You have a big hole in the ground that use to be an in-ground pool but now it just collects water. All you want is a backyard, a little butterfly garden and a patio to enjoy the sunsets. It doesn't take a lot to fill in a pool. The trick is getting the right fill and a contractor who will do the job right.
Find a contractor that has a good reputation and who can find clean fill for the hole left by the in-ground pool. You don't want to have to find clean fill on your own.
Plan on your first expense to be at least $10,000--this is just for the removal of the deck, fencing and concrete. Dumping in the fill will be the next expense. Use as much of what is on your property as possible.
Get out of the house, close all your windows, and take your pets with you if you can. The dust that will come through the screens on your windows will collect in your lungs and sinuses. Trucks dump the dirt without much care.
Work with the contractor, not against him. The removed concrete is clean fill-you can help him by throwing concrete pieces into the hole at night if he agrees. Filling a hole isn't rocket science, but you do want to make sure that there aren't going to be sinkholes.
Add at least another $1000 for the top soil that needs to go on top of the clean fill. Eight loads of top soil in a packed dump truck can cost up to $2000. The top soil will be dumped in the hole as much as possible.
Consult with the contractor about helping to shovel the top soil over the clean fill. The top soil will have to be raked and sod will need to go on top to get your lawn to look decent. The contractor will rake and smooth out the top soil, but you are responsible for putting down sod.
Approach the contractor as a helper not a "know it all." If the contractor will let you, you can work along side his crew and be a laborer. This will help to get the project finished quicker.