What’s In A Picture? – Swimming Pool Angst

There is such a thing as “Potential Energy” in something as simple as a photograph. I get this from my own reaction to what is implied in the picture below. I had a funny reaction, looking at this recently, seeing as how it took place so long ago and the Completion Party – July 4th of that year – saw me sleeping on the couch there, pretty much unable to drive. Of course, this was long, long ago. 😉

But now and then on projects one gets a sense of being literally “overwhelmed”. I recall even the day that this one was taken and that sense I remember like it was yesterday. We also deal in time constraints impressed in a world where we promise completion. At that time, it looked impossible what with all the hundreds of small chores and even a few big ones left. We made out fine – as usual – but I’ve never forgotten those sensations.

Let’s look deeper into this picture. This was taken about 2/3 of the way through the installation of a patio around a swimming pool. For those who follow this blog, I have used other pictures showing various views of not only the finished product but of some of the construction phases I was far-sighted enough (for once 😉 ) to actually take. I will refer to things as this post enlarges below and I will ask the reader to go back to the picture. I think it will reveal better what, exactly, I am speaking of. If one really cares to get a concept of what’s involved in constructing landscapes – and particularly if you are considering having it done – you might want to pay some attention. Everyone does things differently but all landscapers will tell you what you see below is a factor in any project.

click image to enlarge, sometimes twice for more detail


What sort of electrified me when I looked at this shot was not just the obviously “clustered effect” which typifies many of our projects when you include the varied number of machines and equipment we use and the storage issues relative to them. From parts and supplies to the machinery that moves them around to the Porta Potty – these all needed addressing. Then, of course, there is the actual work…………….oh yeah!  But first – space……………

The mini excavator shown above is a bear to find space for, as well as the Bobcat skid steer machine which sits behind it. Then there are the piles of gravel and soil one wishes to have precisely when one needs them. This can lead to problems – owing to the timing of completing certain areas which then make it impossible to cross by machine, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Lots and lots and lots of logistical problems comprise these larger projects, many of which do not offer such a wide sweep of land to park our parts and equipment. This then, produces yet other sets of budgetary and “manners” problems. We take up space!

Now the work. The work! Almost forgot!   😉

The stage of construction above began at the point of the following photographs:


This picture complete with Owner! Oh – and the painter. We are not around just yet.


Obviously, this is a somewhat primitive stage in the development of the project. Where Tim is standing and in all the areas where pavers are to be laid, we will need to add a whole bunch of gravel first, to provide the necessary underlying foundation for a strong, never-altering patio. What may be missed – even in this photo – is some noteworthy work we accomplished to get even to there. Placing the large boulders on the edges of the swimming pool required our efforts as well as placing the bricks near the cascade hard by the “spa” – the circular area where paving bricks were virtually ‘hung” on mortar. The same bricks which are shown here are already adhered as the “coping stones” surrounding the pool itself, giving us our level and one permanent outer parameter for installing the paver bricks.

Back to the picture – am I Marcel Proust?

So – finally, referring back to the origination of this spiel – what we see there are some accomplishments, first. Note at the top of the picture the gorgeous blue color the swimming pool water accrues once it’s loaded into the pool itself. That is the upper portion of a cascade that actually does fill the pool and marks the entry point of the pool’s recirculating water. This is actually “finished”.

This picture, believe it or not, comes around the period of the top picture and shows the same pile of pavers hanging at the spa, feeding the eventual “turn” the pathway makes up alongside our creek and back into the house.


Once again, referring to the top shot, the pavers shown where they are below the spa are also “finished” – the cuts made, the curving pattern accomplished, pipes supplying drip irrigation and lighting wire are laid in. Now, the pavers themselves will make the corner there and turn, accompanying the side of a long creek which played strategically into the design. With a waterfall beginning in the front yard, we coursed a small river down that side of the house, ending at a point we can also see in the above picture.


If you notice, there seems to be a ramped incline of sand running hard by the pool cascade. Well, our hope was to make it appear as a bridge where water would “seem” to flow from the creek to the cascades themselves. That “bridge” needs addressing yet as well as the corner turn of pavers. The picture below is a very early morning shot of at least a partial angle of what “finishing” implied. Enlarging the picture shows it a bit better:


In the end, we completed the little river and the little pond faking itself into the pool. It all looked as wonderful as it possibly could and I was left with a huge sense of satisfaction……….until the next job – which had already started!


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