backyard oasis

Hello sweet friends.  I keep thinking things will calm down over here, but alas, we seem to always be go-go-going.  Luckily, our backyard oasis is complete (except one small project – more on that later), so we have the perfect place to unwind after a busy day!

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If you caught my DIY Outdoor Bar post, that was just one small part of the transformation! Here, I’ll show you the projects we tackled to take a space that used to house a giant, aluminum shed we never used, to a relaxing space we never want to leave!

THE list (aka, everything we did to change the space):

  • Disassemble and discard (aka recycle) GIANT aluminum shed
  • Take out black birds of paradise and clean out flower bed
  • Replant and fertilize flower bed
  • Buy and assemble gazebo – we bought THIS one (it’s expensive and an investment, and I was very nervous about it, but I swear every time we are in the hot tub I think “BEST DECISION EVER.” It protects the hot tub, the polycarbonate/aluminum combo roof keeps it cool underneath, and there is a small vent at the top for the steam to escape.  Plus, a hook for a chandy?? SOLD!  Here is another similar one that is less expensive.  Also check HD and Lowe’s – we got ours at Lowe’s (price-matched to HD’s sale price at the time), but last time I checked, they were both sold out 🙁
  • Build Outdoor Bar – tutorial HERE
  • Add rugs, bar stools, pillows, and hot tub steps
  • Run electrical from main breaker to the hot tub area – this involved trenching, and hiring a professional electrician, and it too was expensive (but worth it)!
  • Add HOT TUB!! (Obvi!) – We chose Caldera Spas in the VANTO model, just for reference – we LOVE it – fits 6 people comfortably, 7 if you want to squeeze!
  • Dry brush terra cotta pots white and plant – you can see more about the dry brushing technique HERE – I chose mandelvilla and leather leaf ferns as the plants
  • Transform old chandelier with chalk paint and hang in center of gazebo
  • Hang market lights
  • Add hooks to posts of gazebo for towels
  • AND STILL TO DO: Stencil hot tub steps!

So let’s start with the BEFORE, shall we??

outdoor oasis BEFORE
Not much of an oasis, am I right? Paparazzi shot of my Dad here, already getting started on the disassembly of the shed! Thanks, Dad!
Shed BE GONE! This table was also inside the shed and went adios as well. Here you can see the planter laid out prior to us actually digging and planting.

Once the planting was done, our electrician came out and trenched/ran the electricity to the area where we wanted the hot tub.  Luckily, the slab was already there (saved us probably $1,500!).  We also had them install one outlet pair, knowing we would want lighting out there.

This part was not fun. I highly suggest WATERING your grass that is uprooted during the trenching process, otherwise it will die!

In the interim of the hot tub being delivered (it took about 4 weeks after ordering as ours was customized to what we wanted) we also ordered and assembled the gazebo.  I did EXTENSIVE research on this, y’all.  Initially we planned to go with one of those canopy type pergolas that run about $500-700 at Lowe’s or HD.  But, I kept reading reviews that after a season or two the canopy would basically be useless (and many do NOT have replacement canopies you can order on their own), and I also wanted to be able to use the hot tub in the winter rain.  So, along came the hardtop gazebo. Again, it was an absolute investment. But we figured better to invest more now, rather than having to reinvest again later once the canopy style one inevitably went kaput! 


And all that said, I have nothing but good things to say about the gazebo we chose.  First, it was delivered very quickly (again though, we ordered through Lowe’s, though I can’t imagine Amazon would be any different).  Second, one of the pieces was broken, and the manufacturer sent us a replacement piece within a week, no questions asked.  Third, hubs and I were able to assemble the entire thing ourselves (took us about 6 hours total). Fourth, it is honestly gorgeous (the inside cream roof is stunning) and while an investment itself, it protects our ULTIMATE investment – the hot tub!

Assembly – time consuming but overall fairly simple. The worst part was removing the film that was on each side of ever roof piece (use an utility knife along the edges and it will help the process go MUCH faster!)
Here she is assembled! It is the perfect size as well – (roof is 10’x13′ and the posts are a bit narrower than that – about 8.5’x12′)

Next came the delivery of the hot tub!  The most exciting part (well, besides getting the entire space pulled together)!  Head to Caldera Spas website to see our exact model!

caldera spas vanto
Obviously we had to get in and have a glass of wine before we filled it up (we were waiting on the electricians to come back and hook it up!)

And once the hot tub was hooked up and filled (it only took about an hour and a half to fill, too!), next came the STYLING! My favorite part – obviously.  I had a vision in my head of what I wanted for this space, and a DIY bar with some barstools was a definite must.  Hubs was a little wary about this at first, but it is seriously unbeatable! We can have a date night dinner out here under the chandy and market lights, followed by some snacks and wine while taking a dip in the hot tub – and the bar conveniently holds everything we might need! Click here for the full DIY Bar tutorial!

DIY outdoor bar
It’s just perfect! We also made sure to buy hairpin legs that would make the bar the same height as the hot tub for maximum convenience!

I also dry brushed some terra cotta pots white and planted them for some texture and color in the space, revamped an old chandy, and added the rugs/bar stools/pillows!

dry brushed terra cotta pots
Dry brushing is super easy! Click HERE to see how!
chalk paint chandelier
Chalk paint is honestly the best thing ever – don’t like something? Then chalk paint it and voila! Problem solved!
This chandelier means so much to us because it was used in our wedding. Hubs didn’t want it in the house (too “Victorian” he said), but out in this space it’s just perfect. We didn’t love the cream color though, so I decided to chalk paint it! (Didn’t even bother to wax it, since it’s in a covered area and never touched). I can always repaint at a later date if needed!
I chose to start with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Charcoal, which I just added to certain places, followed by a full coat of Paris Grey and then another full coat Rustoleum White Chalk Paint. I then sanded in a few places to reveal some of the grey to add dimension, and I was done.
Oh, and be sure that you take off any “bling” before painting! We hung the fixture from the center hook of the gazebo, and were able to hide the cord by stringing it up through the vent at the top! (The cream inside top looks yellow here, but I promise it’s not!)

And of course, the rugs, hot tub steps, pillows, and bar stools were added too!

And, drum roll please….

…. the AFTER!

backyard hot tub oasis
This is before the pillows and the market lights were added, but I was so excited about the space I just had to snap this pic!

When we added the market lights, we hung them from one corner, through the top hook diagonally to another corner.  We then ran the cord on the OUTSIDE of the gazebo (and didn’t plug lights in here) to the opposite corner, and back again diagonally through the top hook.  This makes it look as if the lights extend outwards to the corners from the center hook, and reminds us of the tent at our wedding! 🙂  Lastly, we added some black command hooks to the posts of the gazebo for towels!

back yard oasis hot tub bar
And here is the FINAL (well, almost) finished space! We seriously cannot get enough of it and I look forward to relaxing here after a long day at work! It’s also an amazing space to entertain friends! (And clearly, Napa approved!)
And of course, I had to throw in a night shot too!

And that my friends, it the full transformation!  As I said, I still want to stencil the hot tub steps, but that project is for another day (I seriously have SO many on my list right now; I think it may be a problem :P)


Let me know if y’all have any questions, and I hope you can invest in an amazing outdoor oasis as well!

Until next time…


P.S. Live in a super hot area or want a less expensive version of a hot tub? A stock tank pool is another AMAZING option! Check them out!

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