The weather in Middle Tennessee makes swimming a dream from Memorial Day right through Labor Day. The downside of this optimal swimming region is that every public pool worth visiting is packed when you want to take a dip! Sure, you can drive out into the wilderness to swim near a waterfall, but if you’re like the rest of us, you find yourself fantasizing about how much you and your family would love to have your own backyard pool.

Unless you have a hefty savings account with an extra $80,000 to spare, it can be difficult to justify spending that much to secure access to a peaceful swim anytime you please. Hold off for a moment if you’ve been mulling over swallowing your pride and ordering an above-ground pool for the summer. We have some ideas that can get you results much closer to the luxury aquatic getaway of your dreams.

Get Creative with a Stock Tank 

This type of DIY pool is a sizzling hot trend for homeowners who are cultivating an Americana, rustic, or farmhouse style of architecture or décor. These charming tanks can be purchased for a mere few hundred dollars, and a stock of chlorine tabs with a filter will only add another hundred. Setup is easy, usually taking a long afternoon to complete, and your stock tank pool will be ready to enjoy in time for your next backyard party!

The Surprisingly Elegant Shipping Container Pool

If you have an interest in alternative architecture, you’ve no doubt seen how popular shipping containers have become. Whether they are used as year-round homes, vacation spots, or rented out seasonally, the use of container pools has become its own art form.

Now, shipping containers are also being used as the basis for beautiful pools! They are available in either 8’x12’ or 8’x40’ configurations and range from $16,000 to $40,000. Installation and setup takes one day rather than weeks, which means you can have a beautiful, well-lit pool up and running quickly.

Consider a Cocktail Pool

If you have your heart set on the aesthetics and feel of an in-ground pool, you can still save tens of thousands of dollars by opting for a pool with a small footprint. These smaller pools, called spools or cocktail pools, can be had for $30,000 or less, including labor.

Schedule time with a pool installer recommended in your area and ask about the various materials and styles available. Be straightforward about your budget and ask the expert how you can get the most bang for your buck. Keep in mind that the average cocktail pool is 350 square feet, so this option will only work if this size is sufficient for your family’s needs.

Semi-In-Ground Pools: Affordable yet Classy

Most homeowners aren’t thrilled with the look of an above-ground pool. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with them, they aren’t a fixture of a Middle Tennessee suburb.

Still, there’s no denying that they are affordable, and they provide children with plenty of space to swim all summer long.

If you love the affordability of an above-ground pool but loathe the look, you may find your happy medium with a semi-in-ground pool. These clever pools are set down into the ground, then a deck is built up around them to blend them seamlessly into your backyard. They are available at a range of prices, but $16,000 will get you a top-quality setup that will endure for decades (though maintenance and upgrades may be required from time to time).

Introduce Natural Beauty with a Backyard Pond

With some DIY ingenuity and plenty of time, you can carve out a natural backyard pond. Rather than using the typical materials and filtration systems most pools require, you can learn how to create a pool from natural materials. Gravel, clay, and stones will replace rebar, concrete, and fiberglass, and mutualistic aquatic plants and fish can both filter the water and consume mosquito larvae.

If swimming in the wilderness has always been more your speed than pristine, chlorinated pools, this alternative could become your new, delightful hobby that you continue for decades.

The Takeaway

We all wish traditional in-ground pools were more affordable, especially when the year's hottest temperatures are almost upon us. Whether you make a decision and enact a plan this year, or simply begin researching and planning which alternative design will suit your lifestyle best for 2025, we hope this article has given you some inspiration and fresh ideas.

If you have an alternative-style pool in your yard, we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly—the more information, the better.

Stay cool this summer, dear reader, and we hope to hear that you are happily splashing away at your own home no later than this coming year.

Posted by Parks Real Estate on


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