A Pool in Progress Phase 4: Plaster

Last week was another huge week for us in the realm of backyard remodel!  We’ve been in the ready, set, wait mode on the pool for awhile now.  The tile has been in, the stackstone has been on the cascade waterfalls and we’ve just been waiting for plaster.

Early last week we heard that our pool was scheduled to be plastered the last week of May.  The rainy weather we had in April put the plaster companies behind and so everyone’s pools were behind on schedule.  I was pretty sad to hear that we’d have to wait a few more weeks especially now that the warm is beautiful and warm and our empty pool was just sitting there teasing us.  Then on Wednesday last week we got the call that they had an opening and they were going to plaster our pool the next day!!!!  Best news ever!

The plaster crew arrived bright and early at 7:30am and got to work.  By the time I got home in the afternoon after work, they were done and the pool was already starting to fill with water!  They fill it immediately which is so crazy!  Now let me tell you, watching a large pool fill with water oh so sloooooooooooooooowly is worse that watching a pot boil.  But with a glass of wine in hand I did just that, sat and watched my beautifully plastered pool slowly fill with water, cause you know, why not?

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We opted to go with plaster as opposed to a pebble finish for several reasons.  First of all, plaster stands the test of time, has been around for a long time and will continue to be around, so down the line, when repairs are needed (because it’s inevitable) plaster will still be available.  We didn’t know however, that we had color options with plaster until our pool contractor asked us which color we wanted!  I was thrilled to discover that we could get a similar result as the pebble finishes when it came to the color of the water, based on the color of plaster!  White plaster is typical and somewhat of a dated option.  We went with Tahoe Blue plaster.  I was concerned that the pool would look bright blue, and was especially nervous about my Christina ledge as I didn’t want it to look like a giant blue step, but our pool contractor assured me it would look good and highly recommended that color for our pool.  I’m soooooooo glad we went with it, it looks AMAZING!  The plaster isn’t blue at all, but a gorgeous grey color but it makes the water reflect a beautiful blue color, more blue the deeper it gets.  It’s truly perfect.

It took over 2 and a half days for our pool to fill.  That’s a lot of impatient waiting LOL!  but finally it was full and so so beautiful.  It’s even beyond what we were expecting.  It finished filling the day before Mother’s Day so I’d say it was a nice surprise gift.

Beautiful isn’t it?!  The day it finished filling they set up filter and got the automatic fill up and running.  Our pool is a salt water pool but for now it’s set up as a chlorine pool because they can’t add the salt for 45 days, they have to wait for the plaster to cure.  Thankfully we don’t have to wait for the plaster to cure to swim!  My kids were in it the very next day, even though it was only 80 something outside and the water has to be in the 50 or 60s, brrrrrrrrr!  You won’t see me in there until the weather is HOT, but I feel like I’m at my own personal resort now sitting in my yard looking at my beautiful pool.

A few other things we’ve learned since the pool is full is the amount of plaster dust that has to be swept off inside the pool once it’s full of water.  2-3 times a day we sweep the sides and bottom to filter and drain out the plaster dust as it settles. The first few days it made the pool super cloudy, but then it settled.  Each day is a little less.  We’re also still waiting to be able to use the cascade waterfalls until the water is all ready to go.  We got to test them though and they are AMAZING!  I can’t wait to post about them once they’re ready to run!

Lastly we discovered that we were not the only ones waiting for our pool to be finished. I think the local creatures thought we were building them a pond because as it was filling with water we caught a rat and a frog in the pool, BLEGH!  My son saved the frog and set him free, the rat didn’t fare so well (which didn’t make me sad).  They’ve stayed away now that it’s full thank goodness.

The rest of the yard has been undergoing big changes as well, with a beautiful retaingin wall being built around 2 sides of the pool by our landscaper and some plants going in, but I’ll save all the details of that for another post!

For now I’ll leave you with some before, during and after pics of the pool!

 

CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!

The Grass is Always Greener

This has been a BIG week for us in our backyard reno!  The weather has been gorgeous, incredibly dry for this time of year for the past couple of weeks which means our landscaper was able to get back to working on our yard.  They spent about a week and a half leveling out the dirt and tilling in soil conditioner and making sure all of the sprinklers were ready to go in the back yard.  I was trying to be patient but in my head was honestly wondering how flat dirt has to be before grass can grow on it LOL.

 

On Monday this week we were told that sod would be going in on Tuesday.  I have to tell you Tuesday felt like Christmas morning! We were SO excited when the lawn arrived, I was seriously giddy to see the semi truck full of sod pull up in front of my house and watch them start to unload the beautiful lush green turf that would soon become my lawn!

 

Watching the steps a yard has to go through to be ready for lawn is similar to watching the progress of interior renovation.  There’s a lot of “below the surface” work that has to be done before it’s lawn ready; old lawn has to be taken up, ditches dug, sprinklers laid, ground leveled, soil prepped, etc.  It’s also similar to an interior renovation in that the end steps seem to go quickly and show immediate results!  It’s like when you redo a bathroom, everything has to be taken apart, plumbing fixed, floors have to be leveled, and then when things start to be installed it seems to pull together fast.  That how it felt with the yard.  All of the unseen work, the work that will keep out lawn looking green and healthy over the years, seemed to go slowly and it appeared not much progress was taking place, even though you knew it was.  And then the sod shows up and it goes from being a big brown yard of dirt to a beautiful lush green lawn!

 

To give a little perspective on what it was and what it is now, here are before, during, and after pics for you.

Here’s another view from start to finish.  You’ll see we’ve not only added lawn but also added planters throughout the yard that our landscaper created reusing the cement from throughout our yard!  The planters still need to be filled but lawn was step one.

And the last view from start to current view.

 

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but I’m pretty sure whoever said that hasn’t been in my yard this week because my side of the fence is pretty darn green. From dead crunchy grass to soft lush lawn, it’s been a journey, one I’ve not been so patient through, but the result is amazing and worth the work it needed to get to this point so far!

 

CalBRE #01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!

Time to Get Dirty

This week was another big starting point week for us on our renovation.  On Monday our backyard landscape overhaul began!  Bear (our furry person) is just as excited as we are, can you tell?!

When we first put an offer on our house the lawns were completely dead; like crunch under your feet dead.  The sprinklers had stopped working during one of the weeks that it as over 100 degrees and no one noticed that none of the plants were getting watered because the home was vacant, so all of the lawns and many of the other plants around the yards died or are very close to dying.  We had a landscaper friend of ours bid a new sprinkler system for the yards, front and back, as well as new lawns during the Inspection period portion of our escrow so we knew it was going to cost us a minimum of $10,000 going into it. We also knew that we wanted to add a pool.  That “simple” idea has now turned into a full blown yard renovation project that we jumped into with both feet this week.  Literally, with both feet because the yard is completely torn up and you can’t get around the dirt without walking through it, see?!

 

We also met with our Pool contractor for the first time on Monday!  That was super exciting and I can’t wait to see what he draws up for us (though I’m not looking forward to the price it’s gonna cost LOL!).  As with most of the projects we do, the original pool plan has already changed like 3 times and we haven’t even had the plans drawn up yet.  The planning and designing process of renovation often goes through a LOT of changes from first thought to final product and for me that’s the fun of it!  There’s usually a ton of different ways to do something, and figuring out what’s best for the space is like a big puzzle and coloring book smashed into one.  Our landscaper helped us get a better feel for his suggestion of the pool placement by spray painting an outline of the pool onto the ground.  That helped a ton to be able to visualize how the pool would fit into the space.  Sometimes talking through design isn’t enough to help you make a decision. If you’re a visual person like me, you have to measure it out and actually see how it will all fit before making a decision.

(You can’t see the whole pool outline but those painted lines are the edge of the pool closest to the house.  Yup, we’ll be cutting into the concrete to make it the size we want and to have a better fit and shape for the yard.  More work but it will be a much better result.)

Whoever designed our yards originally put a lot of thought and care (and money) into the yard.  Cement planter beds line the backyard and are full of excellent soil.  There’s also a cement mow strip under 90% of the fence which keeps the wood from touching the dirt and allows less critters to get into our yard.  They also put a lot of irrigation in, but unfortunately time has run it’s course on the irrigation system, so we’re replacing all of it.  The good part about replacing all of the irrigation is that the new system will be much more efficient for the plants and grass that our landscaper will be installing.  So this week, that’s what our landscaper has been working on so far.  He’s ripped out all of the old sick and dead plants that were around the edge of the backyard, as well as saving those that could be saved to use elsewhere.   He’s been removing the old irrigation lines making room for brand new irrigation.  He’s also spent a good amount of time helping us to plan out the new design for the yard, listening to our ideas, (vetoing some of my husbands overly creative ideas lol) and helping us come up with the best design for our space.

(This crazy jumble of pipes will be a lovely new irrigation system someday soon.)

At the beginning of the week our backyard looked like this, prior to any work being done:

You can see all of the plants around the edges of the yard, those are now gone.  The “grass” is still there, or at least it was when I left the house this morning, but I expect it will soon just be dirt as well.

As of this afternoon the backyard looked like this:

Less plants, more dirt, dirt, dirt.  But eventually there will be new planters, beautiful healthy plants, a huge sprawling lawn and a pool!  We decided to dig into (ha ha, I’m punny) the potential this yard holds since it was the potential of this yard that drew us to this home I am so excited to watch it become what it will be.  It’s a big dirty job and someone’s got to do it, so I’m glad we hired a landscaper!

 

CalBRE # 01984572

I’m a full time wife, mom and Real Estate Agent and I blog about the real dirty honest stuff about renovation; like what living through a house being torn apart is actually like, the real costs of upgrading, DIY vs hiring it out, etc.  If you like what you’ve read, follow this blog to receive an email with each new post!