Back in 1997, when we had just moved in
and negotiated for a swimming pool to grace our bald and graceless back yard, we asked for the retaining wall to be built of "landscape timbers." The installation of the pool was delayed because the foreman of the team went to jail because he forgot to show up in court because his ex-wife was disputing the amount of child support he was paying. The pool was supposed to be "done" on August 9, 1997, but by the end of September it was still a mess in the back yard.
What they built for a retaining wall wasn't with landscape timbers, it was just treated wood, but it looked okay. Only they didn't bother to check the city requirements, which precluded wood retaining walls. It was the company's mistake ("Pools by Design" was the company, but I think they went under right after that) and they sent some nimnod to rectify the mistake -- by screwing rough-cut metal sheets to the dirt side of the treated wood. I told the owner of the business that it was unacceptable; he countered by covering the raw metal edges with some black plasting edging. I should have gone ballistic and invited a lawyer over, but I hate conflict, and I was so damn sick of those idiots I just wanted the pool inspected and to get them the hell out of there. The bastards managed to steal a number of my tools as they left, too. Those I listed and the cost of replacement I deducted from the final payment.
Anyway, eight years later, the black plastic has begun to warp and pull away from the wall, the treated lumber is bleached and splintering (credit on both accounts to the power of the California sun) and it looks like a hillbilly attempt to keep the mountain at bay.
On the other side of the great water, the brick patio I hurriedly put in last year to accommodate the visiting Filthy Pikers fell victim to ants who undermined the bricks, and to weed seeds and the prolific rains of the spring; it's uneven and looks like it's been deserted and uncared for -- for a couple hundred years! It's so damn ugly I hate to go out there.
Oh, but I have to go out there, because the plumbing the Pool Mavens installed to the main water line for the automatic fill began to leak. They used a PVC junction that was flawed, and sprung a lovely leak. I'll bet it was seeping when it was installed, but they were in a hurry to finish and get their money, and they just said, "Eh, a drip or two won't hurt." Eight years later, water erosion made it a tiny gusher. At least it wasn't any of the piping that I later installed to run my irrigation system. However, that is exactly why I have to go out there to see the weedy, crumbling mess: their mistake in the plumbing made my irrigation system useless. So I had to stand out in the back and spend what? 15 minutes, watering pots and grass? Ugh, so inconvenient, I could have spent those 15 minutes staring at a game of Spider Solitaire.
The patio just outside the kitchen door is beautiful. Peaceful, comfortable, shady, interesting -- the kind of place you just want to hang out all day. The patio by the pool should feel that way, too.
The entire poolside area needs to be re-thought. Form and function, pleasure and visual impact. My brain is ticking over the possibilites. I just wish I had an extra lifetime to do the work.