32 Stock Tank Pool Designs and Ideas

These Pools Aren't Just for Cows and Cowboys Anymore

white stock tank with stepping stones surrounding it

The Sommer Home / Instagram

Move over, above-ground pools and kiddie pools. Stock tank pools—those round, shallow, shiny galvanized steel pools that dominate sites like Instagram and Pinterest—are replacing more traditional alternatives to standard in-ground swimming pools. They might be part of the farmhouse trend, industrial chic, desert bohemian, or a do-it-yourselfer's challenge. They're known as cowboy pools, hillbilly pools, and trough pools and are seen everywhere from urban rooftops to Texas backyards to glamping spots in the California desert. DIYers add decks, sink them into the ground, and come up with all kinds of creative solutions to personalize the pools and make them work for their outdoor spaces and lifestyles.

Humble Origins

The intended use for stock tanks is to fill them with water on farms and ranches for livestock, such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Some stock tankers say their parents or grandparents used them as makeshift pools since they were lying around the farm anyway. People used smaller versions of those galvanized receptacles in the early 20th century as the "Saturday night bath," a weekly ritual for rural residents who lacked plumbing, hot running water (or just running water), and/or a sewer system. To properly clean and shampoo for church the next day, pots of water were heated on the stove and then poured into a washtub for a cramped but warm bath.

Enjoy a look at 32 of our favorite stock tank pool designs—along with tips and how-tos—and get inspired.

  • 01 of 32

    An Elegant Arrangement

    stock tank pool

    @lollyjaneblog/Instagram

    While the idea of a galvanized stock tank pool may bring images of a rustic scene to mind, there are ways to turn it into something that suits your preferences. This outdoor space by Kelli and Kristi of Lolly Jane Blog is a perfect example—they spray-painted their stock tank a metallic champagne color that brought instant transformation. The stand-alone umbrella, inflatable swan, and stenciled concrete all add equal mixes of fun and elegance that create a relaxing space for all ages.

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  • 02 of 32

    Puppy Love

    Tio loco stock tank pool

    Tio Loco / Instagram

    In Arizona, a stock tank serves as a cool spot to watch all the dogs running around the yard of this canine rescue facility. The surrounding deck makes the stock tank feel more like an in-ground pool, and the pergola provides some shade to the dogs on lifeguard duty. It can be a refreshing spot for both humans and pets alike.

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  • 03 of 32

    Dreamy Deck Setup

    stock tank pool dual stairs

    @crystalrene915/Instagram

    Crystal Capps Cole had a vision of the kind of backyard space she wanted, and with some help, she was able to bring it to life. The large deck has plenty of room for lounging and relaxation, and the wood palette back wall is a perfect addition to add plants and hang towels. The stock tank pool, though, takes center stage here—with dual sets of steps surrounding either side for easy access. Take note of the blue pool noodles covering the rim—they add some extra padding for relaxation purposes instead of the usually exposed metal.

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  • 04 of 32

    Natural Setting

    stock tank pool in deck

    Harvey House Austin/Instagram

    Stock tanks aren't meant just for the summer months—or at least, they don't have to be. This stock tank from Harvey House is perfectly hiding inside a garapa wood deck, giving a polished and sleek look to the backyard space. As a bonus, this stock tank isn't just for a cool refreshing dip on a hot day—a pool heater helps transform the stock tank into a hot tub so it can be enjoyed year-round.

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  • 05 of 32

    A Playful Reminder

    stock tank with phrase "no diving" imprinted on the bottom

    Hannah Reesor/Instagram

    There are plenty of ways to design your stock tank pool, though we typically focus on the outside. We love what Hannah Reesor did by changing things up and having a message imprinted at the bottom using a stencil painted with a flex seal. Not only does the result look great, but it serves as a reminder that these pools are for relaxing, not diving in headfirst.

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  • 06 of 32

    Back in Time

    Suburban Pop stock tank pool

    Suburban Pop

    Stock tanks aren't just for those who lean into a farmhouse style for their decor. In California, Jenny made a stock tank pool fit perfectly with the rest of her 1960s ranch-style home. A selectively landscaped yard adjacent to a fire area with butterfly chair seating makes this DIY pool a standout feature.

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  • 07 of 32

    Customized Bench

    stock tank pool with octagon bench

    Hey Wanderer/Instagram

    When Nashville-based best friends Savannah and Casey set up a stock tank pool the previous year, they thought it might be nice to sit around the pool with their feet dangling in. But not on that uncomfortable edge! "Can't blame a stock tank—it's not really what it was made for!" they wrote in their blog, Hey Wanderer. "Anyway, we decided to build a bench this year. It has been fantastic! Being able to sit on the edge with your feet in the water means you'll be using the heck out of your pool."

    The DIY duo reveals instructions for building the bench, along with topics like camping, travel, friendship–and of course, all things stock tanks—in their popular blog.

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    Subtropical Hideaway

    stock tank oasis

    @rewhunter/Instagram

    Andrew and Mallory Hunter created the ideal hideaway in the backyard space of their aptly named Airstream Island in Atlanta. The stock tank pool, flanked by beautiful greenery and a high fence, gives a dedicated space to relax. The half-moon deck surrounding the stock pool allows space for lounge chairs shaded by the giant beautiful plant fronds above. As an added feature, an outdoor shower was put in place for a quick rinse after a long day. The result is a subtropical paradise.

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    Below Deck

    stock tank pool stonewayswimclub

    stonewayswimclub / Instagram

    The owners of this stock tank pool have made it such a feature of their yard, they've given it its own establishment: the Stoneway Swim Club. With an elevated deck outfitted with matching loungers, this swim club is worth the membership fees. Incorporating the half-deck look, the style is an excellent way to show off your pool and still have a space to lay out and sit when you're ready to get out.

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    All Black Impact

    black backyard stock tank with cement brick patio, cinderblock fireplace

    Life My Style Carrie/Instagram

    Not every stock tank has to be metallic or white–there are other options to choose from. This stunning setup by Carrie Divin on Life My Style Carrie is the perfect dose of dramatic flair and relaxation. This corner has all the essentials for an ideal summer evening: a table with stool seating, lush greenery, a built-in firepit, and, of course, an all-black stock tank. The black fence with string lights as the backdrop sets the tone and invites you to stay in the pool even once the sun begins to set.

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    Bamboo-Walled Paradise

    stock tank pool evening solar lights

    Cuckoo4Design

    Bamboo walling and water-patterned lining make this stock tank pool look like a natural part of the environment. Blogger Cuckoo4Design positioned it in the side of her yard and built a rock feature to curve around the pool and serve as a spot to sit and dangle your legs into the water. The addition of solar lights allows this oasis to be accessible day or night, and the combination of stone and bamboo gives a zen, spa-like atmosphere anyone would love to relax in.

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    Made In The Shade

    stock tank pool under tarp

    Denver Area Realtor/Instagram

    This stock tank setup by Carolina Stovall of Denver eXp Realty is a perfect example of keeping cool and collected. The galvanized stock tank is the ideal distance away from the fire pit and seating area to ensure no giant splashes will affect other guests, but close enough to allow for conversation and interaction. The entire space is perfectly situated beneath a flowy white tarp to avoid the harsh sun's rays.

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    Child's Play

    stock tank with slide

    @natdavis13/Instagram

    Want to add a little extra fun to your stock tank pool? Feel free to take some creative notes from Nat Davis. The established treehouse and slide were already a delightful playground for the kids to run around, yet adding the stock tank at the bottom of the slide adds an extra dose of fun. The results can be fun for the whole family (with proper supervision, of course!).

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    Pool Party Vibes

    stock tank pool sunwoven

    sunwoven / Instagram

    Fiber artist and textile designer Erin Barrett of Sunwoven turned her stock tank pool into a feature of her ready-for-company backyard. With colorful yellow siding and a swan float, it's the perfect summer party centerpiece. You can obtain a similar vibe by adding outdoor string lights, a collection of lounge chairs, and an umbrella or other shelter to provide shade.

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  • 15 of 32

    Wood All The Way Around

    stock tank pool deck against house

    Channeled by Chloe/Instagram

    Customizing a stock tank pool to your preferences can work in a variety of ways. For this pool from Chloe Elgar, the surrounding deck with stairs make for easy access—whether you're human or pet. The wood panels surrounding the tank give the impression of a spa-like atmosphere and building the structure to rest against the house mean the pool is never too far for a quick refresh.

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  • 16 of 32

    Protection and Privacy

    stock tank with shade

    @wyckstandtmelissa/Instagram

    Melissa Wyckstandt didn't stop at merely getting a stock tank pool for her backyard—she opted to build an entire deck surrounding it. The built-in bench at one end of the deck adds plenty of optimum seating, and the four posts at each corner allow for a tarp to cover the entire expanse. As time has gone on, she's continued to add more plants to the surrounding area, which functions both aesthetically and for privacy.

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    Hidden Plumbing

    stock tank pool hidden plumbing

    @realsistersfixeruppers/Instagram

    Something to keep in mind about owning one of these pools is storing the mechanisms and other accessories like hoses and cleaning supplies that can keep things running smoothly. You don't have to leave all of the additional hoses and hookups out in the open. The duo behind Real Sisters Fixer Uppers built a nifty bench-deck combo to hide the unsightly plumbing.

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  • 18 of 32

    Cool in the Sand

    whitecactushouse stock tank pool

    whitecactushouse / Instagram

    Dig down into the ground, situate your stock tank accordingly, then add a wood platform and some sand: You've got yourself a backyard beach. A few rolled towels and a spa-worthy tray of water and snacks make this stock tank pool setup from White Cactus House into a desert oasis.

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    DIY Bamboo

    stock tank photo bamboo

    @homebyhilary/Instagram

    Want to add an extra touch to your stock tank? Try covering it in bamboo rods like this one from Home by Hiliary. The bamboo came from Home Depot but can be found in plenty of home improvement stores. The bamboo was held together by zip ties to keep them in place, and the darker stain color adds a bit of extra depth to the decor. Placing the stock tank at the corner of the patio allows it to feel connected to the rest of the outdoor space, as well as keep it level.

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  • 20 of 32

    Light Things Up

    stock tank with string lights

    @renttheyellowdoorhouse/Instagram

    All a person has to do is follow the sparkling lights to find this cute stock tank hideaway at The Yellow Door House. The square concrete stepping stones and the long strands of string lights create a perfect path that leads directly to the stock tank, which has plenty of privacy thanks to the high fence and sizeable outdoor umbrella. Additionally, a few smaller stock tanks surround the back part of the pool and boast small trees—proof that stock tanks can be for more than just swimming,

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    Easy Access All the Way Around

    white stock tank pool surrounded by white rocks and flat square stones to walk on

    The Sommer Home/Instagram

    Placing a stock tank on top of a bed of smaller rocks is a common sight; however, it can make it slightly difficult to get in and out. Kaari Sommers has the perfect solution: placing larger flat stones all the way around to step on. Regardless of which side you want to enter or exit, you have easy access.

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  • 22 of 32

    Lounging and Swimming Together

    lis0915 instagram stock tank pool

    lis0915 / Instagram

    Lisa Martinez made her stock tank pool into a transitional space. Take a dip in the stock tank pool, grab a towel from the basket, drip dry on the patio, and then kick back in the butterfly chair with your feet up on a pouf. Adding a side table where you can place a drink and a book makes for the perfect summer day.

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  • 23 of 32

    Setting Stones

    stock tank with patio squares

    @willaditaranto/Instagram

    When working with an area that isn't grassy or an outright deck, some creativity has to come into play. This stock tank arrangement from Willa DiTaranto uses concrete patio stones in rows to allow a person to move across the gravel and take a dip in the pool whenever they feel like it.

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    Private Swim Club

    galvanizedchicboutique instagram stock tank pool

    galvanizedchicboutique / Instagram

    With privacy walls up, this stock tank pool is for you and your friends only. Adding personal signs and signature seating—like those adorable hammock chairs—are unique touches that make your backyard feel like an entirely different place. A nice added touch is to keep a stocked bar area nearby to create refreshing beverages while you're relaxing in the water.

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    Shielded from the Sun

    jakeohsnap stock tank pool

    jakeohsnap / Instagram

    If you live in an area surrounded by towering trees, an umbrella won't keep unwanted leaves from cluttering your oasis. The solid rooftop of this shelter keeps the swimmers cool and the pool clean of any falling debris. The wood planks on the siding make the pergola more of an architectural feature—a genius touch.

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    A Creative, Colorful Backdrop

    stock tank pool with painted shed

    @jenna.hazel/Instagram

    Personalizing a stock tank pool can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint—or, matching it to your shed. This gorgeous, colorful backyard from Jenna Hazel boasts a serene blue for the pool, which already changes the feel. Yet, the back of the shed showcases a mountain sunrise mural that is whimsical and colorful, and the color palette is a perfect fit for the stock tank.

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    Minimalist Spa

    hannahcat10 stocktank pool

    hannahcat10 / Instagram

    You don't have to go all out when deciding how to decorate; sometimes, simple is best. The small privacy screen for the stock tank pool by Hannah Reesor may not be necessary for this fenced yard, but it's a great addition, providing a spa-like atmosphere and even offering swimmers some shade. Add a few hooks and you double its use as a spot to hang towels.

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    Tasteful Stripes

    brown and white stock tank pool

    @dani.diy_/Instagram

    Painting your pool only one color doesn't have to be your only option. This striped stock pool from Danielle Dunn was a DIY masterpiece boasting brown and white stripes all the way around. The neutral color scheme matches the rest of the deck space and truly ties everything together.

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  • 29 of 32

    Create a Pathway

    stock tank pool with stenciled stepping stones

    @holly_valdivia/Instagram

    This wooden panel stock tank is already inviting, especially with the surrounding hedges and "just keep swimming" catchphrase in the background. Holly Valdivia decided to add some stencil work onto her pathway that leads to the tank and is proof that the little details truly matter when creating an atmosphere.

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    Personalized Pool

    orange stock tank sitting on wooden palettes, wooden lounge chairs

    Sunwoven/Instagram

    Erin Barrett of Sunwoven shows us how versatile and stunning stock tank pools can be. We love this bright orange one that adds a vibrant dose of cheer to the backyard space. Often, people focus on changing the decor surrounding their pool to personalize the space, but why not look to change the pool itself? On her Instagram page, Erin notes that she switches the paint color of her pool as a way to refresh her backyard every year.

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    Keep It Under a Pergola

    stock tank pool under pergola with lights

    @designermumetc/Instagram

    This gorgeous patio space from Belle of Designer Mum Etc. is incredibly cozy. The stock tank is nestled right into the patio, surrounded by plenty of candlelight and plant life. The pergola up above is covered in string lights that help illuminate the space in the evenings.

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  • 32 of 32

    Don't Forget the Landscaping

    stock tank garden

    @lisadieder/Instagram

    While adding a stock tank to your yard, it's easy to focus solely on the tank. However, the landscaping surrounding it can make all the difference. Lisa Stephenson transformed her backyard space by not only including a 9 ft stock tank, but surrounding it with plants galore, as well as neatly streamlined patio stones amongst the pebble gravel.