We bought this house three years ago with our eyes wide open.

One of the best and also worst parts about this place was that it had a swimming pool. We didn’t buy the house because of the pool but, in spite of it.

Sadly, this old vinyl pool is thirty years old with a broken main drain, multiple leaks and is falling apart. Just keeping it clear and clean is a part-time job.

The first year we lived here it looked like this half the time.  We figured out that our well water that has a bunch of iron it and kept running into mysterious quirks of the pool and what parts were and were not working.

When you buy a house with a pool you are pledging your commitment to either take care of it, or to fill it in.

The time has come and we are planning on redoing the pool as part of our bigger goal of creating a more welcoming and purposeful place for hanging out with people.


We’re planning on keeping it as simple as possible–and I can’t wait to have straight lines instead of all those wacky angles. Right now the pool feels like a weird place in the backyard that’s separate from the house. In many ways we’ve felt like we don’t really have a back yard, at least not the kind where people can gather and we are really looking forward to changing that.

If people don’t hang out in the backyard then it’s kind of pointless.

The goal is to redo the pool so we can use it and properly care for it and turn it into a welcoming hang out spot for people that feels like an extension of our home instead of like a blue (or green) hole in our backyard surrounded by a fence.

Our Backyard Goals:

A Simple Pool with drains and pumps that work!

We are going for a small rectangle pool without a lot of concrete around it.

A Focal Point that can be used in the winter with fire pit or fireplace,

We are lucky enough to be able to use a pool for almost 6 months out of the year. We want to still enjoy the backyard area in the cool months, so providing something warm is a priority.

A Gathering Place with comfy seating & place to feed people.

You know I’m big on seating and places for people to Be. We want to have both comfy seating for long conversations and enough seats and surfaces for eating actual meals in the backyard together.

My plan is to incorporate a Neighbor’s Table (or two!) where we can gather lots of people to eat at one table together in our backyard. Glory!

Neighbor’s Table was started by Sarah Harmeyer who I got to hang out with for 10 days last year and has become my mentor in gathering people purposely. Y’all, she has gathered almost 2500 people around her own table (my hero!)!! And she wants us to do the same.

Here’s more about the Neighbor’s Table mission (watch out you will fall in love). Be sure to check out her shop (I adore the table tokens) and her adorable dad!


I am SO excited to finally get to start working on this backyard. I’ve been giving this pool dirty looks and hopeful glances for over three years now. It’s the biggest renovation project we’ve done yet and I am beyond intimidated. But I know it will be worth it to continue to create places here on our property for people to connect. Especially a place for our boys to hang out with their friends. This is why we moved out to the country to a fixer upper–we want to host people and create a place to relax, connect and just be.

PS, speaking of people coming and relaxing and Be-ing, my husband Chad is hosting the fourth annual ManTime in April here at our imperfect, in-process property. ManTime sells out every year and is the perfect place for your introverted or extroverted husband to spend a weekend being encouraged. Click here and then on “event’s to find out more.

Psst, it’s 9 months later, come see our progress on the backyard here.