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Demolish That Pool

A Backyard Pool in Seattle... Really?

This story is for anyone who's wondering, "should I keep this pool or should I turn it into a yard?" I found myself facing that question two years ago after buying a house on a short sale. The following documentation, photos and story will help you understand what it's like to fill in a pool and build a yard.

A Lovely Pool in Seattle Draining an inground pool

Five Weeks of Awesome

We kept the pool for two years, and for about five weeks in Summer, it was awesome. There's no better way to kick off the stress after work. No better excuse to invite friends over. The dudes at Aqua Quip say, "the best things in life right in your backyard" and they're right. But as Fall arrived, it was time to start the demolition. First step was to drain the sucker.

Empty kidney shaped pool Empty Pool

A Perfect Skate Bowl

If we had drained it in Summer, this vintage 1972 kidney pool would have been a fantastic skate bowl. Unfortunately, it was drizzly and the sides of the pool were slick with goo. We were concerned about hydrostatic pressure after the pool had drained. Apparently, high groundwater can push an empty pool right out of the ground, like a big cement boat.

Pool Demolition Pool Demolition

The Small Guns

Our demolition guys brought out a Dingo and a small excavator. Those tools were way too small for the job. It turned out that in 1972, they built pools with walls that were 14 inches thick.

Pool Demolition Pool Demolition

The Big Guns

The next day, the demo dudes returned with a full on big daddy style excavator and things started to cook. First step was to punch lots of holes through the pool bed to ensure it would drain. The second step was to collapse the pool walls down about five feet. This process only took two days of intense excavator action.

Pool Demolition Pool Demolition

Welcome to Beirut

I'm sure Beruit is nice these days, but at one point, it was as bad as my pool! The photo on the left shows complete destruction, the cement on the patio and sides of the pool have been collapsed into to the basin. Shortly after came 10 truckloads of crushed rock, sand and gravel. Between each load, the fill was compacted in 6 inch lifts.

Custom Landscaping Design Placing Rocks Custom Landscape

Plenty of Parking

Once the chasm had been filled and compacted, we considered leaving it alone. It could have been a great place to store an RV and a boat, if we had an RV and a boat. But no... We decided to unleash the professionals from Cambium Landscaping.

Custom Landscape Design Seattle Quality Landscape Architecture Seattle

Roughing it in

The Cambium guys painted in the outlines of their garden design. Then they played with rocks for a few days.

Landscape Drainage Garden Design Seattle

Base Layer

Because our home is on a hill, and we didn't want to bum out our downslope neighbors, we had Cambium put in a serious drainage system.

Gorgeous Rocks Landscape Design Bedding Laid Down for Yard Construction

Top Layer

With the drainage system set up, the next step was to set the lawn and finish the steps. At this point we're about five weeks into the project.

Hand built patio professional quality Flagstone Patio Seattle


My Father-in-law and I built a cedar fence along the property line. Our labor, combined with a sweet deal from Blackstock Lumber, helped us save some serious dough.

Designer Iron Works Grate Cover Donate Pool Supplies on CraigsList

Icing on the Cake

The whole thing really came together when Cambium finished the patio. This part of the project was really entertaining, it was like watching a massive jigsaw puzzle.

Yard Design Landscaped Yard

Bye Bye Pool

A few days after Cambium wrapped it up, I gave away my left over pool supplies on CraigsList. For the record, I'm not anti-pool. I loved having one. But it was a commitment that we weren't looking for when we were shopping for a home. I hope this website was helpful if you're thinking about whether you should keep your pool, or fill it in.