Poolside Gossip

Every summer I spend way too much time scheming ways to get a backyard pool. Like a real one. I’m not one to splurge on big ticket items and prefer travel to most “stuff”, but one day I see myself blowing all our money on a professional huge personal body of water. (And, no, I haven’t found a DIY option that I feel comfortable with. I’ll keep you posted if that changes because you know I will keep looking but I can’t get this out of my brain.)

This year, I tried to take it down a notch and spent my research time on more attainable things: first, above ground pools, and then, hot tubs. Neither have panned out yet, because I am too cautious and indecisive to pull the trigger on ugly things, though I think we would get a lot of use out of both.

I was looking at smaller above ground pools, actually as an easier and cheaper option to a stock tank (but this recent stock tank pool DIY has me rethinking everything!!!!). Something in the $100 and 10 foot range. I narrowed it down to this poolthis pool or this pool. I think we would use it often but do I really want to stare at those semi-permanently? Still thinking on that one…

Then the hot tub bug hit. I’ve never been into the general yuck/cheesy vibe of above ground hot tubs. But we’ve been going to these hot tubs lately like the hippies we actually are AND LOVING HOT TUB LIFE. Considering a small spa could provide backyard hot tubbing and could just as well serve as a play area for our kids, I was into the idea. I learned that there’s a whole range of spas appropriately called plug and play, where you plug into a standard outlet and get to it. Granted, many are hideous and I’ve learned that the smaller, $2000ish jacuzzis that aren’t totally gross looking sell out by early summer. This one and this one are contenders and no longer available. I’m intrigued by this plastic molded hot tub but can’t decide if I love the design or hate it. I’m totally into the contentious design of this wood-fired and portable model (don’t miss the reviews/questions of the folks who are not). For now, we’ve decided to defer the decision until next Spring.

So for now, we’ve got this situation going on… Our classy family is actually spending our summer in this huge and hideous blow up pool. And it’s great. Like seriously best money spent in a long while. (I also liked this lots-of-chairs one and this colorful one.) We lived in its blue waters during that heat wave a few weeks ago. It’s convenient in that it doesn’t have to be seen all the time, but a hassle in that we have to drain it at the end of each day of use. No worries cuz my husband has turned off our sprinklers and developed an elaborate hose drainage system to transfer the pool water all over the lawn. It’s intense. You also have to be careful or it will burn a lovely circle into your grass, but otherwise, a great cheap solution to our backyard water woes. For this year at least…

Tell me how to get a real pool for cheap please?????? Make my dreams come true. Hope you are staying cool this summer friends! xoxo


Patio Shenanigans

Totally unintentionally, the patio has been all switched up! It all started with a hosing off and snowballed into a full rearrange where furniture was pulled from inside, impulse rugs were purchased, and plants planted. I have so many other things I should be working on, but once I got started I couldn’t stop. I caught a glimpse of a more functional space and it ran away with my brain.

I can be kind of intense when I’m in the middle of it all, so interruptions like making dinner have been a real challenge this week. And last week, let’s be honest. Trader Joe’s frozen pesto pizza and take-out burritos have been in heavy rotation. And maybe even cereal one night, I don’t even know. I’m dropping balls left and right. EXCEPT MY PATIO. HOLDING THAT BALL REAL TIGHT.

You can see the before version in this post from last May, and the before before from the May before that (routine much?). For this round, I switched the dining table to the other side of our den slider, our main backyard door, and created a cozy seating area near our family room slider.

I also switched up the color scheme. Or emboldened it, if you will. It really all started when my darling daughter broke one of our front yard white acapulco chairs during a clumsy fall. Straight up amazing physical comedy…but why child?? So, I sacrificed one of our backyard white chairs to the front yard. A black acapulco chair was left without a spot after my daughter’s room’s recent rearrange, so I brought it out there. I’m not one for mismatched chair pairs and actually spent some time looking for a matched replacement, but when I fell in love with this black and white target rug while searching for a plain jute one, it seemed so right. I got the rug on sale for $40, and ran with a black/white/orange color scheme – that I thought might totally clash with the fun time wall, but it’s FINE! And the rug was the only thing I bought for this switch up. I actually cleared out a lot of stuff in the process…bonus! Part of settling into middle-age is continually messing with your plants. I replanted this small bed with sansevieria once I got rolling on this patio thing. We used to have a prolific umbrella plant that needed major trimming every few months and dropped crap all over. In support of my low maintenance plant mantra, I finally removed it (and relocated a neighboring dracaena that was beginning to block the gate). The sansevieria are a little dinky now, but will really pop once they grow.



B&W rug – Target | acapulco chairs – similar | spun fiberglass chair – vintage

coffee table – vintage | orange and iron table – Target (painted)

wall hanging – DIY | planters – vintage/Homegoods/Ikea

patio set – vintage | chair cushions – Amazon | bird house – similar

doormat – Target | orange screen door – info here


If you have backyard fever, there’s more here.

I have backyard water fever. Instead of bingeing Housewives last week, I spent hours researching backyard hot tubs, and then even more researching pools. Stock tanks, above grounds, spools, plunge pools, you name it. No resolution has yet been reached. Say a prayer for my husband… he has to live with this crazy brain.

Circa50 Butterfly Chair Covers

Somehow this has turned into a saga. Two years ago I bought some replacement covers (actually two different kinds ugh) for our backyard vintage butterfly chair frames and wrote this long post on places to find them. I have detailed info there, but to summarize: if you want replacement canvas covers for your (non folding) vintage frames, check out Circa50, D & J Patio, Unique Contemporary Solutions, or Amazon (if you are willing to dig around in the reviews to make sure of sizing!). If you want replacement outdoor vinyl covers, only Circa50 and D & J sell them, as far as I know.

Since I needed outdoor covers, I opted for the cheaper ones from D & J and, while I was previously mostly happy with the purchase, both covers met their end last month within 20 minutes of each other – and while we were sitting in them ha! The weakness in these covers is that the edging is not made of the same outdoor fabric as the seat (and the color doesn’t even match) and that minor annoyance proved to be the literal weakest link. I repaired a small ripped seam last fall in one of the covers, but both covers ripped straight through at the edges in multiple places last month when we went to use them for the first time this year. After less than 2 years of full sun/weather exposure in our backyard, the canvas binding and thread just didn’t withstand the elements in the same way the vinyl seat did. So now my cheap solution is turning into a costly one that could have been avoided. Arg.

I ordered a pair of vinyl outdoor covers from Circa50 last week, like I should have done to begin with. They arrived quickly and are an upgrade. The fabric/edging is great and the choice of sizes meant that I could get a better fit. My chair is a weird size, 29″ across the top and 27.5″ across the bottom. Since I was in between sizes and I’ve heard that sizing up is a good idea, I went with a size C and it fits great. I think I could have even gone up one more. Reviews claims that these will last for like a decade instead of a few years, so my only regret is not ordering them in the first place!

Here are some side by sides for comparison.D & J:Circa50:The weather magically turned wonderful this week and I’m in full freshen up the yard mode, which right now mostly involves pulling 10,000 weeds (and doing my annual google search of DIY swimming pools). If backyard season is hitting you too, you may find these posts useful: on firepits, on finding vintage cone fireplaces, a modern screen door, my backyard mural wall, drought tolerant landscaping on a budget, and a mid century inspired patio. Happy yard work everybody!