Friday, May 1, 2015

goodbye old pool… hello outdoor space



inspirational photo

Well the good news is that the big, cracked in-ground pool that took up our entire backyard is finally gone.

Built in the early seventies, the oversized pool—and its poor condition—was the big reason this house was languishing on the market when we found it.

You might remember it was last year at this time when we were living in a tiny condo waiting for any kind of movement in the neighborhoods we wanted to live in…it was actually weird how small the housing inventory was back then.

We eventually decided to take a look at a home that had a lot of issues--- but was SO close to the ocean that we couldn’t resist.

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I still remember the sinking feeling I had when we walked into the kitchen; the previous owners had a bulky red couch pushed up against the sliding glass doors and the view was awful. All I saw was an old pool and a lot of cracked concrete.


And plain concrete walls that had never been planted except for a few dying plants and no trees to block the neighbors. Gulp, it was a far cry from our old backyard.

Plus, the last thing we wanted was another pool. Even though we’d had years of great pool memories in our former backyard—now with the boys in college we were ready for a different kind of outdoor space.

But after weighing the price and square footage and the proximity to the ocean we decided to make an offer despite the backyard. And I’m so glad we did. Since then we know we made the right decision; we’ve got some great neighbors and the floorplan has real potential.

Now. Fast forward 8 months and here’s a picture of the dreaded pool being drained.



Yep. We couldn’t wait. Even though our kitchen really needs to be remodeled we decided to divert the money and get rid of the pool, the first step in transforming our ugly backyard into a usable living space.


Because of the tight space on the side of the house, the demolition company had to use the smallest Bobcat available. Andrew was the talented driver who made over 200 trips with dirt before it was all over.





The city of Huntington Beach requires an engineer to be on-site to take samples of the dirt compaction after each foot of dirt was added.  


Yes, it was a verrry laborious (and loud) process.  


This is a powerful piece of equipment that produced vibrations we could feel inside our house.


Once the pool was filled we had to address the drainage and figure out the hardscape.

Because of the drought here in California we made a decision to forgo lawn and instead plan on designing with a combination of hardscape, softscape and lush plantings.




This week we finally had the concrete poured for our patio. Hooray!!!

Here’s the view from our sliding glass doors while it was happening.

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I wanted to eliminate the step down when you walked outside…preferring a seamless flow with the interior of the house and fortunately because of our overhead structure already here, we don’t have to worry about flooding.

Although we finally got some great drainage in our backyard.

Before this, we didn’t have one drain in our backyard. Hard to believe. Lucky we don’t have heavy rains here.


Here’s a photo with the wet concrete. (No more step down)

We also have the backyard plumbed for gas and electrical so we can have a fireplace and up-lights for our palm trees. And of course, gotta have that electrical outlet for the blender. (Margaritas anyone?)


Now the fun stuff. Designing the landscape. The hubby wants palm trees, banana trees and Bird of Paradise for sure.


Even though I’m a lover of the English garden, now that we’re in Southern California I want to incorporate a tropical vibe and blend some drought resistant plants into the landscape.




I can’t tell you how excited I feel to finally have a backyard filled with good old dirt.

Funny the things that makes us happy. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.







Unknown said...

How exciting!!! Loved seeing the photos....and although I can only imagine how dusty & noisy it must have been, the transformation already looks huge. I cannot wait to see what you do with the space :)

I've been thinking about you, hope you are well! Xx

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Makeovers large or small are always so exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing the beauty of your yard come together.
fondly ~lynne~

Pam Kessler said...

I had no idea you just filled in a pool (like "just" makes it sound easy)! I was picturing a big backhoe back there chunking it up and tossing it in a dump truck. This makes much more sense. Loving all the new space you have and can't wait to see the finished area!

Debra@CommonGround said...

It's going to be fabulous, Leslie! Love all your ideas for your hardscaping. We left our 1990 pool last year, and were so glad to see it in the rear view mirror! Keep us posted on your progress! have fun!!

Karen said...

This will be wonderful when you've landscaped. So they leave the pool sides in the ground and just fill it with dirt? Or do they remove all the plaster (or whatever pools are made with) and just fill in with dirt.
Another plant that would add to your tropical theme is kangaroo comes in yellow or red and both are heaty and fit in with the tropical look.
Can't wait to see the progress. I love the color you painted the house.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Leslie! HI THERE! Wow, this was a courageous undertaking by quite the visionary, YOU! I am totally confident that you are going to enjoy this new space and in S. California, you can be out for most of the year. BRAVO And by the beach? BINGO! I'm looking forward to the next phase of photos! Happy weekend, Anita

Anonymous said...

It is coming along - hopefully you will be entertaining outside soon. Putting in the plants after all the messy part will be fun. No hardscaping or landscaping happening here until the old falling down addition has been torn down, rebuilt and new exterior and windows are done. Have a lovely weekend. Patty/NS

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh I am sure it will be gorgeous. I do so miss our pool, but I can totally understand not wanting nothing but an old cracked pool in the backyard.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

How exciting Leslie...I know your going to create the perfect outdoor space!! Enjoy your weekend!

karen@somewhatquirky said...

oh! you're going to have fun! Stay patient. And enjoy some time on that awesome patio!

Calypso In The Country said...

Very exciting - and so nice to be able to do exactly what you want with that space. You have such a clean slate now! Have fun with it!

Splenderosa said...

It must be so difficult to make this decision, but it does look amazing now.
Good job !!!!

Leslie Anne Tarabella said...

I'm usually dismayed whenever anyone fills in a pool, but you made the right call here. It's going to be gorgeous and much more functional. Good luck with the landscaping!

Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

This is so exciting! I'm glad that the project is moving along so well and that you're pleased with the progress! I think that the ideas for landscape sound great! I love the tropical for their color and the succulents in that inspiration photo are so cute! I can't wait to see how it is coming along! Have fun! Hugs, Leena

Thehouseofhampton said...

Wow! I can relate so much to this. This is a huge undertaking, and the possibilities are endless. You're going to be enjoying this for years to come. Landscaping can make such a visual impact!!! Keep the pictures coming...
The House of Hampton

Art and Sand said...

This house has meant a lot of huge projects for you, but it is turning out fantastic.

Have fun planting the garden.

Carla from The River said...

We just had our basement wall project completed this week.
We move on to our driveway after the dirt settles from the HUGE hole they had to fill in from the basement wall.

I am real excited about your garden. All of it looks great. Keep up the great work.

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

Remove the pool? Absolutely! You're making such wonderful progress. LOVE your inspiration photo!

michele said...

what a dramatic project, leslie! i'm so happy for you that it's all moving forward. all i can say is the mere mention of palms, bananas, margaritas, etc. has me drooling and ready to get on a plane to visit even before the lushness happens. we have moved into our rental and are waiting patiently just as you did many months ago. it is hard to live in limbo and stay positive, but we know the tough part is out of the way. leaving that home and those memories took courage. i'm in the resting phase which will hopefully transition into the organizing phase (still so many boxes to sift through and purge) and then the dreaming phase. i know you get it. we are empty nestin sistas. peace.

Cathi said...

Very exciting - it will look so beautiful when it's done! This drought has us thinking about a change to our yard too.

Leslie Harris said...

The permit process for our area required the bottom to be broken in specific spots. Then the sides are removed -- going down two feet all around. Then everything is filled with dirt. Typically demolition companies are allowed to toss the broken concrete back into the pool but not in Huntingon Beach. It must be removed. And a city engineer oversees the compaction of the dirt.

Leslie Harris said...

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Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Wow, what a big job...and I can't wait to see what you do with all that new space. Leslie!

Unknown said...

What an exciting project! I can only imagine what a beautiful space this is going to be!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh wow Leslie, what a huge undertaking! But the transformation will be dramatic and gorgeous. Love your inspiration photos. Can't wait to watch your new backyard oasis unfold!

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