IG pool to garden?

In my house-hunting, I am finding that a good proportion of them have in- ground pools. I am not a pool person and have been rejecting these listings out-of-hand.
But the idea occurred to me that it might be possible to convert a pool into a vegetable garden. Pools are usually in full sun and close to the house, so the site would be good. I'm thinking the floor of the pool could be busted up to insure drainage and the walls could be left as is. It could then be filled with subsoil or whatever, with the last 3 or 4 feet being a mixture of composted horse manure, top soil, peat moss, and other yummies.
Has anybody tried this? Any pros or cons I am not seeing here?
Thanks, Dee
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Dee wrote:

Well, you instantly lower the resale value of your home. As much as I love a good garden, an in-ground pool is worth much more on the market. If you stay in your house for 30 years, it may not matter much, but if you're going to sell in just a few years, that could make it one mighty expensive garden without even counting the cost of building it.
It's also a pretty big deal filling in the hole in a way that it's not going to settle dangerously. More is involved than simply dumping fill in the hole. You're also going to have plumbing issues with the fill mechanism and the drain. There will need to be permits taken out... let's just say it's a big, expensive deal.
So you're talking about an expensive deal to fill in the pool. Then you're talking about lowering the value of your home. You'll be burning quite a bit of money to do this. I don't know where you are, but it's hard to imagine a real estate market so tight that the agent you're working with can't find you something better suited that doesn't involve wasting so much money.
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Dee wrote:

You're describing an absurd amount of compost & manure that would do no good whatsoever buried four or feet deeper than the veggies' roots will reach, & nutrients will never seep upward.
Maybe you could turn the pool into a koi & lily pond surrounded by raised beds & with a big Chinese drum-bridge built over it. If you damage the swimming pool you damage the property value, but if you turn it into a beautiful pond well integrated into the landscape, you have something ten times better than a dork-ass swimming pool for concrete lovers, with no value loss & probable value increase since a well gardened home generally sells faster than a well concreted one.
Here's one swimming pool converted to a koi pond: http://www.kilk.com/pond / The photos show the back yard evolving from suburban white trash with failed pretensions, to a nice place to hang out in.
Here's another photo of a converted pool: http://home.swbell.net/collardm / You have to click on the pond photo to see it big. This one's cool because it is so well integrated into landscaping that there's no hint remaining that it was once a swimming pool.
Here's a page about converting a larger swimming pool to a koi pond; this one isn't aesthetic as the pool was turned into a "practical" pond for breeding & production, but the page includes some useful details about what really needs converting & what issues need to be overcome for it to work for fish: http://www.koicymru.co.uk/ponda.htm
It could go without saying that koi are NOT the end-all of keeping fish. Many native fish species adapt to bonds with great ease including crappies which make delightful pond pets (or alternatively can be raised up & eaten) & people with crappies seem to like them more than koi (crappies will live happily with goldfish but large koi can be too aggressive for crappies); they can be gotten from state fisheries, but in some places they are easily captured in nets in shallow water. I had six crappies that lived happily with some fancy-tail slowpoke goldfish without harrassing the slow goldfish. Wild catfish also thrive in ponds & become very tame; the catfish "school" when they are babies & don't hide like the adults, so are easy to net a dozen at a time, though also available as babies from fish farms & fisheries. I had several baby catfish that outgrew their indoor tank so went out into the pond, where they did become a big aggressive chasing after slow goldfish but didn't hurt them (I no longer have a pond alas, this was some while ago). Many other native & game fish make good pond pets. Here's a list of the easiest ones: http://www.pondsolutions.com/faqs/pond-fish.htm Low on the list are itty bitty mosquitofish which do well even in tiny garden-feature ponds. They're sometimes sold at aquarium stores as "tuffies" & I've had them living in a rainbarrel for years, which somewhat makes up for no longer having a real pond. The mosquitofish or tuffies come in a couple color forms but ponders should get only the rosy or white ones because they gleam in the pond; the normal dark ones are invisible in a pond. The rosy ones are even active when there's a scum of ice & can be seen zipping around under the ice when larger fish would be inactive. I love them though their sad fate is usually to just be fed to larger fish.
Here's an article that is more technical & how-to to create an biologically ideal pond from an unwanted swimming pool: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/poolpdconvart.htm
The Biggs Wildlife Pond used to be a swimming pool: http://bigsnestpond.net/Pond / It's not a koi pond; they are dragonfly enthusiasts (you can't have both koi & dragonflies, as koi eat them). The pages at this website promote natural habitat ponding instead of just doing the standard koi thingy, & Biggs just happened to have started from a swimming pool which now looks like a pond in the woods. T hey do some serious bird-watching around their pond too, & have recorded the numerous species sightings on the website.
Here's a group discussion of converting swimming pools to koi ponds: http://www.koivet.com/html/articles/articles_details.php?article_id 6 It's surprising how many people agree swimming pools suck & would rather have a big garden feature with fish and/or water lilies.
-paghat the ratgirl
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That's not true. Many people find a pool a liability they just don't want, it raised your insurance, etc. When I was selling real estate I was surprised at the attitude towards pools when doing a market analysis. They can actually lower what a potential seller might get on the market.
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Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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Yes, Ann is correct, pools do not increase the value of one's home, at least in my area.
My only concern would be leaching of salt solubles over time from the concrete into the soil.
Dave
expounded:

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But a pool filled up with dirt to grow carrots & lettuce certainly would decrease property interest hence value. Removing the pool entirely, or converting it to a biological pool in a maximumly aesthetic manner, would be either a plus or a zero-sum impact, but a pool filled with dirt would not be the crowning touch to insure a sale.
-paggers

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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) expounded:

Absolutely true, also. There's a house around the corner from me that the owner filled in the pool.....with concrete, if you can believe that. Must have cost a fortune. Now they've got a huge block buried in their yard, it's a patio, but boy, ya gotta really like that patio, cuz it ain't going anywhere without a lot of effort!
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expounded:

Ann, he's talking about a pool whose bottom has been busted up for drainage. That is DEFINITELY a liability if any part of the structure shows at ground level and the next buyer wants to remove it.
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I also didn't want a home with a pool. Just tell your realtor to only show you homes without inground pools.
In my house-hunting, I am finding that a good proportion of them have in- ground pools.
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That's an expensive way to get good soil. For a vegetable garden, you only really need to concern yourself with the upper 24", if that much.
What about a nice, big pond in that pool?
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Thanks for all the replies. I guess I should clarify a few things.
Reduction in house value - Several realtors I've spoken with say an average-sized pool adds only about $10,000 to the value of the house, even though installation of a pool can run $25,000 or more. The person who may potentially lose money on a pool is the house owner who has one installed and then thinks he will get all his money back. As was pointed out by Ann, a pool can be perceived to be a liability and a white elephant - and that's exactly how I perceive it. I would be offering less for a house with a pool, so I would not be "losing money".
Plumbing and drain issues - duly noted, thanks, although I believe pools have recirculating pumps and are not hooked up to the house plumbing. The inlets would have to be plugged with concrete or something.
Permit issues - duly noted, even though I am looking at houses in the country, this is something to be aware of.
Water garden or Fish pond conversion - thanks for the links, they are very pretty ponds, but I'm interested in vegetable gardening.
Soluble concrete salts - thanks, good idea, I will look into this.
Insurance liability due to busted up bottom - thanks, I will ask my insurance company about this.
As another plus, some of these houses have little gazebos or pool houses that would be just perfect for a nice gardening shed and potting bench :-)
Dee
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Dee wrote:

If you offer less for a house that has a higher market value, you are right. You would not be "losing money" because your offer would never be accepted.
If you don't want a pool, and plan to use that strategy if you find a house that you like that has a pool, don't waste people's time. You'd be wasting the seller's time, the seller's agent's time, your agent's time, and your own time.
"Several realtors"? You don't already have a single agent working for you? I hope you realize that good buyer's agents won't work with you until you're ready to be serious, and work exclusively with them. Why would a good agent waste their time with you if tomorrow you'll be working with someone else? Answer: A *good* agent wouldn't. They have better things to do. Things that will be more fruitful. Agents that would work with you under those conditions have nothing better to do because they're not very good. If an agent doesn't ask you to work exclusively with them before you look at a single house, move on, and find a better agent.
I went off on that tangent because the point is a good agent also will find out you plan to make unrealistic offers on houses with pools, and they also won't show you houses with pools. So if you are clear in your desire not to have a pool, a good agent won't show you houses with pools, and this whole idea of what to do with the pool you don't want becomes moot.
(Well, actually it would be moot anyway if you were going to make a lower offer for a house that's worth more because of the pool. A seller desperate enough to accept that kind of offer sold their home before you came along with one of your "several realtors".)
And that's why this question doesn't come up very often.
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You've missed a possibility here: A buyer who loves the house, the neighborhood, the schools, etc., but has to pay to have the pool dismantled. I have no idea what that costs, but I have a friend who had a guy come to his farm property with an assistant and two backhoes, and dig a 1/2 acre pond: $13,000.00. Based on that, I'll take a wild guess and say it might cost $8k to $10k to dismantle a pool, if it took a couple or three days.
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In the crazy idea department, you could turn a in-ground pool into an underground tropical greenhouse. Roof the deep water zone with polycarbonate, leave the shallow half open so you don't bake yourself.
When you need to clean, shouldn't be a problem as it's probably already waterproof. May need extra ventilation ... don't know if you can convert water pump infrastructure. You can grow food in containers (a la square foot gardening) to avoid busting up anything.
I've never done anything of the sort, just speculating.
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I like this idea!
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I agree. This idea would also quadruple your growing space in all weathers if done correctly, as it would allow hanging baskets and such as well. Murri

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One thing that might be a problem is rain. So I guess the shallow half shouldn't be totally open ... unless there's a mega drain + pump at the bottom. Maybe roof the shallow end as a veranda to keep out most of the rain yet preserve some of the air flow.

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We love our pool. It's a lap pool, so has a specific purpose. If a pool doesn't appeal to you, simply eliminate looking at homes which have them. Down here where we live, many people have pools because we use them all year. I don't know where you are looking to live. If you did fill the pool in...well, I couldn't imagine doing that. My opinion.
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We did this but created a pond garden. We left the pool floor in place and left the drain open. We inserted a new drain system into the old drain so we could control the level of the pond. We dug up the walkway around the pool and used that concrete to fill in the deep end. Then we packed clay soil on top of the concrete pieces. We left it at a level so that the water would be 2' to 3.5' deep, perfect for water lilies and lotus.
Then I put in black plastic greenhouse benches around the outside edge with short legs so the tops would be about 3" to 5" under water, perfect for marginal plants like: Arrowhead Sagittaria Cardinal Flower Lobelia Cardinalis Flowering Rush Butomus Umbellatus Forget-Me-Not Myosotis Scorpioides Lizard's Tail Saururus Cernuus Marsh Betony Stachys Palustris Monkey Flower Mimulus (part shade) Parrot Feather Myriophyllum Aquaticum Pickerel Weed Pontederia Cordata Primrose Primula Rush Juncus Southern Blue Flag Iris Versicolor Swamp Mallow Hibiscus Moscheutos Sweet Flag Acorus Calamus Water Willow Justica Americana Yellow Flag Iris Psuedacorus
floaters like: Water Hyacinth Eichhornia Crassipes (tender)
We sank oxygenator plants on the bottom: Anacharis Elodea Canadensis Hornwort Ceratophyllum
and floated a bale of barley straw to keep down string algae.
Then we stocked the pond with: trap-door snails to clean the pond. 100 native golden shiner minnows. bacteria to help eliminate the dead algae. frogs came to the pond naturally as did dragon flies.
Now we have a 18,000 gallon (17'x 47'x 2-3.5') lily pond and love it.
We then landscaped the area around the pond with a native plant garden with a stone walkway through it. We love it.
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