Getting My Yard Ready For a Pool, Spending Time and Money to Save Money

A truck with a crane delivering a ton of dirt

I mentioned last week how I made a big money flop by not taking care of my pool enough, not being responsible enough with it, and ending up needing to trash it. I also mentioned that I was planning on getting a new, larger pool but I didn't take the plunge (pun intended) to do so at that time. 

After I wrote that post, some people recommended that I wait until later on in the season to buy a pool, as prices will probably go down. But my friend Becky who works in the importing industry, is a frugal person, and has a pool herself told me not to wait at all, because both Corona and the Suez canal disaster has really messed up shipping and things will be even less available than usual.

Before I made the order, though, I did try to make sure that I wasn't missing a better deal, so I went to the same scratch and dent store where I bought my pool last year, and they didn't have any pools, and would get some in the next month or so, but with what I heard from Becky, I didn't want to wait.

I went to the website I found with the better prices for what I had been looking at, and as it is I saw that quite a few of the pools they sold were already out of stock. I called up to make my order and the person on the phone told me that there are only 8 of the pools that I wanted left, and there is a shortage of pools in the country period. So I knew that now was the right time.

But the thing is, I need to do this the right way. People reminded me that while I wanted my pool last year to last longer, at least I got a summer of fun out of it, and now I learned important lessons on how to keep pools sturdy, whole, and usable. So that meant I didn't pay for the bare minimum with the pool. You could buy a mat to go under the pool, something I didn't have longer, but when I asked the sales clerk what that mat is for, he said that that is used for flat areas, like grass or tiles, nothing that has any hard bits sticking up. I told them about the pool last year getting a hole in it and he asked me if my dirt is rocky. I confirmed that it was, so he told me the mat that I was looking at was one centimeter thick, but for rocky dirt I should get the padding that was 3 centimeters thick. This was a difference of maybe 15 dollars, but I said that its better to spend more money now on making sure the pool is going to last than to chance my pool getting a hole again. 

Last year, I realize, I was trying to skimp on making the pool and I didn't spend the extra I should have to ensure the pool would last. I wasn't going to repeat that expensive mistake this year.

Another issue we had last year was a non level backyard. We didn't have enough dirt in it so even though we tried to flatten it out, we had a hard time getting it level and there were areas with deep indents. I tried going to a nursery to buy dirt but they only had small bags of potting soil which was expensive and while I bought two it wasn't remotely enough to level out the yard. I tried looking into other ways to get more dirt but I struck out. When we set up the pool we saw that one of the legs was in an area that was sunken down, and the weight of the pool made the hole even deeper. Therefore, I ended up filling the holes that were there with some large rocks and a large paving stone on it.

That paving stone is what ended up making a hole in the pool.

Yea, that wasn't a good idea.

But how do I get dirt?

I knew that you could buy giant sacks of dirt, a ton approximately, delivered to your home. I thought it would be ridiculously expensive, as last year when I looked into it it seemed like it was at least $300 for the delivery, and that wasn't money I wanted to spend. This year I looked for dirt and saw them selling a ton of dirt but for what looked like a ridiculously cheap price, only $20 for a ton, but delivery cost wasn't mentioned anywhere, and I knew that they'd need a crane to deliver it to me (unless you know someone strong enough to lift something that weighs a ton) because my front and back yard are not accessible by dump truck (they are up stairs in the front and a whole story up from the road in my backyard). The places I found online that had cheap prices for the ton of dirt didn't actually deliver to my location, let alone for a decent price. 

I asked on a Facebook group for DIY building and interior design in my region where I could find a place that delivered dirt to my location and they told me to find out from a local building supply store, but even looking on the internet for that, I struck out.

Then I asked in a local whatsapp group if anyone knew where I could get some, and people put me in touch with a gardener in my town. The gardener didn't provide dirt but he gave me the number of a guy who does, and I couldn't believe my eyes as to how cheap it was. For each ton of dirt it was $15, and delivery cost $70 including the crane. I figured if I was going to buy dirt anyhow and there was a flat fee for delivery and the dirt cost that little, I'd get extra just to be on the safe side, because I didn't want to run out of dirt and then need to pay for delivery again. So I decided to buy 2 tons for my backyard and 1 ton for my front yard (since the dirt there is very shallow, since it is above the ground and isn't actually natural dirt, and I saw just how shallow it was when I was digging down to plant my trees.

The guy said he would deliver the dirt the next day, so that meant getting my yard ready for the delivery, which in and of itself wasn't an easy task.

First we had to take down the old pool. I did that with Lee, and so far I'm saving the poles and pegs that hold them together just in case I would be able to use any of them for replacement parts for the new pool. I also cut off a part of the intact side to be able to use it to patch any areas if need be. I also had to move the trampoline to another part of the yard to make room for the pool.

Then I needed to clean the yard of trash and weeds. I love my dog Snickers, but one of the most annoying things she does is steal things from the trash can and put them in the yard to lick. All yogurt containers, meat packages, cheese things, chip bags, etc... end up in the back yard, and with the pool and trampoline there it was too hard to clean it up so that just sat there. 

Backyard cleaned of most weeds and garbage for the
delivery of dirt via crane

Now I picked up all the trash and then started pulling the weeds that I could. Some of the weeds, though, were giant. I had never seen a mallow tree before this, they're usually tiny little plants, at most knee height, but these were shoulder height on me or more, with stems the thickness of a small tree trunk, approximately two inches in diameter. They're ridiculously hard to remove. I took a knife and cut them down, and pulled out the smaller plants. Then we were left with just stumps and roots in the ground. I removed some with the use of a shovel and then taught my kids how to remove the rest. We're still not totally finished. We pulled up the fake grass to be able to put more dirt down and there's still some areas of the yard filled with garbage, but mostly not weeds. 

The dirt delivered to a few feet in front of my front steps.

The dirt delivery came and the truck delivered our dirt by crane, a fun thing to watch (all the neighborhood kids were watching) but they had a hard time bringing the truck close enough to the front yard to put the dirt in my yard with a crane, so they ended up depositing it about 10 feet from the stairs to my yard, and we'll have to bring it into the yard bucket by bucket.

I am not sure when the pool is supposed to arrive- they said within 5 days and I think that time has nearly passed, but that's fine with me, since there still is a lot more work to do before we can set up the pool.

Yes, its a lot of work. It's more money but not a ridiculous amount more. And it'll be worth it if we can get the pool to last a bunch of seasons due to this preparation. No guarantees, but we can hope.

Have you spent more money to hopefully save more money in the future? What was it on? Did you end up saving money?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. That is going to be a lot of work bringing 1 ton of dirt, bucket by bucket, to your yard. Did they give you a discount?

    1. Unfortunately no, but its not the biggest deal. Its quite close to my yard and only 4 steps up, so I can manage. With my kids' help.

    2. Little boys love dirt! Have your neighbors bring buckets and it will be done in no time

  2. Very exciting.
    Penny wise, pound foolish. The investment is worthwhile

  3. I agree with Tzipporah, let the boys do it. Promise them some Popsicles as a reward, a very inexpensive reward.

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