Home & Design

Green Acre #200: Everybody Into the Pool

We’d all love something more magnificent, but to serve the basic desire to cool off, this kind of pickup-truck thingie will do quite nicely, thank you.

SUDDENLY IT’S summer. Thankfully, at least around Washington DC, the major gardening work has been done and what will be, will be. Well, in time we’ll find a number of things that didn’t do, that fizzled, dried up, performed in some unpleasing manner and must be replaced, but these will be tackled with little perspiration on my part. What else are Princes for? 

Chilling out, though, that is an issue. Perhaps you’ve noticed there is a shortage of inflatable, or otherwise portable, pools. Not the ones big enough to actually swim in, but the wallowing sort. Where you can lie back in a puddle and read a hot novel.  

This is another woe attributable to the plague, I presume. The hotel and community and club pools are closed this summer and there’s been a run on anything that holds water, except the beach, but a three-hour drive is a bit much for a quick dip. Just how is one to get wet?

A pool is what Baby wanted for her first Mother’s Day—nothing fancy, just something big enough for her and maybe baby Wes, but not Tallulah, the grand-dog. A big, hot, wet, panting brown dog is not a cool thing to lie next to. Her Personal Prince Pete and I spent hours trying to find one for her online and in stores where they live, in Raleigh, North Carolina. No soap, as it were—everything was out of stock,  and replenishment was not expected until August.

She got a plant, a very lovely pink mandevilla, but one cannot splash in a plant saucer unless one in very, very small or the sauce is very, very large. 

Whether she got a pool doesn’t affect me, trapped in DC. This city is so hot in summer that British troops stationed before and during WWII wore tropical battle ensembles, with shorts, as if this were Bombay or the Serengeti, which you might mistake it for, should you wander forth from the air conditioning in mid-July. 

I thought, aha! What I need is a lounge chair that could be filled with water, a personal slosh-pit. But the only chairs I came across were for use in actual pools—either too flat to hold water, or with mesh bottoms that would leak. What I want is a me-length chair, with a solid bottom and high sides that could hold, say 8 inches of water, that I could just flop into. An attached pillow would be nice.  

Doesn’t that sound like something that someone somewhere would have? Apparently not. 

I also looked into the advisability of just climbing into the fish pond in the rear garden, which is the right length, though kidney-shaped, which I am not. Not to mention that it would be uncomfortable, and kind of weird to be in there with the fish. In any case, a filter system is advised. This was not going to happen. 

I did come up with a few cooling alternatives. 

Pop on the waterproof cover for the Kindle and lounge beside a Cozy Breeze Misting Fan, which has five nozzles that generate a mist when hooked up to your garden hose. There are three speeds to cover all heat situations, from baking to blistering. They appear to be actually available at Lowe’s for $138.

Dumpster and shipping-container pools are so last year. They’re also impossible to move. If you happen to have a pickup truck (we do!), you can make a splash anywhere with a truck-bed insert from Pick-Up Pools. Grab your laptop and your phone and set up a home office, or entertain friends! Imagine the admiring comments as masked and sweaty neighbors stroll by with their yorkipoos and labradoodles. Available for short, standard and long bed trucks, priced from $189 to $249, and Made in America. (Really, where else?)

From “Shell Chic: The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Your Home With Seashells” by Marlene Hurley Marshall. / Photo by Sabine Vollmer von Falken.

An outdoor shower—in this case, simply a hose attached to a shower head that’s mounted on a wall or hovers overhead—might seem an extravagant waste of water if you intend to be under it for any length of time. But what if! You created a small platform of stone or wood to stand on in the garden border, so you’re watering the plants as you cool yourself down. There are plenty of spectacular ideas, like this one, on Pinterest, though I can’t see reading in a shower. 

I can see reading in a clawfoot tub, though, my ultimate fantasy wallowing hole. Just the right size for one—me—and simply pull the plug to drain water into the garden when I’m done. Plus! The decorative possibilities for the outside—paint, découpage, seashells. As I’ve written before, check out the cover of Shell Chic,  by Marlene Hurley Marshall, and tell me that wouldn’t be just divine. Side benefit? You can also use it as a champagne cooler for parties, or plonk a sheet of plywood on top and use it as a table. Depending on its condition, old clawfoots usually start at around $500.

One could also just hold a hose over one’s head, which I’m about to do right now. 

—Stephanie Cavanaugh

LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” would like to be all wet.


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