Make a DIY Stock Tank Pool

This stock tank pool how-to will have you lounging in the summer sun in just one weekend — and for a lot less cash than you'd expect.

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July 22, 2021
Stock Tank Pool, Cinderblock Steps, Trellis with Plants on Hanger

Stock Tank Pool

HGTV stylist Jill Tennant designed this backyard pool with a stock tank from her local co-op. Learn how to make your very own in just one weekend on HGTV.com.

From: HGTV Handmade

Photo by: Yasmin Murphy

Yasmin Murphy

Summer is finally here and what better way to cool off than a backyard pool. Stock tank pools are trendy, affordable and surprisingly easy to DIY. HGTV stylist Jill Tennent shares a step-by-step guide to convert a livestock watering tank into a backyard pool that’s budget-friendly and super stylish. Flamingo float optional.

Pink Flamingo Float In Stock Tank Pool with Stripes, Palms in Yard

Stock Tank Pool

HGTV stylist Jill Tennant designed this backyard pool with a stock tank from her local co-op. Learn how to make your very own in just one weekend on HGTV.com. Flamingo pool float optional.

From: HGTV Handmade

Photo by: Yasmin Murphy

Yasmin Murphy

Materials + Tools

  • water hose
  • tamper
  • rake
  • 2 bags of sand
  • 2 sheets of 8-1/2 x 11" paper
  • scrap craft paper
  • 1 metal stake
  • bundle of string
  • white vinegar
  • rags
  • level
  • tape measure
  • pencil

Stock tanks are large water tanks primarily used to provide drinking water for cattle, horses and other livestock, but they're often repurposed in home gardens and yards to create ponds and swimming pools.

Buy It

Level Your Landscape

Before you begin, ensure the area where the 8-foot stock tank pool will live is perfectly level. If the yard is not level, build a partially raised bed to ensure the pool will sit flat on the ground (Image 1). First, stake out the dimensions of the bed length with a measuring tape (Image 2). Then use a shovel to dig narrow trenches around the uneven sides of the slope to fit lumber planks. Place lumber planks inside the trenches and screw the boards together. Secure with mixed concrete. Next, add rebar along the slope where needed and cover thoroughly with a thick layer of dirt. Last, go over the entire area several times with a tamper (Image 3) and check frequently with a level (Image 4).

Set Circumference + Sand

Measure to find the center of the raised bed and mark it with a small stake. Then measure a 4-foot piece of string and tie it to the stake (Image 1). Take the end of the string and walk around the perimeter, marking the circumference as you go. Note: The marked circle will act as the place marker for the pool. Now dump 1-2 bags of sand inside the marked circle (Image 2). Use a rake to evenly spread out the layer of sand (Image 3) and use a tamper to flatten the surface (Image 4). Check with a level.

Prep Tank

Team lift the stock tank onto a raised working area, like a portable work table or several folding sawhorses in the backyard. Use paint thinner and a clean rag to clean the outside of the stock tank to remove any dirt and debris (Image 1). Next, use a fine-to-medium sanding block to lightly scrub the outside of the stock tank to remove excess shine and create grain for the primer to adhere (Image 2). Last, remove any sanding dust by using another rag and white vinegar to clean the surface (Image 3).

Protect + Primer

Cover and tape the inside of the pool with craft paper to protect it from overflow spray paint (Image 1). Next, add one coat of matte white primer to the outside of the tank (Image 2). Let dry completely. Then add one more coat of primer to the outside of the tank and let dry overnight. Tip: You will need 10-11 spray cans of white primer for an 8-foot stock tank.

Mark + Paint Stripes

First, thoroughly wrap the lip of the stock tank all the way around with painter’s tape (Image 1). Next, tape two 8-1/2-inch by 11-inch pieces of paper together vertically and place them onto the side of the stock tank pool beneath the lip (Image 2). Then, use a pencil to create tick marks on the top and bottom. Once marked all the way around, add painter’s tape vertically along each tick mark (Image 3). Tip: Place a small piece of tape in the center of the sections that do not need color. Next, spray the painter's tape with a coat of primer to seal the edges for perfect stripes (Image 4). Let the primer dry for one hour. Next, pour green exterior paint into a paint tray and dip a roller into the paint. Apply the first coat of green paint to the designated stripe sections (Image 5) and wait until dry. Then, add a second coat for a bolder look. Once dry, carefully peel off the painter’s tape to reveal perfect green stripes.

Drill Holes + Add Drain Kits

Use an electric drill and 2-3/4-inch hole saw drill bit to make the holes for the above ground pool inlet set (Image 1). Note: Drill holes per instructions on the inlet set. Once the holes are drilled, use a course file to remove any rough metal edges. Secure the outside of the drain with caulking (Image 2) and attach the remaining parts following the kit instructions.

It Takes Two

Team lift the painted stock tank pool (Image 1) and place it onto the marked, sandy circle (Image 2). Then hook up the above ground plunger valves, above ground pool pump and filter per their instructions (Image 3). Tip: Check for water leaks by spraying water from a water hose directly onto the drain ports to see if any leaks occur on either side. Next, climb into the tank and use a small vacuum to remove any debris or shaved metal from the inside (Image 4). Wipe down the inside with a rag and white vinegar to prepare for filling. Place a water hose inside the tank and fill (Image 5).

Trellis Pool Storage

Woman Puts Hat on Fence Trellis, Colorful Towels on Hanger

Outdoor Trellis Hanger

HGTV stylist Jill Tennant designed a backyard retreat with a stock tank from her local co-op, colorful cinderblock steps and a trellis for storage. Learn how to make your very own in just one weekend on HGTV.com. Flamingo pool float optional.

From: HGTV Handmade

Photo by: Yasmin Murphy

Yasmin Murphy

Materials + Tools

Create extra pool storage with a trellis. Start by measuring the wooden trellis to determine total width for fence hook placement (Image 1). Next, measure, mark and drill the fence holes for the hooks; use an electric drill to create the holes (Image 2). Then spray paint both sides of the trellis with matte white exterior paint (Image 3). Once dry, hang the painted trellis beside the pool (Image 4) and use S hooks to complete the look with towels and hats (Image 5).

Little Pink Steps

Stock Tank Pool, Cinderblock Steps, Trellis with Towels on Hanger

Stock Tank Pool and Trellis Hanger

HGTV stylist Jill Tennant designed a backyard retreat with a stock tank from her local co-op, colorful cinderblock steps and a trellis for storage. Learn how to make your very own in just one weekend on HGTV.com. Flamingo pool float optional.

From: HGTV Handmade

Photo by: Yasmin Murphy

Yasmin Murphy

Materials + Tools

Make stylish steps for easy pool access. First, use a roller to paint six cinderblocks a colorful pink hue (Image 1) using pink exterior paint. When dry, stack them together and secure with a layer of adhesive caulking from a caulk gun (Image 2). Next, pour 2-3 bags of pea gravel around the pool perimeter and spread out with a rake (Image 3).

Add Decor + Enjoy!

Put sunscreen in an outdoor, poolside planter (Image 1), blow up some pool floats (Image 2) and invite the neighbors over for an afternoon swim.

Pool Day DIYs and Ideas

DIY Stock Tank Swimming Pool 07:42

Jill Tennant turns a livestock tank into a refreshing, striped backyard swimming pool.

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