parked his ambulance in the middle of the available space and now can’t manoeuvre well enough to give the crane a fair go.  Crane guy takes it in his stride and before long has himself in position.  And of course the upside to having an oversized hole (and an oversized crane) is that it only takes one shot to get the shell in place.

One crane, one hole and one fibreglass shell (almost) in the ground.
One crane, one hole and one fibreglass shell (almost) in the ground.

We wave goodbye to the crane guy, Mr Cranky Pants and more money out of our non-existent budget, but I have a lot to be grateful for.

I am grateful that our time line is no longer under pressure.  I am grateful that we have a factory-second fibreglass pool in a hole in our yard.  I am grateful that for the first time in her life my youngest sleeps all the way through the night in her own bed.  But most of all I am grateful for our family and friends who have helped us get this far.

Do you think we’re on a down hill run to the finish line? And how do you think I’m going to fare in my battle with our “friend”, the excavator operator and his horrible hole?

Don’t touch that dial!  The next episode is about to stream from these very fingertips!  In the meantime, PLEASE tell me what you would have done.  Or just tell me I’m crazy – you won’t be the first (or I suspect the last)!.

A rankled but relieved Rebecca 🙂

Part 5:  Sand, cement and water

 




  • Diedra

    Probably the same as you. LOLOL

  • Dalma

    Hi Rebecca!

    What an inspirational story! We are about to build our first house soon (still lost in the world of planning) and was convinced that a pool is something absolutely unaffordable. Seeing your determination, though, makes me think that it is not impossible after all. If it is not too much to ask, it would be good to know how big the hole in your budget will be when it is all done.
    Until then, wish you good luck and lots of fun with the rest of the project!

    • Thanks Dalma. And I promise to share the final damage bill. 🙂 If you are having earth works done for your house, consider getting the hole dug at the same time. It will save you money, time and mess further down the track.

  • Claude

    My husband and I have had our own pool company (concrete)for the past 5 years and when ever people think they can save money buy handling the Excavation well your story is not uncommon love what your trying to achieve and look forward to seeing the end result

    • Thanks. 🙂 And you’re right. We paid a supposed “professional” so we wouldn’t have an expensive mistake. Live and learn.

  • Stephan A. Koch

    You have an enlightening blog. I hope you have as much tenacity with your hubby as you do with this project as preserving your marriage is ultimately more worthwhile in the end however I’m sure you will succeed in both endeavours eventually.

    • Thanks Stephan. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary yesterday, so we’ve survive. 🙂

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