Sunday, March 20, 2016

Our New Outdoor Living Space

I late January Emily and I had taken a Saturday to go check out the home and yard show at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  We had done so with the idea of getting some initial research done on landscape companies that might re-do our yard this late summer/fall when we had saved enough money for the work.  Read on....

Well, next thing I know I'm suddenly interviewing 5 different landscaping companies.  Two of which turned out to be really gunning for our business, System Pavers and Alpine Outdoor Living Solutions.  Both salesmen had worked together in the Past and one had left the company to join another.  It was a tough choice as System Pavers had been around 20+ years and had a 25 year warranty on their work while Alpine had an amazing design because the salesmen had training in design work.  It was a really touch choice but we decided to go with the simpler design of SP because of their longevity and the ability to tailor their timeless design for us how we choose over the years.  

With a lot of communication we were able to start work just a couple weeks later at the very end of the month.  Part of the deal was for them to remove our tree in the backyard and level it to the  same level as our foundation to prevent water running towards out house like it was before.  Our manager for our job was Jeremy and I could tell from day one that the job was way more entailed than our salesman had led him to believe.  It was a lot of dirt to remove along with the tree and everything had to be done by hand as our side alleys weren't big enough to get equipment back there.  

Emily and I did our best the weekends before the work started by clearing out everything from the shed, tearing up a good portion of the deck so they had access to remove the tree and even gave our cabana in the back away for free to a man from Salem off Craigslist who drove up and took the shed apart piece by piece and also took a bunch of the deck and pavers that we're back there.  All of it helped out Jeremy's crew by reducing their demolition work.  It was sad to see our honey locust taken down so quickly then have it's root system cut up and grinder out by shovels and a chainsaw but there was no way we could have a level yard with all of it's roots pushing up the pavers....

It took just half a week for the crew to level out our yard and another week and half for them to put down all the layering and fresh dirt/gravel as the base for the pavers.  Our warranty said that if any of the pavers moved or became dislodged they would repair for free so they were taking the care to make sure everything was put in solidly to avoid work down the road.  

At the same time this work was going on Emily and I were driving around on the weekends "wet-testing" hot tubs at local spa stores.  It came down to a really tough choice between a Caldera high end spa and a Marquis high end Spa.  We ended up choosing the Marquis because of Doug's recommendation from his family as well as Marquis being made locally in Independance,  OR vs Mexico like the Caldera.  Marquis is also an employee-owned company so we thought that was good too.  It's called the Epic, seats 5-6 easily and should only cost us about $20-25 more per month in electricity with an additional $20/mo in minimal chemicals for sanitation.  We really liked Ryan, the salesman as well as he didn't put any pressure on us to decide.

I kept a close eye on the work being done in our yard throughout the process and when corrections or adjustments needed addressing Jeremy was quick to get things back on track.  The cost of all the subcontractors (AC, Gas, Electric) was a little unexpected but necessary for the work to be done up to city code and inspected.  By mid-March our pavers were all done and the hot tub was delivered on the 26th, just barely making it down the side of the house on it' slide before being put in place.  After a quick lesson from the spa movers it became apparent that it's going to take me a while to figure out how to balance the chemicals in it!

A week after the hot tub arrived Jeremy came back to help me wire the low-voltage lines and lay out the water system around the perimeter of the yard.  Then we signed off on yard and all was good... Except for our hot tub... Which is another post... But, our yard looks twice as big now and amazing and System Pavers proved to ultimately be the perfect choice.  They went out of their way to ensure we loved our backyard and even sent us a couple bottles of wine for us to enjoy next to our new natural gas/obsidian fire glass fire pit or in our hot tub.  What a transformation!

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