Just in time for summer, Eastview transformed a residential backyard property with a leaky swimming pool into a gorgeous poolscape that’s perfect for hot afternoons and for entertaining family and friends in all seasons. Let’s look at all the construction work that went into completing this vision.
The most remarkable part of this transformation is visualizing what’s possible on the very first walkthrough with the property owner.
Can you see the development above in the photo below?
This grand vision starts with sketches which become blueprints that beget lists of necessary materials. Consider the picture above, which was taken after the renovation, and try to imagine that bold future in what’s presented below. It’s a rare human that can re-imagine a backyard space and see it developed before it has been improved. Our home remodeler has so much experience, he can survey a project and plan its completion by counting the steps backwards on paper, long before anything happens on site.
The exterior home renovation included a rear addition which expanded the footprint of the home by hundreds of square feet on both rear corners. This allows the marvelous covered porch, a covered outdoor room, in the center of the house. Without going into all the details involved in digging out the basement, the excavation and subsequent reformulation allowed the space to be remodeled more efficiently, benefiting from more space and better dimensions, meaning the rooms are more properly shaped. The kitchen was moved from the center of the house to the east corner which allows more flow-through the house and better focuses the property on the backyard space and the swimming pool.
Before the nineteen seventies, heavy cinder block foundations were standard fare across Ontario and nearly every house that’s over fifty-years-old rests on these ubiquitous cement blocks. There are some builders who believe this is still the best approach, but Eastview favors poured concrete walls because of its lateral strength. The basement rooms that were created became a storage area and a spare bedroom, but this was just a biproduct for the purpose of the rear addition was to remodel the main floor.
Reinforced concrete is strong and doesn’t easily buckle. Block wall foundations on the other hand, are prone to warping and even separating and repairing such problems is very costly. That being said, the cinder block wall actually has more compression strength which means it can hold more weight and that’s why many commercial buildings still employ blocks. Cinder block walls tend to have more leaks however because of the grout lines, but both foundation types can be completely waterproofed. These cement foundations were waterproofed using specially made vinyl material. The procedure was contemporaneously documented on this blog in a post entitled, Waterproofing a Basement During a Rear Addition.
To complete the first phase of the project, Eastview had to break the basement wall in two spots and tunnel under the house which is a major exercise. We needed to be able to get underneath the structure in order to add the necessary reinforcing materials to support the overhaul happening above. Sadly, there was no room for heavy equipment under the house and much of the excavation was done by hand, with picks and shovels, wheelbarrows and buckets. Outside we were able to dig down more efficiently and two teams worked simultaneously to meet in the middle.
Once we had the holes in the ground, the foundation was poured using a cement truck with a very tall articulating arm which was able to reach overtop and behind the house. The first step is to pour the footing which is a cement base that’s wider than the wall and which help distribute the weight over a larger area. This hole depicted in the photo on the right is the basement under the new kitchen. The room we created above allowed us to fashion the perfect kitchen because we could literally start-over from the ground-up.
Rempel Concrete Pumping Saved Time and Money
Concrete pumping saved time and money and kept this project on schedule. We’d probably still be there if we had to move all that cement by hand. Rempel Concrete Pumping moved freshly mixed batches to the recently dredged holes at the back of the house with a boom concrete pump. In the photo to the right, you can see the remote-controlled articulating robotic arm, called a boom which very precisely placed concrete in the forms we’d made. It is attached to a truck which is a giant pump. Boom pumps are capable of pumping cement at very high volumes and are less labor intensive to operate when compared to other systems. Concrete pumps are hydraulic and can achieve fluid pressures of up to 400 bar and flow rates of up to 200 m³ / hour. This is about five times faster than we could ever accomplish with a half dozen workers, wheelbarrows and shovels.
The additions were not extended to the second floor; they just pop-out the main floor in two spots. They allow a better kitchen set-up and more comfortable living room. They make those rooms more distinct and complete, and in between there’s a covered rear porch.
The covered rear patio has the same white wooden columns as the front of the house, and is a shady place to relax on summer days while the kids play in the pool. Lunch will be barbequed and served on the octagonal table which has its own sunshade.
Poured concrete has been the material of choice for pool decking for decades because it’s durable and water-resistant. When finished with a brushed surface, poured concrete allows swimmers to walk barefooted without the risk of slipping. Aggregate concrete and tiles are good choices for around the pool. The grassy area left of barbeque is pet friendly AstroTurf and is forever green with no maintenance required.
For most of this renovation, the pool was fenced off, out of sight and out of mind. While we worked on the house, the homeowner set about determining why his pool was leaking and how to fix the issue.
The most common cause of a leaky swimming pool is the piping or other mechanical issues, followed by structural damage as happens when water freezes in the winter, or broken or loose fittings. The homeowner replaced the pipes and selected a deep blue shaded pool liner that does add incredible colour to the outdoor space.
Building a cabana beside the inground swimming pool makes the amenity even friendlier and even better suited to entertaining family and friends. A cabana is a specially designed support structure that’s purpose-built for amplifying poolside gatherings.
Cabana pool houses offer another inviting place to sit and watch the kids while they swim. Add a sofa and it becomes a fine place to enjoy meals and good conversation. The building provides shelter from the sun, wind, and rain and becomes the perfect contingency for bad weather. This shelter seen in the pictures is California redwood and will be stained red. It’s wired with hydro service, Wi-Fi and has three types of lighting fixtures. You can read more about cabana fashion in another blog post, Backyard Pool Upgrade with Cabana and Change Room.
The cabana has a stone firepit and mosquito netting can also be added and or removable screens or drapes with Velcro fasteners. Cabanas are good for creating more storage and privacy and adding another dimension to the backyard pool landscape.
A ten foot square pool shed with attractive wood siding doubles as a change room which keeps guests outside and reduces bathroom traffic in the house. This is also a handy place to store furniture. Most patio furniture is water-resistant but not waterproof. This means stuff can get wet but will accumulate damage and wear over time and having a dry place to store furniture is handy.
The photo below was taken on the day the concrete was poured around the cabana posts and swimming pool.
Pool liners cover the swimming pool’s wall and floor structure. They completely overlay the shell and create a protective surface. The pool liner is vinyl and retains the water in the swimming pool, give it a sleek appearance. But these liners only last eight to ten years.
Privacy is a major concern for most pool owners. No one wants to feel like the neighbors are watching their every move. Planting naturally tall shrubs and trees make landscaping one of the most powerful ways to achieve privacy in a swimming pool area not only visibly, but also audibly.
Exterior Lighting Accentuates Backyard Poolscapes
Exterior residential lighting can dramatically change the way the backyard looks in the evening and at nighttime. The best features of a swimming pool landscape can be highlighted by artful lighting fixtures placed in key spots. Artfully mixing spotlights with narrow beams and floods on walls and fences can really improve the appearance of the outdoor space at night. Deco lights ensure the house looks sharp. Miami lights placed under trees can glow the green foliage. Decorative LEDs, footlights and sconces can make the entire poolscape seem more sophisticated.
The far corner is a breakfast nook with Muskoka chairs.