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We are forever indebted to the first person who thought to fill a shiny tub of galvanized steel (which is technically made for feeding livestock) with water to stay cool in the summer. Much more roomy than an inflatable kiddie pool, but a whole lot less costly than an in-ground option, stock tanks are the best bet for people who want to swim but can’t shell out a small fortune on construction. Purchasing a basin isn’t the issue (you can get one from tractor supply companies for around $280)—it’s a matter of making it look like a legitimate place to soak once it’s in your backyard that’s the tough part. 

These shimmery metal tubs, which surprisingly don’t get burning hot in the sun, says SoCal-based designer Bri Moysa,are like blank canvases. A lick of paint, a miniature deck, and a proper pump will have them feeling like the real deal in no time—and you can accomplish it all on a tight budget. Moysa achieved her backyard oasis for $600, wood platform and all. Here are seven more ideas for helping your tank reach its full potential. 

Build It Into the Ground


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If you really want your tank to feel like it’s a part of the landscape, dig a hole so it’s nearly level with the grass. The DIYer behind this one simply put down a few bags of paver sand before dropping the tub in. 

Treat It Like a Bathroom


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Channel spa vibes by incorporating a proper tub filler. This one has two spigots so you can control the temperature, and the accent wall provides extra privacy. 

Pave the Way


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Ashley Petrone made her setup feel complete simply by lining her tank with stone pavers and carving out a walkway. The whole thing, pebbles included, cost $600. With three little ones jumping in and out, the hard surface helps soak up some of the water so the grass doesn’t get sloppy.

Add an Artful Stripe


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With some basic blue painter’s tape and two contrasting colors, you can create a graphic design. Also, your stock tank doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. This oblong version is great for soaking solo. 

Enclose It With a Bench


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Constructed from pressure-treated 1-by-6s (the top of the bench) and 2-by-4s (the stands and bracing), this circular platform allows people who just want to stick their toes in to still be part of the fun. 

Clad It in Wood


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Wrap your tank in planks of wood (an aromatic cedar works great for this), bound together with metal strapping, for an authentic desert look. 

Bring on the Plants


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To keep your tank from feeling like it’s floating out in the middle of nowhere, pepper some tall plants and baskets around it. A cactus and some terracotta pots make this one’s simple white facade pop. 

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.