ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Who said you can’t take it with you? Rick Davis and Lou Ann Hill-Davis took the beach with them.

The Annapolis couple spent last month transforming their townhome backyard into a 30-foot by 15-foot seashore, complete with three sand dunes, sea grass, oyster shells, starfish, sea glass, pilings, a small patch of artificial grass and tiki lights.

One of the dunes is topped by a sign in sea glass that reads “Davis Beach.” Another is dedicated to Hill-Davis’ cousin, who died recently from ovarian cancer. The third has a “welcome” sign.

“We’re just tickled,” said Hill-Davis, who has been going to the beach since she was an infant. “The sand feels great. It’s real beach sand.”

It took nine tons of it to make over the yard, and the entire project cost about $1,000. The beach surrounds the patio and incorporates a fish pond Hill-Davis built years ago. The couple added a small fountain to provide aeration for goldfish and some water sounds for the beach.

“I’m a beach fanatic,” said Hill-Davis, a professional organizer. “It’s our beach away from the beach.”

The couple already heads to the actual beach three times a week to stay at their apartment on Tilghman Island. They got the idea for the Annapolis beach on one of their visits.

As they biked around Tilghman, they spotted a home with a backyard beach, took pictures, and immediately called their landscaper in Annapolis. “It wasn’t too bad,” said Manuel Pineda.

The backyard was previously a thicket of brush and weeds Davis had just cleared away when the beach idea surfaced.

“You don’t see something like that very often,” said Justin Kupstas, the couple’s next-door neighbor. “It’s definitely a creative way of turning something that really is a dull space into something much neater.”

Davis and Hill-Davis, 58 and 49, were married this spring in Antigua and honeymooned on the beach – of course. Davis said his bride is more of a beach fan than he is, but not by much.

The two already had a beach-warming party and are now looking for small items to fill out their shore scene, such as a miniature surfboard and some driftwood. They might even build a sand castle.

“It’s just refreshing to look at,” said Davis, a hotel doorman and musician. “Every morning when I get up, I think, `How neat is that?’ It’s so cool.”

They also no longer have to worry about beach traffic or stinging jellyfish — at least, when they’re staying in Annapolis.

Until this summer, they had to make do on this side of the bridge with just the considerable amount of beach art and beach-related tchotckkes inside every room of the townhome. There’s even shell edging on the bathroom wallpaper, and abalone shells and sea glass embedded into the plaster on the kitchen walls. Jars of  sea glass are by the fireplace, along with the sign “If I’m not here, I’m at the beach.”

Given all this, Barbara Moseman, a longtime friend of Hill-Davis, wasn’t the least bit surprised by her backyard beach.

“It’s definitely Lou Ann,” Moseman said. “Anybody who knows Lou Ann knows she loves the beach.”

Information from: The Capital of Annapolis, Md.,

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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