Having a swimming pool with small children is a blessing and a curse. My kids and I love our pool, but this also means that even when I don’t feel like swimming, I need to be outside. Some people go to an office to work, I go to my back porch. I lounge on the couch to write blog posts like this one, sit under the shade of my pool umbrella to craft, and more often than not, swim in the pool alongside my littles. A well-decorated back patio is nice, but a well-stocked one is crucial.
Load Up for the Pool
My kids LOVE pool toys. Every year the Easter bunny delivers a basket full of them (we live in Texas so Easter is almost pool time). This year the basket included goggles, inflatables, diving toys, flippers, snorkels and more. The Easter Bunny even brought mommy a new pool net and water aerobics set. I always like to have extras of things like goggles for when we have swim dates with friends (which is often), so when I find a good deal, I load up. This Easter each of my children got a large inflatable, but shhh, don’t tell them the boat is actually for me to lay in.
When my kids are happy and busy in the pool that means fewer fights to referee, less screen time and more time for mommy to work. Did I mention that riding giant inflatable caterpillars like they are bucking broncos for hours every day also wears your kids out and makes bedtime a dream?
Made in the Shade
Pool umbrellas are a must in our backyard. I have a green one next to my pool that creates a small shady oasis during parts of the day. The umbrella, its stand and umbrella weights all came from Tuesday Morning. I custom built a succulent planter in cinderblocks to go on top. This is one of my favorite landscaping DIY projects to date.
On my patio, I have an orange umbrella over the seating area. We eat lots of meals, snacks and popsicles out here during the summer so the shade is a necessity. When we are not eating at this table we might be painting, playing with clay or even using the table as an impromptu planting station.
Lounge in Style
The sitting area on my patio is where I spend most of my time. As we entertain all summer long, this is where the other mommies and daddies sit and watch the kids swim. I like to decorate my patio slightly different each summer. This year the whole thing revolved around some no-sew pillows I made from some Vera Neumann napkins I picked up at Tuesday Morning. That’s right: the floral pillows on patio were originally napkins. I glued them together to make pillow covers! You might recognize the fabric from the play tent I made for my kids’ glamping staycation. I stocked up on placemats, runners and tablecloths to make more patio décor with this summer. I already added some of the fabric to a tray on my patio.
I consider my patio an extension of my home. You can see it from almost every room at the back of my house. Sure, with small kids and tons of playdates it does not always stay clean, but I try. Small details like potted plants are a great addition. Tuesday Morning not only has tons of pots to choose from, but it also has faux plants for shaded porches like mine!
We have an outdoor shower by the pool, which we LOVE. I recently picked up a nice metal over-the-shower rack to hold our shampoos and soaps. The cabinets are stocked with fluffy new pool towels.
Light It Up
Not only do we have tiki torches around the pool, we also have solar lights, which are great at night. Sure, there’s not a lot of night swimming around these parts, but again, since you can see the backyard from almost every room in the house, it looks lovely at night with the solar lights lit up.
I also strung some festive Martha Stewart lanterns over the porch this year. They don’t light up, but could with a few LED candles. Just the right amount of kitsch! Tuesday Morning has all kinds of fun party supplies for hosting the perfect luau or summer playdate.
Games, décor and delicious treats are essential to summers by the pool. Find loads of great ideas on our Everyone Loves a Pool Party pinboard!
What are your summer essentials to keep the kids happy and yourself sane?
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