DIY Bowl Project

Our Friend Pat, decided to do what many day-dream about, build a bowl in his back yard. We decided to ask him some questions about it, to learn how such a task is tackled, and if it’s possible for anyone to build their own fun… Here are some answers, and some photos of the build in progress.

Name, Age, current Location, years shredding-
Pat Lowery, 35 years old, Richmond Va. Zero years of shredding, but 25 years of trying to shred.

What inspired you to build your own kidney pool in your back yard?
It’s the dream of every 16 year old. isn’t it? I’ve always liked skating things that just flow. Just going fast, carving and grinding. There has never been anything here that skates like that, So i decided I’d make it. Last winter around the time i was looking for a house I found a blog about a dude building a bowl for skating only. It only cost him like $6000, so the idea started there.

Can you explain the basic parts of the process, from the start, to the its current point right now?

It starts out with paper work. Permits weren’t too bad, basically if you are doing owner/builder you get a lot of lenience. i had to draw up plans and have them stamped by a structural engineer, get a professional survey done, and kiss up to the dudes at the permit office.

Digging was the most work. We rented a bobcat mini excavator for a week and went crazy. Note to anyone doing this over dig a little and backfill. then we shaped it up 6-8 inches back from what would be the riding surface. This is where you dudes (BMX) kicked ass. You guys got digging and shaping done in an hour or two that was taking us a day or two. Thanks again by the way.

Rebar wasn’t bad either. It took us two to three days of bending and tieing it.

The pour was super rad, Luckily we had two super experienced dudes here. It’s all about really having forms in there ready, and the right tools. Friends made cutters that fit the radius’ perfect. Tim and Hippy hooked those up. To anyone thinking about it, this is the day you need experienced help!!

Can you give us a rough estimate of a cost comparison by doing this yourself, versus hiring someone to do this for you?
This is going to come in around $11,000 total. A pool company would charge at least $30,000 if not $40,000

What are some of the ballups you have come into along the way?
Getting rid of the dirt! I knew there was going to be a lot, but it was sooo much more than expected. Everyone said put it on Craigslist and people will come get it.They were kinda right, for two months people would occasionally come by and get a truck load, not even making a dent, but, finally some dudes showed up with a tractor and a dump truck and have been removing it.

Any welcomed surprises while getting this project rolling?
So many! So many new friends and old friends that have helped in so many different ways, Labor, deals on rebar, deals on machine rentals, tool making, trucks to get supplies, throwing down money, everything. It’s crazy.

Any additional thoughts?
This can be done! do it! Start now! If a bum stagehand like me can make it happen, you can!

Any Thanks?
Holy shit, sooo many thanks. I can’t really name everyone, but this wouldn’t have happened without the help of Bernie, my brother Brad, Dwayne(hope you heal up buddy), and all the Cardinal Sins, you guys and all the bmxers that dug, Hank, and everyone that has helped. I’m gonna make a list one day, I’d bet there will probably be 60 people on it.

We’ll be posting more from the Lost Bowl in the future, for now, click Here to see how you can help, and check out the video below…


Steve Crandall

Coffee sipping pilot of a red FBM frame and a Nikon camera.