What Is a Stock Tank Pool?

Stefanie Waldek
·8 mins read
Photo credit: SEN LI - Getty Images
Photo credit: SEN LI - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

Need to beat the heat this summer? With many public pools and beaches closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many homeowners are turning toward backyard options to keep cool. While building an in-ground pool isn’t necessarily feasible for everyone, whether it’s out of budget or you simply don’t have the space in your yard, you might still be able to create a private little watering hole. Introducing Summer 2020’s biggest backyard trend: the stock tank pool.

What Is a Stock Tank Pool?

Also known as a “cowboy pool” or a “hillbilly pool,” stock tank pools are made of, well, stock tanks! Stock tanks are large troughs made of metal or plastic used to provide water for livestock on farms. They’re often pretty small and shallow—anywhere from six to eleven feet in diameter and about two feet deep—making them perfect for kids to splash about or adults to lounge on a float.

Stock Tank Pool Pros

  • They’re pretty affordable! While in-ground pools start around $20,000 and above-ground pools start $2,000, stock tank pools might only cost you about $500 between the tank and the maintenance supplies.

  • They’re DIY-friendly. Though it’ll take a little elbow grease to install a stock tank pool, it’s certainly easy to do yourself.

  • They’re compact for small yards. Tanks come in all sizes, but overall, they have super small footprints, which is great news for urban dwellers with limited outdoor space.


Stock Tank Pool Cons

  • They’re not necessarily super low-maintenance. If you just fill a tank with water and do nothing else, you’ll have to contend with algae growth that makes your pool gross and slimy. The solution: install a filter and use chemicals to treat the water. Even with those measures, though, you’ll likely have to drain your tank from time to time and give it a good scrub.

  • Mosquitos love them. Mosquitos breed in stagnant water, so unless you have a filter or aerator in your pool to create a little current, you may end up creating a breeding ground for the biting pests.

  • Metal tanks can rust. If you plop chlorine directly into your pool, it can cause a metal tank to rust. To prevent this, either seal your tank before filling it with water or use a chlorine floater.

  • Metal tanks can get really hot. Left out under the blazing summer sun, the metal tanks can heat up and potentially burn you if you touch the metal, not to mention make your water less refreshing and more bath-like as the day goes on. Installing your pool in a shadier area is one easy fix.

  • Technically you might need to secure a permit from your town. Many municipalities require you to secure a permit for any sort of pool, and a stock tank could very well fall under this categorization. Check with your town to ensure you’re following all rules.

How to Install a Stock Tank Pool

First you’ll need to buy your stock tank—you can usually find them at farm supply stores, or you can order one online. Then you’ll need to prep your yard to support the tank by creating a flat surface that can bear a lot of weight (think packed sand, concrete, or a sturdy deck). When you pick a location for your pool, bear in mind that you might need to be somewhat near an electricity source if you plan on installing a pump, not to mention a hose to fill it up when you’re all set.

Stock Tank Pool Ideas

Add some shade with a pergola.

Keep things simple with a plastic tank.

Go all-out and build a deck around your pool.

Paint your tank to add personality.



Create a boho-chic oasis.



Introduce a jungle theme.

Dig a hole for an “in-ground pool.”



Keep things tiny and cute.

Share your pool with your pets!

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