Backyard Makeover- Pool, Deck, Patio and Sauna

All about our DIY backyard makeover complete with swimming pool, pool deck, sauna cabin, and concrete patio. 

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Our backyard did not have much to it when we moved in. Many years ago, our house boasted an in-ground pool, but the owners decided to fill in the pool at some point. All that remained when we moved in was a brick retaining wall (presumably for the original pool deck area) and a large grassy lawn. 

picture of our backyard before we started the makeover
The backyard, with the sunroom addition.

Last year we took on the huge job of giving our backyard a complete overhaul. We have so much space around our house (which is why we fell in love with this fixer upper in the first place!) so creating an outdoor living space was a given.

Pour a Concrete Patio

Our first step to creating our outdoor area was to pour a rectangular concrete patio along the short brick wall, giving that area a cohesive look (as if the wall was intentional for this outdoor space.)

This gave us plenty of room for a seating area, our raised flower beds, a picnic table and a fire pit area. Its also a great place for our young kids to play in the sandbox, and for our toddler’s water table.

Backyard makeover picture with the new concrete patio
Freshly poured concrete.

Set up the above ground pool

Next, we worked to level out the area where the above-ground pool would sit. We live in the south and with the hot summers, creating an outdoor pool was non-negotiable.

We looked in to digging up and renovating the old pool, but it turned out to be a solid investment- there was little chance that that pool was salvageable. 

Picture of the pool area getting flattened.
My parents visited during this time, and my dad helped with the excavation work here. And our toddler had a blast watching and pushing around his dump truck!

We figured the better way to go would be to simply build right on top of the existing pool space. We looked into several above-ground options, from oval to circular to rectangular. Ultimately we decided on this 32’x 16′ rectangular pool from Amazon, as it would fit perfectly with the size of the space.

Daniel spent many hours setting up the pool- you can read all about that process in another post. 

It doesn’t look so bad here, but this was back breaking work.
Picture of our completed above ground pool
This shows just how large the pool is!

Build the Pool Deck

Once the pool was set up, he began working on the pool deck (well, he also took a “break” to redo an entire wall on our sunroom entryway!) We decided to build the deck to run along two sides of the pool.

You can read all about how we installed the above ground pool deck, and the cost of both projects in these two posts: Building An Above Ground Pool Deck and DIY Above Ground Pool and Deck Costs.

The entire project took many months, as Daniel fit it in while working full time and dealing with hot, humid summer temperatures. However, we were able to use the deck even before it was finished.

In-progress pool deck
The behemoth pool deck mid-construction.
The pool deck mid-constrution in our backyard makeover
Almost there!

Create a Sauna/Pool House

Once he completed the pool deck in late fall, we bought a pre-fab cabin. The far end of the concrete patio was the perfect spot for this pool house/sauna. The cabin was an empty shell, but Daniel has been working to create a sauna in 1/3 of it, and the rest will be a changing area, and a bathroom eventually. 

Backyard photo with sauna cabin/pool house

This completed the large projects for our backyard remodel. Now, as we move into warm weather, our next priorities are to finish the pool house/sauna cabin, plant in our flower beds when the weather permits, and install the sun sail we bought last year. 

We bought this sun shade sail last year, and will set it up this spring.

We’ve already used this space a ton! We have fairly mild winters, and so we have taken advantage of the patio for our young children’s rollerblading and biking. We’ve had a blast using the sauna, and then taking a cold plunge into the pool, followed by a soak in the hot tub. 

Here’s another look of the backyard before, where you can see the old fire pit:

Backyard before photo

And here it is after our additions:

backyard after photo

Future Plans for our Backyard Makeover

In the warm summer months, we can’t wait to set up lounge chairs on the deck and have pool parties on a hot summer day. We’ll also add some much-needed visual interest with flowers and plants and additional landscape design.

We have many more ideas, schemes and dreams for our backyard makeover. We plan to make this area truly an outdoor oasis. Follow along so you don’t miss out upcoming projects and updates!

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