cowboy pool DIY.
by victoria comment


backyard cowboy pool at night. / sfgirlbybay

i’m so excited to finally be writing this post! and i’m sorry it didn’t happen a little sooner — say at the beginning of summer, but alas my backyard pool project has just now been completed, so i guess for those of you who live in areas that actually have seasons (unlike L.A. for the most part, where it’s almost always warm) i’ll be gearing you up to stay cool next summer! meet what some seem to call the cowboy pool — a galvanized stock tank for watering livestock. repurposed as an affordable alternative for those of us who can’t swing the cost of a built-in swimming pool! and this was not my genius idea — i got it from morgan at the brick house and sarah sherman samuel who inspired me to make my own!

diy stock tank swimming poo with striped pool raft. / sfgirlbybay

so, to begin i did some research and discovered that a company called rural king distributes these tarter stock tanks (for just $330!) and they even have a really easy to follow DIY video which is how i figured out how to accomplish my cowboy pool. if you’re not close enough to rural king, tarter distributes these stock tanks all over the country and you can find a local distributor here. For those of you in the los angeles area, i found mine at Ojai Valley Feed and they delivered it to me within the same day for a very affordable fee (I think it was like $150, which for a 2-hour roundtrip drive i thought was quite fair). the next trick was getting it up my hill and into my backyard! these babies are big, awkward and not ridiculously heavy but it did take four guys to bring it up. so have some heavy lifters to help you.

cowboy pool in backyard with olive tree plant. / sfgirlbybay

diy cowboy pool how-to tutorial. / sfgirlbybay

the pool holds 700 gallons of water so be sure your pool area can support that weight and as the video suggests, you may want to add a base of gravel or sand for support. i had built a deck that wasn’t getting much use so that was the perfect spot for my pool. you’ll need to get chlorine tablets and Floating Chlorine Dispenser (i got this cute fish dispenser), as well as a PH water test to keep the water fresh, clean and mosquito-free which can be found on amazon or your local pool supply store.

diy cowboy pool using stock tank. / sfgirlbybay

filter system for outdoor cowboy pool. / sfgirlbybay

and most importantly, you’ll need the water filtration system for above ground pools and replacement filters, which i also found on amazon. the video shows you exactly how to install it – but my handyman did secure the holes with extra washers and clamps to get really tight, waterproof hoses. i hired a handyman who specialized in pools and found him by calling pool supply stores for recommendations and researching on yelp. i also picked up an Adjustable Leaf Skimmer for skimming leaves and debris from the pool, which i actually find quite a zen experience — i think it’s my OCD kicking in that i love getting every last leaf!

outdoor built-in bench seating for cowboy pool. / sfgirlbybay

cacti in black and white pots. / sfgirlbybay

the pool is 8 feet in diameter and about 3 feet tall, so while you definitely can’t do laps, it’s the best floating pool around and i’ve found hours of pleasure hanging out there with a hat and a good book. i got a Drift and Escape Pool Chaise Mattress in black and white stripe (another tip I stole from sarah!) and for easy inflation, an Electric Air Pump (save your breath!). if you want something smaller, this raft is pretty great, too and keeps you extra cool because the mesh keeps you partially submerged in the water — plus: drink cozy! oh, i also added a few of these cute Water Drop Shaped hooks to the fence and added a couple of turkish striped towels for guests.

galvanized stock tank as swimming pool. / sfgirlbybay

black string lights with edison bulbs. / sfgirlbybay

and lastly, i had some wood planters around the deck, but as you can see i have so much green space in my backyard i thought they’d be better put to use as benches around the pool, so my carpenter built them over the planters. i then had him add poles so i could string my globe lights to create mood lighting at night, for hanging poolside, or evening floats. i then enlisted my favorite L.A. upholsterer Cerda’s to make custom cushions in light gray sunbrella waterproof fabric (with zippers so they can be washed) for the built-in benches — making it an extra cosy spot to read and catch some rays. i also added a few cacti and lanterns for a little extra ambiance, and voilá — my cowboy pool is complete! if you have any questions at all please let me know and i’ll do my best to answer them!

string lights in backyard with built-in seating and cowboy pool. / sfgirlbybay

diy cowboy pool at night with string lighting. / sfgirlbybay

backyard view from cowboy swimming pool in l.a. / sfgirlbybay

echo park, ca backyard with built-in dining area, upper deck with cowboy pool and string lighting. / sfgirlbybay

• photography by victoria smith for sfgirlbybay.

22 responses to “cowboy pool DIY.”

  1. My boyfriend and I have been researching doing something similar in our backyard! Stoked to hear that you are thoroughly enjoying it. I can’t seem to find the video you refer to…? Thanks for sharing!

  2. I so happy you did a post about this cute little pool! I’ve been so curious about it every since I first saw your post on instagram. Your backyard looks like a dream!

  3. Love this idea! Seems so doable and small-yard friendly. I wonder if there’d be a way to make it a hot tub in the winters?

  4. This is so awesome! I love everything about the entire space. As a kid, I wanted a pool more than anything and who knew it was so possible and chic. Wohoo! I also love your landscaping and am curious if you’ll do some posts on all you’ve done front and back? It’s so lush! All the best.

  5. I love this! I want to do this for an Airbnb rental I own on the outer banks. Thanks for adding details.

  6. Uggggh this is just ridiculously great and exactly the summer inspiration I need. Thanks for all the tips and tricks ❤️

  7. Beautiful!
    We’re working on our own right now and would like to put it on a deck as well. Do you have any guidance? Do you know anything about the joists/materials used on your deck? We’re very worried about making this thing strong enough to hold this massive tank full of water.

    • Hi Anna,

      I’m so sorry, but I don’t know too much about construction. I don’t live there anymore and my builder wasn’t a contractor, so I’m not sure. Sorry!

    • Hi Audrey,

      It turned out my first handyman installed the pump incorrectly, so I wouldn’t recommend him. And the man who fixed it is no longer in the area, so I would try contacting Pool Supply stores for recommendations. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help!

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