Putting a pool in your backyard can be a substantial expense. There is permitting to be done and surveying and then digging and building. Not to mention that once your swimming pool is in place, it will need landscaping and finishing work all around it. Obviously, each step of putting in a swimming pool is going to costs thousands of dollars. If you have always wanted a pool but are afraid of the investment, a DIY pool could be a great choice.
By taking on some of the work and responsibility on your own, you can get your dream pool for a whole lot less. There are, of course, some cautions and concerns about installing your own swimming pools. Here are some of the things that you should know before you start this process.
What Is a DIY Pool?
A DIY pool is one that you built yourself to try and save the money that it costs to have your pool built for you. The DIY pool requires much more effort than a typical pool construction, but the costs are going to be much more affordable. The entire process of building your swimming pool could take a weekend, and it could take several months; this all depends on how involved you want to get in the process. Sometimes it is worth contacting a pool builder before starting this project to ensure you are sure you want to head down this road.
DIY Swimming Pool Ideas
Obviously, building your own swimming pool is not a very conventional thing to do. This means that people get very creative with how they decide to build a pool. You will be shocked by the things that are used to create swimming pools. If you have some property and a bit of creativity, you can turn your backyard into something pretty incredible. The first part of the process is to consider the type of pool you are thinking of building. Here are a few ideas to broaden your horizons when it comes to DIY pool installation.
Inground Concrete Pool
If you have ever worked with concrete cinder blocks, you may know that they are relatively easy to work with. The cinder blocks stack on top of each other, and you can make sure that you are level and even without having to put in too much effort. Many people will dig a hole in their yard and use the cinder blocks to create the pool wall.
As you will soon come to learn, most of the DIY pools consist of some sort of a frame with a liner in the middle. The frame creates the shape of the pool, and the liner keeps the water in the pool. As long as the water in the backyard pool has no way to escape, it will function as a swimming pool.
The only thing you will need to add to this is a filtration system, and your pool will resemble something that was built by a professional. The great thing about the concrete pool is that it will keep its shape over time, and it is a durable option. This type of pool building takes a while to complete, but it is something that you will have for years to come.
Above Ground Stock Tank Pool
A stock tank is used in many different industries, mainly dealing with the marine industry or seafood. Stock tanks can come in a few different materials. Still, the galvanized ones make for a speedy and easy pool installation. You can purchase the stock tank in a variety of sizes, and it is something that is meant to be filled with water at all times.
This means you won’t have to worry about rusting or deterioration over the years. The stock tank pool is easy to build a deck around, and although you will be limited by the sizes available, this is a unique and straightforward option for an above-ground pool.
Above Ground Pallet Pool
If you thought you could get through an online DIY list without hearing something about pallets, think again. Pallets are used in so many ways, and they are very easy to get. When it comes to materials, a pallet will be one of the cheapest types out there. With a pallet pool, you will have to build a frame using the pallets and then simply attach a liner.
Of course, you will have to be careful that the sides are built evenly and that the ground under the pool is level. You can then easily finish the outside of the pallets to look a little better and match the yard you are using it in.
Shipping Container Pool
Shipping containers are located all around us, and they are sometimes not suitable for shipping needs anymore. If you want a unique pool that will be the envy of all of your neighbors, a shipping container pool is a great idea to consider. The one thing that will set the shipping container pool apart is the depth. This is one of the deeper DIY pools, and you won’t have to do any digging to get this depth.
With a shipping container, you can create a very high-sided above-ground swimming pool. You will need to be creative about building some stairs and a deck up to your pool, but you will be surprised by the size of this pool once you have it built in your yard. We love that the shipping container swimming pools help eliminate some waste globally, and they repurpose old products.
DIY Natural Swimming Pool Pond
Some homeowners are reluctant to get a pool in the yard as it will stand out and take away from the landscaping. However, what if you could modify your pool construction so that it actually adds to the landscaping instead of taking away from it. One of the more accessible DIY pools to create is a natural swimming hole or pond in the yard.
For this method, you can get ready to do a lot of digging and a lot of landscaping. Many people will dig a hole and then place a very thick vinyl liner in the hole. Of course, you will still need a building permit to do something like this. The hole has to be appropriately prepared; however, it is possible. This type of swimming pool is not usually all that deep, but the great thing about it is the landscaping that can be done around it.
Many people will add in rocks and plants to make the pool look almost like a pond in the backyard. The great thing about this is that if you add a filtration system and start taking care of the water properly, your pond can also function as a small inground swimming pool.
Hay Bales Pool
As you may remember, when we first started talking about building a swimming pool in your yard, we mentioned the importance of thinking outside of the box. There are so many ideas out there to create a pool, and honestly, some are better than others. If you have quite a bit of hay on you properly, you can make an above-ground pool with minimal effort. These pools typically have to be fairly low in-depth because the hay will not support larger sides of the pool.
Simply stack your hay bales around the property in the shape of the pool you want. We would not recommend going more than two to three bales high. Then you can place your liner in the middle and fill the pool. This will be a better temporary pool and allow for some summer fun and floating around. This would be a tough pool to install a filtration system in, and it may be better off used as a temporary option.
Above-Ground Turned Inground
One option that people will do to try and save money is they will purchase an above-ground pool and partially bury it to make it seem like an inground pool. This is something that many DIY pool owners have been doing for years. Although it can work great, it is not a perfect option for everyone. You must be very careful how the pool is installed to ensure that it does not collapse when put in the ground. Only certain types of higher quality above-ground pools will work with this DIY method.
However, if you can do this right, you will save quite a bit of money putting the inground pool into your yard.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool?
The cost of a swimming pool will depend significantly on the type of pool and who is doing the installation. If you hire a pool company to put your pool in, you will pay between $40,000 and $70,000 for an inground pool. A pool contractor may charge between $4000 and $12000 for an above-ground swimming pool. The bottom line is that you will need quite a bit of money to have a pool built for you.
When it comes to your DIY project of building your own pool, you won’t need to spend quite as much money. In fact, the amount you pay could be anywhere from around $3000 to $10000. Remember that these costs also include the filter components needed to keep the pool safe to swim in.
Overall, pools are expensive; however, if you have some unique and creative ideas and you are ready to take on the work, you will be quite happy with the results that you get.
Considerations When Deciding to Create a DIY Pool
You need to think about a lot of things when you are building your own pool. We will cover some of the most important ones to make sure that you have a good handle on this process and all that is involved.
Above Ground or Inground
One of the significant parts of this decision is deciding whether or not the inground or above-ground pool will be the right fit for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these. Analyze the materials you have, the people swimming in the pool, and the size of the pool you want to have.
There are specific permitting issues that you will have to work out before installing your pool. Although the pool itself may only take a weekend or so to build, you are going to need to make sure that it is acceptable and legal to put a pool in at your property. Permitting also helps to make sure that your pool is following certain safety standards.
If a swimming pool is not level, it is never going to help filter water properly. You will have areas of the pool where you can see that the water is not level, and there will be certain sections of the pool where water does not flow properly. Leveling takes a long time, but you have to consider whether your property is level enough to install a swimming pool.
The building process of putting in your own pool can be quite complicated. You can’t expect that you will be done with this in a few hour’s time. Some of the DIY pools take weeks or months to build. Once your pool is finished, you may have a deck to build or come up with some landscaping ideas to make sure that the garden area looks good as well. You will likely need some help with the design and some family for the labor of these projects. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to make sure that the pool is done correctly.
Unfortunately, putting a pool in the yard is only part of this process. You will also need to consider how you are going to keep the pool clean. Pools will need a pump and a filter to clean the water. If you are building a pool, you will have to consider these things and make sure you purchase the proper equipment. You will also have to leave holes or cut holes in your pool equipment to install the pool plumbing. Make sure you have considered the details of how you expect to keep the pool clean.
Depending on where you live, your pool may need to be winterized. The winterization process will help make sure that your pool stays in good shape season after season. If you are installing an unconventional pool, make sure that you consider the pool cover you plan to use on your pool. DIY projects like this have a lot of factors that need to be considered, however in the end, as long as you follow the plan, you will likely find success.
A DIY pool may not last for all that long. Pool contractors often have to give some kind of a warranty when they install a pool. However, when you take on your own DIY pool project, you may find that the pool only lasts a few years. Although you save thousands of dollars, long term, you may replace a DIY pool much more often. Choose materials that you think will last so that you are not regretting your decision to take on this project.
Water Chemistry Balance
Pools need chlorine and other chemicals to stay clean and safe to swim. Depending on your pool’s location and the materials you are using, you must ensure that you can get the pool water chemistry balanced. Talk to an expert and do a bit of research about the process to ensure that the water can be balanced properly. It will take a little while to get your chlorine and pH to be perfect, and then you will need to monitor it continually.
How to Build Your Own Pool
How you build your swimming pool will depend very much on the type of pool you are building and where you plan on putting the pool. Each of these options will be a bit different, but we will give you some basic tips on how to build your own swimming pool.
DIY Inground Pool
The best way for the home pool builder to put together an inground pool is to build it from concrete. The concrete blocks are easy to work with, and you don’t need to be a mason to figure out how to put a rectangle in your backyard.
The most important thing to remember about the concrete pool is that it must be leveled before building. The ground under the pool has to be level in order for you to start putting the blocks down. Once everything is in place, you should continually check to make sure the pool still remains level.
As you are building, think about the filtration and plumbing systems associated with the pool. You will have to make cutouts for these and run the proper fittings to ensure the pool can remain clean as you are using it.
Once your concrete blocks are in place, installing the liner and finishing the pool’s exterior should be a bit faster. The majority of the money spent on this pool will be the liner and the blocks; however, this is a long-term option for your yard.
DIY Above-Ground Pool
An above-ground pool can be built in several different ways. One of our favorite ways to do a DIY above-ground pool is to use a stock tank. These are simple to find and relatively inexpensive. You can leave your stock tank entirely above the water, but you can also partially bury it to make it look a bit more natural in the pool.
Some people use pallets to create an above-ground pool. You can get creative with different building materials, but you must ensure you have filtration and water flow throughout. If you can’t keep the water clean, your pool won’t last.
Another option that is not thought of often enough is purchasing an above-ground pool kit. These are the kits that pool builders will use to install a pool for you. However, if you are a bit nervous about the DIY option, you could purchase a pool kit and then install it yourself. This option may cost a bit more upfront, but you will likely run into fewer long-term problems.
DIY Plunge Pool
A plunge pool is essentially a miniature pool. With a plunge pool, you can dip in, cool off, and hop back out. When you install a plunge pool, you will not be doing laps, but you will undoubtedly add a unique feature to your yard.
One of the things that we like about the plunge pool is that you can use many different materials because of its size. We have seen everything from stock tanks to shipping containers to old dumpsters used as plunge pools.
Some, however, have built a plunge pool using a wood frame and a vinyl pool liner. When you build a plunge pool, make sure that you consider the depth and that it is low enough for people to at least cool off. You will not want to build something that is more like a wading pool.
Regardless of the materials that you use, make sure that they are well protected from the elements they will be exposed to under the ground. Wood-framed plunge pools will deteriorate over time.
DIY Fiberglass Pool
A DIY fiberglass pool is a bit more complicated than some of the other models out there. Most people will hire a pool contractor when installing a fiberglass pool. With this option, you will purchase the kit, and then you will have to deal with getting the fiberglass in place. It is hard to get the fiberglass level, and you will likely need to rent equipment to get this project completed.
If you are looking for a simple solution for a pool for your yard, we don’t recommend trying the fiberglass pool on your own. This is something that makes more sense to hire a contractor for.
Problems That Could Arise With DIY Pools
As great as it is to install a pool for yourself and save money, some issues will come up with this process. As always, saving money is important, but it is equally important to be safe and compliant. Here are a few things that could come up as a problem long-term with a DIY pool.
Unfortunately, there are issues with permitting that often come up when building a pool in your yard. It is not acceptable to just start digging a hole for a swimming pool even though it is on your property. Before you dig, there are application permits that you must get. Even when you install an above-ground swimming pool, you will need to make sure it is placed on your property correctly and that there are no zoning problems that would prevent this.
People who don’t follow the proper steps in the beginning part of the process will pay the long-term price.
When you build a swimming pool, you really can’t cut corners. You must make sure that the project is completed diligently and safe for people to use. If there are issues with how the filtration system is put into place or areas that could corrode or fall apart long term, the pool will not have been a way to save money. In fact, you will end up investing more money than you initially expected.
Depending on the materials you use, and how you install the pool, there could be long-term issues with it remaining in good shape. Sometimes a DIY pool is a way to save money short-term, but long-term, it could cost you when you have to replace it more often.
A home with a pool typically sells for some extra money; however, new owners will sometimes be skeptical of the installation and process of a DIY pool. In the end, this could actually end up hurting the sale price you get for the house. Having a pool contractor put the pool in could make you a bit of money in the long run.
DIY Pool FAQ
Here are a few questions that people have about installing their own swimming pool. This idea and concept are not all that foreign, and there are plenty of people doing this in their yard every summer.
Can I Make My Own Swimming Pool?
You can make your own swimming pool as long as you take certain precautions and follow the proper permitting. There are a variety of materials that you can use to create a pool in your yard, and some of them you may already have access to. Making your own swimming pool will not cost as much as having a pool installed; however, it will take more of your time.
Is It Possible to Build Your Own Inground Pool?
You can build your own inground pool, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to use concrete blocks. You will have to spend plenty of time leveling the pool and making sure that it can properly filter water, but it is possible.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Build a Swimming Pool?
The cheapest way to build a swimming pool is to dig a hole and put a liner in it. However, this type of pool is a bit difficult to rely on in the long run. Putting a stock tank or a shipping container in your yard is also an inexpensive way to install a pool that will last for many years.
Is It Illegal to Build Your Own Pool?
In most areas, it is not illegal to build your own pool as long as you check the zoning and get the proper permits. If you apply for permits and you don’t get them, this is where there could be legal issues. Suppose you install a pool without proper permission in place. In that case, you will have significant issues with compliance and be subject to fees.
Is a Homemade Pool Right for You?
A homemade pool certainly saves money. However, it is a good idea to consider the alternatives out there before you decide that a homemade pool is the right choice. Some above-ground pool kit options could be relatively close in price to the homemade pool but require a bit less creativity and effort on your part. There is quite a bit of room for error when installing your own homemade pools, but plenty of people have had success with this method. Before you grab your shovel and start creating an area to place your pool, make sure that you have considered all aspects of this.
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.