It has been a while since I've written a post. My husband and I have been so busy this past weekend getting our outdoor spaces ready. I am hosting a fairly big party this Wednesday evening and between the regular running around, freezing more strawberries and making jam, having a lovely friend of my daughter stay this weekend (she's from a big city, what a change for her!), getting our pool and pool house ready was a lot of work.
A little history: one year when my husband and I were on vacation in the Dominican Republic, escaping our Ontario winter (and it was a bugger that year!), we were sitting pool side (and probably had consumed a drink or two) and had a brilliant idea that we should put in a pool. So, most normal people would scrape together the money, or use a line of credit and call a reputable company to come and dig a big hole and install a pool. My husband is not "most normal people". He devised a plan that he could easily create a cement pool. (We were sitting beside a cement pool, which most resorts have). We have a dear friend who owns his own constructions company and Husband thought it would be easy for that company to come and create the hole and then he would do the rest.
After coming home, and much reading and researching and buying of books and asking questions, Husband realized that a cement pool would be incredibly expensive and not the best choice for our winters. He then started to research purchasing pool kits. Please understand that this is not a kit for an above ground pool, as many people have put up in their back yards over the years. No, this was a kit for creating an inground full sized, eight foot deep pool.
Kits do not scare my husband. He purchased a kit back in the days before we were married and he was still living at home with his parents and built a Porsche (kit car) in his father's little garage.
My husband is NOT in the construction business. Nor is he an engineer of any sort. He is just fearless. The whole family got involved in building the pool that year. The only thing he hired out was excavation of the hole, pouring of cement (although there was extra wheel-barrowing in some parts), and creating the cement deck around the pool. Everything else from plumbing to electrical to the pool house, and the rock wall, as well as installing the fence, was done by him (with a little help from us here and there).
Would I recommend this to someone else? No.
This year, the pool was drained completely and Husband gave the whole liner a very good scrub. It was then refilled from our own well. Our well water is quite rusty, so when the pool fills it initially does not look all that inviting. As well, it takes a good long while for the water to get to a temperature that I will tolerate. We do not have a pool heater, but Husband devised panels that use solar heat to re-route the water and warm it up and then put it back in the pool. We also put a solar blanket on at night to trap in the heat. The entire deck was power washed, as well as pool furniture and the steps leading up onto the pool house deck. I swept and cleaned and weeded and mulched and mowed and planted.
The furniture was set in place, bringing some from other porches to accommodate a larger group of people. The plants are not set into their designated spots yet. I found some handy dandy little stands at Dollerama which the pots sit on and raise them off the concrete a couple of inches so you don't get round marks. Another helpful hint to pass on, I always put a coffee filter in the bottom of my pots over the drainage holes before I put in the soil, so water can get through but soil does not wash out onto your deck or concrete.
The little pool fridge (which does not stay out during the winter) was carried from our upstairs tv room area and plugged in, ready to go. The table and chairs have been wiped down or pressure washed, the outdoor rug laid out beneath. I even bought new pool noodles in honour of the party. Thank goodness I found a caterer (although I have made food before for large parties), and now I just have to buy a watermelon to cut up, and do a final wash of the pool plates, glasses and cutlery that are kept in the repurposed sideboard, and paint my nails!!
|The "squiddy" as we deemed the pool cleaner is hard at work. My shrubs are poking their way through the fence, but look very nice right now.
|Some of the flowers that I planted. Don't you love sweet potato vine? You can see the little risers underneath the middle pots. I have to buy a few more.
|The cement planters hold hibiscus shrubs which aren't quite blooming at the moment, but will look great when they do. The Foo Dogs were a present to Husband for his 50th birthday.
|This is a wicker set that we have had for a long time. Husband cleaned them up with the power washer. The little pool house fridge was one of the best purchases we made. Very handy!
|I love this set of steps that Husband built to enter the pool area. It creates such a quaint entrance.
Keep your fingers crossed for a good hot day on Wednesday. I would hate to have the party in the house due to rain! Good lord, then I'd have to clean the house, too!