It’s natural to feel devastated after a loved one dies – whether that’s a human relative or a cherished family pet. But when one man lost his loyal dog of ten years, he decided that the best way to channel his grief was to create something truly amazing. Though it wouldn’t be easy, the work would definitely be worth it – if he could pull it off.
Working outside is, apparently, how this intrepid guy deals with grief. And he needed a big project to get through his latest sadness. For a prolonged battle with cancer had recently robbed him and his wife of their dog – a pet they had cherished.
In the immediate aftermath of his loss, he began work on a concrete koi pond. Only before he finished that project, his son was born. So naturally, he had other priorities and duties as a father to perform, and so he put the backyard projects on hold.
Eventually, however, he turned his attentions back to the fish pond – only it didn’t seem quite right anymore. Now he wanted something more amazing that would not only immortalize the memory of his pooch, but also be useful to his newborn son. And so he drew up a series of detailed plans.
Of course, the grand plan for the new project was extensively more involved than what was originally intended. And so on June 18, 2010 he began work on what would become a mammoth undertaking – but one that promised to be insanely rewarding.
What remained of his previous project was simply a small, overgrown hole. But for his new vision, he needed a much bigger one. Indeed, where before he had simply intended to build a small koi pond, he now had something altogether grander planned.
After coxing from friends and reflecting on the future he wanted for his newborn son, the guy decided to build a swimming pool. While that might not sound like such a huge deal, he was committed to doing as much as possible by hand.
From the start, it involved plenty of digging and heavy lifting. Because his house was on a slope, he had to install a retaining wall to make sure the water wouldn’t just spill out everywhere. But this involved shifting over 300 huge sandbags, all by hand.
Working to his original designs, the next step involved installing the plumbing system. First and foremost the pumps needed to prevent debris from mucking up the pipes. So, at the base of the pool, a powerful pump was affixed to the ground on a concrete slab.
Only all this was happening under the heat of the Texas sun, during what he describes as one of the state’s “never-below-105” summers. Of course, protection was necessary for the long hours outside, so he installed a large gazebo to cover the entire pool area.
Curiously, he didn’t design the pool as just a single, circular body of water. He made it marvelous, with a grotto affectionately referred to as a “cave” by his son. He also included shallower areas for the youngster to play.
Once he and a friend reached the bottom of the pool, they carried the dirt out using buckets. Though an excavator would surely have made the job much easier, there is something rewarding about doing a job by hand. But to be sure, he paid his friend for his help.
Once the hole had been properly dug out, with sandbags surrounding the perimeter, the rebar support had to be laid down. The grid covered the entire pool and its offshoots, in eight-by-eight-foot squares. That’s a lot of rebar – and a lot more work.
In fact, he admitted that bending the rebar by hand into the required shape was the most arduous part of the pool’s construction. Even the digging was apparently preferable to molding the 188 pieces of 20-inch rebar.
Despite doing everything else by hand, there was one portion of the pool that did eventually require machinery: creating the concrete basin. So he hired a company to fill the hole with concrete. Surprisingly, it ended up using 42 tons of concrete – twice what everyone had expected.
A week after the concrete was laid down, the pool was almost ready. Slowly but surely, the guy’s hard work paid off. Only he had a few finishing touches he needed to apply.
In the end, it took him another month to create the rocky look he desired. And this involved a complex and tedious process. He used sand in a cement mixer to create his own rocks alongside the natural, real ones already in his backyard.
Finally, a whopping $10,000 later and months after he began working on his dream swimming pool back in June 2010, he completed the project. And of course, he just couldn’t wait to jump in. Who can blame him?
Thankfully, his son also loves the pool. After an hour-long road trip during which the toddler cried the entire time, he was all smiles getting into the water. Touchingly, there are also a pair of his son’s footprints in the concrete. Located in the kid-friendly area, the guy had the prints done when the concrete was still wet.
Of course, it may have taken a lot of effort but this veritable backyard oasis made it all worth it. The pool may have started life as a means of channeling grief, but it ended up as a labor of love. Truly, the pool is something wonderful that the whole family can enjoy.