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It’s freakishly hot here this weekend which was a good reminder that it’s about time I do a post on our completed pool renovation. I continue to be grateful for the timing on this remodel. We broke ground on it almost exactly a year ago this week. I remember being a little frustrated that it wasn’t complete until almost Thanksgiving and just in time to pretty much admire it from the inside looking out. No one could have predicted how perfect that timing was come March of this year! I'm so thankful we've had this backyard oasis to spend time in during The Pandemic!

There are a lot of details here so I'm going to break this post into two parts. This one being about the pool finishes and process and a I'll do a second that's about the patio furniture and layout and link sources.

Project Background

We hardly used our pool before the renovation because it wasn’t heated. We’d use it on really hot days, which is really only about a month or two out of the year in these parts but, even with our solar heater, it didn’t get warm enough for me most of the time. (This is the part where my husband will tease me for having a +/- 2 degree comfort zone.) The truth is, my girls often didn’t want to go in it either for the same reason. We wanted to get this project done while they were still young enough to invite friends over and have fun because they are growing up fast!

We didn’t change the footprint of the pool, but we had a lot to accomplish. Our main goals were to heat the pool, connect the small hot tub (which didn’t function at all previously), reface the red brick wall and fix some patio drainage. Of course there was major scope creep and we ended up replacing the coping (that’s the edging of the pool) and building a new retaining wall so that we could get more square footage for the BBQ and seating area.

Project Inspiration

I knew I wanted to keep the color palate for the hardscaping and landscaping muted and tie it into the surrounding natural, woodsy landscape of the Santa Cruz mountains. We went with a soft gray ledger stone for the surround, complimented by silver travertine marble for the edging. I wanted a slightly modern/transitional look for the patio and BBQ and chose to go with smooth concrete for the patio and retaining walls, a horizontal wood plank for the BBQ and soft gray greens, white carpet roses and straw colored grasses for the landscaping. Choosing a color for the pool finish itself was really hard. We knew we wanted it to be darker, but not so dark that it looked murky. I love how it turned out in the end because it reflects the stone in a really cool way and just looks so inviting from every angle and in every light.

Here's a look at the mood board I created. I referred to this daily as we were choosing finishes.

Are you ready for some before & after photos?

Refacing the brick was such a huge transformation and one feature I was really excited about updating. We still have some brick accents on the columns around our house because I needed to tie them in with our front walk way which we were not planning to replace, but I think it still works. The pool is located very close to our kitchen and dining room windows and I like not having all that red brick in my line of site now. The ledger stone blends really nicely with the slate walk way that we left in tact on the upper part of the patio.


Even though it was a little scary watching the crew dig up our entire yard and take jack hammers to our pool on the daily, it was sort of fascinating at the same time. Like I said, our pool is super close to our kitchen doors so I'd be making breakfast and looking out to see dust and rubble everywhere. Here's proof:

Crazy right? Scroll through to see more of the process photos.

The End Results

Needless to say, we're thrilled with how it all turned out and I can happily say it was a wise investment. We use the pool, bbq, fire table and outside TV all the time. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the outdoor TV. We've watched countless movies and baseball games out here since we don't have much else to do these days!

A big thanks to Sol Landscaping, Coral Pool and Spa and Nicole Douglas Landscape Design

who all worked tirelessly to help pull this together.

Finished photo credit goes to Madeline Harper who took these lovely photos on a cloudy spring day. I'm hoping she'll be able to come back and visit post-pandemic on a warm sunny day!

1 Comment

Juliet Russell
Juliet Russell
Aug 17, 2020

Absolutely stunning transformation! I totally get the pool heat issue. It frustrates my husband to no end ... but 2 degrees makes a difference. I love how you used wood for your outdoor kitchen. Wish I thought of that before our project got underway. Can't wait for backyard transformation post #2! xo

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