Building A Pond In Washington DC
When it comes to building ponds, it’s all about creating an at-home paradise. Home-owners call us so they can come home after a long day at work and enjoy the sights and sounds of running water. But what you may not see are all of the logistics that go into creating this at-home piece of paradise. Here are some of the ways that DC likes to make pond-building (and probably a lot of of contracting work) a total pain-in-the-butt.
The Normal Pond-Building Process
The way we operate is generally pretty straight forward. Here is the normal building process:
- Show up to the house with all of our tools. Start to either dig the ground or tear out the current feature, depending on whether you’re getting a new pond or a renovation
- Tri-State Stone shows up with a very large truck that has pallets of rock on it. These rocks are offloaded using their truck crane generally as close to the working area as possible. If access is limited, we may have to offload these onto your driveway or front yard.
- Turf Equipment shows up with your pond equipment (filters, piping system, etc) and off loads that pallet.
- We use the stone and pond equipment to build your feature.
- At the end of the creation process, we load up any remaining material and all of our tools and we’re off.
So there you have it. We show up, our material show up, we create, and then we leave and make it seem like we were never there.
How is DC different?
Again, keep in mind our job is to create a piece of serenity and paradise. So we want to make sure we’re at peace when building your pond. And sometimes it’s not always the easiest thing!
This is the typical morning of day 1 of the job if we are building in Washington, DC:
- Sit on the beltway in traffic because someone got a flat tire and pulled off onto the shoulder to change it. Every commuter on the road obviously has to slow down to 15 miles per hour to watch this person try to change their tire only for them to decide that giving AAA a call is probably going to make their lives easier. So our normal 20-minute commute is now an hour and we finally show up to the house at the crack of 10:30am.
- Now at the homeowners house, there is no driveway that we can pull into. The closest available parking spot for our trucks are 4 blocks away and we have to offload all of our tools. So we stop in the middle of the road, throw on our blinkers, and try to get everything off the truck as fast as possible. Generally a parking attendant or the police will stop us to let us know that we aren’t allowed to park in the middle of the street. Of course this is the first time we’ve ever heard of this rule so as one person is stalling and playing dumb, everyone else is still off-loading with Usain Bolt speed.
- Everything is off of the trucks, they’re parked 11 blocks up the road and the Premier crew is in the backyard starting the paradise-creation process.
- The crew realizes they forgot the bubble-level in the truck so Aidan has to walk the 11 blocks, uphill both ways, to get the level. And of course, he got the 12″ level instead of the 48″ level, so now it’s back to the truck for him.
So as you can see, it’s a bit more of a logistical nightmare than what meets the eye.
This is where the DC Department of Motor Vehicles comes in
A couple weeks ago we were building a pond for a client in DC. We did our best to follow the parking rules but sometimes biting the bullet and accepting a few-hundred dollars in parking fines is worth it. Here are some of the rules that we broke at this particular job:
- You can’t block the sidewalk. So when we parked one of the trucks in the driveway, it’s a small enough driveway that the truck extends into the sidewalk and blocks it.
- Street parking is 2 hour parking. We’re stuck at this conundrum of either trying to find reasonable parking every two hours or making that 2 hour parking an 8 hour parking spot and accepting the fines. We opted for the latter.
- Offloading in the street. Remember when I talked about how we have to offload in the street sometimes? This was one of those.
So the whole time we’re in the backyard trying to have fun and create this piece of paradise, we’re constantly dodging parking enforcement because it’s near-impossible to follow the rules and effectively build.
What does this mean for you?
Sometimes the costs are a bit higher to build in the area because we know that the job will take a whole day longer than usual because of the traffic/DMV/logistics. Also, you remember when I said that Tri-State Stone comes in with a truck and delivers the material? Well if you have a typical DC front yard, you can’t put all 8 pallets of stone there at once. We have to have Tri-State deliver the stone 2 pallets at a time so the cost of the material has increased because of the amount of trips they’re taking to deliver it.
So if you’re in the DC area and you want a pond or water-feature built at your home, we’d love to come out and do it. Just know that the logistics that go into it are a bit more of a challenge than what meets the eye!