By Lura Roti

Above ground pools – is there anything more disruptive to landscape and overall backyard beauty? Which is a kind way to say, “I think they are ugly!”

In response to the initial question: Maybe trampolines?

Soon we will have both.

Of course, the reason is our middle-school-age daughter, Parker. Too old for childcare during the summer months and too young for a summer job, once her household chores are done, each summer day she has a few hours to fill before I’m finished with work and her afternoon activities begin.

Because I work from home, she has the benefit of not being home alone. However, I am working much of the day, so she said life can get “boring.”

Now, I am not opposed to boredom. In fact, I’ve heard that it’s a beneficial state of mind many miss out on in today’s tech-savvy world. An article on Mayo Clinic’s website says: “A little boredom for children and adults can be a good thing. It can simulate creativity and problem-solving, while giving the brain time to recharge.”

I do believe a little boredom can go a long way though. And I do want her summer memories to be fun. During previous summers I would schedule for her friends to come over to play.

As a 12-year-old she is in charge of this now – and it seems like when they come over, they are on their phones a bit too much. Parker has screentime limits, but I don’t feel like I can impose these on others. So, on an early June day of about 90 degrees, when she asked if we would consider getting an above ground pool, I thought, “why not?”

Now that she is nearly 5-feet-tall and can swim, and her friends can swim, a pool deep enough to swim in, but shallow enough that they can always touch bottom does not seem like a dangerous risk. And above ground pools are not that expensive.

Frankly, the only reason I was hesitant is the way they look. Flower gardening and landscaping are my summer hobbies. Working in my gardens gives me endless satisfaction and provide me with the daily brain re-boot I need. So, the idea of a 12-foot diameter blue blob interrupting the peaceful oasis of my backyard is not one I love.

In the past, I would make the excuse that because the city pools are so close we don’t need a pool of our own. But last summer, she and her friends got so grossed out by hair and abandoned Bandaids that they didn’t want to swim (I think the lifeguard shortages are impacting pool upkeep).

So, after hours of hunting for a pool small enough to fit in its designated space, but deep enough to actually swim in, I clicked the “add to cart” button.

As we wait for the pool to arrive, Parker and I have been busy leveling the ground. Working with Parker to get ready for her pool has been a joy. Gone are the days of whining whenever I ask for her help…which is helpful in and of itself.

Fortunately, the area reserved for the pool was previously where her swings were, and the ground is covered with a layer of mulch. It is also helpful that the location is beside her abandoned sandbox (only our Golden Retriever Tulip plays in there now). This allows us to easily incorporate sand where necessary, making for a relatively easy task.

Leveling the ground for this pool is also a task that marks the passage of time. It replaces the swings she is too big for and uses sand from a box she hasn’t played in for years.

One more reminder that our little girl is growing up.

I know soon she will be old enough for summer jobs. Old enough to drive. Old enough that she will no longer want to invite her friends over to swim in an above ground pool. When that time comes, I’m sure I will be sad to say goodbye to the ugly blue blob.