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natural swimming pool

(image: lorigami)

A natural swimming pool is a wonderful way to make your swimming experience better and more eco-friendly, and it’s also a beautiful approach to garden design.

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If you’re thinking about building a swimming pool in your backyard, have you considered making it a natural one? You may not be aware of this, but concrete swimming pools have had a bad reputation as major sources of carbon dioxide. These pools can also be a health risk for your children due to the amount of chemicals needed to keep them safe from infection. Now, you can install a beautiful, natural, and safe pool at your home for the same cost as a traditional concrete one. Here’s how.

What’s the problem with a concrete pool?

An Olympic-sized swimming pool contains one million litres of water, all of which has to be kept clean and sanitized at all times. Concrete is the second most commonly used construction material in the world.

But cement, which is a primary ingredient of concrete, accounts for at least 5 per cent of global carbon emissions. There are concerns about children’s health, as well, when it comes to chlorinated pools. Recent studies have shown that it may lead to lung problems such as asthma. Natural options may be a better choice for your family, both for now and in the future.

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Even natural pools can exude that modernist and hyper-modernist look instead of lily pads and bull rushes. Here’s one with an infinity edge.

What are the alternatives?

It’s good to know, however, that pools don’t have to be entirely organic to be friendly to the environment. You can make some simple improvements with the addition of solar panels and energy efficient heat pumps. Natural pools, on the other hand, have a set of added benefits. They don’t involve the use of new concrete which has a high carbon impact. Even better, they ensure that nature takes care of the hard work for you, so very little maintenance is involved over time.

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(image: Clear Water Revival)

Although you’ll still need a pump, it will be a much smaller one than you’ll use for a traditional concrete pool, and you’ll save on maintenance costs in both energy and chemical use over the long term. In fact, to install a professionally installed natural pool costs about the same amount of money as a regular pool, but you can even do it for less if you build it yourself, as it’s an easier process without having to pour the concrete.

How does a natural swimming pool work?

A natural pool doesn’t require an electrically-powered ultraviolet light filter. Instead, this kind of pool uses aquatic plants to filter the water and make it clean enough for swimming and relaxing. Aquatic plants can vary, and can include three different types. Floating plants such as a lotus or water lily are situated on the top of the water’s surface.

natural swimming pool plan

(image: Enricoslasheric)

Emergent plants such as sedges, rushes and grasses sit on the outer margins of the pool. Submerged plants are those that are rooted into the pool itself so that the water can become oxygenated. These include deeper plants such as pickerel and waterweed, as well as beautiful floral plants such as water primroses and aquatic irises. These varied plants create an efficient and easy way to maintain your water regeneration area so that it is fresh and beautiful.

Creating a natural swimming pool that will last

If you want to create a natural pool that will last, you’ll want to invest half of your time, energy, and space into the plant and water regeneration area, and the rest into the swimming space itself. You can choose from many different bases for your pool. Try bentonite clay or recycled rubber at the base of your sloping excavation. Over the base, you can use smooth stones, tiles, or natural boulders in a grotto style for a more imposing look.

natural swimming pool with oxygenating plants

(image: Enricoslasheric)

You’ll need to set aside about half the pool for your aquatic plants, as I’ve already suggested, but you can place these either in their own garden area at one end of the pool or scattered around its border. Use gravel to ensure that your plants’ roots stay in place while they become set.

Natural swimming pools as water gardens

Make your pool and water garden extraordinary Don’t forget to create a beautiful border. Decking materials work wonderfully around a natural pool, as the natural look of wood enhances this kind of space organically. Try a small bridge or deck across one end, creating a light and airy look, or build a surround that is more traditional, matching the space to the back of your home.

Take time to monitor the progress of the plants in your natural pool. It will take some time to get the balance of plant life and nutrients right for the space. If an algae bloom strikes, try adding more plants or straw, and increasing aeration. Check your pumps annually and clean out plant debris a couple of times a year. The best thing is that there is no need to drain the pool – you simply have to top up the water level from time to time if rainwater is low.

Swimming and garden design all in one

A natural swimming pool is not only a wonderful way to make your swimming experience better and more eco-friendly, but it’s also a beautiful approach to home and garden design. Think about these planning ideas when you’re designing your backyard this summer. An organic approach may create just the right atmosphere and environment for your family home.

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Lisa Michelle

Lisa Michelle is an editor, lifestyle writer, and novelist. She’s also an avid traveler, lover of animals, and admitted Anglophile.