Today, I want to share with you an exciting project that had us on the edge of our seats. It all started with a magnificent paver driveway we installed last 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 Hilton Village (Newport News, Virginia) was a true work of art. 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 80 and 100 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).
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.
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.
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.
Unexpected Hurdles and Creative Solutions:
As with any project, unexpected hurdles arose. One such challenge involved a shed that occupied the spot where I had planned to start the water wall. Regrettably, we had to relocate the shed from the back of the property to the front, basically right in the middle of our water feature. Naturally, this meant reworking the water feature design to accommodate the shed's new location. Instead of having a continuous water feature with a fountain leading to a waterfall, we had to separate the components. Now three stacked slate spheres sit as an independent water feature closer to the house, allowing easier maintenance, management, and even added visibility from inside. We are so grateful for the team from American Waterscapes for helping with this part of the project!
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.
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!
About Easton Outdoors
We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!