Epic Plunge Pool Oasis Installation

Materials: Everything! Plunge pool, pavers, retention block, fire pit, granite, pond equipment, gravel, stone, mulch, plants, plumbing, carpentry, electrical

Epic Plunge Pool: Creating a Beautiful Backyard Oasis for the Whole Family

Here’s a journey through a remarkable transformation in Newport News, Virginia. In this detailed account, we will walk you through the entire process, from the challenges we faced to the stunning features we incorporated. Prepare to be amazed as we unveil the captivating hardscape and water features that have turned this once mundane space into a backyard paradise for the whole family.


A Nerve-Wracking Plunge Pool Installation

It all started with a magnificent paver driveway we installed the previous year, boasting a whopping 5,500 square feet. Complete with a mesmerizing water feature, intricate inlays, and a picturesque walkway leading to the front porch, this driveway in the beautiful neighborhood of Riverside near Hilton Village (Newport News, Virginia). Little did we know that an even greater challenge awaited us – the installation of a 22,000 pound plunge pool. Join me as we dive (see what I did there?!) into all the details of this nerve-wracking endeavor.

A Tight Squeeze and a Weighty Concern:

Now, picture this: a massive truck carrying a plunge pool weighing between 85 and 90 thousand pounds had to navigate its way through the narrow side of the house. To say that this was a super tight spot would be an understatement. We only had about 9 1/2 feet of access, and there was a hedge along the side of the yard that we were trying really hard to preserve. I spent many sleepless nights pondering how we could make this seemingly impossible feat a reality. We considered having a crane set up in the front yard to maneuver the pool around the side of the house, or maybe even over the top of the house, but our client said, no way is that pool going over my house! Thankfully, after thorough research, we found an incredible company from Bel Air, Maryland, specializing in transporting Soake pools. They arrived in the wee hours of the morning, skillfully maneuvered their flatbed truck through our tight access point, and made it into the backyard without a hitch (although his truck may have taken a few scratches).

Newport News Plunge Pool

As you can see, our worksite may appear messy and chaotic at times, but trust me, it’s all part of the process. With each challenge we face, we find creative solutions and make adjustments to bring our grand vision to life. Be sure to go back and check out this post for more of the technical details of this incredible backyard transformation. Thanks for reading, and get outside my friends!

Preserving the Driveway

A major concern that kept me up at night was the potential damage to the beautiful paver driveway that was installed just a short time ago! In the end, our meticulous preparation paid off. When constructing paver driveways, we take great care to anticipate heavy loads and strengthen the foundation accordingly. We used additional base material, installing geo grid and woven fabric, all in anticipation of future weight-bearing situations. The result? A truck weighing a staggering 80 thousand pounds passed over the paver driveway with minimal deflection. From the apron to the driveway, we used plywood as protection, and you can’t even tell that the driveway experienced such a test. With that obstacle overcome, we were able to move onto the next phase of the project.

Impressive Durability

Before we showcase the breathtaking backyard, let’s take a moment to appreciate the paver driveway that stood up to the test of a monster truck. Seriously, this thing is a beast! It didn’t flinch or show any signs of distress. We’re incredibly proud of its durability. Check out this post for more details about how we built this strong, 5,500 square foot driveway!

Revamping the Walkway

To maintain a consistent theme throughout the property, we replaced the dilapidated brick walkway on the side of the house that no longer fit the vision we had for the space. By incorporating additional materials matching the front yard’s walkway, we seamlessly blended the two areas. This transition not only enhanced the aesthetics but also created a unique courtyard space visible from inside the house, which we’ll talk more about down below!

Preparing the Foundation

While the team worked their magic with the truck, we focused on preparing the foundation for the plunge pool. Sonny diligently dug a hole while Chris efficiently moved the sandy loam soil. The great news was that the soil was easy to dig through, thanks to its composition. After digging out the necessary space, we laid down a solid 17 inches of gravel. To ensure proper drainage, we installed a top-notch drain system that directed water away from the pool. We then made a slight over-excavation to accommodate the walls that would surround the plunge pool, ultimately serving as the pool’s concrete face.

Simultaneous Collaboration

To keep things moving swiftly, we found ourselves in a situation where the electrician, paver team, and water feature crew were all working simultaneously. The limited space forced us to work almost on top of each other, which is never an ideal scenario. The pavers needed to be installed, coping had to be placed around the stacked slate sphere area, boulders needed incorporation, and electrical work had to be done for the plunge pool’s auto cover. Once the water feature and coping were set, we wouldn’t be able to access the area with conduit, so timing was critical.

Rearranging and Re-imagining

Throughout the project, we encountered some unexpected twists and turns. One such instance involved relocating a 10,000-pound shed twice, which initially disrupted the water feature dynamics. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it pushed the water feature further into the space, enhancing the overall visual appeal and making it visible from inside the house.

Additional Technical Details

Speaking of the shed, the electrical system was rewired onto the side of the shed to accommodate the auto cover, with the electricity connecting to the pool’s panel. Then over on the side of the house we’ve got lines for all of the sensors that connect to the pool, the gas line with emergency shutoff, and all of the larger equipment sitting on top of the pavers. The panel on the side of the house contains the Wi-Fi controlled smart system from Aqualink. This intelligent system allows for seamless control and monitoring of the pool equipment.

The Enchanting Backyard

Now let’s explore the true gem of this project—the backyard. Designed with the idea of fostering shared experiences between grandparents and grandchildren, the raised plunge pool plays a central role. By elevating the pool to the height of a standard chair or stool, we created a space where grandparents can sit alongside the pool and be part of the kids’ fun. It’s all about shared experiences and building lasting memories! With its remarkable features reminiscent of a hot tub or swim spa, this Soake pool offers all the perks of a regular pool in a compact size.

Plunge Pool Details:

The impressive 22,000-pound plunge pool features an incredibly robust fit and finish. The pool’s exceptional craftsmanship features double insulation, concrete, and hand tiled interior, which ensures longevity and temperature retention. This means that the pool only loses one to two degrees per day! As if that weren’t enough, we surrounded the pool with a wide granite finish, giving the space a really structured and elegant look. The inside of the pool features a bench with stairs for easy access. The pool’s plumbing is cleverly concealed in a chaise to the side, maintaining a clean and elegant aesthetic. Additionally, the pool stands at a comfortable 18 inches tall, and underneath the ledge, there are nine lights that create a warm and inviting ambiance.

Auto Cover and Drainage

For added convenience and protection, the pool is equipped with an auto cover housed within the pool’s edge. This cover ensures that any water or debris on top of it drains into the pool through a built-in drain system. Moreover, the pool has a separate drainage system that channels excess water away from the pool’s vicinity, preventing any hydrostatic pressure issues.

A Symphony of Water Features

To create a captivating atmosphere, we carefully orchestrated a series of water features. The stacked slate spheres and the captivating water wall, comprised of multiple stacked segments and a front spiller, create a dynamic and unique experience. Natural stones and plants adorn the space, while strategically placed lighting adds a nice cozy touch, making the whole area twinkle at night.​
The main water feature is split up into two sections. It starts with two medium stacked slate spheres placed on the sides, with a larger sphere positioned in the center. These spheres have 22 AquaBlox beneath them. Then you come to a striking water wall with 12 segments, stacked up in two’s, and 6 toppers stretched along an 18-foot wall. This feature incorporates approximately 18,000 pounds of rocks, adding texture and depth to the overall design.

Gathering Around the Fire Pit

The patio leading to the fire pit sets the stage for a seamless transition into a new space. The fire pit, situated on an 18 x 18 feet raised paver patio, invites guests to gather around and enjoy the warmth. With a spacious seating wall and a 5-foot fire pit boasting a 422,000 BTU burner, this cozy spot offers the perfect ambiance for gathering around the flames. Surrounded by water features, pavers, and a picturesque view of the river, it becomes an idyllic spot for relaxation.

Pavers and Walkways

The pavers used in this project are of various types and colors, adding visual interest and defining different areas. We used Techo-Bloc Blu 60 pavers for the main portion of the patio, while the landing and fire pit area have the larger Techo-Bloc Blu Grande pavers. For the curving walkway, a combination of Techo-Bloc Antika pavers with a Villagio border in Onyx was used. And of course, we can’t forget to mention the sand filling the joints which is a special resin-based nitro sand, making the pavers permeable.

Courtyard and Lighting

One of my favorite vistas is charming courtyard area, bordered by Techo-Bloc Villagio pavers. Here, you’ll find another large stacked slate sphere sitting atop an AquaBasin 45. To enhance the ambiance, path lights were strategically placed in the corners. In total, this backyard oasis boasts an impressive 96 lights, including cap lights, lights within the panels, and hidden lights around the landscaping and water features.

The Grand Vision Taking Shape

Amidst the chaos, our grand vision was gradually coming to life. A stunning water wall, stacked over four feet high and 18 feet long, formed the centerpiece of the water feature. Rocks were meticulously positioned in front, creating a trough that spilled water into a beautiful waterfall. Adjacent to the pool and fire pit, a sphere added an elegant touch and an upper patio, positioned above the pool, provided the perfect vantage point to appreciate the entire space.

The Final Flourishes

As we tied up loose ends, we put the finishing touches on the steps leading down from the house. Incorporating a black outline on the bottom of each step created a striking contrast against the light-colored stone. We added lights to further enhance the aesthetic appeal. These black-outlined steps would be a true highlight, punctuating the design with sharp sophistication.

Exciting Future Plans

Believe it or not, this backyard transformation is only phase one! The homeowners have ambitious plans to construct a building that will house an outdoor kitchen and more. We can’t wait to integrate these spaces seamlessly into the existing design, taking this backyard oasis to the next level.
Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to checkout our YouTube channel for more behind the scenes videos and backyard transformations. Get outside my friends!