Man Spends Months And $43,000 On The Most Shocking Gift For His Wife

What do you do in your time off? If you’re in the mood, you’ll work on your ten-years-in-the-making novel, or finally update the personal blog you started as a teenager. If you’re like most of us, though, you probably just slump onto your couch and watch whatever’s on TV until you fall asleep. 
If you’re like a particular UK man, however, you spend your rare free time doing something completely unexpected. This man doesn’t know the meaning of the word “slump.” For him, the best way to wile away any free hours is by slowly making his loved one’s dream a reality — and it wasn’t exactly as easy as picking up a TV remote.
Chris Lodge’s days all start out the same: Wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed. In fact, his wife Sharon has almost the exact same schedule, and all because of something the couple has been working on for years.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Chris is a construction worker and body-builder, while Sharon is a business owner. “The business suddenly took off and went a bit crazy,” Chris explained. The process of bringing their dream project to life was not just difficult, but extremely time consuming.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
That’s how the couple’s tight schedules began — and their lack of free time. “We’re both housebound and office-bound,” Chris said, and there’s one other factor that keeps the Lodges closer to home than they’d hoped.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Their dog, Dice. “[Dice] suffers from little seizures now and then so we don’t like to leave him,” Chris said. With Dice’s medical problems and their busy schedules, the young couple had to give up something that many people take for granted.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
“We haven’t been able to go on holiday for about six years,” Chris admitted. The couple were in serious need of a vacation…and Chris knew exactly how to get one without taking away from their growing business.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
The first step to making his dream a reality was to do some research, and by “research” we mean he stepped into his backyard and looked around. That’s when his eyes landed on his willow tree. Immediately, an ambitious idea started to take shape.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
He imagined palm fronds, torches, totem poles — your classic Hawaiian getaway. If he and Sharon couldn’t go to Honolulu in real life, then he’d bring it to their very own backyard. Still, even early in the construction process, Chris ran into some problems.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
His construction knowledge served him well, but he soon realized that it was the landscaping that would bring his backyard oasis to life. With very little experience to go by, Chris took the ultimate plunge.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
He dug up his entire backyard! Chris consulted YouTube for landscaping tutorials and laid bright green grass down to create a summery lawn. He spent hours researching which exotic plants would work in the cold, rainy UK clime.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Over two years time, Chris became the proud owner of palm trees, succulents, and alien-like plants from the internet. Using his willow tree for inspiration, his backyard slowly transformed into a jungle…but he needed more than greenery to bring his paradise to life.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
That’s when Chris’ construction background finally came in handy. Everyone knows the importance of making an entrance, and Chris made the walk into his paradise as relaxing as possible with just timber, driftwood, and rope.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Chris built a rope bridge leading into the backyard. The journey across the bridge takes you from real life to paradise, and Chris’ next move was deciding what would be at the other end of the bridge. He knew it had to be a show-stopper.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Chris had a $5,500 shed to work with, and he went all-out to turn it into the tiki bar of his dreams. He painstakingly covered the roof with dried grass roofing and palm fronds to give it that “tropical” look. Next up — the inside!
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Inside of the hut, Chris built a genuine tiki bar. He used bleached wooden planks and rope to build the bar and attached authentically-carved totems to the outside. Still, there was a lot of backyard left to transform!
Chris Lodge/Instagram
You can’t have an island oasis without one thing — water! With the bridge and bar complete, Chris focused on how he would incorporate an impressive water feature into his backyard. It wasn’t a hard choice to make: What’s Pacific-themed and aesthetically pleasing?
Chris Lodge/Instagram
A koi pond, of course! But with Chris as contractor, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it wouldn’t be just any old koi pond. He dug a huge hole, surrounded it with rocks, shrubs, and gravel, and made one very special purchase.
Chris Lodge
You can’t have a koi pond without koi, and Chris had a pond, waterfall, and multi-color underwater lights for his. He even added a few sturgeon fish to the mix! Still, with the pond completed, there was more to be done.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Chris was now fully invested in the project — “I was hooked,” he admitted — and as a self-proclaimed stickler for detail, it was time for him to focus on the tropical finishing touches. In his case, the details truly made all the difference.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Twinkling string lights wrapped around palm trees, rusted barrels, tiki torches, plastic flamingos, gnarled netting that seemingly came from a pirate ship. These were the finishing touches that made Chris and Sharon’s backyard the ideal vacation destination.
Chris Lodge
After two years of digging, hammering, Googling, and decorating, the Lodge’s staycation paradise was finally complete! Walking across that bridge is like entering another world — or, as they call it, “The Freaky Tiki.” There was still a not-so-relaxing task at hand, however.
Chris Lodge
Tallying up the cost of such a project! The couple spent $43,000 on their little paradise, and with a cost like that, it’s no wonder they spend a good portion of their free time there…not that they built it just for themselves.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
“I want it to be a place where all our friends can come to if they’re having a bad day,” Chris said. And like all good vacations, Chris isn’t sure if his own will ever end.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Since “finishing” the paradise, Chris couldn’t help but add to it! There’s now an outdoor room called the “Reef Cavern” — which looks like it belongs to a grizzled sea captain — a bonfire, and even more plants, which have become a passion of his.
Chris Lodge/Instagram
Chris, Sharon, and Dice once ended their days by collapsing into bed, but they now end it in paradise. It’s possible to make paradise out of nothing. Chris took a lot of joy in seeing projects from other people round the world.
Chris Lodge/Instagram

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