Build a dream swimming pool from scratch

This is the story of how a homeowner decided to build his own swimming pool from the ground up to create an entire entertainment area in his back garden. The installation includes a gorgeous swimming pool with rock waterfall, and a splash pool, a braai area. 





After consulting with various pool installation companies in his area, and viewing countless pool design ideas, the homeowner felt he had a fairly good idea of what could and could not be done and it was simply a matter of putting it down on paper.

His advice for anyone wanting to build their own swimming pool is that, you don't have to know all the details for the entire process - you just need to know where to get the information necessary. It requires plenty of motivation to get started and assistance from people who understand what is involved in the various phases of building a swimming pool.


He didn't wake up one morning and decide to build his own swimming pool, rather he spent months obtaining quotations for his dream pool and realising that he wasn't getting value for money and that building your own pool is not as difficult as one might think.





Step 1 Design and Plan

Make sure you design a pool that you know you can do. Work with an architectural designer or structural engineer, or someone who has plenty of knowledge on the pros and cons of building a pool in line with municipal regulations.

You will also need to subcontract a surveyor to determine the lie of the land. You want a pool level that is perfect but still need to allow for paving around the pool that  allows for a slope for water to drain away from the pool and away from the property. 


Step 2 Excavation

After marking out the area excavators were subcontracted to start digging out the area. For this step you need to make sure any equipment has access to the area, unless you plan to dig out your pool using a spade!


Steel rebar were inserted around the edge of the excavated pool for holding the plywood forms that would later be used for filling with concrete to reinforce the pool. A structural engineer can advise on how much reinforcing will be required for the size of pool you are building.


Step 3 Pipes and Filtration

A plumbing or pool subcontractor will be able to advise on the size of the pump and type of filtration system needed to run the pool effectively.

Trenches needed to be dug to a depth of 200mm for the water and filtration pipes around the edge of the pool and to the filtration system. You need to plan for placing the pool pump and check local regulations for where - and where not - this can be placed.








If you refer to the original article you will see that this pool incorporates other elements and not just a pool. The design has a waterfall, a spa pool, heater and skimmers. If you are only looking to build a pool, base your research on this.


Step 4 Reinforcing

Rebar was added around the pool and added features to increase the tensile strength of the pool.  Without the rebar, the shell would be much more apt to crack under the force of the water and soil against it.

The plans for laying rebar was drawn up by the structural engineer. The structural engineering plans are important because they indicate the amount of  reinforcing necessary at each location throughout pool.



Step 5 Electrical

An electrical subcontractor can install all the electrical connections for operating the pool and other equipment. They are also responsible for insuring that the installation conforms to minimum safety requirements and local regulations.


Step 6 Pouring cement

The structural engineer will advise on the quantity of poured concrete required for the size and shape of pool being installed. The top 150mm portion of the pool shell that forms the lip around the perimeter of the pool is 300mm thick - twice as thick as the pool walls to add extra support to increase the structural integrity of the shell.


Cracks are the most common problem with poured concrete. Temperature and humidity can effect the curing process, causing the concrete to shrink too fast. As concrete hardens it shrinks due to the evaporation of moisture in the concrete. Shrinkage cracks occur when the concrete dries too rapidly. The first 24 hours is when most shrinkage cracks occur.







Keeping new concrete wet insures that the curing process occurs at the proper rate and this can be done with a regular light spraying with a hose pipe and spray nozzle 3 to 4 times a day during hot weather for a period of 7 days, or covering the concrete with a plastic sheet.


Shaping is done using a long, flat straightedge.

7. Filling the pool

Filling up may take a day or more depending on the size of the pool. After filling the water will be murky. You will find plenty of information on the Internet for the correct procedure for pool startup and the guys at HTH have a great website filled with plenty of hints and tips for setting up a new pool.


Find detailed instructions for the entire pool installation from start to finish here.

Disclaimer: No responsibility is accepted for the details contained in this article, either by Home-Dzine or the original author. What is contained above is an actual representation of how a homeowner built a swimming pool - whether the procedure was right or wrong. There will be differences in building regulations, so you will need to obtain approval before you do anything.