7 Sep
2017

How to Build a Natural Swimming Pool

Posted by Norman F

Natural swimming pools have been popular in Europe for years, but are now starting to make a splash in the United States and grow in popularity quickly. They are a fantastic nature-based sustainable and chemical-free alternative to traditional and mass manufactured pools.

Literally ‘green’ pools are kept healthy by developing their own plant-based ecosystem while creating a beautiful landscape feature for your garden at the same time. The plants and their careful aeration process bad bacteria and keep the pool looking clear, clean and healthy. Various plant habitats are planted in different zones of the pool. These plants typically include; rushes, water lilies, and sedges.

In this article, we break down the steps of building your own natural pool from digging the hole, lining, zoning different habitats, planting and considering different pool deck ideas to get the most out of your natural pool.

  1. Dig out your pool

Different soil types and amount of clay content in your soil call for slightly different approaches. Keep the shape simple, think about natural water holes you loved to swim in as a kid. Start with a box shape with a flat bottom, around six feet or 1.8m deep. Give a generous slope to the walls of your pool. If the slope gets too steep you’ll need to add a structural reinforcing layer of concrete or to build up a natural rock wall and edge. To avoid concrete many enthusiasts use sandbags or bags of pebbles to reinforce the edge of the pool.

  1. Tanking / Lining

Depending on your soil type and how wild you want your pool to be, you may want to add a waterproof lining once the hole is complete. This is called ‘tanking’. Many ultra wild nature-based pools in Europe skip this step. However, tanking can be sprayed on, painted on or bought as a pre-welded pool liner. Black liners also help with heat gain and naturally heat your pool year round. A word of warning – make sure the tanking doesn’t contain phosphates for algae to feed on.

  1. Zoning and Planting

Professional water treatment and natural pool filters are available but can be avoided by integrating various plants, algae, sands and gravels into specific zones in your pool. By using aeration to provide adequate oxygen to these plants, their root systems then act as the natural filter for your pool. Developing these new ecosystems is certainly the fun part of a true one hundred percent chemical free habitat, a great source of modern home inspiration.

About fifty percent of your pool’s surface area needs to be plant-based and fifty percent for swimming. Hence you need quite a significant area in your yard for a large swimming area. Plan out various shallow ledges ranging from eighteen inches deep for rushes and reeds, tapering up to areas of only two to three inches deep where smaller plants and algae grow becoming the natural filters and pumps for your pool.

The shallower areas will attract small frogs and insects, which will, in turn, eat the mosquitoes keeping your pool area clean. The roots of the plants in the deeper areas will do the bulk of the water, algae and bacteria filtration.

  1. Pool Decking Ideas

Finally, a key feature of many natural pools is a beautiful boardwalk at the edge of the pool where diving platform meets sundeck. As the edges of natural pools are often taken over by algae and reeds, it’s important to design a wood deck that starts one step higher than ground level and extends out over the water on pylons, so you can make a splash and relax by your pool without stepping on precious algae and plants.

Modern decking designs make use of geometrical sharp rectangular platforms, which hover and float over each other as a series of steps. Whereas more rustic and cottage home designs, often use more curvaceous and rambling decking design where the decking boards are cut at different lengths and fade into surrounding landscaping and plants seamlessly. An alternative pool edge option to wooden sun decks and mini-timber jetties would be to strategically place a variety of large boulders, stepping stones, and rocks at one edge of your pool, so you can clamber into the water from the rocks without hurting the reeds and plant life.

This summer make a splash in a 100% chemical free, nature-based pool. This vastly more sustainable alternative to chlorine-based pools is growing in popularity and fast becoming a fascinating gardening and habitat creating project for backyard enthusiasts. If you are ready for a serious sustainable design project and beautiful natural design overhaul of your yard, green pools provide a great sustainable alternative with years of built-in enjoyment and nurturing.

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Posted on September 7th, 2017
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One Response to “How to Build a Natural Swimming Pool”

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