Remodelers Corner: May/June 2013


Taking the plunge of putting in a pool was something that Dick and Evelyn Berger had thought about many times over the years.

“We always wanted a swimming pool, but I loved the landscaping and my Eastern Redbud trees were so beautiful that we kept putting it off,” says Evelyn, whose landscape would have to be completely remodeled—including removing her favorite trees—to accommodate a pool.

After several unseasonably hot summers, the Bergers started thinking more seriously about changing their landscape not only for refreshment from the stifling elements but to add more recreational space as well. “My husband likes to swim laps, and swimming is something we can do recreationally as we age,” she explains.

The fact that the Bergers’ yard nests on a steeply-sloped hillside presented some extraordinary deviations from the typical pool installation, such as the need for a massive retaining wall that required special engineering to keep everything in place.

“After consulting with an engineer, we basically stabilized the earth using a geogrid [a geosynthetic soil reinforcement] with the retaining wall blocks to stabilize the soil behind the wall,” explains Clint Ernst, president of Custom Retaining Walls, who built the wall needed for the Bergers’ pool. “You could take the face of the 76-foot-long by 16-foot-high retaining wall down and the grid would be standing in place.”

Living and entertaining al fresco at the Bergers’ is enhanced by their vista overlooking one of the fairways of the Rochester Golf & Country Club.

“It’s so beautiful in the evening enjoying the lush greenery and watching the deer. Our favorite, though, is watching the sunset,” says Evelyn.

Although the project wasn’t completed until last September, Evelyn says they’re already getting so much enjoyment from their new outdoor space and look forward to entertaining poolside this season.