Homeless Man Builds Backyard Beaches For People, Becomes Millionaire

Why travel to a beach when you can have one in your own backyard? That’s the idea behind this Louisiana company.

Zydeco Construction specializes in building “swimming ponds” that are crystal blue and have 180 degrees of sand surrounding them, resembling a beach. Each swimming pond is completely customizable, with accessories such as outdoor kitchens, gazebos, umbrellas, and even volleyball nets.

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Eric White, 33, said the sky is the limit on your “dream beach,” and they can be made as big or small as you want.

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“It has always been a dream of mine to do these different things,” said White. “I am all about figuring out a way to make things happen. I can look at any situation and come up with a way to fix it. I like to stay in the market for things that most companies don’t offer, especially custom requests.”

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Other than the swimming ponds, White offers in-ground trampolines and customizable outdoor kitchens. He also is in the business of drainage solutions, such as building levees for homes that experience water-log or flooding in their backyards.

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“I can come up with drainage solutions that won’t negatively affect your neighbors. Anything I can do to help save someone’s house, I will,” he said.

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We asked White what inspired his love of construction.

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From homeless to millionaire

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“I have a story to share that is pretty inspirational,” White said. “Growing up, things weren’t easy for me. I was homeless at 15 for about eight months of my life — I had dropped out of school in the ninth grade and only had a second-grade reading skill. I could hardly even spell my name.

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“Construction was something I always understood; I knew if I worked at it, I could really do something with it.

“I started working as a helper for a local construction company, doing what I could do to make a dollar and doing what I could to feed my daughter. From there I found a job working as a mechanic for a Ford dealership, but that wasn’t really for me. My dad told me about another construction company hiring in Baton Rouge that was paying $12 an hour and I took that opportunity.

“The guy that I worked for there took me under his wing and taught me about the company. Within the first six months, I was managing the team. From there, I went to another company that offered more money, then I started my own company, a pool business called Cool Pools. That business did very well, and last year, I sold it for over a million.

“So, that’s where I am today. I decided to start Zydeco Construction to keep me busy and have some of my creative visions become a reality.”

“It’s something that for years I would think to myself, ‘what if someone could figure out a way to turn a pond into a paradise?’ I wanted to be able to provide this service and wanted to be the first to do so. I did as much research as I could and applied it to building these ponds,” he said.

White worked on various outlines for his vision, and he even designed a patented specialty pump for the swim ponds.

So, how much does it cost to bring this to your backyard? White said it costs around $20,000 and up to construct the beach paradise.

“Each pond that we do is customized for that area and for the customer. It isn’t something that can be done in a day, they are a true labor of love and I want every customer that comes to me to be happy. We will do something different on every pond we create.”

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