Filling in your swimming pool

With pools becoming difficult and costly to maintain in a time of severe water shortage in South Africa, perhaps it’s time to consider filling in your pool.

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Ethel Sleith of Johannesburg writes: I’d really like to fill in my gunnite pool – it’s a nuisance to keep it clean and it’s so expensive to maintain! It’s a fairly small pool in a small garden with very little space for flowerbeds; any advice?

Piet Snygans, CEO of SA Pools, replies: It’s very easy to fill in your pool yourself and it won’t be very costly – all it takes is a bit of effort.

Here’s what you need to do: drain all the water from the pool and make holes in the floor with a jackhammer; these should be about 300mm in diameter and 2m apart. Make sure you drill through the floor of the pool to the soil layer (a pool floor is usually 150-200mm thick). These holes are crucial for drainage – otherwise, the ground will become waterlogged when it rains.

Also, break out the top edge of the pool by about 500mm with the jackhammer so that there’s no concrete directly beneath your new lawn or flowerbed. Throw this rubble into the bottom of the pool. Fill in the pool cavity with ordinary soil and the remaining 400-500mm with good garden soil. You don’t need to compact the soil.

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