Friday, September 28, 2012

Final Approach

We are ready to land our pool project!

The pool surface has been applied.  The product used here is called Hydrazzo, which is similar to Terrazzo flooring.  Hydrazzo combines naturally beautiful coarse graded crystalline and colored marble, along with white Portland cement and a host of other performance-enhancing ingredients to create the ultimate pool coating.  It is a very smooth finish, so it is comfortable on your toes!  And the aggregate and crystal, once exposed by polishing, create a beautiful, rich texture.

Though this photograph doesn't really do it justice, this is what it looks like during the polishing process.  
The surrounding lighting is installed, with the exception of a couple of fixtures that arrived broken and are waiting for replacement parts.  It can't be easy!  

The trellis that backs the spa was handily built by our contractor, Al.

Plants arrived, and are being installed while I write this!  

All the pieces are coming together.  We did run into one small problem, trying to tie the new irrigation system into the existing main line.  The line had been broken during the construction process, and  was buried under the pool decking.  Set back the installation a little, but a solution was found, and all is moving on track again.
Next week will be the big reveal.  I hope you like what you see!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I'm sorry to say that this week the weather has been no friend of mine!  It's been an especially rainy summer here, and that does not help progress for outdoor building projects, including our pool that  is nearing completion.  The shell was scheduled for installation this week, but that has been delayed.  Our electrical inspection did pass for the outdoor lighting, and the trenches are once again filled, but otherwise, there has been little progress.

I have had some people asking about a couple of things I made reference to in recent posts, so this would be a good time to address those!

First, someone asked me what a "French pattern" is in pavers.  You may recall that I showed photos of our Travertine installed.

This seemingly random combination of pavers is actually a careful combination of 4 sizes--16"x24", 16"x16", 8"x8" and 8"x16"--in a pattern that repeats every 12 pieces of stone.  This image shows the repeat.

To put an even finer point on this, there is also a pattern called "London pattern", which is the same repeat but with smaller scale pieces.  The reason I chose the French pattern over the many other choices such as

is that the French pattern gives a seemingly more random feel to the overall appearance, particularly when you're working with natural stone like Travertine where there will be a considerable amount of color variation in the product.  And, as the name implies, the French pattern offers a classic, European look!

Also, I was asked if I can really condone the use of PVC columns instead of wood.  Well, quite simply, the answer is a resounding YES!

I have seen to many expensive outdoor structures succumb to our humidity not to appreciate the benefits of the PVC.  The choices of pressure treated lumber--particularly trim pieces--are somewhat limited, and even the best PT wood can't hold up forever.  The finish on these colums is matte, so they don't have the appearance of the shiny, vinyl fencing that does often look like plastic.  I promise you that for all the world they just look like extremely finely made wood columns...and even better, they are paintable!  (Which these will be.)  You'll have to trust me on this one!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Step By Step

At our pool project, we're entering the final phases.  As each element is completed, the overall design starts to emerge.

Pool decking and Travertine on the steps and porch are all completely installed.

The fence has been installed.  Due to safety and code regulations, we had to use a somewhat creative placement, but this will make more sense when the landscaping is installed.

The water line tile has been installed in the spa, and the coping is now complete.

The concrete shell is being pressure washed and any rough spots will be ground down in preparation for the inner lining to be applied.

Meanwhile, some of the fun details are happening.  These free-standing columns will each have a sconce to light the pool area.  The columns are prefab PVC, and should be standing till the end of time!

And today, the electric for the sconces is being trenched into the pool surround.

We hate seeing a big mess again, but it's all part of the process.  Getting close you can smell the chlorine.  (Well, in this case it's a salt-water pool...but still!)

Friday, September 7, 2012

On Deck

Last week, we saw a nearly completed outdoor fireplace at our pool project.  Here it is all done!

As soon as this was complete, the Travertine pavers were delivered, and the decking process started.  The ground is carefully leveled and graded to insure proper drainage.  Then a layer of finely-crushed gravel is added, and machine compacted.

A water pipe is used to be sure the fill dirt fully surrounds the pool deck.

Once the prep work is done, the stone installation can begin.  As in all projects, the prep work is of utmost importance to insure proper installation!

 A French pattern was used for the stone pieces in this installation.  Here are more views as the decking goes down.

The Traveritne will also clad the steps and welcome walls, and be used on the porch floor.  The steps required a little "surgery" to accept the new stone, but when it's all completed, it will be a seamless surface of material from the back door to the fireplace.  Beautiful!

All the pieces are starting to fall into place.  Next week, the contractor and electrician will begin the structural portions of the landscaping.  (Intriguing?) And the fencing arrived this morning, and is being installed now!

Though there is still a lot to accomplish, the final vision is starting to come into focus.  See you next week!