Since posting the pictures of my backyard beach on Houzz.com, I have been getting a lot of e-mails and questions about how I pulled this off. Firstly, everyone told me I was nuts to even attempt this. But alas, four years later, I still LOVE it!
My very large evergreen was just ugly and it was $1,000 to have it removed. R U KIDDING ME? So I borrowed my sister's chain saw and started to chop away. HUGE job but I saved lots o' money! I kept the center trunk as a support for the ladder and climbing up to get the high branches. One day, I thought - HEY, this would be a great place for a hammock! The grass around the bottom of the tree was gone due to the low branches and I thought maybe I would fill it with dirt and flowers. Way too expensive and too large a space. Then came the idea for a "beach".
I am a huge Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney and overall fan of the "islands". Living in Chicago - you don't see too many palm trees so I decided to create my own patch of paradise.
I cleared out the debris and cut a large circle off the deck where the tree used to be. I then used a heavy vinyl landscape fabric and laid it out in the shape of the circle and secured it with landscape fabric u clips. I then purchased the mini log border and placed it around the edge of the landscape fabric. I then had sand delivered on my driveway. I think it was a yard of play sand and it was $125 with delivery. Since I was still healing from two breast cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation, I could only move a very small amount of sand at a time. So I used my lawn spreader! LOL - not kidding. It worked out perfectly. I couldn't ask for help because I would have gotten the lecture on how stupid this was.
I filled it in and it was WONDERFUL! I bought a plastic tiki umbrella and used u clamps on the back side of the tree to hold it in place. It is also very easy to remove the umbrella for a storm and for during the winter. Here is when I didn't remove it in time for the summer storm.
I have since painted the adirondack chair bahama blue and the beach is still awesome. During the winter it sits under tons of snow and when spring comes, I simply get a shovel and turn all the sand over and rake it. The hammock pillow is from LL Bean and it is fantastic. I have it monogrammed to say "ISLAND GIRL". The tiki lights around the umbrella are awesome at night and I also have a light up flamingo who sits in the back. I also added fake grasses I bought at Dollar Tree and it looks pretty authentic. Yes, animals do play in it - among other things. I have yet to find any fecal matter in it and the bunnies love to roll around in the sand. It is pretty funny.
I use a sand sifter toy to get out any leaves or berries so I don't lose too much of the sand. I am going to repeat it in the other side of the deck where I took down a second tree. The lifeguard chair is from Blizzard Beach water park in Walt Disney World - EBAY! I also found a Lilo n Stitch authentic surfboard - given to the animators as a thank you gift from Walt Disney Studios. Pretty cool!
I love to sit on my hammock and put my toes in the sand. Life is good today! Good luck!