Make A Splash
Sure, your pool is great for a refreshing dip, but it can also be a focal point of your yard and the perfect backdrop to any patio party you host. Make the most of your pool area this summer with some expert tips for giving the whole space a boost just in time for outdoor entertaining season.
Create a cohesive look
Celebrity interior designer Jennifer Adams suggests starting your pool area makeover by updating pool finishes to match your home for a cohesive look that makes the pool seem like it was built at the same time your house was, not as an afterthought. "Colors and materials should match or at least coordinate with your home to make the pool area and decks look integrated with the whole design," she explains. "For example, pool edges may be made of the same stone as retaining walls or fireplaces and chimneys; plaster finishes can match the paint on the house if it's an earthy color," she tells us. "If your house is colorful, go for naturalistic poolside finishes and accent with colorful tiles for a cohesive look that won't overpower."
Camouflage what takes away from the yard
You can spend the whole summer overhauling your patio space with stylish accessories and updated finishes, but it might all be for naught if the pool pump takes center stage. It's a good idea to neaten up the space by camouflaging unsightly pool mechanics. Melissa Riker, blogger at The Happier Homemaker, has a simple DIY solution. "We built a simple wood screen around our pool pump for under $50 using landscape timbers and fence slats," she says. The result is a pool pump that blends in with the surrounding area, rather than sticking out.
Quick tip: If you're concerned about ashes landing in your pool, or smoke, Adams suggests going with a natural gas or propane fire pit.
Add a fire pit
Fireplaces aren't just for winter, and they aren't only meant for your living room. In fact, why not think about adding one to your pool area? "Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces make beautiful counterpoints to water," says Adams. "Plus the flickering glow adds warmth and drama, as well as heat on chilly evenings," she adds.
Update your outdoor cushions
Changing up cushions, whether they are accents to or a part of your patio furniture, offers a great opportunity to give the entire pool area a summer-ready lift. "Recover or replace outdoor cushions to keep up with the latest trends and for a fresh look," affirms Adams. "If you purchased your furniture recently, chances are good that the vendor has replacement cushions in new colors," she says.
Riker found an affordable way to breathe new life into her old cushions. "I used inexpensive fabric to cover my stained patio cushions and pillows and updated the area with bright colors," she says. If you can't or don't want to go the DIY route, choose pillows that are durable in vibrant hues ideal for warmer weather.
One of the best things about having a pool (aside from being able to instantly cool off) is having the perfect setting for backyard parties. Take full advantage with the right setup. "For a social area, use a sofa, two or three chairs, a big coffee table and end tables so that everyone has a place to set their drinks," Adams advises. "If you have a lot of space, add seating areas for variety, such as four armchairs around a coffee table, and small end tables for drinks."
The key is to use the space you have in a way that works for you. "We built our own outdoor dining table and painted and reupholstered thrift chairs to create an eclectic dining space adjacent to the pool for entertaining," says Riker.
No natural shade in the pool area? You might want to offer some respite from the heat in at least one area of your yard, advises Adams. "Add shade with a trellis, umbrella or a tree, so the outdoor seating area is cool when the sun is fierce," she says. "Shade part of the pool, too, if you live in a very warm climate and enjoy swimming during the day."
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Photo credits: Jennifer Adams and Melissa Riker