I bought a modest home 10 years back with a 21 foot diameter above
ground pool in the back yard (south side of home) in zone 4 weather
wise in the midwest (typical winter cold is 20 degrees F, rarely below
zero, occasionally near zero). Last year I went all summer without
opening the pool as our deck is in need of replacing and it never made
it to the top of the priority list.
My wife says we should take out the 20 year old pool and replace it
with a paver patio and some landscaping. I want to do this right as
the deck and patio need to last for many years as I doubt we will move
anytime soon. I am still young enough to do some work myself but I
don't want to be re-doing this in 5, 10 or even 20 years if it can be
avoided. Accordingly I am willing to splurge for the artificial
decking if it is truly a one-time expense for a guy aged 45.
Please point me to resources, locations or people so that I fully think
this project through. Any and all advice welcome regarding the deck,
landscaping, patio or just humor.
My advice would be to leave the pool in place until the day before you're
ready to start doing whatever else to that spot. On that day, it'll be as
weed-free as you can hope for. On the other hand, give nature a week or
three to fill the void, and that's what will happen. It'll be much more work
at that point.
Just a comment on decks - if you have a decent budget and want
something that will really last, consider a cedar deck put together
with stainless steel screws and stainless steel ring shank nails. It
will still look great as you and your guests celebrate at your
retirement party. Redwood might also be good.
Some of the composite deck materials are prone to sags and installation
hassles. UV resistance long term may also be a problem. Due diligence
on these is advisable. HTH
As far as the landscaping, the best thing you could possibly do would be to
bury yourselves in library books with lots of pictures. Get some Post It
notes, and stick them in pages where you see ideas you like. Take the books
to garden centers. Home Depot and Lowe's are not garden centers, unless
you're stupid and you think your doctor's office is an airport. Get advice,
and be sure to ask what sort of care certain plants need in the future.
According to one amazing garden writer, Henry Mitchell, any time you think
you want a small tree, buy a large shrub. Small trees often end up the size
of a one car garage, which may not be what you wanted. His two books are
VERY easy to read, and loaded with advice. "The Essential Earthman" and "One
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