How I Built My Own Pool – Day 5: Backfill

August 20th, 2015 | Posted by Larry in - How To

Yesterday on Day 4, we put in the pool liner and started filling the pool, we filled it halfway from a truck, and kept a hose running that added about 1/2 inch every hour. By morning, the pool was full!

There is some plumbing to finish on the equipment pad, connecting the pump, filter and heater to the pipes we’ve stubbed up out of the ground. Our main task today though, is backfilling around the outside of the inground pool kit walls and filling the trenches, after we pressure test the plumbing.


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7 am: We inspect the plumbing very closely for any leaks at the pool wall or any of the PVC pipe connections, while the guys make final connections on the equipment pad to the plumbing and wiring. We fill the Hayward EcoStar pump with water, open the Hayward SwimClear filter air bleeder and check that return side valves are open. All looks good, so we hit the switch, and like a baby taking it’s first breath, the pool begins to circulate water and comes to life!

8 am: Our Excavation company shows up again out front, so we take down the fence section so he can drive in. We had just started the pump, so several people are closely checking the skimmers and returns, pipe fittings and plumbing connections. We find a small drip but it’s on the equipment pad, above ground; everything that will be buried in dirt looks dry and tight.

9 am: We work carefully around the pipes and conduit, making sure as we fill that pipes are well supported underneath, for the weight of earth that will be over top. As the excavator drops in huge buckets of dirt, we use shovels to move it close to the walls, tamping it in well with our feet. Every foot of fill, we run the compactor over the ground to pack the soil in.

10 am: By now the excavator is loading up the fill dirt that was leftover. I thought we would be able to use more dirt than we actually did; slight miscalculation on my part. Fortunately, the excavator called in a dump truck and began filling it with the leftover dirt, while we made quick arrangements to find a new home for some Free! fill dirt. Again fortune was with us, we found a site nearby that would take the fill dirt without charging us by the load. I did still have to pay for the dump truck and driver though, and a few extra excavator hours.

12 noon: As the last two loads of extra fill dirt are hauled off, the excavator loads up and we replace the fence section, permanently this time. Work has continued non-stop with the compactor, to tamp the dirt around the pool. While compacting the top layer, dirt is added or removed with shovels if needed, so the surface is as level as possible.

1 pm: The pool water is tested with my Taylor test kit, and we found it to have perfect calcium hardness at 185 ppm, but a little low on pH and alkalinity. It had a chlorine reading of 1.5 ppm, and a combined chlorine level of 0.5 ppm, so a good shocking would be in order. Before that’s done however, we first raise the alkalinity and add 650 lbs of salt to the pool, to start chlorinating the pool with my AquaRite salt chlorinator.

2 pm: The Lochinvar pool heater is test fired, and the water coming out of the jets began flowing warmer immediately. We programmed the heater to maintain a certain temperature, but then left it off for the time being. My new inground pool is now fully operational, and it only took 5 days, start to finish. Much thanks to Randy and Nate and all the rest who put a lot of sweat equity into this pool.

Up Next: The ground (dirt!) around the pool will be watered over the next several weeks to help the earth settle in the areas where the cantilevered pool deck will be sitting. Other parts of the yard are repaired with sod, mulch and new plantings or re-landscaping. The deck is poured in about 30 days, until then we used a few long strips of astroturf to get around the pool.

We started using the pool almost immediately (that weekend), and the following spring we did more landscape work and by now after two seasons, it looks like it’s always been there.

We love our inground pool, and glad that we also were able to use it as an example of how I built my own inground pool; saving nearly $20,000 – without lifting a finger! You don’t see this face in any of the pictures/video do you?

This is my final post, it has been a pleasure sharing my love and knowledge of in ground pools. I’m officially off-duty, now able to work full time from my hammock by the pool!


Larry Weinberg
SPP Pool Expert

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