Growing up in the suburbs, my brothers and I would beg our parents to build a swimming pool in our backyard every year.
Of course, knowing how expensive a pool can be, they turned us down over and over.
One year, when they had finally heard enough whining and begging, they bought us a dinky, inflatable above-ground pool from a big box store.
Of course it was flimsy and leaky, and took hours to set up. I don't think we ever used it more than once.
But I've never given up the dream of having my own backyard pool, and I think I've finally found a way to cool off in the summer without breaking the bank.
DIY Swimming Pools
Stock tank pools are the latest backyard decorating trend.
Made from an industrial-sized animal troth, they're sometimes called "hillbilly hot tubs."
What I like best about stock tank pools is that they're a good size - much wider and deeper than a kiddy pool - but still very easy to set up.
As you're about to learn, when it comes to these simple and affordable backyard pools, a little imagination goes a long way.
Installing a Stock Tank Pool
All you need to start the project is a tub, which you can buy at any farm supply store or some hardware stores.
Next, make a flat surface in you backyard. You can either flatten a ring in your lawn or dig out a hole.
Surfaces like compacted sand or crushed granite will make a nice, steady foundation for the pool.
Your tank can be as low or high maintenance as you like: a pump and a filter will help it stay clean, and keep away mosquitoes.
It's up to you whether you add chlorine or not to your stock tank, but there are plenty of benefits to a clean pool.
You can leave your pool outside year-round, or empty it and roll it into the shed when winter comes.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's take a look at some of the most creative stock tank pool designs.
Build, Fill, Accessorize
Maybe you're more concerned with keeping cool in your stock tank than how it looks in your yard.
But it's easy to make your tank look just as inviting as a "real" above ground pool.
First things first: adding a few deck chairs and golf umbrellas around your tank makes it much more inviting.
A basic but attractive step up is adding paving stones or flowers around your tank.
This homeowner went the extra mile, with stepping stones all around the pool and a water feature.
If you want a touch of color in your backyard, you can safely paint your tank with primer and paint labeled for galvanized steel.
Or surround the tank with wooden boards to give it a rustic feel.
The metal tank can get hot sitting out in the sun, so it's not a bad idea to add an umbrella or canopy over it.
If you want to make the tank a more permanent part of your yard, it's easy to build a deck or patio around it.
If you're happy to run through the sprinklers all summer, or you're looking for a project with less upkeep, there are other ways to use a stock tank in your yard.
Without a pump or filter, you can use a stock tank as a backyard pond or water garden.
Bear in mind that a backyard pond comes with its own set of headaches.
Finally, there are smaller, oval stock tanks that can be re-purposed all kinds of ways.
Turn it into a garden bench, or a unique backyard planter.
Whatever you use them for, stock tanks are a cheap and useful way to spruce up your backyard.
But here's something to keep in mind: many city ordinances don't allow stock tank pools, so check your local bylaws before you set one up.
Are you planning to add a stock tank to your yard?