Micky Thornton had always dreamed of a backyard pool as a kid. As many of us did.
But as an adult, Thornton decided to make his fantasy a reality, which is another thing entirely. And he didn’t just want your standard swimming hole outside his home in Covington, Tennessee — he wanted something much bigger.
“To start with, I probably had the idea when I was 9 or 10 years old,” Thornton said in an interview with WREG-TV out of Memphis. “I wanted [the pool] large in the deep end but large and deep enough you could swim around it and not feel like you are trapped in a little box.”
Turning Dreams Into Reality
In 1993, Thornton started building what resembled more of an attraction at a water park than a backyard pool at his house.
The pool is made up of 320 yards of gunite (a cement-sand mixture used in lining tunnels and structural repairs), 40,000 pounds of steel rebar, rock-lined waterfalls, sprayers and an estimated 500,000 gallons of water. To put that into perspective, an in-ground pool that measures 24 feet by 44 feet with a 5-foot average depth, which is pretty massive itself, holds less than 40,000 gallons of water.
Check out this video from WREG that shows photos of this unique pool’s evolution over the years.
Although the pool was originally intended for family use, the stunning creation attracted the attention of friends and neighbors, whom Thornton and his wife, Jane, let swim free of charge. People who visited kept offering to pay to use the aquatic playground, so eventually the couple decided on a fixed donation price.
Now people can rent the pool for events such as birthday parties, family reunions and even weddings and baptisms.
“Of the different churches, there have been over 400 people baptized in the pool,” Thornton told WREG. “Which is something I think is kind of neat.”
The Japanese national baseball team has even taken a dip in it.
“They called and asked if we could have them over for an afternoon,” Jane Thornton recalled. “I thought, ‘Sure, there are nine guys on the field, probably a total of 25 people.’ Wrong. There was 50.”
The Thorntons certainly weren’t the first people to build a massive backyard swimming spot, but they may just have taken things to a whole other level.
Another Massive Backyard Pool To The North
Another couple, based in Sundre, Alberta, Canada, wanted to create a place where they could spend quality time with family and friends. So Jerry and Marina Leussink created the perfect resort right on their farm, which includes a 317,000-gallon swimming pond they constructed themselves.
Jerry Leussink says he has many fond memories of enjoying the pond on the farm where he grew up, so he wanted to recreate a space that was similar on his own property.
The swimming pond is an incredible 90 feet long and 70 feet wide. For reference, a football field’s end zone is about 160 feet by 30 feet, so you can get a sense for how large this manmade pond is.
It’s about 14 feet deep in the deep end when completely full, but there is also a shallow area so that the littlest of family members can enjoy the pool, too.
The first couple of years after the pool was constructed, they used it without a liner, which worked well with the clay soil base. But after a while, weeds started to become an issue, so the Leussinks put in a liner.
Of course, for any type of pond, it’s important to manage the water quality, so Jerry uses several forms of chlorine in conjunction with algaecide and a solar powered aeration system, which he constructed himself.
Jerry also built a patio and dock for people to walk right into the pond, plus a deck that can double as a dance floor in the evening (how fun is that?!). Solar lights illuminate the area, making it a great place to spend time even after the sun has set.
You’re probably wondering how much something like this cost, right?
Jerry says the grand total for the entire project came to around $15,000, which he says isn’t a big investment considering how much fun it has created for his entire family.
Find out more about the Leussink’s pond in the video below: