Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

By SARAH RUTTAN, Special to The London Free Press

Tracey Cambridge says the new backyard pool, including the diving rocks that replace the traditional board, has become a focal point for family gatherings and parties.
CREDIT: DEREK RUTTAN/The London Free Press

If a tree falls in your backyard does anyone hear a splash?

Well, that's what Old South homeowners Tracey Cambridge and Aron Gangbar heard the day the massive branch of the old Maple tree in their yard fell after a major storm.

Two years ago this past April, London and most of the rest of Ontario was blanked with ice, which left tree removal businesses logging calls faster than the branches could hit the ground.

For the Cambridge-Gangbar household it was no different. After a quick tour of the yard it was clear the damaged, unstable tree had to come down, which ended up claiming the existence of a dilapidated tin garage.

But before the sprawling in-ground pool, well-planned outdoor decorating and lush landscaping were even a fleeting thought, the tree was removed, leaving a deep, black, dirty hole in the middle of their once tidy, yet unassuming, backyard.

"The roots of the branches went to each corner of the yard. They were everywhere," explained Cambridge. "At the time we had this large pit in the middle of the backyard. I figured it was a lot easier to landscape around the hole than to fill it."

For most people faced with an empty yard and crater-sized hole as a focal point, they wouldn't necessarily make the leap to installing a pool.

However, for Gangbar and Cambridge, the jump was effortless -- Cambridge grew up with a pool and Gangbar's parents had a cottage they visited often.

This hot summer day, the backyard is a sea of excited kids and one enthusiastic Wheaton Terrier named Finn.

"I like it a lot more. It's not gross back here anymore," admitted Cambridge's oldest daughter, Katherine, 12.

"The first time I ever jumped in it was freezing, but I didn't care," said six-year-old Claire, who swims like a fish.

Outdoor luxury
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