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Filled in Swimming Pool Does Not Drain Well

Posted by anise-hyssop 8 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 16:30

I moved into this house at the end of last summer. It has a filled in swimming pool in the front yard, a 14' x 24' oval. There are some plants growing there--ferns, salal, clover, a groundcover, a shrub. This winter, with the Puget Sound rains, I see that the pool drains very poorly. The water peeks through the soil in the low spots, almost up to the rim of the pool. it does drain--very slowly--but there's always new rain to refresh it. I imagine come summer, it will drain out completely, but I'm not positive. You can see in the picture how the previous owners put some rock in the low spot--and I thought it was just decoration! All the neighbors say the previous owners broke up the bottom of the pool, but obviously not well enough. Now I know why the little cherry tree in the middle of it is dying.
I was hoping to make this my main year round veggie garden space--full sun all day. And it's the best space on the property. Any suggestions? I don't have the resources to have it excavated and redone. I'm considering raising the soil a foot in beds, or, perhaps waiting for it to drain and dig down in order to knock out some of the sides. I'm concerned the water will just stay sponged in the pool area and not drain out the sides into the more hard packed surrounding soil, even if part of the sides were missing. I appreciate any advice or experience you can share with me.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Filled in Swimming Pool Does Not Drain Well

  • Posted by fori CA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 22:15

That looks like a mess to deal with! Cranberry bog maybe? =D

The pool forum guys might be able to help you identify what your pool is (was) and maybe recommend a course of action. I have a feeling it's going to involve a lot of labor.

Here is a link that might be useful:

RE: Filled in Swimming Pool Does Not Drain Well

Wow. I'm used to seeing people break up the bottom of the pool, then jackhammer the sides down into the hole. Given that it looks like your bond beam is completely intact I wouldn't be at all shocked to learn they filled in an almost intact shell. Holy crap.

I guess if there's no budget to rectify it you could, as a short term measure, build yourself some raised beds on it. But that's going to be one heck of a mosquito breeding ground.

RE: Filled in Swimming Pool Does Not Drain Well

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!!

Poor winter drainage is a fact of life in the Puget Sound area. One of the ways to work around poorly draining areas is to convert them into rain gardens. These collect run-off during the rainy season and disperse it through the soil via plantings. Ideally this is done without any sort of side containment (like your old pool exhibits) other than the contour of the land. I might want to investigate hiring some muscle to break out portions of the side barrier if possible.

You can also turn this into more of a garden feature by incorporating it into the end of a dry stream bed (or seasonal dry streambed), with suitable plantings both along the streambed and in the 'pool'.

As to any mosquito issues.......wetness is very seasonal here in the PNW. Typically, it is dry as a bone through most of the summer when mosquitos are present and breeding. Unless the former pool/pond doesn't drain at all, I doubt you have much to worry about in that regard.

Here is a link that might be useful: King County rain garden resources

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