Designing a Poolscape: Where To Start?

Now that we are turning our attention outside, it's time to focus on our pool. This pool and surrounding chain link fence were installed in 1978 and as you can see, are in need of attention. Since I have never had a yard, never mind a pool, I am at a loss for where to start. Without spending too much money, what are your ideas to make this area beautiful and comfortable?

I have started the project by putting an add on Craigslist which listed free yew shrubs, ie you dig them up and they are yours. Three out of the five bushes were dug up within a few days and my intention is to get rid of the other two that hog the surrounding space. Here are some additional considerations:

1. I would like to add privacy to the left hand side so that I can not see my neighbor's house. I am thinking that the less solid the barrier, the more spacious that side will feel.
2. I would like to add inexpensive loungers to this side as well since it gets the most sun. (I plan to cut the gigantic trees back on the right side to maximize sunlight.)
3. I would love to have a larger table and chairs with an umbrella somewhere if possible.(Remove the fence altogether and possibly push it back further to back side of barn?)
4. I want the space to feel very lush. I love plants and welcome all suggestions for New England pool side varieties.
5. I would like to remove all of the dated crushed rock and replace it with a natural stone or prettier rock/ moss/ grass-- whatever it is, it has to feel good on your feet.
6. I am curious about indoor/ outdoor carpets as a way to cover all the poured concrete.
7. I love to entertain so the space should be conducive to that as well.

In addition to these considerations, I plan to thoroughly clean the pool, sand and repaint the bulkhead, paint the yellow siding surrounding the slider, power wash the house and garage, and repaint the small deck which holds the grill. Along with your ideas please provide specific resources and links! I live in Southern NH but am willing to travel for an amazing resource.

I am very excited to hear what you have to say! Thank you!

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