Swimming Pool Renovations: Before and After


There’s nothing quite like a Before and After photo, to show how far something or someone has improved.

Today’s photo-blog is an idea book for swimming pool renovation and remodeling. These photos are courtesy of the proud pool builders who helped a homeowners dream come true.


Cipriano Landscape received a lot of attention for this pool and grounds re-do a few years ago. A very dramatic pool and backyard remodel.


Outdoor Living Pool & Patio added a Baja Shelf, for toddlers to play or for use as a tanning shelf (or a water polo goal). Also replaced the old school tile, coping and plaster. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-3

Humble Sparkling Pool Service renovated this pool to include a separate hot tub, planter and water feature design. And also replaced the blue tile, brick coping and paver deck. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-4

Freestyle Pools & Spas matched this vanilla pool to the tropical surroundings with stone decking, raised spa, dark plaster and tile, and lots of tropical plants. A real lagoon would not be rectangular, so the shape of the pool was modified. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-5

Another Freestyle Pools & Spas renovation. After removing the safety fence, this facelift added a spillover spa, custom molded coping, glass tile and a travertine deck. Sweet!pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-6

Freestyle again with a customer tired of the sterile look on this once modern pool and spa. Darker plaster and tile, with natural stones and tropical plants really changes the pool look.pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-7

Desert Springs Renovations changed this pool and spa combo for a family that loved the pools at Disney resorts. Large rocks, waterfalls and muted colors make it happen. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-8

Colleys Pools takes charge on a vinyl pool renovation with new liner, decking, fence and gravel surround, making this pool much more appealing. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-9

Aqua 1 Pools replaces a textured concrete deck and brick coping with a travertine stone (very popular now), and straightens out the water quality issue. pool-remodeling-before-and-after-pictures-2

J. Designs Pool & Spa brought this pool up to date with a complete deck replacement, cantilevered over the edge of the pool, capping a modern pool tile color. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-10

In this complete backyard renovation, the pool shape is perfect for a mountain lake design, with overhanging stone decking, and boulders surrounded by evergreen bushes.pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-1

Shasta Pools brought this pool deck and edge up to date by removing the ‘Flintstones’ pool edge and the Kool Deck, replacing with a travertine stone and matching tile. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-2

Another Shasta Pool project, removing accent tiles and perimeter tile and replacing white plaster with a blue bead surface.pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-3

Shasta has done over 30,000 pool renovations, below is an updated the pool/spa combo turned water feature, and replaced dated tile with a stone finish. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-4

“The 80’s called, they want their red brick and blue tile back!” Splash Pools transforms this dated raised spa in a clean and modern design. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-5

Another Splash Pools renovation adds pedestal planters and water features, replaces the cantilever deck with cast concrete and travertine, and gave the tile and plaster a facelift.pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-6

Splash Pools turned this boring inground spa into an infinity spa, overflowing on the far side (which looks out to a lake). Finished with a large rustic stone and a stamped concrete deck. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-7

The color scheme non-existent, MA Pools replaced the pool tile and coping with a dark color to match the stamped and stained pool deck. pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-8

Another J. Designs Pool & Spa brought this pool up to date by with a colored, textured and scored concrete deck, and a more neutral color for perimeter pool tile.  pool-renovation-before-and-after-pictures-9

I hope you enjoyed looking at these 19 pool re-design ideas as much as I did! Every 25 years or so, you can plan on a pool rehab.

Why not dream big and make it into your dream pool? Remodeling and renovating a pool on the scale of these shown above is affordable and adds value to your home.


Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


Pool Bars for Backyard Parties

backyard-pool-barWhether it’s a swim-up bar, a built-in bar on the pool deck or a standalone tiki-style bar, adding a bar to your backyard pool area is a great upgrade. Just as the kitchen is the heart of the home, the pool bar can be a place where friends and family gather when you entertain around the pool. Pool and Patio bars are also a great place to enjoy a meal. Follow these tips when planning your backyard space to bring everyone together.

Consider the Scale of the Project

swim-up-barBefore planning anything, consider how much space you have to work with and how much you can afford to spend on the project. These parameters will help you determine what’s realistic and whether this is a DIY project or one requiring the expertise of seasoned professionals. For instance, if you’re on a tight budget and have some space restrictions, purchasing a smaller poolside bar/counter will cost up to $500, whereas an in-pool swim-up bar will cost in the thousands of dollars and require professional design and installation. Instructables.com has a great DIY Poolside Tiki Bar project for just a few hundred dollars in materials.

Select a Style of Pool Bar

pool-tiki-bar-instructablesThe best poolside bars complement their surroundings instead of steal the show as the center of attention. Let the style of your home and landscaping dictate the style of your pool bar. For a yard with a tropical feel, a Tiki Bar with thatched roof is the ideal addition to the backyard. If your backyard has a more formal and ordered layout, a simple stacked stone bar can blend nicely with the hardscape. Whatever your style, the goal is for the bar to blend seamlessly, so stick to the same materials that you already have in place throughout your pool area to create a consistent, cohesive look. Accessorize your bar by adding a theme to your new pool hangout; nautical, tropical, country; whatever you’re into.

Consider the Climate

ramada-pool-bar-and-outdoor-fireplaceThere are a variety of accoutrements you can add to the bar area to keep the temperature comfortable throughout the year. Shade is essential to any great outdoor gathering area. Building the bar under a simple shade structure like a Wood Ramada is one way to accomplish this, but installing a large shade umbrella over the bar area is equally effective for those on a tight budget. If you live in a dry, desert climate like the Southwest, a mister system can be a worthwhile indulgence to bear 100°+ heat. Likewise, stay warm on cool autumn and spring evenings by adding a propane patio heater near the bar to warm up a little quicker after a late night dip.

Coordinate Your Furniture

pool-stools-underwater-stoolsBring the entire scene together by selecting bar stools and bar-top decor that coordinates with the rest of your patio furniture. If you aren’t able to find bar stools that match your furniture exactly, make sure they’re at least in the same color palette. Check out these lighted Pool Stools for poolside or swim-up bars. Then you can tie the look together with outdoor throw pillows—add them on the chaise lounges, patio chairs and bar stools for a cozy, welcoming flourish. Finally, consider adding a large hammock, wind chimes and bird feeders in matching colors.


We like to explore all topics of pool decor on this blog, for more ways to add style and substance to your pool, see our Fun Stuff category, and design your own poolside bar to serve family and friends, around the pool!


Dana Katz
InTheSwim Staff Blogger



Small Pool Water Features

Small Water Feature - photo by Polly Nimick
Pool Water Features is the catch-all phrase to cover any type of splashing, spraying, shooting water display that you can add to your pool plumbing.

From a spouting statuary in the corner of the pool, to stacked rocks releasing a babbling brook, they take on many forms.

Today’s photo blog is centered around small pool water feature ideas. The only limitation is your imagination (and your budget)!

Copper-finish Pedestal Fountains spill over into the pool for a soft splashy sound. Pedestal water features come in a variety of size, shapes and materials.pool-water-features-small-4

Sheer Descent™ Waterfall placed inside of a simple faux stacked rock wall, backed by bamboo and Buddha, to qualify as a tranquil, ‘zen pool‘. pool-water-features-small-1

Stacked rock Water Wall tucks nicely into the corner. Fed by a 2″ PVC pipe that separates into smaller branches to fill a small trough on top which overflows, more or less evenly.small-water-features-8

Rain Curtain Water Features are pretty special, and can be attached to any structure like a Pergola, or more elaborate arches, or where a patio roof overhangs the pool surface. small-water-features-pool-9

Poolside fountains, like the Scupper, sit on the side of the pool and connect via the pool return line, or dedicated pipe. Small pool water features often don’t need a separate pump, but use a valve to control the flow between pool returns and fountain pipes.pool-water-features-small-9

A Cascade Feature uses large flat rocks to create a tumbling river into the pool. A rubber membrane and lots of mortar is used to keep it leak-free. small-rock-waterfall-2

The Frog Spout is a classic villa pool fountain, and placed in a corner, they can be attached to a nearby pool return line, with a small valve for flow control. No need for a dedicated line or separate fountain pump.small-pool-frog-fountain

This minimal free standing fountain is barely there and can be turned on/off automatically with valve actuators, powered by a pool controller, and remote control.small-pool-small-fountain

Wall Spouts are a classic design, with Floral designs and Lion heads being the most popular. Raised walls also are retaining walls, for an upper deck area or planter area.pool-water-spouts

Deck Jets are a favorite for many pool builders. Small jets are placed in the deck to shoot a very accurate stream of water, which can also be colored with LED lights. small-pool-water-fountains

Adding small water features to your pool can be done as part of a renovation, or smaller spouts or fountains can be added anytime.

Pool Fountain Installation? Very small fountains or spouts can be tapped off of an existing pool return pipe, with a Tee fitting and a small valve. Larger fountains typically have their own dedicated pipe running from the equipment pad. Features with even greater water volumes are connected to a booster pump to supply it’s own water, without affecting filtration or circulation.

Contact us for help with your own DIY small pool water feature, or if you prefer to keep your hands clean – contact your local APSP pool professional for their ideas and pricing for the job.

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor