I have been meaning to post this for such a long time, but every time I think I will, I always say to myself, "no! It's not totally done yet", or "I'll wait until I'm totally finished and am totally satisfied with it". This has been going on for about 3 years now. Well actually, it's been way longer, but we really got down to business in the last 3-4 years . When we bought this house, it was just a long grass back yard with small trees right down the middle of the yard. There was no back door to the back yard and no patio or deck, just the back of the house. I hated it! What a boring back yard. We knew that it needed to be changed, we just weren't exactly sure what we wanted. We moved in August, so that first summer was a write off, we were too busy unpacking and getting settled in the house for anything else. We spent the rest of that year trying to figure out our next move for the summer.
Once the next spring came around, we had decided to remove all the trees in the backyard except two. The decorative tree in the back left corner where there was a flower garden, and a brown maple tree that is in the back right corner of our lot even though the flower garden was ok, but not what I wanted and the grass under the brown maple was non existent. After a few weekends, we finally had all the trees taken out and boy did that make a difference. We added more grass seed under the maple, in hopes that it will grow, and cleaned up the flower garden to look okay.
The next spring/summer, I decided to tackle the flower beds. I'm not one for flowers, so we pulled out all the flowers at the front of the house and along the side of our house and the back left flower garden. We got rid of all the roses, and the bushes as well. I like a clean looking garden, and not one that has a lot of flowers in it, so I stuck with Hostas, and black mulch. We planted some and separated some that I already had. We laid landscaping cover over every garden, so I wouldn't have to deal with weeds. I'm not one for weeding. I don't want to spend a lot of my spare time gardening. That's just not my thing.
As you can see here, we had just put our new door on, which hadn't been painted yet. I love looking back at these pictures to see just how far our home has come. Removing and replanting the gardens, pretty much took up most of our time in the back yard that summer. The next summer we got offered some free paving stones, so we decided to lay them at the back of our house so at least we would have a place to put our lawn chairs and table to have some sort of place to relax. My husband worked a part time job on the weekends that year, so not much went on with our back yard makeover, but all that was about to change in the fall.
I had been tossing around the idea of putting in a pool. I had grown up with an in ground backyard pool and was always in it. It was my absolute favourite thing to do in the summer, and I spend hours in it. Convincing my husband was another story. It took weeks! He was NOT INTERESTED AT ALL. He said he didn't want to wreck his backyard, he didn't want all the up keep, and he didn't want all the work. After weeks and weeks of begging, I had him somewhat on my side. When we looked into pools, we found out that it would be nearly impossible to put an in ground, in our backyard. There were so many obstacles that we had to contemplate, that we were unsure at that time if we even wanted to proceed with it. I really wanted a pool though, so for the time being, I thought, why not purchase an above ground pool. We knew that we could put that up in our backyard for sure. Because we were unsure if we wanted to pull the trigger and install an in ground pool, I decided that I would look for a used one. We didn't want to purchase new, if we were just going to get rid of it in the next year or two. I scoured Kijiji daily, and found one that I liked. Every week throughout that summer, I would contact the seller and ask if they would take a really, really low ball offer. We weren't interested in paying a lot, if we were gonna just change it out the next year, like I said. This went on for two months, but they wanted more for the pool, and were not budging. I didn't push, as this was just a tide me over, until we put in the "real thing." Finally in September, no one had purchased it and I contacted them again with our low ball offer. They came back with a counter offer of $50.00 higher and I took it. So off to London we went that next weekend to take it down and take it home!
We really weren't sure what shape it was in, as I purchased it sight unseen. It had looked good, but sometimes advertisements could be deceiving. To our surprise it was in fantastic shape. The only thing that it needed was a new liner, as they had emptied the pool when they purchased the house. They knew they didn't want the pool, so they took all the water out. Little did they know that if you let the pool sit with no water in the liner, it ruins your liner. That's was OK though, as we got it at such an amazing deal, it was nothing to buy a new liner for it. We gathered a few fellows to help us de assemble the pool. I just walked around behind the guys and put the hardware in labelled bags, and took pictures of how it was assembled, so we would know how to assemble it when it was time to put it up next year.
My husband borrowed his Part time job's delivery truck and we loaded it all up in it. We took it home and covered the pieces up with the old liner to keep them in good condition throughout the winter, as we were tossing that liner anyway. Boy was that one of the longest winters EVER! Spring arrived and we decided to start the process. Throughout the winter, we had decided that this pool, the above ground, WOULD be the pool we stayed with. Just with the size of our back yard and the obstacles of trying to get the machinery in between our house and the neighbours house, would be next to impossible, this pool would do the trick. Looking back, I was young when I used the slid and diving board, swam laps and swam end to end under water in my parents in ground pool. I had gotten "a few" years older now, and all we really wanted, is a pool to relax in and lay around in. We would just make do with what we had. (We couldn't have made a better decision! We love it!) Because we had decided to stay permanently with this pool, we then decided to level out our back yard properly. Our back yard started low and went up a small incline to the back fence. We needed to call in the big guns.
It started on the long weekend in May. What a huge project! It would take us from Friday to Monday to get it done! We had to level out the back yard. We used the bob cat to push all of our backyard back and forth to make it level. After the lawn looked as level as it would get, then we had get the load of sand up the side of the house to the backyard. Once in the back yard, we had to build up a round area for the pool floor to sit on. Throughout this process, we would have the machinery going up and down the side of the house. Since the lawn in between our house and our neighbours is shared, we wanted to be respectful to our neighbours, so we laid large sheets of plywood between the houses, so the machinery would not wreck the grass in between the houses. Thankfully we have some great friends, to help us with getting and dumping the sand and hiring the small bob cat and the "digger" as I like to call it. Half way through the weekend, I think my husband had a bit of an anxiety attack when looking at his back yard. It was such a mess, along with the front of our house. I think he thought "what the hell did I do?" We did get it all done and by Sunday we were ready for pool assembly. This was such a big task, We had our very good friends help us and thank God for them. I got sunstroke and kept getting sick to my stomach and my husband lost his cool a couple times when things just weren't going our way. We had to call over our next door neighbours and a neighbour that was walking by to help us erect the walls, but we got it up. It was all hands on deck, but we did it! But by the time the weekend came to a close, we had it up and ready for filling with water. What a weekend!!! It was one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
The next few weekends consisted of filling the pool with water and constructing the fencing around the top of the pool. We also had to get the town building inspector over to make sure we had put the pool in the correct spot (we had previously went to the building inspector to make sure where to put it, and all the measurements needed to pass inspection) We also had to make sure the fencing was sufficient for the town bylaw and what other things were needed to be upgraded around our house and backyard to pass the inspection from the town. The next couple weekends consisted of getting everything up to passing code with the town. Which we did. With all the work and machinery that went into getting the pool parts and sand up to the back of our house, our side grass took a beating. We then decided to sod the side of our lawn and also make our driveway 2 feet wider, while we were at it. Again we were back to the town for permission and once again our driveway had a large pile dumped on it and we were playing in the dirt again. This pretty much took up most of the rest of that summer! They really don't last long when you are busy making a home!
So after all that, this is what our pool looked like for a year and a bit....
What a work in progress!! Now you can see why I was never ready to post our makeover until it was done....it just looked unfinished and a mess!
I'm leaving this right here, but keep an eye out for the final stages of our makeover in the upcoming days. It took a few years to get it there, so I'm taking a couple posts to show you our progress!
Until next time
Cheryl Ann xo