Last summer we put in a pool.
Well, I mean, WE didn’t put it in… hello, I’m not that hardcore DIY. But basically the whole summer I doubled as project manager extraordinaire from concept to completion of our backyard makeover.
As swim summer #2 begins to fade, I realized I never shared this epic home improvement project on the blog! And if I wanted good pictures with all our landscaping in bloom, I’d better take photos like yesterday. So sorrynotsorry for the image-laden post that follows.
I searched for a “before” photo, but apparently didn’t take one. Probably because it was just really boring grass. This is as close as I could find — a few days prior to the big dig, we rented a sod cutter and salvaged what grass we could to put on the other (muddy) side of the house.
For a project this big (and this permanent) I wanted to be sure all the contractors knew precisely what we wanted. The pool guys said they’d never had a customer draw such a detailed schematic before. That’s how I roll — details #likeaboss.
First step was to dig a gigantic hole with an excavator. Watching our backyard being ripped to shreds, I had to breathe slowly and repeat to myself “this will be ok, it will all turn out fine” the entire time.
A west coast gal at heart, I was only familiar with concrete pools, but they don’t install those in the east because the drastic flux in soil temps would crack the concrete. The options here are either vinyl liner or fiberglass because the walls have just enough “give” to flex without breaking. While more expensive up front, we went with fiberglass because it’s less maintenance long term and it was literally in the ground and swimable within 48 hours.
I said swimable in 2 days… but not totally done. For a solid month (while the pool “settled”), I swept sand from every blessed corner of my home: the couch, the kids bedsheets, the garage, the carpet, and everyone’s clothes. I may or may not have emotionally second-guessed our choice at this point.
All this construction took place during Bug’s obsession with “diggers.” He enjoyed the fact that our backyard was a giant sandbox much more than I did.
I have never been so happy to see men pouring concrete in my life. We spent the rest of last summer laying new sod, re-plumbing irrigation, designing and planting landscaping and perfecting DIY pool maintenance — with lots of swim breaks in between!
A year later our plants are a little bigger, the grass a little greener and we could not be more pleased with the transformation.
We saved our pennies up to purchase a nice upholstered conversation set for the patio this year. So fun having real adult outdoor furniture!
Some day I’ll get around to a DIY coffee table for the middle… maybe next summer.
The yard looks twice as big since adding the pool; still with plenty of grass left for a competitive game of cornhole.
It was quite the adventure turning a builder-grade yard into the space we had envisioned, but now that’s it done I am quick to say the effort was absolutely worthwhile. Having a welcoming space to fill with friends, weekend cookouts and the sound of cannonball laughter has been tremendous fun.
In the end we didn’t just put in a pool — we invested in the childhood memories of our kids and created a backyard mecca for quality family entertainment. Long live summer!