Project Update

A Shady Story

If you’ve visited our recently updated website and browsed the gallery of photos of the club from 1958 that Lynn Drake discovered and had scanned, you’ll realize that the Eichler Club wasn’t always blessed with a curtain of redwoods and a set of shady mulberry trees along the lawn. In fact, it wasn’t even blessed with a lawn! The trees have provided some respite from the sun for many years, but unfortunately they have come to the end of their natural lives. Mulberry trees are not particularly long-lived, but ours are also suffering from some significant disease and degradation. As work on the deck progressed we also came to understand the extent to which those trees’ roots have grown under the deck and threatened the pool shell. Those roots need to be cut away and a root barrier installed, and even if we desired to preserve the trees, it might shorten even the few years they have left. Faced with a prognosis of those trees dying in just a few years (even if we hadn’t touched them), the Board has decided to take this opportunity to replace them.

The mulberry trees presented other problems over the years: their roots are close to the surface, threatening the deck, pool, and disrupting the lawn; they tend to drop significant litter, adding to maintenance costs and pool cleanup; and they are very expensive to prune each year, representing the largest item in our landscaping budget. In considering replacement trees, we will be looking for appropriate root structure, low maintenance, drought tolerance and lower water requirements, and, of course, adequate shade.

Tim Edmonds reminded the board of an old saying: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second best time is right now. We expect to plant some good-sized replacement trees that will be both visually appealing and long-lived. While they won’t provide the same amount of shade when first planted as the mulberry trees they replace, we hope you’ll agree that it’s an investment in a beautiful, and shady, future for our club.

A Few Surprises

As demolition has wrapped up, we think we’ve learned about all the inevitable surprises that come along with any project. Fortunately, all of our surprises have been manageable, and we’ve allowed room in the budget to handle them. Some of the things we’ve discovered include: the aforementioned mulberry tree issues, a water table under the diving well that created a nice little water fountain, a corroded and somewhat jerry-rigged main electrical supply line, and a few long, but very manageable, cracks in the main pool shell. Truth is, we’ve been very pleased that our infrastructure has held up as well as it has all these years, and it has only reinforced the notion that this project will ensure that the Eichler Club continues to provide a welcome home for neighborhood families for decades to come.

Next Steps

As you read this, the project has moved from demolition to construction. Crews are finishing up the compaction of the soil and begun adding layers of gravel and materials onto which the concrete will be poured. They will be trenching for the new drains, water, and electrical lines, as well as excavating the new wading pool.