How to Build a Hay Bale and Tarp Pool
You can build a refreshing above-ground pool in just one afternoon by simply using hay bales and a tarp.
Nothing beats a cool pool when you want to cool off, relax with friends or simply float in warm water with a frosty cold one in hand and let all the tensions of the day slip out of your body.
Unfortunately, you may not have a pool, and the cost of building one can be prohibitive, not to mention the time, noise and hassle of pool construction. Plus, it’s a well-known fact that the cost of building a pool adds little or no value to the equity in your house.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative to traditional in-ground and above-ground pools that’s simple, cheap, environmentally responsible and — best of all — lots of fun for you, your family and friends. You can build a refreshing, attractive above-ground pool in just one afternoon simply using hay bales and a tarp.
Before you begin, you need to think about a few things. First, you’ll have to decide how many hay bales you’ll need. Generally, about 80 bales of hay will be sufficient for a 30 foot by 40 foot tarp.
Next, you’ll need to pick a tarp. Many different colors, styles and materials are available for tarps. Polyethylene and vinyl are two popular materials, for instance. Whichever material you choose, however, make sure it’s waterproof. In this case, of course, you want the tarp to hold water in rather than keep it out.
You’ll also need a way of keeping the bales in place solidly and keeping the tarp on the bales and the ground. There are a few ways to accomplish these tasks. To keep your hay bales stable, you can simply tie a rope very tightly around the bales once you've arranged them. This will ensure that the pressure of the water won’t push them outward. Another option is to drive stakes through the bales to anchor them in the ground.
You also have a few options for keeping the tarp on the bales. Some people simply use large staples to attach the tarp to the underlying bales. Others use an even simpler method, just putting weights such as sand bags on top of the tarp and bales.
Sand bags also work perfectly as weights to keep the bottom part of the tarp solidly on the ground. If you don’t have sand bags readily available, other inexpensive options are possible. Jugs filled with water, for instance, are heavy and will do the job.
Once you've made your plan and assembled all your materials, it’s time to get started. All you really have to do is find a flat, level place for your pool. Then, you’re ready to get to work. Although building your custom hay bale and tarp pool will only take a few hours, consider inviting friends and neighbors over. Instead of an old-fashioned barn-raising, think of this as a new-fashioned pool raising. Sooner than you know it, you’ll be hosting your own pool parties.