MAUREPAS, Louisiana — Why travel to a beach when you can have one in your own backyard?
That’s the idea behind this Louisiana company about 50 miles northwest of New Orleans.
Zydeco Construction specializes in building "swimming ponds" that are crystal blue with a sand surround, resembling a beach. Customers can add outdoor kitchens, gazebos, umbrellas and even volleyball nets.
The size of your dream beach is limited only by your land and finances, said owner Eric White, 33.
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“It has always been a dream of mine to do these different things," White said. "I am all about figuring out a way to make things happen. I can look at any situation and come up with a way to fix it. I like to stay in the market for things that most companies don’t offer, especially custom requests.”
Other than the swimming ponds, White offers in-ground trampolines and outdoor kitchens. He also is in the business of drainage solutions, such as building levees for homes that experience water-logged or flooded backyards.
“I can come up with drainage solutions that won't negatively affect your neighbors. Anything I can do to help save someone’s house, I will,” he said.
His love of construction comes from success in the area when a lot of other things were more difficult.
“Growing up, things weren’t easy for me," White said. "I was homeless at 15 for about eight months of my life.
"I had dropped out of school in the ninth grade and only had a second-grade reading skill," he said. "I could hardly even spell my name.
"Construction was something I always understood. I knew if I worked at it, I could really do something with it.
He started working as a helper for a local construction company just to make some money. He had a daughter to feed, too.
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He moved to a job as a mechanic for a Ford dealership, but he said he didn't love it. Then his dad told him about a Baton Rouge construction company that was paying $12 an hour.
“The guy that I worked for there took me under his wing and taught me about the company," White said. "Within the first six months, I was managing the team.
"From there, I went to another company that offered more money, then I started my own company, a pool business called Cool Pools, he said. "That business did very well, and last year, I sold it for over a million (dollars).
Cool Pools is based in Prairieville, La., about 20 miles from Baton Rouge.
“So, that’s where I am today. I decided to start Zydeco Construction to keep me busy and have some of my creative visions become a reality,” White said.
White's business isn't the first to offer backyard beaches. Do-it-yourselfers have made their visions a reality for years, and contractors in states from California to Massachusetts specialize in swimming ponds and natural swimming pools, according to POND Trade magazine.
Two big problems to solve with any swimming pond, according to the magazine: Making sure that no harmful bacteria can breed in the pond as can happen in warm water that occurs naturally, and that any electric lights, pumps or filtration won't create a shock hazard.
“It’s something that for years I would think to myself, ‘What if someone could figure out a way to turn a pond into a paradise?’ " White said. "I did as much research as I could and applied it to building these ponds."
White worked on various outlines for his vision, and he designed a patented specialty pump for his swim ponds.
So, how much does it cost to bring this to your backyard? White said it costs around $20,000 and up to construct the beach paradise.
“Each pond that we do is customized for that area and for the customer. It isn’t something that can be done in a day. They are a true labor of love," he said.
"We will do something different on every pond we create,” White said.