Learn How to Make a Miniature Pool with Working Flume Slides
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Inflatable pools are handy on those hot summer days to keep your children occupied, but they are prone to get punctured and tend to lack slides. Wouldn't it be great if you could build something a bit more substantial?
As it turns out, with some ingenuity, and concrete, you can do just that. Follow this simple guide to find out how.
As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Scrap wood
- Ceramic tiles
- Bricks or other building blocks
- Scrap metal sheets or strips
- Trowel and other bricklaying tools
- Metal wire
- Cement mix
With all your gear in hand, it is now time to actually get stuck in.
Step 1: Prepare the ground and create the dam frame
Like any project of this nature, the first step is to prepare the ground. Clear out any vegetation, and level the ground as best as you can.
Ideally, you'll want to choose a site with a small embankment for the pool and slide platform, but you can also support the slide level with columns if you'd prefer.
With that complete, lay a layer of sand for the foundation of the main construction. As with the ground underneath, level off the sand.
Next, grab your pile of old bricks, cinder blocks, or whatever you have to hand, and begin to build the basic shape of your proposed pool and slide(s). But, before you lay any bricks, be sure to set out some guide wires to mark the footprint of the construction first (just like in any bricklaying project).
With that done, mix up some concrete according to its instructions. Pour it liberally over the main brick foundation. Level off the concrete, as needed.
With that done, keep building up the main "walls" of the pool with bricks, or blocks as needed. Don't worry too much about pointing, as you'll be skimming over the entire structure later.
Follow best practices and tips for this stage to ensure that each course of bricks is level and even.
Once the main pool construction is complete, build up the rear of the pool to create a short run of stairs that will be used to access the slide level of the pool. Cut the rear brickwork into the rear embankment/slope, as needed.
Build up another short run of stairs to the front of the main pool structure too. To save on bricks, fill any voids on each level of steps with some builder's sand and lay the final course of bricks on top.
Once the base brickwork is complete, skim all exposed surfaces of the brickwork with concrete.
Step 2: Build the slide level of the build
With the main pool and step constructions complete, we can now move on to building the top level of the project. Take your bits of timber, and build a series of stilts to the same level as the topmost rear stair tread. Add planking to the stilts to make a platform.
Once done, take some planks of wood, and cut them down to the same length as required to build a ramp from the top decking to the top of the wall of the pool below.
Rinse and repeat for the other side of the structure. With that done, take some steel rods, and build a frame over the timber structure underneath. This will act as the reinforcement for the main concrete structure.
Next, add some shuttering around the frame in preparation for receiving the concrete. Once ready, pour, and level, concrete into the mold. Leave the concrete to cure.
Step 3: Tile the main pool area
Once the concrete has fully cured, we can now begin to make the structure look pretty. Take your ceramic tiles and tile the inside surface of the main pool area of the build.
You can either match the same tiling on the floor of the pool or add more decorative ones. The choice is completely up to you. The same is true for the sills and risers, and treads of the steps of the pool.
Once done, remove all shuttering and timber framework for the slide elements of the build. With that done, add a short course of bricks on either side of each slide and along the outermost edge of the main slide platform.
Also line the main inner surfaces of the slides with bricks to make the surfaces concave/curved. Skim all brickwork as before.
Ensure you also include some water pipes at the top of each slide. These will be connected to a water supply to act as a water flume later on.
Next, paint the exposed edges of the pool, stairs, and slides white, or whatever color you'd prefer. If not already complete, also grout the tiling.
Leave the paint, concrete, and grouting to fully cure.
Step 4: Flood the pool
Next, connect up the pipes to the slide to a water supply and test them. The water should flow freely down each of the slide's ramps and into the pool below.
Once they are working as expected, leave them on to fill the main pool, as needed.
With that, your DIY outdoor pool and slides are now complete. All you need to do now is let some children run riot with their new plaything.
If you enjoyed this little project, you might enjoy making some more concrete-based builds. How about, for example, making a miniature dam for your garden?
It is not as hard as it sounds, honestly.