Appleton: Pool Deck

In this Appleton backyard we had a specific list of requests:

  • Make the client’s patio bigger.
  • Make the larger patio accommodate an in-ground swimming pool.
  • Provide an area to relax in the shade while still on the pool deck.
  • Provide an area to keep warm on cooler nights with a fire pit.

paver patio around pool - design

masonry around poolpreparations for concrete pour around poolMaking the patio larger was the easy part. They had an existing slab that they had made larger with the help of one of our (large) local competitors, but the client had to call the other company back more than once to repair settling issues that came as a result of inadequate base preparation. The only thing to be done in this case to make a patio as large as they needed was to wipe the slate clean and start anew, which meant removing the slab and sub-par add-on.

What presented more of a challenge was the in-ground swimming pool. The pool was soft-sided, meaning there wasn’t shotcrete or some other rigid material serving as the outer edge of the pool. It was a narrow steel frame, placed in-ground, a liner installed inside the frame, not unlike many above ground pools. The reason this was a challenge for us had to do with compaction. For us to adequately compact the crushed stone base for our paver patios, especially when that crushed stone is going to extend 4’ into the ground around the sides of the pool excavation, we needed to use large compaction equipment. Equipment I feared would result in crushing in the sides of the client’s brand new swimming pool. So another option had to be found and unfortunately, the local pool installation company had no answers and little desire to help.

But after several phone calls and emails back and forth with the pool kit manufacturing company’s engineers, sketches and engineered specifications in PDF form zipping from their desks to ours, we had a solution for this client, and we could begin directing the pool installation company in where the pool should be placed and the elevations they needed to hit.

brick patio around pool, arbor, swing and fire pit

Sonotubes extending down to the bottom of the excavation were placed on 42” centers to serve as columns of support for the pavement above, and then the over-excavated area around the pool was filled with pea gravel, which is small, round stones like marbles that don’t require much of any vibratory assistance in reaching their maximum density. Rebar was set into the sonotubes and bent and tied to rebar around and within a 3’ formed area outside of the pool to reinforce and strengthen the concrete we then poured. This provided an underground, Stonehenge-like system of support for the brick pavers that were then overlaid on the new concrete around the pool and mortared at the pool’s edge.

Adding the fire pit an appropriate distance from the pool and an arbor with a cantilevered overhead shade canopy to provide maximum protection from the sun and support for a bench swing completed this hardscape ensemble.

Here’s what this client had to say about us on Angie’s List:

Owner/designer came over to collect initial project specs. and measurements. Returned within a few days with a complete project drawing for our approval. We did change our project design three times, and each time he was very courteous and understanding about our changes. He brought over many paver samples for us to choose from, along with booklets showing different paver layout options. We also installed an in-ground pool that had to be incorporated into the patio work. He went over and above what we expected from him, just to make sure everything was done exactly as it should be to protect the pool as well as the patio work. He even called the pool store and the pool manufacturer, when it wasn’t even his responsibility to. WE WERE SO IMPRESSED AND PLEASED WITH HIM

The finished product is beautiful and is quality work! We are so pleased with everything about the project, that we are now having him come back this spring to incorporate a permanent swing into the patio. We would highly recommend this company…owner is so personable and willing to work with you, and takes pride in his work being done the best it can be. He even said to us, “the project is a representation of me and my company; it’s my name on it,” so he wanted it to be done right!