A Man-Made Backyard Lake


Pool Owner & Builder: Mickey Thornton

Location: Covington, Tennessee


·      Mickey designed, built and engineered the majority of the pool by himself over a period of nearly three decades--all in his backyard!

·      The pool is a staggering 500,000 gallons

·      Measures 95ft across with 8,000 sqft of surface area

·      The pool has 320 yards of gunite and 40,000 pounds of steel rebar

·      It’s 15ft at its deepest point and 3ft at the most shallow

·      A massive mountain area with two rock-lined waterfalls

·      Features a telephone pole rope swing, a diving board and a floating, anchored raft that measures 8ft x 12ft

·      It’s own filtration system that Mickey invented

·      A pavilion and fire-pit area


Mickey could swim before he could walk. Literally! He’s been a man of the water since he was a child and he remembers as far back as eight years old his dream of having his own backyard swimming paradise. Once he reached his late 30’s Mickey figured that he should stop talking about it, roll up his sleeves and get to work! Initially, the swimming hole was 20 feet deep, lined with a polyethylene mat. However, Mickey wanted the pool to be so large that "you could swim around it and not feel like you were trapped in a little box.” Mickey always wanted it to look and feel like a real lake, one deep enough to explore with his scuba gear. In 1998 and '99 the Thornton’s replaced the rubber liner and added a waterfall and most of the rock decoration, but it only lasted 15 years. In 2013 they updated the pool to what it looks like today.


Thornton had to create his own filtration system from the start, one that is more effective and efficient than most pumps on the market today. The pool features a shallow area for parents and children. There’s a 32ftx34ft pavilion for relaxing, gathering and enjoying food and drink. Mickey has hidden little details all over the pool area to be discovered. He’s left fossil patterns of old shells and fish, the handprints of his grandchildren as well as appropriately placed Bible verses and sayings etched into the sides of the pool. Also, don’t leave the pool without saying, “Hello!” to Mickey’s pet prairie dogs that have their own pen overlooking the pool. This pool is a labor of love for Mickey. Don’t be fooled by thinking he’s content! Mickey always has plans for building, tweaking and adding to his lake-like paradise!