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Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans

A breakdown of options to upgrade a basic, outdated vinyl liner in-ground pool and ideas to improve a backyard for beauty and function.

This post is sponsored by GLI Pool Products.

It’s been two years, and somehow I’m just now showing y’all our backyard. I have no excuse other than we’ve had pretty much nothing but the interiors on our brains.

But THIS is the summer! The summer of no longer neglecting our landscaping, of finally updating the pool that has been long overdue, and polishing this diamond in the rough to be the little oasis we know it is destined to become.

Behold our staycation pad:

UPDATE: See the final pool reveal here!

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - A breakdown of options to upgrade a basic, outdated vinyl liner in-ground pool and ideas to improve a backyard for beauty and function.

We are so very thankful for this backyard and all of the opportunities to gather with family and friends that it provides for us. And now that we’re able to set aside some time to focus our efforts on it, I thought I’d walk y’all through all that we have envisioned for this space.

When we first bought this house, we felt in over our heads with this pool (yep a pool pun… I went there). So we’ve had a pool maintenance guy ever since we moved in to show us the ropes and help us with the learning curve of owning a salt water pool. Plus, it’s cheaper for him to maintain it for us and use wholesale discounts on supplies than it is for us to do it ourselves. Win/win.

When he came to close up our pool in the fall, he told us the vinyl liner desperately needed to be replaced and we likely wouldn’t be able to go much longer with the existing one.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - Ideas for improving a shabby backyard and pool

So here we are with a pool with its 11 year old liner that is just begging for some love.

The thing is we really don’t want to go broke spending tens of thousands on a luxury, pricey pool, but we still want to make it look modern and chic.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - How to improve an outdated vinyl liner pool

So we’re partnering with GLI Pool Products to give it a more high-end, modern but still budget-friendly look with a new liner since the technology has definitely come a long way since this old one was installed.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - Outdated vinyl liner pool makeover

My little inner wannabe designer brain keeps envisioning a deep, dark look, so we’re leaning toward 4 designs from GLI Pool Products’ TrueStone Collection, which is why I reached out to them to see if they’d want to team up on this. I love how they’re so much more cutting edge and look more like real mosaic tile and stone than the others I’ve researched.

It allows you to customize your liner by mixing and matching walls, floor, steps, ledges, and anything else. And several of them have the texture of stone.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - GLI Pool Products Obsidian Vinyl Liner

1. Obsidian

This design has a deep teal look and will create the biggest contrast, so I’m thinking this one is my favorite so far.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - GLI Pool Products Blue Slate Vinyl Liner

2. Blue Slate

I love the texture of this one and it has a gorgeous shimmer effect.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - GLI Pool Products Pearlstone and Black Galaxy Vinyl Liner

3. (left) Pearlstone

This liner makes the water look more true, bright blue, and I love the mosaic effect.

4. (right) Black Galaxy

I’m a big fan of this one’s modern, bold look.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com GLI Pool Products ColorMagic to blend pool fittings with vinyl liner

We’ll be updating all of our drain covers, eyeball fittings, and skimmer too, so we plan to use their ColorMagic ones to make the liner look more blended and custom.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - Ideas to improve a shabby backyard and vinyl liner pool

We were a bit worried that we’ve waited way too late in the season to start this project, but the liner will be manufactured, delivered, and installed within a span of about a week.

And since we have little ones, we’re getting a safety cover that is strong enough to hold a car when we close it up again. (Along with adding an additional safety gate.)

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - Ideas to improve an overgrown backyard and outdated pool

As for the rest of the yard, we’re still brainstorming ways to perk it up without overspending.

So far we’re thinking…

1. Digging up and hauling out some of the overgrown shrubs (and hopefully discouraging snakes to make themselves at home).

2. Removing the old fencing and installing new

3. Painting our pool shed either a bright white or a deep charcoal with white trim (and maybe one day transforming it further into an outdoor bar area).

4. Adding concrete stamping over the existing concrete to add the look of custom stone for not as expensive as the real deal.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - Ideas to improve an outdoor pool and garden shed

Maybe eventually we’ll even add new patio furniture and build an outdoor kitchen though.

Really, when it comes to this backyard, we have a million tabs open with ideas, and even though we have no idea if we’ll actually be able to pull it off, we love dreaming about its possibilities.

We plan on holding onto this house for years though, so we have plenty of time to do it all.

Backyard Before Tour and Pool Makeover Plans | blesserhouse.com - Ways to improve a shabby backyard

But hopefully the next time you see this, the pool will at least have a whole new look. That’s the first step in the grand plan.

Do y’all have any big outdoor projects on your radar this summer? Or a pool you’re ready to dive into? I’m so ready to give ours a test drive the minute this new liner is in.

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  1. Hi,

    You should also look at sandstone colors pattern. They almost look like concrete or tile and they reflect the natural light turquoise color of the water. Very modern.

  2. what an AWESOME thing, to have a pool. You mentioned snakes – if they are an issue, I would avoid going too dark on the liner – it’s a saltwater pool, so there’s no problem with them sliding themselves in there. You want to be able to see them BEFORE you get in (I got chased out of a saltwater pool by a snake, which is how I know this đŸ˜‰

    Best of luck – this is a fabulous project!

    1. In my earlier comment I mentioned the problem about not being able to see things at the bottom of a dark pool…SNAKES are exactly what I was talking about. Granted …it was a dead one that I happened upon in a dark colored pool..but it didn’t matter…I was out of there screaming the whole way. I’ll never get into a dark pool again!

      1. I LOVE the look of a dark pool but one other consideration is the way it makes the water warmer. Might not be as much of an issue where you live. In the deep south people usually avoid a dark/black pool for this (and the snake visibility) issue.Can’t wait to see the finished product. I am sure it’s going to be amazing!

  3. What a fun project! When I finally built my shop in the backyard the first thing I did was bury ALL the utility lines, I hate those things hanging up there, they are an eyesore. You have a really nice backyard, I would keep the fence unless it is in dis-repair, it’s too cute; if the color bothers you, stain or paint it. I would clear away any plants that you don’t love and if there are evergreens for your area, plant those closest to the pool. Is that a Hemlock tree in the way back of the pool area? I love those trees, so drape-y but you want to make sure there is nothing poisonous for the the kids. If there are homes back there, keep a buffer. I don’t know about that stamping product, here, everyone uses “cool coat” which you may not need. Endless possibilities! Is there a gate from one part of the backyard to the other? Good Luck and Have Fun!

  4. I love the Caribbean grey and the Pearl together. Maybe it’s time for us to add a pool! Your yard is going to be amazing!

  5. I have a concrete pool deck like that and we patched the cracks and stained it with a light beige concrete stain – rolled it on. It was very easy and gave the pool a super clean and modern look. It has held up very well. That might be am alternative to stamping, and definitely cheaper.

  6. We are going on year 22 with our pool, and a dear friend laughs every time she says, “It’s the best thing you’ve ever done!” We agree! Many good times have been enjoyed in and around that pool. We have stamped concrete around it and it really adds a nice touch. Ours looks like old, red brick and it has held up very well. Only issue has been a very few pieces have lifted…or sunk?….but that is frost in the ground which comes from winters in New England…something you won’t have to worry about!

  7. You have a beautiful piece of property. I always wondered why there was a fence running right through the middle of your backyard. Now I see there was a pool on the other side. I know whatever you do it will be lovely. (You have SNAKES?) ?

  8. Pools do take maintenance but I love having one. We live in Florida. Two years ago we had to resurface ours after living here 16 years. We built the house and pool in 2002. We originally had a safety fence because we had tiny grandchildren then. The fence can be added at anytime also. Ours is also screened in which helps greatly to keep it clean. I hope you all enjoy yours for many years and your girls become excellent swimmers.

  9. Since you have some shade around the fence border, I hope you love hydrangeas as much as I do. Any color or type is fine but the oak leaf (white flowers) would really stand out in those woody areas. Confederate jasmine would be pretty on the side of the pool shed.

    1. These are great tips! I LOVE the unique look and the awesome smell of oak leaf hydrangeas! Also hostas are such a great shade plant! And they are perennials so that’s a definite win! Caladium bulbs can pack a pretty punch and is very inexpensive if you buy the bulbs from the farms in Florida!

  10. There are a few considerations to a dark pool. There’s a problem with depth perception with a dark pool. Most municipalities around the country will not permit dark pools for public pools, because of this issue.. It’s also much harder to see things at the bottom of a dark pool. Personally…I love the sparkle and reflection of a beautiful light /medium blue pool.

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