Elsie’s Back Porch + Pool Tour

One year ago, we moved to this home and I remember the pool safety fence was our first purchase. I did a whole post on that here if you are interested in hearing more.

Since adding the fence, we worked for months to paint, decorate and make our porch and pool area as nice as possible for making summer memories. I am really happy with it. It’s usable, safe, and comfortable. It’s easy to keep clean and the plants are simple to care for. I will be honest and say that in future years, I hope to level it up even more. This year, we spent most of our budget on practical things like getting our pool upgraded to modern technology (the tech was from the ’90s and had never been upgraded, and then it broke so we had to upgrade it), adding the safety fence, painting brick, and basic landscaping. I like the idea of doing a few updates to the outdoor space each year! Next year, I think we will add the swing set our kiddos have been asking for. I have a long list of future ideas, but at the moment we are enjoying it 100% every single day!

Anyway … let’s get started. Here’s a “before” photo:

When we purchased the home, the pool area was one of the biggest draws. It was not kept up well so it needed a lot of maintenance immediately. I won’t bore you with the pool equipment stories, but how about some mosquito problem stories? Haha.

Whenever I show this angle people always ask me if we are “keeping” the columns. What else would you do? (I’m genuinely curious what you would do!).  Here’s the pool from all different angles. It’s pretty tricky to photograph with the fence installed. I honestly think it looks a lot better in person than in photos, but that’s OK! I really like the waterfall part of our pool. It goes from the hot tub to the pool. It makes a really nice sound that we can hear whenever we go outside. It’s very peaceful.

On the other side of the fence we have a dining table and chairs. We eat outside quite a bit. Just this past weekend, my dad finished installing our new grill (shout out to my dad—our plumber couldn’t even figure out how to fix it. Dads are magic!) and we had our first grilled meal. It felt so nostalgic and summery!

Our biggest FUN splurge was our wood fired pizza oven. I wasn’t sure which one to get, so I got one recommend by a friend (that’s always my go-to move!). It took a few months and some practice, but our pizzas are getting better and better! I think they are starting to be comparable to a restaurant pizza.

We have SO much fun doing it. We normally make pizza every Friday night—it’s our new weekend kickoff tradition.

The other big splurge was this hanging chair. It’s magical! This little covered area is right off our breakfast nook and it’s covered, so it feels like an indoor/outdoor space (not sure if that makes sense—I just mean you can easily go in and out). Our kids really like to make s’mores, so it’s nice to have the fire table right there as well. I placed two rugs together to create the look of one long rug to work for this space.

Sources: Pool Chairs / Cushions / Similar Outdoor Umbrella / Striped Rugs / Fire Pit Table / Driftwood TableWicker Chairs / Pink Chairs / Tablecloth / White Hanging Chair / Faux Trees (most of the trees are fake!) / Swan Pool Float / Pizza Oven 

Thank you SO much for reading. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments! xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Kelly. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree.
  • I love the columns. They very much go with the pool vibe with the hedges, etc. We just watched dirty rotten scoundrels and your pool area reminded me of the villa in the movie that was shot in the south of France. It had a mix of your hedge type gardening plus lots of huge succulents and cactus. I think you should lean in to it more!

  • My 2 cents on the columns is you should consider “modernizing” them. So make it a more squared look, no ornamentation (it makes them feel dated and ostentatious) and reduce their amount (keep those in corners and remove the ones in the middle spaces if it’s not structurally necessary to keep them).

  • I totally understand that this is not an option now but I would have integrated the columns into the pool fence. So that the pool fence wouldn’t look so much as an add-on but integrated. The fence poles just outside of the columns looks a bit much to me. Columns are not my style but I think it works with your house so no need to fix what isn’t broken!

  • I think the columns are what make it tbh, they are part of the whole vibe! Such a beautiful outdoor area, love what you’ve done. X

  • Stunning! I have been wanting to paint our brick white, and you may have just given me the confidence to have it done. And I LOVE the columns:)

  • Haha, it seems like the columns are kinda structurally necessary so idk how you would get rid of them?? But maybe you don’t need quite so MANY and it would still be structurally sound? It is a lot of ceiling but I LOVE the idea of the haint blue!

  • I LOVE the columns! The are very “Hollywood glamour when relaxing at home” vibe

  • A beautiful oasis!! Did Laura leave her table and pink chairs to you before moving?

  • I love this space, it’s very Southern California. I can’t get over the umbrellas and how beautiful the white looks, what a difference. I personally love the columns and arches. It adds to the Beverly Hills vibe and gives the space movement. Beautiful job, well worth all the hard work!

  • The arches aren’t my style, ( the posts are though) but if they are your style you should keep them, there is nothing wrong with that! If you don’t like it you could square off the arches and make the columns different somehow, different material and different shape? I am going to get a pizza oven when we remodel our backyard and was deciding between gas and wood, but Mother Nature has decided for me, we regularly have burn bans now all summer so I will be getting a gas one… Your whole back yard looks like you have really made a great spot for your family to enjoy!

  • This might just be a me thing because I hate bugs, all bugs, anywhere anytime….but do you worry about bugs getting in your pizza oven?

    • What is the white paint color & brand that you painted. Also, do you have an interior white paint color that you LOVE 😍?

  • Beautiful! What a dreamy space. Did you paint the cement floor? It looks so clean and fresh.

  • I think what’s throwing me off about the columns is how ornate they are. I could see them without the arches and maybe with a thinner quieter profile so they do their job but are less of a “moment” and your eye goes to other things. I suspect in person it’s not as noticeable. I think all the white makes it feel airy and open. Also I know its a LOT or ceiling and might not go with the house but I could see painting the ceiling a pale pale aqua blue. Similar to “haint” blue like porches in the south but less intense. It would carry over the blue from the pool but in a very subtle way. (Maybe in real life it would not work. )Thanks for sharing.

    • YES to the haint blue! We have it at our house in FL on the ceiling in our covered patio area. No ghost problems there!!!

    • This is absolutely stunning! I wouldn’t change a thing! In Australia we have mandatory fencing (which has to comply with pool safety standards) for any pool over 300mm (a foot) in depth. Frameless glass panels are a popular option but if we didn’t have that I’d be totally inspired to copy your fence. It looks gorgeous.

  • Get rid of the columns, why??? I love them! This is basically my dream house, this pool area is amazing. I’m so jealous but always love seeing it!

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