How do I get rid of an unused swimming pool?
September 4, 2006 1:28 PM   Subscribe

How do I get rid of a filled-in swimming pool?

Previous owners of my house put a swimming pool in the backyard. Subsequent owners filled it in with dirt and planted grass, but left the edge (including the aqua tile and diving board stand). It looks really, really silly -- and not in a good way.

It's a cement (concrete? I never can get those straight) border, about two feet wide, going all the way around a normal-for-a-backyard-sized pool.

What can we do to get rid of it? Do we have to rent a jackhammer and tear up the concrete? Get lots of dirt and pour it over the entire yard to cover it? Hire a professional landscaper? We want to just have grass or clover, no sign of the pool at all.
posted by The corpse in the library to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I accidentally bought a house with one of those, but in my case, they had removed the edge. It left in the backyard a sort of roll-y spot that never grew grass right.
(Since I had several cisterns to worry about, I didn't pursue it. Even if you pay the jackhammer guys to remove the edge, I think the part that's buried will always show.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 1:45 PM on September 4, 2006

It doesn't sound like the fill-in was done properly. When I had my pool filled in, the contractor jackhammered/sledged the sides of the pool down about 3'. He also jackhammered a series of drainage holes in the bottom of the pool so rainfall didn't accumulate in the buried basin.

Anyway, yah, you can rent a jackhammer and have at it. Figure on removing the concrete down far enough that you can clear a rototiller's blades over it--you'll likely have to resod the entire lawn to make it match (unless you happen to know what kind of grass you have).

I'm glad I hired someone to do it, it looked like one of those jobs where the novelty of using a jackhammer wore off about 5 minutes into it.

If you go with additional dirt fill to cover it, you'll want to make sure you're not changing the grade of your yard: you really don't want water to drain toward your house.
posted by jamaro at 1:53 PM on September 4, 2006

We had a similar problem when we bought a house with an abandoned in ground pool that we had no desire to repair. We hired a person with a Bobcat to excavate the cement and supporting structures. The Bobcat is very versatile, does minimal damage to surrounding areas and is extremely maneuverable. However, remember you must have some access to the back yard to admit the Bobcat and to carry out debris. We did leave one of the concrete aprons untouched and used it as a walkway to the back of our yard. We landcaped it and it turned out quite attractive. Look under excavation or demolition for local services.
(PS it took ten full sized dump truck loads of fill, sand and topsoil to fill the pool. Be very glad you do not have to do that.
posted by rmhsinc at 1:55 PM on September 4, 2006

concrete is water, aggregates (sand, gravel, and stone), and cement mixed together. cement is a binder that holds it all together. :)
posted by jeversol at 3:20 PM on September 4, 2006

It sounds to me like this is a job for a backhoe.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:01 PM on September 4, 2006

It sounds to me like you've never made use of a backhoe – It would, granted, be useful (if unwieldy) if you wanted to completely excavate the pool, but that's quite a lot of trouble. Seriously, you really would not want to do that. If the old pool doesn't already have holes punched in the bottom, it's not worth it to fully excavate it to put them there.

If you were to do it yourself, your best bet would be to get a sledge, spudbar and small jackhammer (or a large hammer drill, that's probably what I'd use) and work over the course of a week or two demolishing the rim down to about a foot, not bothering to move the debris out until finished, when you'd hire a guy with a bobcat and a truck to come out and get rid of the crap.

Be sure to buy plenty of beer, also, soil to fill in where the concrete was previously.
posted by blasdelf at 7:31 PM on September 4, 2006

I think you have to know something about the soil conditions in your back yard, and the composition of the pool, before you can decide what's really needed to achieve the appearance you want. In ground pool construction methods have changed over time in many areas, and if your pool was made of lightly wire mesh reinforced gunite, in sandy soils, as some early, low cost home pools from the 1950's were, you have a far different demolition situation than if your back yard is red clay, and your pool is poured and reinforced concrete.

Trenching down more than 2 feet to remove pool structure shouldn't be necessary, if the pool was properly punched out before it was filled. If it wasn't, you could insure it drains water to the water table by having auger drilled holes through its bottom done by a professional well drilling service, and this would probably cost less than excavating it again to check. Whatever you do, don't go digging more than 2 feet or so, unless you know soils and take appropriate measures to prevent trench collapse.
posted by paulsc at 8:26 PM on September 4, 2006

Seconding the bobcat. Awesome little machines.
posted by flabdablet at 11:31 PM on September 4, 2006

The Pool Removal Page
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 11:36 PM on September 4, 2006

« Older Professional looking index tabs?   |   Log Cabin Rental (In Michigan) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.