Updated: 7 days ago
We would like to update previous and prospective guests on efforts where we have recovered from Hurricane Sally, which greatly impacted our coastline last September. We've undertook multiple projects that are unlike anything we have ever embarked upon aside from the initial construction of the Seahorse Retreat and Palm Breeze Beach House. And as we head into fall, we can breathe a bit knowing the completion of these projects means the homes and property are looking better than at any other time.
Here's a summary of projects:
Siding replaced from storm damage
Exterior of homes painted
New gutters added
Southern Magnolia tree removed opening view of Sound
New 5ft high seawall constructed
Seawall backfilled with 47 dump truck loads of sand/soil
Irrigation replaced at water front
Thirteen palettes of sod to be laid this week
New dock with boat slip built
Background: For those wondering about Hurricane Sally, it took an unexpected turn eastward placing us in the crosshairs of this Cat 2 storm. That may not seem so bad from a category storm perspective, but the storm moved slowly and battered the coastline for days as can be seen in the photos below.
While the winds were still blowing, we were reaching out to marine contractors to get on their schedule to begin the rebuilding process as quickly as possible. Not just ours, but the vast majority of docks were destroyed or required major repairs. We consider ourselves fortunate to have begun the rebuilding process so soon so that our guests this spring and summer could still enjoy the water.
Here is a little more information on what we undertook so far this year. And for those of you considering getting into the vacation rental biz, make a note that this isn't a business for the faint of heart.
Painting & Siding: Both homes had storm-damaged siding replaced and the whole exterior of both homes were painted.
The homes look as beautiful as the day they received our first guests in 2008.
New Dock: A new 150ft dock has been built to withstand most storms that may come in the future.
There are twice the pilings as before with flow-thru decking so water can go through it without ripping the dock apart. The decking is environmentally friendly, non-slip material, and not hot under foot.
As before, we have a platform at the end that provides many amenities such as a sun shade, a bench, pilings with boat cleats and bumpers, a plastic ladder, and a solar flood light with motion detector to enjoy the dock at night.
Last, we have accounted for the constantly fluctuating tide and water level that sometimes left the stairs onto the dock sitting in a foot of water. Access to the dock has been improved by adding stairs on either side of the dock and closer to the homes, as well as directly from the property and over the new seawall.
New Seawall: The cost to repair the 20 feet of hillside scoured by the storm was substantial. The need to bring in fill dirt, repair irrigation, and re-sod was also met with the realization that there are no guarantees for when the next storm might take it all away again.
In the end, we engaged Piers Plus to not only build our new dock, but also a new 5ft high seawall. This approach protects the property and is also attractive. It has the advantage of making the property more level with only a gentle slope to the wall, and providing more usable space for sunning, playing cornhole or tossing a ball.
It took 47 dump truck loads in total to backfill the 240ft of seawall. Here's a photo gallery showing the transformation with sod yet to come this week to complete the property transformation.
Bye Bye Southern Magnolia Tree: Each home used to have a large Southern Magnolia tree. Several years ago a storm took down the one in front of the Palm Breeze Beach House.
However, the tree in front of the Seahorse Retreat remained, eventually growing to over 60ft in height. As nostalgic as it was knowing couples have been married beneath its branches, portions of it were diseased and posed a potential risk.
We may have said goodbye to the tree, but we said "hello" to the view from both homes out onto the Sound, which was then opened. And while backfilling the seawall, the depression from where the tree once stood was filled in with sand and can be seen ready to be sodded.
What we also didn't fully realize was how the old tree competed with Southern Oak trees on the side of the property. Seeing the side property in a new light, we quickly took advantage to place a Polywood porch swing under its branches. It is a relaxing spot with shade provided by the tree throughout the afternoon.