Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Backyard Reno...VanOort Style

So here's the deal.  I've painted, repainted, renovated, primped, plumped, and refinished EVERY. ROOM. IN. MY. HOUSE over the last ten years.  Realistically, it's time to start over. (Don't read that part Levi)  I want to change paint colors, room arrangements, etc...but it's summer and in summer we should go outside.

After ten years, we thought it was time to do SOMETHING outdoors.  Last year we built the Little House, which is adorable and maybe someday I'll write a post about it...maybe not.  I don't like to blog anymore....but I'm doing this for my mom and dad, so they can see what we've been up to! :-)  We've built raised beds in our garden and those work out fabulously.  BUT NOW....NOW we are undertaking our "backyard oasis" as our ten year old calls it.

Up there I was standing in the pool.  Okay, not IN the pool, but in the pool spot.  That was last year in September.  My advice if you're considering buying a backyard pool, do it in September or October.  Now you'll have to possess super human patience, since you'll now have to wait approximately ten thousand years eight months to use the blessed thing, but the price difference is staggering....and affordable.

In September 2013 this beauty came to live in our backyard.  Lovely, yes?  We love it, the kids love it, the birds love it, leaves love it...everybody wins.  HOWEVER, it sort of looked like it was dropped from outer space into our yard. Plunk.  It's not especially easy to find a spot where a 27' circle can fit in your yard, that goes over no electrical wires, gas lines, cable lines, water lines, ant get the idea.  This is where our 27' circle would fit.  
As soon as the pool was installed I started to think about how we could landscape to make it shed it's "plunked from outer space" status.

And that's where Rich enters the picture.  The famous Rich who remodeled our bathroom to vintage perfection, drywalled our kitchen ceiling to perfection (without sanding...I know, right?  Is that a thing?  It is.)  Anyway, I got my ideas all pulled together, sent those off to Rich so he could digest them all ideas tend to give Rich the longer the better.  
We decided on a set of stairs for the pool with a platform at the full on deck...just a place to do cannonballs from.  Priorities people, priorities.  That doesn't seem so bad, right?
We won't discuss what happened when Rich dug the post holes.  It will give you nightmares.  It gave me nightmares....serious, no our entire Subaru with all of us in it could have disappeared and no one would ever have known where we disappeared to.    Alas, Rich handled it and we moved on.  The "post hole problem who shall not be named" is forever a closed case.

We moved on.  And the magic started to happen.

Platform!  We love this platform.  See how he laid the boards around the outside first, then laid the others there are no cut edges exposed from the front?  Such nice work.  Rich and my dad are a lot alike.  Think, think, think, then build to perfection.  

 The bird's eye view from the upstairs window....lovely steps nearly complete AND the big load arrives from the lumberyard.  That truck pulled into our yard at 7:45am...apparently they don't believe in beauty sleep.

 And then.  Then the big, honkin' beauty of our backyard begins.  Pergola City...that's the new name of our backyard.

 Up go the posts.  These posts are no joke.  Like, they each took a whole tree to produce those suckers.  Honkin'.

Standing tall and proud!  Concrete drying, drying, drying.  I'm trying hard to be patient.

 In the meantime let's take a look at these lovely pool steps.  Aren't they lovely?  Railings and risers will be white, treads and deck will be stained.

 Since I don't possess SuperMan strength to lift crazy heavy beams in the air I made myself useful by beginning the landscaping around the back side(non construction zone end) of the pool.  My lovely friend Todd wants to rid his entire yard of anything green besides I've been digging like a crazy woman...hostas galore!!

 Last night this was the scene in the backyard.  I'm so excited I can barely stand it.

Before Rich left for golf afternoon today we got to this point!  Aren't the end details lovely?  And the hole...that was Rich's idea.  Isn't he a smart fella?  For hanging baskets, windchimes, twinkle lights, you name it.   Smart.

That's it for now.  I'll post more later Dad!!


  1. OK ... this is from your east coast of Iowa friend .... AWESOME!!!! It is beautiful!!!

    If I could swim without drowning .... I might be tempted to come over to see you. But instead, I will bring wine when the pergola is complete!

  2. Oh, Jen! I'm so excited for you!!! What a wonderful space to hang with your family. And a POOL! So jealous! ANd excited! I love how you added plants around it. God bless the Hosta.

    Can't wait to see your pergola.

  3. Ten years of renovation inside your house is a huge achievement. And this backyard pool is definitely the best way to treat yourself for all your hard work. Eight months may seem long, but as you’ve said, it is very rewarding once it is done. And I hope you will not encounter any problem to delay the process. Good luck!

    Silvia Morris @ Claudette Pools

  4. Renovating their houses can be a chore for some people, but it's clearly not the case with you. Well, if you see nothing but good results, you’ll really enjoy doing it. And for your summer, you chose to build an outdoor pool. That was amazing! And very appropriate, because everyone loves to swim in summer and even on random hot days at any time of the year. Cheers!

    Leena Wolf @ H2O Spas


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