my new bridge....OMG!

crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)February 23, 2012

Remember when I thought about turning my pool into a pond? Well, I couldn't afford it all at once but I still liked the idea and thought I could do it little by little. And the more I thought about a foot bridge over the pool, the more I wanted one. I thought a bridge would be a good first step towards the eventual pond and would be a quaint addition to my gardens grand design.

So I interview and get bids from three people...a pond company, a deck/dock company, and a general contractor. I go with the middle bid from the deck/dock guy.

And I got a bridge. A big, bridge. This monstrosity rivals the Skyway. I told him I wanted it arched with enough space under the arch for me to swim or float on a raft. I got enough space to do jumping jacks and play chicken. Clearly the guy thinks I"m 6'5". The thing is a good 3' over the top of the water! I told him I wanted double rails so I could sit on it and dangle my feet in the pond. My toes will be feet above the water with thing. The posts are the same height as the top of my 6' fence! When you stand on it you can see for miles and miles. And lets not even talk about how steep it is, you don't dare walk on it if it's wet or your not in tip top shape as you have to pull yourself up the ends via the hand rails. It's the bridge that took over the yard.

I want to cry. I wanted a little, arched footbridge so I could stroll my yard, not a replica of the Golden Gate. My neighbors are going to hate me, I can see into all their yards. And I better not stop on the top of it as they can all see me.

He claims the only way they could have made it less steep was to make it considerably longer and pulled out the arch. He did send me a computer mock up, which I agreed to, but in a sketch it wasn't this big. So I'm stuck with a monster bridge that takes considerable effort to climb. My only solution is a massive hurricane....

Bet you all can't wait to come to the Tampa swap now, just to see this thing, lol.


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ibarbidahl(9 (tampa-ish))

Oh no Lori!
I'm so sorry it turned out not to be what you wanted. Did he supply you with measurements with that computer drawing by chance? I'm thinking I'd take him to small claims court over this. He didn't give you what was agreed upon.


I do bet it's beautiful even though not what you wanted.



    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I must see this bridge!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 5:20PM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

Deep Breath....we all have those garden mishaps where it looked so good on paper.I'm so sorry because I know that feeling. Maybe it's going to be less of a bridge and more of a very sturdy trellis.
Will it even fit in a photo?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:26PM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

Please post a picture...maybe a few other eyes on it...may help you see it in a different light...Though it may not be "THE" bridge you had may still be a very Cool bridge as viewed by others.... :) Sometimes we are just disapointed because it didn't turn out to our expectation and anticipation....but to others it may be awesome....I have felt that way on a few projects....

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Think of it as a trellis!The humidity rising from the pool will work wonders for whatever climbs it!Can't wait to climb it,hope it's not raining!Perhaps some non-skid strips would help...I'll be happy to give you a carpenters perspective on swap day,frequently code issues over-ride design plans.Did you obtain a permit?Feel free to e-me,Tony

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 10:50PM
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davest_pete(tampa area/flor)

sounds like an arched bridge would not have worked unless the lower part of the span was below the top of the pool. Did you sign on according to a set of drawings? A decent carpenter would have drawn the job out to avoid such an issue because a good job would lead to more work for him.

I can almost picture what you had in mind, but I would have used vertical steps to reach the base of the span and then given you about 2 ft over the level of the water to the bottom of the top of the arch. Does that sound right?
there is a matter of rise/run to achieve what you had in mind and in order to achieve the height you wanted, the run would have been way long.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:48AM
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crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)

Thanks for all the support everyone. I spent yesterday trying to hide it with plants. I planted evergreen wisteria on it, and I'm off to Lowe's today to buy safety treads (which even the builder recommended due to the steepness of it). The cats take a running start to climb it and the small dog grips her toenails into it then gives joke.

I did go back and look at the mock up and I see where the issue started, blame on both ends really. I had told him I wanted enough room to float under it while laying on a raft, but I never really measured how high the raft and my body would be. In the mock up, he shows 18" from water to bottom edge rail of bridge. I also wanted to sit on the bridge and dangle my feet in the water, but again, I didn't measure my legs. So when I saw 18" from water to bridge bottom, it seemed right. What I didn't account for was that was the to the bottom rail, not the top of the bridge. There's a 1' high base board, with 2" planks on top of that, and 3' posts on top of that. So the bridge top rails are 5'8" above ground...and my fence is 6'.

The bridge is the size he did in the mock up, which is why I'm stuck and can't/won't pursue this. I just wish in hindsight he would have told me how steep it would be and added the final height dimensions (which were not on the mockup).

Another reason I dislike it so much is that it is bright, new wood it sticks out even more. I've decided to let it weather a bit before sealing it, and that should help.

While originally I was thinking I would not be able to climb this in my golden years, I've now re-thunk only has a ten year lifespan, so by the time I'm golden, I can get a new one and I'll have learned immensely, lol.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 10:20AM
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keiki(10 FL)

I am sorry to hear your bridge isn't what you wanted. Your description of what you wanted sounds lovely and very romantic. I am sure this bridge will weather nicely and as it does I hope you can enjoy it for what it is not what you thought it would be. I am really looking forward to seeing it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:07AM
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crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)

Dave and Tony...great idea, steps! I'm asking around if anyone thinks they can pull up the last 8 planks or so and turn them into steps. The pets would appreciate it too, lol.
Here's a photo...but the video posted earlier gives more idea on how steep it is.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:41AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Lori, I am afraid that this is not what you want to hear, but I absolutely love it! Once you get the nonskid strips down, it may seem better? It may be a little steep to walk over but from an aesthetic/appearance point of view, it looks great! I hope maybe it will wear on you.

Carol in Jax

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:14AM
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I also think it's charming. I don't see how he could have done anything else to accommodate your desire to float under it on a raft, really, except to extend the ends all the way out on both sides. I agree that the steps might be a good idea.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:54AM
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Lori- I LOVE IT !!! it looks like Monet's bridge, very romantic, and I think it really adds to the ambiance of the back-yard and pool.... I can visualize adding steps and curving them so they run parallel to the pool-edge, with hand-rails of course, on both sides, why don't you talk to the builder abt. adding steps and curving them, that way they won't take up as much room as running them straight-on..... I can hardly wait to see it !! sally

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 4:04PM
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crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)

I'm glad some of you like it. I hung orchids off it this morning so it's growing on me.

Let me clarify something...the bridge the builder drew, and that I signed off on, is the bridge I have, so this is why I'm not pursuing it. I have accepted blame for my part as I'm not the type who can look at the diagram and then realize the steepness would be hard to walk- even if the guy had said "this bridge will have an angle of so-many degrees" I would not have really known what that meant. I have no intentions of yelling at him or taking him to court or anything like that. I got the bridge I signed off on, just not the one I visualized.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Really, I think that if you can let go of what you had in your mind (always soooo hard to do), you'll like it. Plant a nice vine on it, get the non-slip strips and I bet that pretty soon you'll be pleased with it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 5:24PM
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I agree with everyone that it's cute. Maybe it's just the sudden change that has you scared. I think it will grow on you over time. I am a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see the monstrosity I was promised :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:01PM
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I love it, and in time I'll bet you will too.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:05PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Oooooh, I love it too! And I love the meandering path all the way around the pool that begs you to take a stroll around the garden. I'm sure you will love it shortly.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 7:35AM
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davest_pete(tampa area/flor)

wow, that looks great. I think your builder didn't want to lose any space on either side, which makes sense to me.

that would have become a catchall for leaves and stuff.

My wife says you are very lucky to have that, she has a 4 ft above ground 12 ft wide, I'd have to build a bridge like the skyway to clear that.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:22AM
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I think the guy did a great job, and if you approved the specs you have no recourse. Seeing something in real life is quite different from a drawing and what we imagine in our head. I made a huge mistake on the plans for our bathroom that I now have to live with, all my fault because I pictured something entirely different in my mind. Live and learn. However, once the wood ages that will make a big difference, and if you plan to turn the whole thing into a pond I think it will all turn out lovely. In the meantime, some skid-proof mats for safety are your best bet.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 9:08AM
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first of all it looks nice.

now for the details:

are the posts bolted into the arches? i can't tell from the photo as seen on my computer, it doesn't look like it and they should be bolted to the arches for best support.

your bridge seems to be pretty steep from looking at the picture. that wood will most likely form a slick surface in time and be almost impossible to 'climb up'. painting it with a non skid material is a must. make sure the wood is dry before you paint it. that appears to be pressure treated wood and it needs to season before painting.

you also should put caps on the top of each post to help keep the posts from cracking, will also give the bridge a more finished look. pressure treated wood will crack anyway but the caps will help minimize it. that needs to be done immediately. you can buy those made of plastic or copper or wood, depends on the look you want and affordability. lowe's, home depot or most hardware stores will have them.

you did mention the height as being a deterrent to you in an above post. i think adding steps, as mentioned above, is a fairly easy solution to the steepness. it should be able to be done in an attractive way.

an arched bridge over that short span is not necessary. a bridge that spans that short distance can be made so that it is flat and has a low profile, just above the pond. no arch needed.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 10:23AM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

Joeworm, but she wanted an arch so she could float under it on a raft. Good suggestion on the post caps.

I think it is lovely and will look great once it has weathered a bit and has more greenery growing on/around it. :-)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 11:40AM
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missed that part about floating under it.

still, if push comes to shove, a flat bridge raised up to float under could be built, with steps. or just add steps to existing arched bridge.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 11:56AM
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davest_pete(tampa area/flor)

when is the cook out? I'll be there with rubber flipflops and won't worry about slippin.

Joe is right about the bolts, nice galvanized ones for the posts, your builder should do that.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 12:16PM
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That ramp is quite steep.....You could remove the last 8 deck boards like you said and install stair treads BETWEEN the arched could use pieces of angle iron for a ledger/support....

( If the unseen structure allows ??? )

You could mock-up a basic plan on the side of the arch using tape...cut 2x8 (1 1/2"x7 1/4") sized pieces of tape and try to plan the run of steps....Most important try to keep the RISE of each step consistant (even though the rise of each step will probably exceed Stair Code and approach that of a LADDER)

The 9th board may also need to be shimmed UP slightly to provide a more level footing FROM the steps (plan ahead)


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 2:24PM
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I think Your bridge looks great.I do think copper post caps would set it off also-especially once they have aged.You could even mount some solar powered lights on the posts,which would give a nice effect at night.I'm sure the builder mounted the posts securely-he might just of used lag bolts & fastened from inside the trusses,so that they are not visible.
If You are still not happy with your bridge We could always trade.I call this My "tank bridge" or "bridge over the River Kwai".The previous homeowner built it,to span the swale next to our pond.The Wife likes it,I hate it(especially because one of our dogs only has 3 legs-She gets on the bridge fine,but can't get down & so I'm constantly having to carry Her off).I try & hit the bridge with the lawn tractor everytime I cut the grass,but it just laughs at me...I will need C4 to take this thing down :)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 5:57PM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

Oh! I love it too....It is so quaint! not obtrusive at all! If the ends are steep...I agree the steps should make a good solution! Oh....I think you will love this bridge in no time!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 9:09PM
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pabrocb(Sarasota/Cape Cod)

I like the bridge too. Personally, I'd not like to float under a too low bridge because of spiders. I don't like 'em. With your bridge you'll be some distance away. And you can float through orchids instead!

Carol B. Sarasota

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 9:31PM
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You know, I just looked at your video again, and if your dogs are anything like our dog was, I bet that even without non-skid/steps/etc, if you stood on the other end with their favorite treat and called them, they'd make it across so fast you couldn't see anything but a motion blur.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 9:31PM
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julieyankfan(z9FL Pasco Cty.)

I like it, too. I really like the idea about putting solar powered lights on the posts. Also, I have a neighbor that put little animal caps on his posts. Don't know where he got them, but they're cute.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 11:00AM
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I must agree, I love your bridge! Umm, I have a spool (spa/small pool), perhaps I can talk DH into building me a bridge over it.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 4:00PM
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crueltyfre(Tampa 9a heat 10 sunset 26)

If all of you love the bridge, then it must just be me, as so far, I'm the only one disappointed. Maybe it's just buyers remorse or what I visualized versus what I have. I am liking it better now that I've planted on it and around it...and my calves are getting in shape climbing it's not all bad, lol.

Thanks for all the input, you're a great group!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:42PM
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