Refreshing Our Backyard For Summer…Part 1

Ahhhhhh, Summer is on it’s way. My favorite time of the year! Growing up in Southern California I longed for those never ending days of summer: beach days, suntan lotion, a radio playing in the background, sand between my toes, that lucky invite to a friend’s pool where you would spent hours reading magazines and reapplying suntan lotion to get as dark as you possibly could. Now I know some of those days are over, sadly skin cancer scares, itunes and just plain shorter summers for kids, have changed things a bit; but one thing that has not changed around here, is that we enjoy every single minute of summer. This year I plan on being prepared so we can spend lots of time at the beach, swimming in our pool, barbequing, roasting marshmallows over the fire pit for s’mores and eating lots of meals alfresco (for more on that see my blog post here).

When we built our home almost 16 years ago, one of the things we liked about our planned community is that it had lots of pools, parks, tennis courts and a golf course, but the best thing was the proximity to the beach. Even with all that, I longed for a pool in my backyard. I knew it would be put to good use and be a place where my family would spend quality time while enjoying the Cali sunshine and making forever memories. I also wanted my girls to be good swimmers and knew that the many hours they would spend in the pool would help with that. So as my husband and I planned our homes upgrades a pool was decided on and a few other upgrades were put aside for later. It was a decision I have never regretted it. We’ve had more fun in that backyard and I smile very time I look out there because of all the joy it has brought me and my family.

Like I said that was 16 years ago, so although my husband and I keep up on our yard and pool regularly it was time for a more detailed overhaul. With all the remodeling we are doing inside the house, it can be overwhelming to take on anymore but that’s just how we roll. There’s never a dull moment around here. To make this project more approachable we have been conquering it in sections. So to get you caught up and keep you in the loop of the progress I’ll start with what we’ve done with the pool and the out door furniture. I’ll keep you posted as we move along to other sections (I’ll be titling the blog posts “Refreshing Our Backyard For Summer” and adding Part 1, 2, etc if you’d like to follow along).

For a little background: our house has Spanish style architecture and I wanted to keep with that for the outside design. Luckily I found a landscape architect who understood my vision. Growing up on the west side of Los Angeles this style was common and something I’ve grown passionate about, it is one of my favorite styles. So, Saltillo tiles were used along with the traditional painted decorative tiles and the electric blue tiles (this color is commonly used when designing this style as it is so complimentary). I also wanted a white bottom pool so the water would look turquoise when the pool is filled. At the time of this design, most people were going with the pebble or dark bottom pools and the rock design surround, I was definitely going rogue, but I wanted classic and timeless. When all was said and done my backyard could have been in any time period that had this style of architecture and that was exactly what I wanted to achieve. I’ve been very happy with these choices over the years. You do have to love Salitillo tiles though, because they are high maintenance as far as keeping them sealed on a regular basis, but I don’t care I love them!!!

Last year we had all the tile scrubbed, some replaced, grout redone, the bottom resurfaced, and digital remote installed so you can turn on the pool/hot tub from your phone (this was obviously for my husband’s enjoyment), so this year we just needed to drain the pool, refill it and balance the chemicals. Sounds easy but it took my husband all weekend. Let me give a little shout out to my husband for always keeping our pool so beautiful, we really appreciate it honey!!!

Pool drained and being refilled…this took a while.


I’ve always loved the little blue tile detail on the step areas.

Refilled and looking pretty.


The hot tub (upper left of photo) is used all year and has a fountain that overflows into the pool. When my youngest daughter Skye was learning to swim she’d sit where the fountain pours, jump into the pool and swim to the steps. She’d do this over and over, and you know, she became quite a good swimmer by age 3.


Here’s the second fountain that the kids love to stand under when the pool heater is on, the warm water feels great on cooler days.

Closer look of the tiles.



We also got a new pool sweeper.


We went with this brand and I think it’s the best one we’ve had so far. It really helps to keep the pool looking nice and also clean.


We added lots of steps for seating, there’s one between the two fountains.


I just love how sparkly blue the water looks, it just makes you want to jump in.

Next we’ll be resealing the Saltillo tiles and the pool will be done!!!


While my husband was busy with the pool, I started on repainting our outdoor furniture. I’m really excited to finish this project because it is going to transform our backyard. I’m going with something pretty different and can’t wait to share it with you.

I have a couple of dining areas so I decided to start with the smaller bistro table set.

I’ve always enjoyed this classic metal set and have kept it black over the years but now I’m going with something really different. The umbrella has seen better days, we had a big wind storm and somehow it got ripped. I’ve got a new umbrella already bought but won’t be showing it until the final reveal.

Here’s the before shot…


We are also replanting pretty much everything so I’ll be showing you that as we go along too.


More before shots, but this is a great classic set and it’s been so sturdy.


I started by throwing out the useless umbrella and then got to cleaning the furniture with soapy water and a rag.


After the furniture dried in the sun I started to sand any rust spots, there weren’t too many.


Next I sprayed a primer especially for outside furniture that would help with rust which I purchased at Home Depot, by the way that manicure did not last too long.


I laid out some plastic on the grass and started with one coat of primer that way if any got on the grass we could just mow it away.


One chair done!!!



The whole bistro set and umbrella stand primed and ready for color.

Unfortunately this took me all weekend. I was hoping to get to the color but ran out of time so I’ll be working on that this week. Wait until you see what color I’m going with (tee hee).


That wraps up this part of the project but there is still soooooooooo much to do and not much time to do it in. So it’ll be work, work, work around here but work that makes our house the home we want it to be. Keep looking for updates on this project,  I’ll be posting them.

photo 3


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