Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pools and Lawns

I spent the afternoon with a realtor, driving around and looking at a few properties in Lake Mary and Heathrow. We saw a total of eight homes, and if it weren't for the simple floorplan sketches I made, they all would have blended together.

Before my trip, I was set against getting a home with a pool, because I thought pools would be maintenance time sinks. However, many properties here have pools and they do enhance the resale value of the home, so I would be limiting my choices by avoiding pool homes. As for maintenance time, several co-workers insisted taking care of a pool isn't that much work at all. After talking to several, I learned:

  • Everybody recommended a pool, as a way to beat the heat. Even one coworker that didn't use his much thought it was a good idea, because it is easier to care for than the mowing the yard space it takes up.
  • Having a screened enclosure keeps bugs and debris away. An open-air pool is a lot more work.
  • Buying a robot pool cleaner is also highly recommended. I had no idea there were such things!
  • Do not fall behind on pool cleaning. If you do, and the water turns cloudy and green, it will take a huge amount of work to restore the pool water to be safe again.
  • Finally, you can always get a pool service.

Pool maintenance boils down to this: run the robot all day Friday, for general pool cleaning. Sunday evening or Monday, dump in the chemicals to clean the water and keep the pH balance. You can bring in water samples to pool stores and they'll measure it and tell you how many scoops of whatever to dump in. Once a month, clean the filter. That doesn't sound too bad...

... compared to mowing the lawn. The grass here (St. Augustine) is apparently a genetic mutant hardened to survive tropical conditions. When it rains, the grass soaks up as much as possible and grows noticeably overnight. The blades are thick and sharp and dense. Everybody laughed when I said I had a push reel mower - apparently I'd need to mow every other day to combat the grass. One coworker specifically mentioned getting a 5 horsepower mower - I'm not sure how powerful that is in the lawn mower scheme of things, but since he went through the trouble of specifying mower power, I'm thinking that is a beefy mower.

An interesting fact is palm trees are monocotyledons, making them a closer relative of grass than other trees. Grass and palm trees are in class Liliopsida, but are in different orders (poales versus arecales). Obviously, you don't mow palm trees. ;)


A cute little garden outside one home I looked at.

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