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Poolside Facelift

When a semi-retired couple contemplated selling their home and in-ground pool or making renovations instead, sunny afternoons spent with their waterbug grandchildren made the choice clear.

Selected changes make a big impact

Since the couple had purchased the home nearly 30 years earlier, its exterior – while in good condition – was looking outdated. Out back, a 20-year-old pool surrounded by a narrow deck and patio area made of cracked concrete posed tripping hazards and did little to invite friends and family into the swimming area.

We started by addressing the arrival experience and street-facing appearance in the front of the house. New stone steps flanked with stone ledges greeted visitors at the driveway and led them along a paver walkway accented with fresh plantings to the porch. While this was not the formal entryway to the house, it’s the door that the couple preferred guests to use, so we made that invitation clear by giving this area more prominence. A new poured concrete porch and stoop were veneered with bluestone and cultured stone, and finished with custom-built paneled columns. The path then continued along the front of the house to the secondary door, which got a new set of sturdy stone stairs as well. These elements gave the whole house an updated look the homeowners could enjoy without a full exterior renovation, and improved the home’s curb appeal for when the couple did decide to sell later on.

To begin work in the back, we identified the person who installed the pool two decades ago and contacted him to understand the structure of the pool itself. He also shared the original plans that noted the approximate locations of plumbing, wiring, and systems underground, which we carefully confirmed as we worked. Next, we surgically removed the concrete surrounding the pool in a way that avoided any pressure on its fragile fiberglass shell, which risked cracking with impact or removal of the soil that stabilized it. We installed an expanded patio area using pavers with accent borders and mixed patterns for interest, and surrounded the expanded entertaining space with low-maintenance plantings. The pavers we chose not only felt cooler in the sunshine on the grandkids’ little feet, but their colors made the existing siding on the house look cohesive and intentional. Using similar stone and plants in the front and back of the house provided a clean continuity between the two living spaces, making both areas more enjoyable for years to come.