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Making My Dream Backyard a Reality (kinda)

Like you, I want my backyard to be a haven. A safe, private place where my crazy two-year-old can run wild through sprinklers in his underpants. A beautiful mecca of relaxation and calm.

I want it to look like this picture I found on pinterest:
conservatory pool house


I mean really. Is that place even real?

I see three aspects of that photo that I’d love to have in my yard:

But here’s the problem: we’re a little bit redneck.

We don’t have a pool, so we improvised. We didn’t even mean to do it.

We had discussed getting a large kiddy pool for Weston, then I saw a deal online for a small above-ground pool. I mentioned it to Andy, so he hopped online and started researching. He decided that if you’re getting the small inflatable pool, you might as well spend a little more for the nicer one. And if you’re getting the nicer one, you might as well spend a little more for the solid sides so it lasts more than one season. And if you’re getting that version, you might as well spend a little extra for the larger size.

And before we knew it, this happened:

Meet Lake Redneck.
backyard above-ground swimming pool
It’s already provided lots of relaxation, wrinkly fingers and high-flying action:

Then I found this crazy deal on anti-gravity patio chairs…
sonoma anti gravity chairs
I’ve always wanted some of those bad boys, so when I saw the deal, I emailed it to Andy to see if he thought we should jump on it. His response? “You had me at anti-gravity!”

(Possibly he thought “anti-gravity” chairs are lighter-than-air? Like floating astronaut space chairs from the Jetsons? I’m not sure, but I didn’t tell him otherwise. I really wanted the chairs.)

We ordered two of them, and propped them up under this temporary shade.

And then. The pièce de résistance!

We were out yard saling, and we saw some guy hosing off this kids’ plastic outdoor house. I said to Andy: “Maybe he’ll sell it to us!” Because Weston LOVES those things, and we’ve always wanted him to have one.

And when you have a two-year-old and a two-month-old, your yard starts to BREED Large Plastic Colorful Toys. You make the first compromise: okay, he can have this large red toy car/giant lawn eyesore.
large red toy car
And then when you’re not looking, the large red toy car mates with the Radio Flyer wagon…
radio flyer wagon
…in a veritable orgy of primary-colored ugliness and before you can do anything about it, your lawn is littered with Power Wheels and the latest Fisher Price Monstrosity.

So what’s one more giant plastic play house to add to the party?

But it seemed pretty clear that the guy was just hosing off that house for his kids. We continued yard saling until we passed by his house again, and this time, the little house was sitting by the street with a “FREE” sign on it.


So we SCREECHED the car to a halt, raced across the street and knocked on their door to see if they really meant “free.” We’re like “Do you mean ‘free’ as in ‘FREE?’ Like — you just want someone to take this home?” And the lady goes, “Sure! Load it up!”

So now we have this:
Little Tykes Outdoor Playhouse

Which means we’ve pretty much achieved our goals.

The Inspiration:
conservatory pool house

The Reality:

Pretty much the same thing right?

Let's connect


  1. HAHA this post is great. I’d say you nailed it, too. But seriously, who has a house that looks like that?

  2. LOL! Absolutely the same thing!

  3. Haha I love it! A near perfect replica! Seriously, we have the same fertile kid toys- and it’s our front yard that’s fenced for play. Our neighbors probably hate us. We even have the same play house!

  4. I’m laughing so hard I can’t hold onto the mouse.

    • Lynn R Turner says:

      Try reading this on tablet! Good thing it’s insured. Too funny. Our kids are grown up, but we have 6 fur kids that make the challenges contine, and make your posts hilarious in an eerily similar fashion.

  5. It’s as if you tele-ported that picture to your own backyard! Ha!

    I mean… I think that might be Oprah’s back yard…seriously.

  6. You are AWESOME. I love it!

  7. Hahaha I laughed out loud and lost a little coffee when I got to “Nailed It!”

    Love it!

  8. lori moose says:

    Actually I prefer your pool house, its not so uppity 🙂

  9. I could hardly tell the difference! (I mean other than the fact that you took a good idea an improved it.) For example: Your initial outdoor building is much more open, easier to access, is cooler in the summer and has no windows for the owner to wash, the very same can be said of your new “pool house.” I LOVE the roof lines on your pool house and the fact that you incorporated the arched tops of your inspiration photo into the “design”! (Of course, the outdoor building in your inspiration photo has windows that are probably washed by the STAFF of the owner so I guess that’s really not an issue).
    Well done. I’d say that you merely need to add a couple of planters with some silk flowers and call Frontgate for a feature! xo

    • OMG I’m cracking up right now. “The lines of the roof…” “incorporated the arched tops…” bahaha! You really know how to make my trashy little backyard feel all classed up.

  10. Love, love, love it! I had that exact pool last year and my “friend” said it was ghetto. My response was, “Well, when I’m floating in my ghetto pool getting a suntan and cooling off, I’ll be thinking about you!”

    • Pssh! You’re so right! Who cares about ghetto when it’s 120 degrees outside and you could be floating in some nice cool water? I throw class right out the window when it gets over 80 degrees.

  11. EXACTLY the same thing. Here a couple of things to make you feel better:

    1. I have a much worse looking plastic toy house with a cracked roof and a meca of earwigs. Disgusting. What’s what? I dont’ have kids??? Oh yeah, it was leftover from the previous owners. We’ve lived in this house for a YEAR and yet it’s still in our backyard. John thinks our future children are going to play in it… except for that minor earwig problem.

    2. The big pool is better than the kiddie pools for a few reasons. A- Weston wants to play with you and not by himself in a 1/4 in of water. B – it could be way worse. I definitely drove by a couple of rednecks a few weeks ago. They had blown up two inflattable kiddie pools in their yard and were laying in them suntanning. Yeah. So it could be MUCH MUCH worse.

  12. Nailed it! Bahahaha!! Laughed so hard! But whatever, right?! You got all three elements you wanted and the kiddos are happy. Win!

  13. Oh my word this is awesome!! This definitely deserves an internet MEME on pinterest!!! I love it! And who cares how redneck it is – as long as you can relax out there and have fun that is what matters right?? Love it!

  14. LOL! And I see Andy has debuted his Michael Jackson moment on your blog … I’m seeing some serious child abuse going on in that pool …

    And I know what you mean about the plastic … finally unloaded the last of it!

    And we have a redneck pool that pretty much takes up the entire back yard …



  15. luv it!

  16. Haha! This is awesome! But hey, it functions the way you want it to and so cheap! I can’t believe you got that house for free! Amazing!

  17. Lawdy, I am cracking up! You are too funny =) But, no really, I’m totally jealous… especially with this crazy 100+ degree weather coming our way!

  18. Hi-larious! With flexibility, adaptability, a sense of humor, and a genuine love for your kids, I’d say you have the most beautiful and perfect back yard ever. Just OWN it! There’s no shame!

  19. Ah, the joy of dreams being recognized in reality. You lucky, lucky woman. I remember those plastic days:)

  20. HA!!! You TOTALLY nailed it! That pool looks super fun, actually…and the chairs are perfect!

  21. Totally the same!

    To go totally redneck you take a plastic baby slide, run a hose on it, put a slip n slide/baby pool at the bottom and your have your own toddler water park! Our friends do this and you’d think it was Disneyland for our kids:)


    • HEY! We had a slide like that on our pool when we were kids but ours was METAL! (because I was young before plastic was invented) It was more fun than pretty much anything other than making a “whirlpool” and seeing how long we could float in a circle using the “current”. Back yard pools ROCK!

      • WAIT a sec. YOU did the whirlpool thing too?! That’s the first thing Andy – my fully-grown husband – did when we set it up. He acted like that was a perfectly natural thing to do right off the bat.

    • I just told Andy about this idea and he got really, REALLY excited. 🙂

  22. LOL great post yes your so close to your inspiration lol hey as long as your all happy your there 😉

  23. Hahaha! It’s simply breathtaking Kelly! What a dream come true! 😉

  24. Oh Kelly, sometimes posts just hit me for reasons not even intended. This post was one of those. Either scenario is perfect – glass house and built in pool or Little Tykes and an inflatable – all one and the same when your family is there enjoying it.


  25. Now I know we can be BFF’s! I would feel right at home in your backyard. And just are saving so much time not having to clean all of those windows. You nailed it!

  26. NAILED IT! You got that right … from one redneck to another. 🙂

  27. hahahaha this is awesome!!

  28. I’m jealous of your redneck pool. My only way to cool off this summer is to either stick my head in the freezer or fill our soaking tub up with water.

    • Come on over, the water’s fine! You just might get recruited to play splashing games with my 2-year-old.

  29. You are killing this outdoors thing.

    I swear I will never have plastic crap all over my yard. I should write all of these things down. Like the no mini-van. My living room won’t look like Toys’RUS. I’m so going to kick myself, aren’t I?

    • Yes, make a list of all the things you will “never” do. I bet it looks exactly like my list did, and I bet I’ve done half of them in the last week. All it takes is one compromise and suddenly your whole living room is taken over by a play kitchen. RESIST, MICHELLE!

  30. You crack me up! Love it!! Nailed it.

  31. Haha! Yes, you totally nailed it! I love how you write- new follower! Can’t wait to read the rest of your blog! 🙂

  32. HAHA i love this post. Dreams come true 🙂

  33. your version is so much better. why would you even want a glass house? you know what they say about people in glass houses. not only should they not throw stones but they should not walk around naked either.

  34. Totally! And listen sister, I was right there about a minute ago, then all of sudden the little critters were onto Razor scooters and such, and next thing you know, there’s nary a Fisher Price plastic toy in site. It’s a sad thing when the gigantic plastic playhouses and cars are handed down to little neighbors or cousins, so ENJOY your backyard oasis….how truly deeply lovely!!!!!!

  35. LOL! I love it and I can’t tell the difference between your inspiration and IRL. You definitely nailed it.

    In all seriousness, you know if we had that glass gazebo a window or two would be broken in less than 14 days. At least it would with my boys.

  36. Hi, I just popped over form A Home in the Making and I love your blog! This was really funny. That inspiration pic is gorgeous for sure, but your Lake Redneck is more realistic! I bet you’ll get a lot of use out of it. Enjoy!

  37. I just found your blog – and I am dying right now. hilarious. Now Im off to read all your previous posts. I can tell we will be great “friends” !

  38. I have been following your blog for sometime now and I have never left a comment (I know shame on me !). Today however, I just couldn’t resist. My boys are grown men now but I can so relate
    to your yard story and I couldn’t stop laughing !! LOL !! I will tell you that your inspiration will be a closer reality when the children move out and you are empty nesters. In the meantime, enjoy your child friendly sanctuary !! And, thanks for the fun read.

    • Thanks for saying hi! You’re right – I’ll worry about really making the inspiration a reality when they’re all grown up… which feels like about five minutes from now at the rate they’re growing! 🙂 Have a great weekend.

  39. Of all the ‘before and after’s’ I’ve seen on the interweb this is by far the best. Thanks for making me laugh even though I’m feeling all ill and fragile (aka summer cold) xx

  40. Bahahahaha! Kelly, you killed me. So funny.

  41. You’re selling yourself short — you not only nailed it, you overachieved! The inspiration seating is just out there in the blazing sun. Psssh. Your seating is SHADED, which is approximately 1000% better. Shade is the best yard investment for my money. (Except killer weeds, of course, since I think we all agreed that people should be willing to pay hearty sums for those.)

    • HAHAHA. Your comments always crack me up. You’re right: I’m practically a master landscape designer at this point.

  42. Love it! Hey, noticed Weston’s puddle jumper- do you like it? Any commentary?

    • Hi lady! We LOVE our puddle jumper. We bought it last year and we liked it, but we had to help him balance in the water. If you weren’t right there with him, he could tilt backward. Later I read the directions and it says it’s for kids 30 pounds and up, so that’s probably why it didn’t work right. This summer it has been AWESOME. He balances perfectly and seems to be comfortable in it. We are Team Puddle Jumper all the way! BTW, I think we bought ours for about $21 on Amazon, but I saw them at walmart the other day for $17. 🙂

  43. Ahahahah! You cracked me up!

  44. I like your backyard (i.e., realistic) much better than the first photo you posted. I don’t have little kids at home anymore, but even I would enjoy floating in Lake Redneck!

  45. haha I love this! Can get anybetter than the redneck haven you created. It looks just like the inspiration ; )

  46. Oh my gosh — this is HILARIOUS! Hey, whatever works and keeps everyone happy!! I miss the days of colorful plastic toys in the yard, so enjoy!!
    xo Heidi

  47. Thanks for visiting my little blog! You are too funny! I loved this post…I can really empathize as right now our backyard is populated by plastic pools and toys. But, if it keeps them busy and happy, so be it!!!

  48. 🙂 Love it!

  49. I’m in my cubicle and I giggled out loud when I read the words “nailed it!” It’s refreshing to seeing you appreciate your own version of paradise. I’m considering a kiddie pool and I don’t have kids. Perfect combo with a strawberry daiquiri.

    I have a dream pantry but we settled for two shelves in the laundry room. Let’s just hope that our time will come to have a fabulous, Pinterest-worthy back yard.

  50. OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOU! best blog post i’ve read in a long time. nailed it, for sure. 🙂

  51. Can we come over tomorrow? No? How about Friday? 😉

  52. Love it! My parents bought me one of those pools when I was in elementary school and the neighborhood kids and I got a lot of enjoyment out of it.

  53. Hahaha – love it! Its called reality! 🙂 Too funny about the breeding primary-colored giant toys, LMAO! Found you through the Pinterest Challenge – now following!

  54. This post is all kinds of awesome.

  55. HA! Totally nailed it- can’t tell the difference between the two. Nice work 🙂

  56. Hilarious!

  57. I love this post! I was laughing out loud, then I showed my hubby who mostly tolerates my hey look at this blog post showings & he laughed out loud. Definitely nailed it!

  58. This post cracked me up. I saw it linked up on Ten June and almost passed it by thinking, “Whoever Pinterest-Realitied THAT is so far out of my league I won’t even look at it” (although I was thinking how gorgeous the gazebo/pool house thingy was and all). Then I saw the caption and though, “Hmm…I guess I’ll check it out and see if that is REALLY their yard…” then when I got to the “And before we knew it, this happened…” part, I had to laugh out loud. NOW THAT IS MORE LIKE IT! Your whole post was hilarious and such a dreams vs. reality wake-up-call, I loved it. And I’d be thoroughly proud of your “dream yard make-over.” I’m definitely becoming a follower!

  59. LOL. This is why Pinterest is great/evil. Hilarious.

  60. possibly the best and funniest post ever. everything you said about the naughty of large, colorful plastic yard toys is true. they are multiplying and eating sod (wow that sounds bad) but they’re destroying actual grass and getting funky dirty and housing huge mutant spiders! it’s bad news.

  61. Okay, this is hilarious. Our backyard is currently mud, so I suspect there’s a spa angle in there somewhere…. Hmmm.

  62. I am pleased that you, and your husband have chosen an above ground pool.
    When I was in my 30’s, I wished so much for an in ground pool. My busy son walked straight into our friend’s pool, as I had turned my back to get the hose, to wash off the decking. He also walked right off the steps and went under as a friend and I were sitting right next to him talking.
    Now, my daughter will turn 30 this summer and wants an in ground pool for her family of 5. I have discussed with her the dangers of having one and suggested that she purchase an above ground pool, where she can pull the ladder off, so the kiddos won’t climb in unnoticed, and where they won’t have the opportunity to walk straight into the water. She has sinced agreed. Family, and yards go through many transitions, if you wind up staying in the same house. It is kind of a rite of passage. Working on it as husband and wife, watching it transform into hedges, walkways, trees, and flowers. May you enjoy every moment.

  63. Cindy Dalfovo says:

    I’m starting to look at home decor sites because I’m moving to my own place next year, and most of the time all I can think is “Who has that kind of stuff? What kind of people buy and live in those places? Oh my god this shit is just unreal!”, so your post made me relate…

    I loved it. I think it’s great and fun and the way you described your adventure is lovely xD

    all the best for you <3

  64. You are hilarious!

  65. We must be redneck as well. We have the same pool and chairs…I’ll go one more, my husband built a small deck around part of our pool…..

  66. I couldnt stop laughing. U are funny. You are not a redneck. You are just real. Wait… my yard looked like yours when my kids were little. LOL. Please keep writing and giving us real diy projects.

  67. Have you seen this: ?? I love it and just thought you might be wanting a new project!! 😀

  68. On my Pinterest board, I posted a tutorial on how to spray paint those plastic “monsters” (I’ve totally avoided those, and in AZ they get way too hot for the kids, and don’t hold up well anyway) to look more like houses on your street. Love your blog, and hope to have one myself soon. I will absolutely start following you. You give me courage to reveal my simply AWEFUL back yard and my way to a DIY home. Thanks a bunch…and you did NAIL it! LMBO! Much Love!

  69. Hahaha! Just noticed someone posted the same idea right before me! lol! More encouragement, I guess?

  70. I never comment cause its a pain in the butt, but your post is hilarious!… and debatable! Thanks!

  71. I love your blog! I am not a blogger, but a DIY-er. Your ideas are fabulous. I am especially in love with your office. Your backyard blog had me laughing out loud, I had to read it to my husband. We were there ourselves just a few years ago. Enjoy it! It soon turns into running to sports, video games and crazy sleepovers. Please keep posting your DIYs. You have wonderful taste!

    • Thank you so much! It’s hard to believe it all changes so fast and turns to video games and sports. My husband and I were just looking at newborn pics of our kiddos and getting nostalgic and weepy. (Okay maybe I was the only one tearing up.)

  72. This post made my day! I surfed over from Pinterest for a look at your laundry room.

    Our own redneck swimming hole has dutifully served neighborhood kids over three Texas summers. We’ve upgraded ours to include zero depth entry point (kiddie pool under the ladder to wash off grassy feet).

  73. I love this post, how awesome and *real*. Way to make a Pintresting idea doable!

  74. I know I am late on this however I laughed so hard when I saw this LOLOLOL!!! So cute and inventive. I think we all want something close to it and you did it! LOL!

  75. Just clicked over here from your post link from today. I have been wanting a pool, though I would actually settle for your same above ground pool, but……i have no kids. AND no privacy. My neighbors, who all have real pools would probably throw it away and tell me to just come lay in their pools. :-/

  76. you, my friend, won the internet.

  77. You are absolutely hilarious! So glad i found you!

  78. I just fell in love with this post! Totally nailed it!!! 🙂

  79. This is amazing. I laughed out loud!

  80. I’ve totally seen tutorials online to paint those uggo primary-colored plastic play houses a nice crisp white with navy trim, or whatever your heart desires! Still fun for kids, not such an eye-sore for parents. And you could use it as an opportunity to try some new plastic-adhering spray paint (pretty sure that’s the gist of the tutorials… tape off and spray paint.)

  81. I just wanted to thank you. I just finished putting together an above ground pool myself. Full of inspirations and eagerness. By the time I had finished putting the darn thing up. All of those pretty inspirational thoughts had all but disappeared. I was just content that the pool did not leak. It’s a lot of work! My new philosophy for new large projects is… Finish the basics, if everything is well them next season focus on making it pretty! Thanx for the laughs!!

  82. bwahahaha I loved this post! this is my ‘reality’ every time.

  83. You have created the most hilarious post I have read, maybe ever, as a mom. Thanks for making me laugh so hard this morning! Looks like you are living the dream, actually. Plastic or not.


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  6. […] extra shameful if you recall the state of my backyard, which you see through those windows. From one of those chairs, you can probably see four […]

  7. […] wrote a post a while ago which was an eye-opening exposé into the depth of the redneck coursing through these veins. You’ll want to hop over and see […]

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