Lakeshore Fix – Sandy Beach In A Day

Hope you are all enjoying our last few weeks of summer. The Mr. and I are soaking up all the time we can with my kids, especially since my youngest heads to kindergarten in the fall (yes, I will be the hysterically sobbing mom in the parking lot in full on ugly cry mode). But, I promise once they are in school full time, you will have tons of great posts coming your way.

Today I wanted to share something that has made a huge difference in our lakeshore. If you are local in Michigan and live on a lake that has a mucky or weedy bottom, this post is for you! Remember when I first showed you all the pic of our “new house” and everyone thought we were crazy? No, well here is a reminder of the before pic to jog your memory –

A body of water surrounded by trees

Even we had to second guess what we had gotten ourselves into!

But after just a little paint and elbow grease (kidding, it turned out to be a total teardown and rebuild)…

Tada – this is how it looks now! Pretty crazy that this is the same lot…minus 7 enormous rotting/falling down trees.

A house surrounded by water

Ignore our wacky dowel and string fence along the boardwalk, we are trying to keep the geese (and the ahem, souvenirs they like to leave behind) off the new grass that’s trying to grow. But check out that crystal clear sandy bottom.

When we bought the place, the name Lily Pad Cottage had never been so appropriate as seen in that before pic! I think lily pads are actually so pretty, but maybe not in the water-top carpet format we had. Not to mention the gross, mucky bottom underneath that made enjoying the water pretty much impossible. No one had used the shoreline for many years on this property (you can see in the before pics that there was actually a chain link fence right up to the water) so the lily pads and weeds had pretty much taken over.

We called TT&C Beaches to solve our problem – they specialize in installing these amazing artificial sandy bottoms, and it’s the coolest process to watch! They kindly offered me a discount in exchange for me sharing my experience with you all, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. The company is run by the 3 Trierweiler brothers and the entire process was invented and patented by their father. I’ll explain a bit more, first you need to get a permit from the DEQ. The law in Michigan allows you to do half of your shoreline to essentially create a swimming area without causing damage to the natural lake habitat.

A boat floating along a river next to a body of water

You can see the perfect rectangle of nice sandy bottom we now have. It’s amazing how quick the process is, their tagline is “Beach in a Day” and it’s so true.

Sand and Beach

They come with a special truck and hoses that pull water from the lake and mix it with sand. My son was enthralled with the truck and watching the sand go up the belt. The beauty of the way they do this is it doesn’t hurt your landscaping at all (although we didn’t actually have landscaping at this point), because there is no heavy equipment to get down to the lake, just some lightweight hoses.

A sand truck

We had the beach put in this spring before we moved in and it was the best decision. You can see in these photos that the truck mixes the sand and water pumped from the lake and shoots the mixture back out through a hose into the lake. They first stake down a thick mat right over top of any muck or weeds and then cover it with several inches of the sand mixture.

A group of people on a beach near a body of water

They use a heavier sand so it stays put even with boats, etc. going in and out. My dad actually had them do his beach 1o years ago and it’s still in perfect shape.

A person standing next to a body of water

This is several months later and it’s perfectly sandy and feels great on your feet. It has made it so much easier for us to get in and out on the boat.

A dock next to a body of water

If you have any questions you can check out TT&C Beach’s site here and contact them for more information. This page on their site explains the whole process much better than I ever could. I can’t recommend it enough! In fact our neighbor’s just applied for a permit as well so that will take out another huge chunk of lily pads to the right of our dock there. The shoreline will still be a work in progress for a year or two as we work on our boardwalk and also get rid of more of the lily pads (we got a special permit to remove more of them).

A large green lawn in front of a house

I also quick snapped a few pics of the back of our house now that the grass is coming in a bit. I haven’t done much back here besides a few tubs of flowers and all the old outdoor furniture from our last house. Next spring/summer I will definitely be styling and decorating this area more. We also have plans to add an outdoor firepit/fireplace, but we couldn’t decide where we wanted it (I’m thinking down by the lake) so we decided to hold off for now.

A large lawn in front of a building

One more before shot  –

A close up of a fence

and after!

A large lawn in front of a house

Pretty crazy to look back on these before and afters and see how far we have come!

A large gray lake home

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  1. Could you please give an update on how well the sand stayed in place? Is it holding up or are the harsh Michigan winters washing the sand away?

  2. I was wondering if you could share your roof materials?! We are doing new siding and a new roof and I love your shingles and metal combination!

    1. I’m not sure on the brand but the metal roof color is Burnished Slate and I think our roof is driftwood by Certainteed – thanks!

  3. We just purchased a home with a lake in our back yard. My husband has always wanted to live by the beach, unfortunately we can’t. Thank you for sharing the idea of making a beach with sand! I had no idea that it was possible to have sand on a lake. I’ll need to look more where we can get a large supply of sand.

  4. Hello, just wondering how your sandy bottom is holding up ? I am considering having it done on my mucky bottom lake. We’ve been fighting lily pads also, a losing battle it seems.

  5. Wow! I’m in love with you home! We are beginning the process of building…not by a lake (I wish)…but we love the way your walkout is set up! Do you have floor plans of your home available for viewing? Does you home have 4 bedrooms? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Elizabeth I don’t have plans available. Our home was custom drawn so I’m not able to share it online here. We have 3 bedrooms and a workout room that could be considered a 4th bedroom. Thanks!

  6. Love the beach! Who knew they could do this?!
    Love my firepit being away from the house a little ways. I like leaving my windows open and the distance between the house and firepit keeps my house from being/smelling smoky whenever we have a fire.

  7. Hi Kelly,
    What a beautiful home and yard. I have a question for you. The carmen lights you ordered for your dining room and foyer and island…is the thickness of the metal the same on the big light as on the smaller ones? I just ordered the same lights and the thickness of the frame is thinner all the way around on the smaller (foyer) light.
    Thanks in advance.

  8. A stunning home! The beach-in-a-day is amazing! I’m near the ocean and with the tides that wouldn’t work, but I can think of a couple fresh water swimming spots that could sure benefit from it!

  9. Wow, what a stunning home!! Love all you details and choices you made.
    That “beach in a day” is amazing!!

  10. You have done an amazing job! What a vision from start to finish.
    I’ve never heard of this process but know many friends on lakes who will be thrilled.
    I’m in Kalamazoo; what lake is this?

  11. Oh my Goodness! ITS GORGEOUS! I love the STYLE and the Color and the Yard and the Beach and the…I had toyed with the idea of panting our house a similar color but it had been so dark before, I just wanted it lighter, its so hot in Texas. Your builder did a fabulous Job and you did an amazing job in Designing it! You Nailed it!
    Congrats!!! Can you show a pic of the street side? Looks great!

  12. I see I’m the only one here who feels this way, but I really like the look of the lily pads and am sad to see them go. They were really cool to canoe through or take an inflatable through as a kid up in Wisconsin. Otherwise I love your aesthetic and will pass this post on to my in laws who live in SC and begrudge their mucky bottomed beach.

    1. Hi Lauren, there are still PLENTY of lily pads on the lake lol :) My kids like to kayak thru them too. One whole side of our lake is government owned property that is sort of like a nature preserve so there are millions of lily pads and and cool stuff to look at over there!

  13. Hi Kelly,
    I just am in love with what you are doing with this house and how it’s taking shape. We have a place near Pentwater (God’s country) on a lake with a mucky bottom. We (and by we I mean my hubs) have spent countless hours grooming the bottom and pulling lily pads. We now have a spot like yours but it still takes work to maintain. We also use a “weed razor” in the non-swimming area which is a remarkable tool that cuts them off at the base. You might want to check for one on Amazon. We can highly recommend. I’ll be watching to see how this holds up for you. Can’t wait to see what you work on next. Happy Summer!

  14. Amazing! Your neighbors must feel as if they struck the jackpot! I’m going to look into this place for our water frontage/boat launch which could use something like this.

  15. Just wanted to tell you I was a kindergarten teacher for 15 years and would sort of laugh at parents who were crying when there kids left for school. Many times I had to ask them to leave the halls of the school has they we’re looking over my shoulder and waving at there kids. Just a note my youngest are 12 and going into grade 7. I still get a sick feeling on the first day of school. P.S. I also cried when they both went to kindergarten all I can say it felt like a peace of me was taken away. It soon passed has I got to do long over due cleaning and some needed shopping for myself and our home. Enjoy your time on your own and embrace your children when they get home. All the best.

  16. Your home is beautiful! Where did you get the rack that’s next to the outdoor shower? I’m looking for something for pool towels. Thanks!

  17. Hi Kelly – Love seeing the before and after of the property and of course your house. What a beauty! The sandy shore process… wow! We have a muddy bottom on the lake I live on in SC, but it is very clear with no lily pads or primrose growing so it is easy to just walk right in. I still wear water shoes though :-)

    To help get rid of the geese… When we first moved to our house there was a plastic owl out on the dock. We kept it there for a year and really didn’t give it much thought until one day last fall I thought it was an eyesore and threw it out.

    This summer we are having geese and we didn’t have any last summer. When I mentioned this to my neighbor, he said I saw you took down the owl, that helped to keep the geese away. I went to Walmart and bought a new plastic owl with ugly yellow eyes for $20! The geese are no longer hanging out. Such an easy fix. :-) I did learn that you should move the owl around the yard and dock area so the geese don’t get too used to it being in the same spot.

  18. What a beautiful blessing you are sharing. I pray it’s enjoyed by all. Time is fleeting. My youngest is a senior now and very independent. I cherish tiny moments with him. I am so fortunate to have three grandkids 6,8 and 10. It fills those emptying nest spaces. Enjoy all He has for you. What a beautiful home. And yard

  19. Your house is amazing! Love seeing these exterior shots .(and the sandy beach, too). Truly Perfection – with the capital P intentional!!

  20. There’s nothing prettier than Michigan in summertime! We reside in South Florida but had a vacation cottage on Otsego Lake that we sold in December. Oh how I miss our little Alpine Village at Gaylord after seeing your pictures. ? so stinkin’ hot down here.

  21. You have a lovely lake home! I would love to know what color the exterior house is painted. We are painting our lake house next summer and in search of the perfect blue or gray to go on our Cape Cod style home. Thanks for your wonderful blog!! I love it…

    1. I am also wondering if you would share what color the exterior house is painted. Thank you for any help you can provide.

  22. Absolutely beautiful! Love how the crisp white trim stands out against the dark gray shingles – and how you used wide trim and thick columns (most people tend to choose trim that is too narrow and columns that are too thin because the wide/large elements look awfully big when you see them as samples but what a difference when you put them in the proper scale on a house!) Your view is stunning and I love how you arranged all the windows to take advantage of it. I’ve been following along as your house took shape and have loved every “episode” – you made me totally rethink what I would do for flooring….all the TV home shows and decorator sites have shown dark wood floors and they look lovely but I didn’t realize until I read your blog just how high maintenance they are – and I fell in love with your gray washed ones! Thanks for sharing the process!

  23. Kelly it is amazing what you have accomplished in such a short time! The Beach in a Day is equally amazing!

  24. I’m still eating my words about you moving!! I think the house is gorgeous. And I cried every time school started!! I really missed my kids. I cry when they visit and leave. So I’m Italian — it’s in the genes. Love the beach, hate the geese!! Have a great weekend. Hugs.

  25. I think you picked the perfect style of home. It reminds me of homes on Martha’s Vineyard, and on the New England coast. It truly is a dream home. Who came up with this style? You or your architect, builder?

    We live MIchigan. My husband spent summers there and last summer we finally took our boys on a family vacation and rented a beach house. near Glen Arbor. We had a great time.

    Thank you for all of your sharing! It is so fun to see someone building there dream home.

  26. I literally said “whoa!” Out loud when I saw the pictures of your home. It is gorgeous! What a lucky family you are : ) Great job.

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