COULD the fact Ronnie & Georgia have never put a pool into their 10 previous renovations become their undoing?
Backyard Week on The Block has proven to be the biggest challenge so far for the experienced Perth renovators, with their pool, nicknamed Ten-Tonne Tessie, costing them close to $50,000.
The couple had been almost pedantic in their planning for Backyard Week, starting the design process even before they arrived in Melbourne for the competition.
“When we found out we were definitely on The Block, we met up with (Slightly Garden Obsessed’s) Mon Palmer – Ron had always been a big fan of Mon’s work,” Georgia said.
“We said to her, ‘we think these are the houses we’ll be working on in Elsternwick, here are the plans on Instagram and we don’t know which house we’re getting but are you interested in helping us with landscape week?’
“She said she’d love to and when we started workshopping ideas, we saw these pools that were round and Ronnie started researching and found out the pool comes from Queensland.”
Fast forward to the first week on The Block and the couple finally confirmed they had found the right building plans all along.
“So very early in the piece we knew we were putting a pool in, so we paid for it, the permits were put through council and the pool is the centrepiece of Mon’s design so Tessie always had to go in,” Georgia said.
“And we knew House #5 was putting a pool in so if we wanted to be competitive with them come auction day, we had to have the same type of amenities.”
But even the best-laid plans can go awry, with everything falling apart once their pre-approved crane access via a neighbour’s tennis court was withdrawn.
“When we found out that we could no longer use the tennis court, I’m not going to lie, on Day One or Two of Backyard Week, I said to Ron, ‘I don’t care, let’s throw it on the verge, let’s sell it on Gumtree, let’s get our money back; I don’t want to put the pool in’ as it was all so hectic,” Georgia said.
“But I’m glad we followed it through.”
In order to get Ten-Tonne Tessie in their backyard, Ronnie & Georgia needed their crane to drive through two other competitor’s backyards.
This sparked a series of hostile negotiations with House #1’s Jason & Sarah and House #2’s Hannah & Clint.
Despite having to eventually fork out $13,500 to Jason & Sarah and $11,000 to Hannah & Clint for site access on top of the $15,000 pool cost and $10,000 crane bill, Ronnie & Georgia have no regrets, including not letting House #5’s Josh & Elyse start their pool construction early.
“What Josh & Elyse were asking was to dig, excavate their pool and pour the concrete for their pool four to five weeks in advance,” Georgia said.
“All we said was everyone needs to be on a level playing field here, just play by the rules and do your landscaping in seven days.
“For us, that’s why we chose a prefab pool as an option because it meant we knew we could execute a pool within the timeframe.”
But there is no doubt the site access bill paid to Jason, Sarah, Hannah and Clint still left a bitter taste in the WA couple’s mouths.
“I just feel a bit embarrassed for them to be fair,” Georgia said.
“What House #1 and #2 did to us was actually above and beyond what I believed to be playing a fair and competitive game.
“They were actually extorting us out of money because they were unable to win something with their own abilities.
“What you don’t see on TV is there were about 11 hours of negotiations where we put forth some, what we believe, were really fair offers and we understand we’re asking you to stop work and that is such a huge thing to ask of those guys.
“We had all these other really, really fair offers on the table for them but they only saw the money.
“They also knew we desperately wanted to put our pool in so therefore they had the upper hand with that.”
Ronnie & Georgia said the end result was worth all the money, stress and broken friendships.
“When you see the pool in real life, it’s just really beautiful,” Georgia said.
“It’s a very unique landscape design, I think the pool looks great and I think come auction day it will really pay off for us.
“When you’re spending money – and this is the same thing when you renovate your home – you have to think about where you spend your money and if you will get that back when you come to sell your house.
“And we believe that investing that money into the pool will be well worth it.”
To find out if Ten-Tonne Tessie wins Backyard Week for Ronnie & Georgia, tune into Channel 9 on Sunday, October 8, at 7pm.