Let’s face it: escaping the summer heat isn’t always as simple as it should be. Running the AC all day really puts a hurting on that electric bill, and not everyone is lucky enough to live near the cool waters of the ocean. Recently, though, one New Orleans resident created a solution for his own battle with the summer heat.

Using an old dumpster and an excavator, he started digging up his backyard. By the time he’d finished, he’d made his yard the coolest on the block—and his neighbors were calling him a genius! You’re going to be in awe when you see how he beat the heat…

Stefan Beese was an experimental architect with lots of bright ideas. While he’d designed waterfronts in Germany and built “voodoo” sculptures for a New Orleans park, there was one personal project that took on that might’ve been his best work yet…

While at home one summer in New Orleans, Louisiana, the German-born builder and designer considered his backyard’s lack of a swimming pool. With a shotgun-style house like the one here, there wasn’t much room in the yard for such a luxury… or was there?

In his line of work, Stefan never shied away from a challenge, so he wasn’t going to let that stop him. With a little bit of that architect’s ingenuity, he devised a plan for the perfect swimming pool. The project started with an excavator…

Stefan Beese via HGTV

For this pool in particular, Stefan and his crew leveled off a patch of ground 24 feet long and eight feet wide. Then he dumped a thick layer of limestone gravel down over the level surface. Next up? The centerpiece of the project…

Stefan Beese via HGTV

Stefan ordered a 30-cubic-yard dumpster to serve as the pool itself. He chose a dumpster because it was already the ideal size, and thanks to its structural integrity, he wouldn’t need to do much additional work on the shell.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

Stefan and his crew carefully applied a layer of tar and sealed up any cracks or corroding dents. He layered on a coat of anti-corrosion paint after that. This thing had to be able to withstand the pressure of a lot of water.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

Because scraping toes on the inside of an old dumpster seemed like the quickest way to ruin a pool party, Stefan insulated the interior with a half-inch of high-density foam. For extra protection, a custom pool liner went in next.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

Of course, a raised dumpster wasn’t likely to look very appealing, so Stefan included a little cosmetic work in his design. Using pressure-treated pine boards, he framed the dumpster and started constructing a small deck.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

In Stefan’s mind, this wasn’t going to be just a deck. Pictured here, a worker installed a bench that would eventually double as storage space. And that cut-out square near the back wall? That was going to be a shower! But there was still a lot of work to do.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

Anything that wasn’t aesthetically pleasing earned its own private place where no one would see it. Stefan attached a steel hookup on the dumpster and hid it behind a bench. He also spray-painted the underbelly black.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

By this point, Stefan and his crew had completed a majority of the wooden framing around the dumpster pool. And remember how Stefan wanted to hide all of the ugly stuff? He had a special plan for the filtration system…

Stefan Beese via HGTV

All the pumps, hoses, and hardware went into a hidden compartment on the far side of the pool. Though he utilized a salt-water filtration system, Stefan’s pool hooked up to his house’s plumbing so he’d always have fresh water available!

Stefan Beese via HGTV

The wooden slats (pictured) covered up the knobs, filters, and hoses when they weren’t being tinkered with or twisted. Unless you were looking for them, you’d never know there was anything there!

Stefan Beese via HGTV

For Stefan, a dumpster pool with a bit of neat framework didn’t cut it. His instincts as an architect pushed him into putting a lot of time and effort into the wooden frame, too. Here, he used nails and dowels that blended in with the surface.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

For the final design, Stefan looked to Japanese bathhouses as his biggest inspiration. He stained the horizontal boards—which matched the pattern on his home just a few feet away—with a reddish tint. The bench and shower turned out beautifully, too!

Stefan Beese via HGTV

And just a few thousand dollars later? Stefan had an eye-popping pool that turned heads all over New Orleans! A wall between his and his neighbor’s yards gave his family additional privacy.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

Stefan’s son learned how to swim inside the former dumpster, and his wife—once a competitor swimmer—used the pool quite a bit, as well. It took just three strokes for her to make it from one side to another. (It took Stefan five.)

Stefan Beese via HGTV

But what if Stefan wanted to move? Would he have to break down his dumpster pool? Would he have to give up his hard work to whomever bought his home? Nope! The smart architect accounted for all of that.

Stefan Beese via HGTV

First off, the wooden framework was easily removable. Because of this, Stefan could uncover that hidden steel hookup, attach the drained dumpster pool to a truck, and then simply drive it down the highway!

Stefan Beese via HGTV

In the end, “I wanted it to be a contemporary modern component in the garden,” Stefan said of his project. “I liked the concept of how a dumpster could be hidden. I like the idea that people would ask, ‘Is that fiberglass? What is that?’ I like the surprise.”

Ironically, across the street from Stefan’s house, a rusted dumpster covered in graffiti sat in a vacant lot. Every single time he stepped outside his front door, he was reminded of just how far his own backyard pool had come!

Who would’ve thought that you could make a pool out of so something so unexpected? It sure gives new meaning to “dumpster diving!”

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