Michisha Campbell loves the ocean so much that she created a beach paradise in her backyard near Statesville.
“I just love the beach. That’s where I feel centered, you know,” Campbell said. “I wanted to be able to come out and just go to the beach. We’re four hours away, and now I can go whenever I want to.”
Salt water laps a tan sand beach shaded by a large tree. A filter and pump creates the constant sound of a waterfall. A beach ball with water jetting from several sides adds a playful touch floating on the water.
Two lounge chairs sit on the beach with a large umbrella shading them. A mermaid tail is draped over one of the chairs, the sun reflecting off the metallic fabric.
Two flags fly above the pool. One is the Coast Guard’s flag because Campbell was in the Coast Guard. The other is a pirate flag. Campbell said it was for her fiancé.
Campbell said she was inspired to create the pool when she saw one on vacation. She looked up natural pools online and saw elaborate pools mimicking the beach.
Six years ago, she rented a track hoe to enlarge the koi pond that shares the backyard with the natural pool. With her goal in mind, she dug a hole for a natural pool as well.
Next, she had to figure out what she wanted on the bottom to seal the pool. She knew it was possible because she’d seen a creek-fed pool in Hiddenite that used concrete to line the pool. However, Campbell said she wanted something smoother than concrete.
There are lots of options to seal a swimming hole. One can add a type of clay to the soil or pour concrete. Campbell said she could have even put a few pigs in the hole to wallow for a year, and that could have helped seal the swimming hole.
Her fiancé, who works as a roofer, suggested roofing rubber. Campbell said she liked that idea.
Her large backyard has a natural swimming pool she created this year after six years of research and work.
A woman who lived nearby had a pool that her landscaper damaged with a rock. Campbell offered to buy it with a saltwater filter and pump. The woman agreed.
Campbell rented a backhoe and dug a little bit more around the hole before lining it with roofing rubber, donated because it had some holes in it, and laid the swimming pool on top of that. Finally, she had five tons of sand delivered.
“It just came together this year,” Campbell said.
There are a few finishing touches Campbell said she wants to work on in the future. She’s trying to figure out how to make realistic waves, and she’d prefer white or yellow sand to the tan sand she has now. Really, she’d prefer actual beach sand.
“You can’t get real beach sand here. If you do, it’s really expensive,” Campbell said. “When I go to the beach, I fill grocery bags full.”
Something she learned by trial and error is sand needs to be rinsed before it’s put by a body of water. Though her pool water is filtered and has the chemicals a private pool would normally have, it has the red-brown tinge of sediment from the sand.
“I’m going to empty it this year, and next year maybe it’ll be clearer,” Campbell said. “I don’t even care if it’s clear. If it’s clear, it makes you see everything, and you want to clean it all the time. I love it.”
Finally, she wants to create a boardwalk made of pallets around the natural pool for a final beach-themed touch.
All in all, Campbell spent around $600 to create her own private beach in the middle of the North Carolina piedmont.
“I have worked so hard. I mean, exhausting work, but yes, it was so worth it,” Campbell said. “It took me a long time to get to where I could just sit and enjoy it, but now I can. Now I can.”