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Leveling a pool pad: getting rid of small (1-3”) rocks?

All, I cut into my lawn a little bit with my box blade to put in a temporary above ground pool which is fifteen feet across. I’m trying to finish the leveling with my box blade - it’s slow going and quite tedious work.

Despite hand raking, 1-3” rocks continue to appear right at the surface. My understanding is that these will shred a liner even if flush with the ground.

I ordered a bottom-liner-protector which is apparently a 1/8” piece of felt that is cut to the exact dimension of the pool

Any advice for what implement to use to get rid of these small rocks and leave the earth intact? I don’t want to disturb the soil much (want to avoid disturbing the compaction). Something I can scrape across the surface that would basically just loosen rocks and make them easier to handrake or whatever? (Again, the surface area isn’t massive only fifteen feet across)

Have read not to build the area up with virgin soil. (may shift/settle and the rocks will work their way to surface)

I have access to a Ratchet Rake (have yet to use it), landscape rake (doesn’t fit well, being replaced soon), box blade, and piranha toothbar.

My concern with the landscape rake other than the fact that I would manually have to remove my I match and manually pin it on, is that it likes to dig itself in if the gauge wheels flex at all

Will ratchet rake be useful for this at all?


Thanks
 

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I would take it down 2-3 extra inches and backfill it with 2-3” of sand.
That is exactly what the installer did on my 24' pool,,,
 

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When I install our 15ft pool (years ago) I made a level spot, dug down another ~6" or 7", filled with ~3" of crusher run and packed the heck out of it, added ~3" of mason sand.
Back filling with crusher run you can make it table top level.
 

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I agree with having a couple inches of sand on top.

If that is not in your future here is something that may help.

I made a drag before planting 2 acres of land for native grasses/forbs to loosen the top inch or so of soil for seeding.

I took a sturdy skid (approx 4' x 4') and screwed 5) 2 x 4 to the bottom of the skid. The 2 x 4 had 1/2" lag bolts screwed thru them resulting in approx 1" sticking out on the bottom side. I used about 8-9 lag bolts per 2 x 4 evenly spaced but staggered from 2 x 4 to 2 x 4 so that there was a lag bolt approx every 1" as I dragged over the ground.
You may have to add weight to the skid. It did a good job of pulling rocks up out of the ground. You may want to drag it once, pick up the rocks on top and drag again and pick up rocks again. Keep repeating till no more rocks appear. I did this with 2 acres so I only picked the bigger rocks (maybe a fist size) so they wouldn't be a problem for future mowing. Its alot of work but it'll only loosen the top inch of soil or so and it tends to leave the rocks on the surface.
 

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All, I cut into my lawn a little bit with my box blade to put in a temporary above ground pool which is fifteen feet across. I’m trying to finish the leveling with my box blade - it’s slow going and quite tedious work.

Despite hand raking, 1-3” rocks continue to appear right at the surface. My understanding is that these will shred a liner even if flush with the ground.

I ordered a bottom-liner-protector which is apparently a 1/8” piece of felt that is cut to the exact dimension of the pool

Any advice for what implement to use to get rid of these small rocks and leave the earth intact? I don’t want to disturb the soil much (want to avoid disturbing the compaction). Something I can scrape across the surface that would basically just loosen rocks and make them easier to handrake or whatever? (Again, the surface area isn’t massive only fifteen feet across)

Have read not to build the area up with virgin soil. (may shift/settle and the rocks will work their way to surface)

I have access to a Ratchet Rake (have yet to use it), landscape rake (doesn’t fit well, being replaced soon), box blade, and piranha toothbar.

My concern with the landscape rake other than the fact that I would manually have to remove my I match and manually pin it on, is that it likes to dig itself in if the gauge wheels flex at all

Will ratchet rake be useful for this at all?


Thanks
It’s neigh on impossible to move, disturb, collect, gather or coax rocks from a compacted surface without disturbing the surface or maintain the compaction. Your best bet is to remove as many as you can that protrude and fill over with some sand as stated above for a good, compact, level, rock free base.
 

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I would take it down 2-3 extra inches and backfill it with 2-3” of sand.
:bigthumb: yes-u need sand to back fill so to protect the liner for sure.

When I install our 15ft pool (years ago) I made a level spot, dug down another ~6" or 7", filled with ~3" of crusher run and packed the heck out of it, added ~3" of mason sand.
Back filling with crusher run you can make it table top level.
same idea-can not leave just plain dirt -well u can-but i gar-run-tee ur liner will not like u-and start to leak then-just as ur starting to enjoy that nice cool water on a 99+ day.:laugh:

take more dirt out-back fill with sand-good sand too.:bigthumb:
 

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I know of one guy who went out and bought several of the stall pads you can get at TSC, Rural King and other ag stores, and he used that as the base for his pool. All he did was nuke the grass with Round-Up, shaved it to the ground with a string trimmer, laid down the stall pads, then installed the pool. No worry about rocks or other objects on the ground cause the pads are fairly thick.
 
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