As a kid my favorite place in the summer was Suzie’s backyard. Suzie was the oldest of 7 kids. Her mom wanted all her kids in her backyard. She welcomed all the neighborhood kids to join them. Suzie’s mom believed that kids do better with simple things.
Her answer was a ton of dirt dumped to one side of the back yard close enough to be observed from the kitchen window. There were days when as many as 20 kids would be swarming the dirt pile, playing “little people” a game that combined playing house, war, school, space invaders, cowboys and Indians and any other idea a 10 year old could come up with. The garden hose was frequently employed to construct rivers and lakes.
Suzie’s parents had a large vegetable garden in the far end of the yard that was off limits to all children. Anyone who violated this rule earned an off limit on the dirt pile for all of us for the rest of the day. Heavy punishment, but we learned not to invite frequent violators back to play.
Toward the end of the day Suzie’s mom would attach the sprinkler so we could run through it, cool off and wash the day’s accumulation of dirt and mud off.
Which reminds me! Automatic sprinklers are wonderful devices. Once the system is set up, the only worry is paying the water bill. Right? Depends. Are all of the sprinkler heads pointed effectively and efficiently? Too many times I have seen driveways getting a thorough watering. I used to think that was a terrible waste of water. However, it is more than a waste; constantly watering a masonry structure can cause major damage by erosion. People laugh, “Come on, that driveway is not the Grand Canyon, and this sprinkler head is not the Colorado River. By the time it erodes my entire family will be long gone!”
They are right, but I am not worried about the driveway wearing away, I’m concerned with the underpinnings of the structure; the dirt below it. That dirt is susceptible to erosion. The water builds up under the foundation, liquefying the ground beneath and compromising its ability to support the driveway above. As the weight of the driveway bears down, particularly with heavy vehicles parked on it, the masonry gives out and it either cracks or buckles.
Make sure your sprinkler heads are pointed in the right direction and away from your driveway, sidewalks and house foundation. This is one of those times where an ounce of prevention…
For kid fun, today a swimming pool replaces the sprinkler. We worry about curb appeal and work out ways to expand our living space with outdoor kitchens and lounging areas. Home grown vegetables have become more and more popular. However 10 year olds haven’t changed.
The company I work for recently completed a patio and pergola located near a backyard pool. The owners wanted a place to relax while they kept an eye on their rollicking children in the pool. The pergola provided the shade, the patio a level and aesthetic setting for their chaise lounges and side tables. Its position catches the breezes that keep the setting cooler than the rest of the yard. When I saw the pictures of the completed work and how the owners had beautifully decorated it, I thought, I bet this is their favorite place to be.
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Jo Lauricella is Real Estate Marketing Manager at Boston Brick & Stone (www.bostonbrick.com) in Pasadena, CA, the most relied upon chimney inspection & repair contractor in the Los Angeles area. For more info go to www.bostonbrick.com or our blogwww.bostonbrick.com/blog/news/
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