Here’s some expert advice for making an old pool beautiful again. Plus, my best tips for all the right colour choices for pool materials and landscaping to create the most classic and timeless pool whether you are improving your existing pool or adding a new one.
The Spruce (love how the plant material matches the pool)
I recently received this question from a reader:
I have a pool that needs help: 911 in fact. I searched Maria’s blog and did not see any posts about working with concrete problems and minimizing eyesores such as this.
The patchwork in the second photo is exactly as it looks, freshly pressure washed. There’s about 10 different colours/ages of concrete surrounding this pool!!
I think it’s a really interesting problem that must be facing millions of homes with pools.
I can also take more pictures, including what the pool deck looks like now after the caulked cracks and divots with a “paintable gray caulking”, which basically shows up as white! Egad.
When I read this question, I knew immediately that the first person to consult on this project was MaryAnne White my virtual landscape designer, who has worked on MANY projects for readers of this blog.
Since my client inherited the pool we’re just going to say it like it is for the benefit of everyone else reading:
MaryAnne’s take on this was the following:
“This is an outdated, low-end pool that was made by a pool company without any design or consideration of details. It needs a better liner choice, needs coping, new interior steps, new concrete pour, and planting so you don’t feel like you are sitting in the driveway.”
Here are a few photos of the pool:
Obviously, the least expensive way to handle the patchy concrete is to paint it the colour of concrete. I dedicated Module 4 of my Masterclass for Exterior Colour Selection to this versatile, most neutral shade of green-grey (the colour of natural stone).
Remodeloholic (How to Paint a Concrete Patio)
The worst thing to do would be to buy ‘off-the-shelf’ porch and floor paint which is a blue grey (above). I have seen many concrete steps, patios and garage floors painted in this shade of grey which makes no sense because as soon as it starts to chip, you see the green concrete underneath it.
If it matches your decor, that’s fine, but in general, that’s not what most people are trying to do.
This image (below) is where you can see the many places the concrete has been patched.
My reader also disliked the colour of the pool liner, this is MaryAnne’s advice:
Which pool liner is best?
The white fibreglass steps should be replaced with concrete steps and then the liner goes over it.
Other than the location of the pool, if purchasing a vinyl liner, you should be aware of certain facts.
Avoid a Printed Tile Border
Make sure you choose a liner that does not have a printed tile border. This often looks tacky and fake (below).
Choose a Pebble Print
In terms of colour and style, choose a pebble print, similar to this one (above), but without the printed accent tile.
Consider the Colour of the Reflection
And, no matter what the pool is made of, whether it’s Gunite or vinyl, it does reflect the sky.
If you’re going to choose a vinyl pool, it won’t be the exact colour of the vinyl because the colour of the sky will be included in the reflection.
You want your plastic printed liner to LOOK as close to Gunite as possible.
How to landscape around your pool
This was the new landscaping plan MaryAnne designed:
Landscape and pool design by MaryAnne White
A note about pool companies
If you’re doing anything outdoors like landscaping or installing a pool, you have a limited window. The further north you go the more limited the window of time when you can install plant material and pools!
They have 8 months to get it all in, and in the North, you can only plant 4 months out of the year because it’s too cold.
Therefore, most pool companies want to get in, get the job done, and get out!
It’s the same with cabinet guys. If you order cabinets without a designer, the same thing will happen. Keep that in mind next time you decide you’d like to save money on the design plan. A design plan can make it beautiful vs. ‘meh’.
Four steps to a more beautiful pool
- Drains, returns and skimmer boxes, should match the liner. They have white, grey, light blue and dark blue options. Just make sure you choose the right one to coordinate with your liner.
- The lights should be on the same side as you’re sitting, this way they don’t shine into your eyes at night.
- The skimmer boxes should also be also on the same side that you’re sitting so you’re not looking at the muck.
- MaryAnne recommends travertine or bluestone coping (seen below) to coordinate with a concrete pool.
Other ways to make your pool prettier
If you can’t re-do your pool, there are other ways to distract the eye and make it prettier:
Every pool needs a big swan or a peacock to float around in the pool, especially if you’re looking down at it from your house all day long. Get them here.
Match the pool liner to your decorating
This is one spot where neutral will not be fabulous.
It will look so much better if you match your decor to your indigo blue or turquoise pool rather than just plunking down standard big-box charcoal furniture. Remember these chairs?
I disliked my patio A LOT when we moved in 9 years ago, but my landscaping was way more of an emergency than replacing the deck. So I decorated it instead. Now I really don’t notice the patio.
Over to you my lovelies! Are you working on a pool project this year? Post your questions in the comments!
If you’d like help designing your landscape, patio, or pool, contact MaryAnne White here.
To learn how to choose colours for your exterior, join my Masterclass here.
I have 25 spaces available for my Specify Colour with Confidence virtual workshop coming up June 18-19, those on the waiting list will receive an opportunity to register first tonight. Get on the list here.