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We finally did it. We took the plunge (no pun intended) and installed the in ground pool we’ve been wanting for seventeen years, since we left our first home. This has been quite a journey to say the least, but I’m so thrilled to finally be sharing our resort style pool and backyard with you. I shared a few details about this space a while ago, with before and progress pictures of our new pool and backyard, in this post, if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

Today, I’ll walk you through some of the details, challenges, restrictions and our decisions, all while trying to keep everything within our somewhat modest budget. No matter how you look at it, an in ground pool is a significant expense. I won’t be disclosing our costs with you today, but I will tell you that you can have a gorgeous in ground pool and yard without spending your entire life savings. We tried our best to stick to our budget – albeit with a few extras and upgrades – with the type of pool that we chose, the decking and landscaping. All while creating an upscale feel as much as possible. I’m not saying it’s inexpensive at all – there are always unforeseen costs and upgrades as well – but I am saying there are ways to create a dream space you love and keep it within a reasonable budget.

Read on for all the details, I hope you’ll love it as much as we do!

Affiliate links are provided throughout this post – see my full disclosure policy here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. A special thank you to Cailini Coastal for all of our beautiful outdoor pillows.


I like to call this a resort style pool because of the sleek, modern style with flush inset stairs, and also because that was the feeling I wanted to capture in our backyard. We wanted an escape that takes you somewhere between an elegant island getaway and a chic Italian resort hotel to an upscale East Coast estate. One can dream, right?

That might sound like a tall order, but I wanted to create a look and feel in our backyard that’s transportive, restorative, relaxing and peaceful as soon as you step foot out here. And that’s exactly what you experience when you’re back here. On a smaller scale of course!

This has been a long time coming and a true labor of love, but through all the stress and dollars spent, we are so in love with how our new resort style pool turned out. Ok, it’s not as large or as elaborate as an island retreat, European resort or East Coast getaway, but it is definitely our bliss.

A new, sleek walkway laid with stone pavers, leads you from our driveway through part of our side yard, up to where our new pool is situated. It wraps around the house along the back, and takes you to our existing stone patio. It serves as the perfect transition and connection to the rest of our yard.

You can enter our pool deck area from the side yard walkway, where there’s a single gate, or from this side, which is off the existing patio, where there are double gates leading you in.


You’re immediately greeted by our beautiful woven loungers and umbrellas to the left, beckoning you to sit back, relax and sip on a refreshing poolside drink. On the opposite end, our entertaining and conversation area is a favorite spot to gather.

Resort style pool with loungers and fringe umbrellas

Our backyard and entire property is surrounded by trees (yard and pool maintenance and cleaning is a tough one!), with no neighbors behind us, or on one side of our property.

There’s nothing like being out here to take in all the beautiful greenery and chirping birds. It’s my favorite place to be and we could not be happier that we finally went ahead and installed our beautiful new resort style pool.


Resort style pool with loungers and fringe umbrellas.

I’d been on the hunt for the perfect loungers that were chic, affordable and have woven detailing that you’d find on a Nantucket estate.

I found these beauties on Amazon.ca for a steal and we truly love them. The closest thing I could find on Amazon.com are these chic loungers. If you’re looking for a similar style as an investment, these loungers are gorgeous and much more upscale.

Resort style pool with loungers and fringe umbrellas.


We bought four of these beauties and love them! They are perfect for that East Coast vibe we wanted.

Resort style pool with loungers and fringe umbrellas.


Placing loungers in a row, styled with side tables (we use our garden stools), chic fringe umbrellas, and striped towels, help create that oh so chic resort look right at home.

Resort style pool with loungers and fringe umbrellas.

This green garden stool is an oldie and a favorite of mine. I love it out here on our pool deck – it adds personality, a unique touch to our space and lends itself to that chic vacation vibe I was after.

Green and blue chinoiserie garden stool.


I also love to either fold or roll our towels and place them at the end of each lounge chair when we have friends and family over for a swim to add to that resort feeling I want to create.

Striped towels styled on pool loungers.

Our striped turkish towels with terry cloth backing are the perfect addition for our resort style pool. Unfortunately, only the small stripe is still available, but here is a similar style from this Etsy shop which has so many different kinds to choose from and the prices are fabulous.

Striped towels styled on pool loungers.
Pool loungers and batik print pillows in blue and white.

We also love our new pillows from Cailini Coastal and how they elevate the look of our loungers, for more of that global escape feeling!


We bought two of these ‘molto chic’ umbrellas to help create the resort feel we were after…ready for the Italian Riviera, anyone?!

Striped patio umbrellas with fringe.


This base is 26.5 lbs and was the best bang for our buck, and I love the chic white!

Banana leaf ginger jar.

You may recognize our gorgeous banana palm leaf ginger jars from many of my recent posts – I first featured them in our Christmas living room, and have since used them in our spring dining room.

Now, they elegantly grace our pool deck. I love the elegant and sophisticated island feel they bring to our yard. They pair perfectly with my beautiful Mama’s blue and white planter.


This stunning palm leaf ginger jar is one of my recent favorites! It is perfect anywhere I use it and adds a glamorous island feel to our new resort style pool.

Resort style backyard with in ground pool, loungers, fringe umbrellas


Create a chic look around your pool with these gorgeous pieces!

At the end of our pool deck is some of our existing patio furniture that we’ve had for quite a few years. You may remember seeing these pieces when we updated our yard in this patio makeover post, and this patio refresh post.

In ground pool deck with lounge/conversation seating

You get the full view of our yard from over here. It’s a great spot to entertain around the fire table, sip some wine or Aperol Spritz, thanks to my cousin, Nikki, it’s my new favorite Italian drink!

Outdoor daybed with lumbar pillows in batik print.

Our gorgeous outdoor lumbar pillows from Cailini Coastal are the perfect compliment to our chic navy and white daybed, and create the perfect perch to relax and take it all in. These gorgeous bright blue pillows compliment our wingback chairs so beautifully too.




Resort style backyard with in ground pool, loungers, fringe umbrellas

We encountered a number of issues with the grading of our property that we didn’t foresee when we started out, with quite a large slope from one side of the pool deck to the other.

We had to build a small retaining wall on one end, where the pool deck sits flush with our existing stone patio (and the yard starts sloping upward), and build up a garden on the other end to hide that it was almost two feet above the ground.

Resort style backyard with in ground pool, loungers, fringe umbrellas. Black iron fence surrounding a cement pool deck.

All the perennial plants you see, which are different varieties of Hostas, were transplanted here from the garden that was previously underneath our kitchen window.

We also planted some New Guinea Impatiens and Spike plants as fillers, which you’ll also find in our window boxes and pots throughout our property.

I always love to use large Majesty Palms around our yard as well, to create that lush, island style feel. Oscar de la Renta would love our resort style pool, ha!

Garden featuring Hostas, New Guinea Impatiens and Spike plants

Our garden is planted to the very furthest limit our septic system weeping field would allow for. This was another challenge we faced – our septic system takes up the entire side yard, so we could only install our pool right where it is to be able to have a large enough deck surrounding it.

The deck is poured concrete and is pushed to the the maximum on all sides, that municipal laws would allow, and also to avoid any potential damage to the septic system. We literally used every inch we could in this yard!

Corner of cement deck, styled with ginger jar and planter, lounger, umbrella and garden stool.

With a new federal safety law in place, we also had to fence the pool in completely with self closing, and self locking gates around the entire pool, that must not be attached to our home and also must be a minimum distance of four feet from the house, doors and windows as well.

The fence had to be installed on top of the concrete decking (because of the uneven grading), which makes the usable space a little smaller, by about a foot all the way around the pool deck.

Resort style in ground pool

To keep our costs low, we opted to leave our existing patio intact for now, to avoid having to completely dig it up, creating more construction. We plan to upgrade the pavers to match our new walkway, hopefully next year.

We placed the pool to the side for that reason, but also because we didn’t want a fence running across our backyard, or visible from our patio doors and living room.

What we do love about where we had to install our pool, is a sprawling backyard layout from one side to the other, starting with our gazebo, leading to our patio dining area (which used to also have a conversation area that’s now on the pool deck), which leads to our pool.


Building a pool is no easy feat! Below is a recap of the challenges and restrictions we faced along the way.

  • Our uneven property that forced us to build a small retaining wall on one side of our pool deck and create a sloping garden on the opposite side to hide the two foot difference from one end to the other.
  • Laws that mandate a fence that surrounds the entire pool.
  • To avoid seeing the fence run across the backyard, we installed the pool to the side of the patio. We have a septic system on far the side of the house and yard that created size constraints for the pool and deck. We installed a 10′ x 20′ pool, as this was the maximum size the remaining yard would allow.
  • With a wooded lot, we opted to cut only two very large pine trees to minimize our costs. Had we installed the pool further back toward the trees, we would have had to cut more and also build a larger retaining wall. That would have been a very big expense. We opted to stick to our budget.


Pool deck featuring resort style loungers and umbrellas


Expenses can add up fast! Below are unforeseen items that added to the cost, upgrades and the extras beyond the pool itself.

  • The pool itself was about half of our total cost for this project. We did buy it on promotion which included the resort style stairs and heating system. At regular price, it would have been significantly more. It also included all of the materials, saltwater system and excavation.
  • Pool permit from the city.
  • Retaining wall on one corner of the pool.
  • Extra landscaping and grading.
  • With limited property access due to our grading and septic system, it forced us to pay extra for smaller machinery and plywood boards to lay over the septic system to avoid damage.
  • A septic weeping field locator service.
  • Tree and stump removal.
  • Land surveyor drawings, mandated by the city, for a plan of the new pool design + yard layout, ensuring it meets city bylaws.
  • A new certificate of location from the same land surveyor once the project is complete. Once submitted, the permit cost is refunded.
  • Pool cover and installation for winter (those little brass circles on the deck are the anchors).
  • Concrete pad for pool equipment.
  • Fence to hide equipment – this is on the list for next year.
  • Fence for the pool, mandated by federal law.
  • Plants along the driveway to conceal cars – moved to next year’s list.
  • Water brought in by truck to fill the pool, as mandated by the city.
  • Electrician to install and hook up wiring for lighting, heating, saltwater and pump systems.


  • We chose to upgrade our heating system, which is a must in our northern climate!
  • Upgraded pump system that’s more energy efficient.
  • While we saved on installing a poured concrete deck vs. stone tile or pavers, we splurged on enlarging it as much as we could.
  • Square bullnose edge around the pool.
  • Retaining wall and walkway.
  • Update existing patio to match the new walkway – on the list for next year.
  • Patio loungers, umbrellas and stands.
  • Pool accessories – floats and towels.


  • A smaller pool size, at 10′ x 20′.
  • A vinyl liner pool.
  • Poured concrete pool deck.
  • Keeping our existing backyard layout.
  • Keeping all of our existing furniture – we hope to replace some of it next year.
  • No water features.

This spot is by far my favorite place to sit, relax and appreciate all of the incredible nature that surrounds us.

Resort style in ground pool with loungers and umbrellas

I love the view of the back of our home, especially at dusk, when the sky is shifting in color and the twinkle of evening lights are coming on as it gets dark. It truly is so peaceful and gives me so much gratitude.

As long as it’s not raining (we’ve had a lot this year!), you’ll find me out here, either working on my laptop, relaxing and floating in the pool, or simply being and just taking it all in.

It’s exactly that island escape -meets-Italian resort hotel-meets-East Coast estate feel I was looking for…

Resort style in ground pool with loungers and umbrellas, facing the back elevation of a traditional, east coast style home.

Thank you so much for reading with me, I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of our resort style pool and backyard, and I hope you were able to find some inspiration to create your own Island-Euro-American getaway. xo


Did you know you can follow along with me on social media and also shop my favorite pieces and home decor in my Amazon and LTK shops? I’d love for you to come along for the ride! You can find me here if you’re interested:




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  1. tamaraanka says:

    You’re so kind, Marion, thank you very much! We are thrilled with everything out here, it is our sanctuary!! Happy summer to you! xox

  2. tamaraanka says:

    Thank you SO much! I’m thrilled you like it and so happy you enjoyed the post! xo

  3. Your pool area is so beautiful. Glad that you like and enjoy it so much.

  4. Savvysnowbirds.com says:

    When’s the pool party??? I’ll bring the champagne! 🍾 gorgeous gorgeous!! I love everything about your back yard. The pool liner is beautiful!
    You are definitely going to have an amazing summer ahead. Congrats!

  5. tamaraanka says:

    Thank you so much! I’m thrilled you like it all! There were definitely a lot of headaches along the way, but we’re so thrilled n with how it all came together in the end. Thank you for reading with me! xo

  6. Deborah Garrison says:

    It is just beautiful! I love a pool and I definitely love yours!! You did an awesome job, it’s sooo nice, the cushions, umbrellas, chairs, it’s great and so many rules, geeze, glad you hung in there it’s worth it
    I just Wow!!

  7. tamaraanka says:

    Thank you so much Cindy, that is so nice! I truly appreciate it so much! Thanks for reading with me! xox

  8. Wholly guacamole it’s beautiful! I love the tiles you chose and that you added real ceramic jars, tables, stools etc. So many people feel they have to use plastic everything so I find this absolutely magazine-worthy-gorgeous! Enjoy it!

  9. tamaraanka says:

    Thank you so much, I truly appreciate it! I’m so happy you like it all. I say go for it, you will not regret it. It’s worth every penny, it totally changes your lifestyle! Unfortunately I don’t have a link…it is at least 15 years old and I’ve never seen another one like it. So happy you like though! Thank you again for your message and for taking the time to read with me! xox

  10. tamaraanka says:

    Thank you so much for the very kind words! I’m thrilled you love everything and also that you love blue and white too! I think you’re confusing me with the another Anka – although there is a relation, we have never met! So, no celeb status over here haha. Thank you again for your very thoughtful message! xox

  11. Oh I just LOVED your resort pool tour! We have been going back and forth about putting in a pool but it is SO expensive! We live in SC where it is SO hot so we could enjoy it almost year round. But, we’d have to tear up the entire backyard to have everything look nice. The size of your pool is what we would want. Thank you for all of your wonderful details!!! Might you have a link for your amazing green garden table? Thank you again. I am saving your wonderful email!!

  12. Carol-Dee Chisholm says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the journey of your beautiful pool resort! As always, you put so much thought into your home projects and take into consideration the “big picture”. I find it so refreshing that, even though you and Jason are celebrities, you have a budget and don’t just demo everything and want the newest trend . I share your love of everything blue and white as reflected in my little home’s interior and exterior and find so much inspiration from your lovely blog.

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