If you don't like the look of an above-ground pool, don't have space for something that large, or don't want to clean something that large, a stock tank pool may be a perfect alternative for you.
Great for small, urban backyards, these round, shallow pools are popping up all over Instagram and TikTok, and for good reason: they are adorable. If you're looking for stock tank pool ideas or are just curious about this summer trend, read on.
What Is a Stock Tank Pool?
Traditionally used in farming for cows or other livestock to drink water, these large round troughs can be turned into pools by adding a pool filter and chlorine.
Casey Freeman and Savannah McNeill, creators of Stock Tank Pool Authority, say a huge pro of a stock tank pool is that when you're sitting in it, the water hits you in just the right spot for an optimal afternoon of relaxing.
"When you sit in a stock tank pool, it hits you right under your chin, so you’re fully submerged but you don't have to tread water—you can just sit," Freeman says. With some of the hot summer days we've had, that sounds really nice.
"And, the maintenance is so simple," McNeill adds.
You still have to add chlorine and a pool filter, but the cleaning and maintenance routine on a stock tank pool is just a fraction of that of a regular pool. Here are 10 designs to get you in the DIY mode for your backyard stock tank pool.
Meet the Expert
Casey Freeman and Savannah McNeill created Stock Tank Pool Authority in 2016. They first gained traction when they created a video showcasing their stock tank pool and then again when they began creating custom designs for their pool. They now sell and install the tanks in Texas and Tennessee and promote stock tank pool designs and resources on their TikTok and Instagram accounts.
Put Some Stripes on It
Vertical? Horizontal? All stripes are great stripes. Painting stripes on your stock tank pool is a sure-fire way to add some big personality to your little pool. McNeill says the first design they ever painted on a stock tank pool was stripes.
"People have recreated that in a lot of different colors and different sizes," she says. "It’s a really simple way to make a cute design on your pool."
Paint it Your Favorite Color
While you can absolutely paint your stock tank pool your favorite shade of aqua, Freeman warns that this DIY project is not as simple as painting and priming a wall.
"If you’re going to paint, take the time to make sure you prep it, because otherwise, it’ll chip off," Freeman says. "Some people just spray paint and then have to keep re-spray painting it." She recommends using Behr's Direct to Metal Paint or Plasti Dip, as shown in this video.
Make It Black and Bold
While painting your stock tank pool hot pink or bright yellow might add a pop of personality, going bold with solid black ups the chic factor while allowing you to bring in some fun elements elsewhere, like in your plant choices or patio décor.
Add Floral Stickers
"For our new pool, we made some daisy stickers so we could put a pattern on our pool easily, but before the daisy pool, we painted a mural on our pool with just some Plasti Dip," McNeill shares.
Paint a Mural
"Look at your stock tank pool as a blank canvas," Freeman says. "Any design you can paint on anything, you can paint on a stock tank pool. You can use a stencil or print out stickers—there's really so many things you can do."
Or Use a Stencil
McNeill confirms that you can really decorate your stock tank pool any way you prefer because you can paint it. Is there a particular doodle you love? Go for it. A stencil you designed? Do it. Want to go full self-portrait mode? You can paint anything on your pool that your heart desires.
"The possibilities are basically endless in terms of decoration," she says.
Go for the OG
There's also nothing wrong with the OG form of the stock tank pool. With a thoughtful and stylish patio, your silver stock tank pool will look trés chic all on its own.
Stick a Saying on It
If you like the look of the OG stock tank pool but want to take a little bit more of a design risk, consider adding a fun saying. Slap on a sticker or DIY your own custom-painted quote to add a little flair without too much effort.
DIY a Sophisticated Deck
Freeman and McNeill pointed out that an important part of stock tank pool design includes having a functional yet sophisticated deck.
"People are starting to build really cool decks around them," Freeman says. "It’s been really fun to see the new things people are doing with their pools."
Avoid Painting the Inside
"When you’re getting creative, stay creative on the outside of the pool as opposed to the inside of the pool," Freeman says.
While some products allow you to paint the inside of your stock tank pool, it's a much more in-depth process, so if you're just diving in, it's a good idea to keep your DIYs to your deck design and the outside walls of your stock tank pool.
Freeman says that every year, she only sees a few new ideas emerge as far as stock tank pool designs, so she says to think outside the box when researching for inspiration.
"Look for inspiration outside of looking at other stock tank pools. Look at art you like or different patterns. Think more of the bigger picture."
So gather your inspiration boards and get to prepping—there is still much of summer to enjoy.