Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cleaning the Pond (and Waterfall)

Something stinks in the backyard! Oh, that? It's just our salamander swamp.

How often are you supposed to clean a pond? We have lived here for 2 years and never have cleaned out the pond by the pump house. After emptying the water we discovered that is was probably last cleaned during the Clinton administration... possibly first term. Yikes. The pea gravel bottom was mixed with ankle deep sludge. Max rescued the baby salamanders and put them in a bucket... good thought until we found the raccoons dining on them in the middle of the night. :(

Steve braves the sludgey muck and removes the mess one wheel barrow at a time. He dumped most of it in the parking strip next to the driveway. 10 loads later and the pond was empty. After checking for leaks and arranging some loose rock it was ready for new river rock.

I first bought 5- 50 lb. bags of river rock... not even close to enough. So back to the store. 10 bags total to cover the bottom. It's a bigger area than I expected. Rocks in, moss scrubbed off the waterfall, accent lights positioned... we were ready for water. (We turned on the hose and watch 3 episodes of 30 Rock on DVD while the pond filled.)
(I thought it would be funny to pose like the guy in American Gothic, but it doesn't work so well without the girl and Haley wouldn't climb down there. I look pretty mean, anyways, huh? haha)

Night time photo with the flash.

Without the flash! Awwww. The red flood light the looks really red in the photo, but I like how it shines up through the decking.

The waterfall has yellow, red and blue accent spotlights. I love it at night and the sweet sound of the waterfall outside our bedroom door is wonderful.

Ignore that lattice. It is gone. I need to post a new picture.   

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Camouflage Lattice!

Don't know what it is about lattice... but I think I actually hate it. This house had so much lattice the first time we saw it that my initial instinct was to RUN AWAY! I'm so happy to report that we have successfully removed ALL the lattice from the inside of the house (see previous post) and now have begun the de-latticing process in the backyard.

Solution: Remove it... or cover it up.
We'd like to create a tropical oasis in the backyard and have some big plans for this space! This project is the first step in transforming the backyard. In keeping with the tropical theme, we found some inexpensive reed fencing (
same used in ghetto fence project) that could be tacked up over the lattice, and bought six 6' x 15' rolls. (Yes, we have that much lattice that needs to be covered!)

Step 1: Measure and cut the reed fencing to fit over the lattice sections.
The reed cuts easily and the wire banding can be trimmed and twisted to the length needed.

Step 2: Air staple reed section to lattice.
Some of the pieces were awkward to install, but with a ladder and Max up above to move the air compressor it went pretty quickly.

Step 3: Instant tropical makeover!
The pool house looks like it's wearing a grass skirt. Now all we need are some tiki torches and hula girls!

Note: We are still working on this. There is quite a bit more lattice to cover and ivy to remove. I'll post final before and after photos when the project is complete.

Pool Update

The new tile looks great and when the sun is bright the water actually looks blue! We didn't resurface the pool this year, but we may paint it blue next year. It will do for now.

Next steps:

1. Install handrail and ladders

2. Paint grout around top of lagoon (or install rubber edging?)

3. Clean and seal concrete

We also hooked up the water to the slide so it will recirculate in the pool... no more hose!