How to Make Simple Wading Pools


Hot summer days mean sprinkler weather and, for lucky kids and grown-ups, the chance to chill or splash around in a shallow pond. If you don't have a swimming pool but you'd like a temporary wading pond, an afternoon of digging -- with helpers -- and a heavy pond liner will turn the yard into a water world. It's all reversible if you break down and agree to install a real pool.

Things You'll Need

  • String
  • Garden hose
  • Shovel
  • Carpenter's level
  • Straight board
  • Commercial grade pond liner
  • Scissors
  • Sand or newspaper
  • Large flat rocks or pavers
  • Outline the wading pool with string or a garden hose. Try to pick a fairly level, sunny and rock-free stretch of ground for the pool.

  • Dig a shallow hole in the space you marked off, 1 to 2 feet deep and at least 6 feet around, keeping it fairly even in depth all the way around. Lay a flat board in the hole and place a carpenter's level on the board to see if the hole is level. Remove any sharp rocks or debris from the hole to avoid puncturing the pond liner.

  • Spread a layer of sand or several inches of old newspapers in the hole to protect the pond liner from punctures and tender toes from getting stubbed. With compression from water weight and people, a few missed rocks may poke up from below and the sand or paper provides padding.

  • Lay the pond liner in the hole. Start by placing the center of the liner in the center of the hole and spreading it out to the edges, up and over the edge of the pool all the way around. Don't leave big wrinkles but don't stretch it tight. The water will do that.

  • Place a rim of flat stones or pavers around the pool's border on the liner. Fold the liner back over the stones and place another row of pavers in top of the liner to hold it in place. Trim any excess pool liner with sharp scissors.

  • Fill the wading pool with water and splash around.

Tips & Warnings

  • The hole you dig can be repurposed for a vegetable garden with the addition of compost to the soil you removed.
  • Use a bucket brigade of eager kids to help empty the pool so it can be hosed out and refilled with clean water.
  • Any container of water should be strictly monitored to be sure small children can't crawl or fall into it and drown. Cover, fence or otherwise block access to the pool when it is not in use and post a "lifeguard" whenever kids are playing in it.

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  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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