massive pool
Cody Medina
Cody Medina
October 21, 2020 ·  3 min read

This Man Built A 500,000-Gallon Pool In His Backyard, And It’s The Stuff That Childhood Dreams Are Made Of

There are many out there with the dream of building their own functional pool or maybe even a hot tub in their backyard. However, for a family like the Thornton’s, a regular-sized DIY pool was never going to cut it. You have to go big or go home.

Born and raised in Covington, Tennessee, Micky Thornton has always had big dreams of an awesome backyard pool. Dedicating his childhood, and much of his adulthood, to creating one of the most incredible DIY masterpieces anyone could hope to make.

This dream DIY pool project came to Thornton when he was about nine or ten years old, he claims. He said that he didn’t want something that felt like you were trapped in a little box when you swam around. For him, this wasn’t going to be just a pool. This was going to be something extraordinary that was going to last a lifetime. (1)

The DIY Pool Dream

At 39 years of age Thornton said that if there was any time to build something like this, it might as well be right now. It was Labor Day 1993 when Thornton first decided that he was going to make the ultimate DIY dream pool. Except this pool was going to be a pond. The pond started at 20 feet deep and lined with a polyethylene mat. (1)

By 2017 the pool had essentially turned into what was an aquatic playground. This masterpiece used 40,000 pounds of steel rebar, 320 yards of gunite (a cement mixture), it featured rock-lined waterfalls and contains half a million gallons of water.

Why Did He Make Such a Massive Pool?

Thornton said that he initially wanted the pool for family use only. But as his DIY pool gained attraction from the public, people started offering to pay money to swim. Eventually, the Thornton family started setting up regular donation prices for attendees. The Thornton’s pool was now available to the public. People are now able to reserve the DIY pool for athletic teams, birthday parties, weddings, and even baptisms.

They have reportedly baptized over 400 people from the various churches in the area in the massive dream pool. (2)

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This is what I got to do today. No big deal. #ThorntonsPool

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Thornton’s wife, Jane Thornton, said that she’s received offers from the Japanese national baseball team to come use the pool. She states that she was expecting maybe 25 people total to come. However, much to her surprise, the team brought more than 50 people for some fun in the pool.

Read: What Do You Think Of This Amazing Swimming Pool Made Out Of A Shipping Container?

What Is The Maintenance Like For A DIY Pool?

Thornton claims he’s had to make multiple adjustments over the years to the DIY pool. Over the first 15 years, Thornton had to do some major modifications by upgrading the rubber lining, adding in waterfalls, and most of the rock decorations. Thornton has even created his own filtration system. It wasn’t until about 2013 when the Thornton family made the DIY pool look like it does today. (2) Donations have also helped with the upkeep of the pool.

What Was The Cost For This DIY Pool?

Thornton never specifically said how much the project cost him, but there have been similar projects. On such project in Alberta, Canada, the Leussinks DIY pool project, consists of 31,700-gallons of water. Using similar materials and the same concept, it cost them around $15,000. However, this project focused on pool length instead of depth. The Leussinks is only 14 feet deep, whereas Thornton’s is 20. (1) The additional water most likely would add to the cost. In the end, it’s difficult to know the exact price but its probably safe to say that it wasn’t cheap.

What Is The Pool Like Today?

In case you’re wondering, we’re not sure if the Thornton’s DIY pool masterpiece is still available to the public. As of 2017, The family was still offering its pool to the community, and it has garnered excellent reviews over the years. We’re really hoping they are still around!

Keep reading: How To Build The Coolest Looking ‘Pallet Swimming Pool’ Ever, Using Only 40 Pallets!