Serving Central Texas

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Austin Pool and Yard Renovation





Follow along as a yard with a swimming pool that was constructed end of 2008 is transformed into a flowing comfortable space with a new pool. The renovation to this property was extensive due to a number of issues the existing backyard design had. All renovation work was completed by Athena Pools. This project was started end of February 2012 and is not complete. Check back as the project matures.

  1. 1. What Needed to Change
  2. 2. Design Phase
  3. 3. Views of Yard Prior to Renovation
  4. 4. Demolition
  5. 5. Pool Excavation
  6. 6. Pool and Deck Concrete
  7. 7. Masonry Work
  8. 8. Landscaping Phase
  9. 9. Plaster and Startup

1. What Needed to Change

The existing swimming pool shape and deck layout did not take advantage of the yard size or shape. The existing pool and deck outline can be seen in Figure 1 below. The existing pool lacked a spa and automatic water filler both of which the owners now wanted. The existing equipment pad was placed in direct line of site of the custom pool to keep the construction costs down. The pool deck was in the process of separating from the pool and the concrete deck material selection was not comfortable on the feet. The pool deck was cracking in many places due to the design and lack of expansion joints. On the plumbing side it was poorly plumbed with hydraulic issues associated with pool returns and waterfalls. The plaster was badly worn out and rocks were falling off the raised beam and into the pool. During the demolition of the pool we found that the pool concrete thickness for both the walls and floor to be 4-5″ thick (not adequate for a pool shell holding water).


Fig. 1: Survey of property prior to renovation

2. Design Phase

After numerous consultations a preliminary design was created as shown in Figure 2a. A new swimming pool with spa was designed to compliment the yard shape and the angles of the house. The pool equipment pad was removed off the main deck and placed out of site. A raised planter was added behind the pool accommodating five custom designed copper water-sheers. A grill with serving area was placed near the kitchen for easy access and use. Another raised planter was added near the grill serving area to give the yard more dimension. Finally a court yard was placed to the right of the house with a custom designed fire pit and waterfall. Once the design was approved a three dimensional rendering (Figure 2b-2c) was created with stepping stones from the main deck to the courtyard. The design will include a post light near the grill area, a post heater by the pool area, and low voltage lighting throughout to bring the yard to life in the evenings. Austin custom pools frequently have these features.


Fig. 2a: New preliminary plan outline revamping the entire back yard utilizing space more effectively


Fig. 2b: Three dimensional rendering of design shown in Figure 2 with additional stepping stones to fire-pit


Fig. 2c: Three dimensional rendering side view looking from fire pit towards pool

3. Views of Yard Prior to Renovation

A series of before shorts were taken prior to yard transformation. All irrigation, gas, and electrical connections were prepared for demolition and the pool was drained.


Fig. 3a: View from rear backyard looking at pool


Fig. 3b: View from pool side with garden pipe filling poo


Fig. 3c: View of pool with equipment pad fence on right. White mastic joint that does not blend into decking. Elevated lip around pool


Fig. 3d: View of equipment pad behind wood fence on main deck


Fig. 3e: Sheers failing due to poor plumbing


Fig. 3f: Rocks falling off wall


Fig. 3g: Plaster in bad shape

4. Demolition

Demolition of this project took just over one week. Below are some photo’s of the yard going through its transformation. At first it is very messy but as the project moves forward the yard will begin to take shape. The amount of steel used in the pool was very minimal and not something that should be done. Floor thickness of the pool was measured at 4-5″ explaining the state of the pool floor. The pool wall concrete thickness was also measured at 4-5″ (Figure 4d) and not adequate either. The concrete deck was also 2″ thick in many places(also not adequate).


Fig. 4a: Deck and BBQ removed


Fig. 4b: Plumbing trenches prepared for new swimming pool equipment pad location


Fig. 4c: Pool Demolition starts; Steel placed on side of pool (very little of it)


Fig. 4d: Pool wall thickness of 4-5″ (about 1/2 what is should be)

5. Pool Excavation

At this point we start excavating the new pool outline and dig to the desired depth profile. Lots of rock. Great view of the old equipment pad exposed in figure 5a. One last original, custom pool wall left that still needs to be taken out. After the pool is dug it is formed up followed by steel and then plumbing and electrical rough.


Fig. 5a: Pool outline dug


Fig. 5b: Pool forming


Fig. 5c: Steel is installed into the Pool and Spa


Fig. 5d: Plumbing and electrical is installed into the pool and open trenches

6. Pool and Deck Concrete

Next up is the concrete shoot for the pool


Fig. 6a: Pool is shot with concrete


Next on the list is the deck preperation. We remove all the spoils from the plumbing work and import special base for pipes and deck. Unlike many builders we do not keep the spoils from the job site… we import all road-base. First the pipes are covered and closely monitored during construction. The deck is the formed and finally poured.


Fig. 6b: Base imported


Fig. 6c: Deck elevations set, Deck Formed, Drains placed, Steel installed


Fig. 6d: Deck pour complete

7. Masonry Work

Once the sub-deck has been created by Athena Pools deck crews (many builders will simply skip the concrete sub-base to save money making their pools cheaper at a cost of quality) we bring in our artistic masonry crews in to start cutting and laying the stone. All the stone for this job was handpicked by Athena Pools and delivered on site. We consumed approximately 40 tons of stone for this project. The custom designed fire-pit with stone benches and custom L shaped grill area are all created during this phase. Once all the rock work is complete we bring in our landscape crews to install the irrigation and install plants and grass.


8. Landscaping Phase: All Landscaping designed and implemented by Athena Pools

Once all the rock work is complete we bring in our landscape crews to install the irrigation lines. Once the irrigation is installed we install the plants and grass per the design followed by the low voltage landscape lighting.




9. Plaster and startup

Once we are done with landscaping it is time to finish up the project and install the pebble plaster and fill the pool with water.