July 10, 2019

Trends & Styles

Natural swimming pools, eco-friendly garden landscaping

For anyone with a garden the summer months represent a time when the outdoors becomes another room of the home, a place to sit, to dine al fresco or just to potter around. Although it takes a lot of hard work the garden is a just recompense. For the really fortunate having a swimming pool is an attractive feature that is also great for exercising and cooling down. Rather than the artificial man-made pool with a chlorinated rectangle of blue water an alternative is the natural swimming pool or pond. With the right planning and materials the natural swimming pool can integrate seamlessly with the surrounding garden and become a habitat for insects and plants.

Natural swimming pools

Things to consider when planning a natural swimming pond

The secret to having an eco-friendly, chemical free natural swimming pool is to avoid any nutrients getting into the water and remove micro organisms. This can be done by filtering the water or using planting to prevent algae from growing ensuring crystalline clear water. Native plants are the optimum choice and will even ensure an attractive pond throughout the seasons.

Getting the right shape

The natural swimming pool can be kidney shaped, circular, curved or rectilinear; achieving the natural look all depends on the planting. Generally a shallow water verge or shelf around the perimeter with plants is required to keep the pool free from soil, roots and other organic matter entering the pool.

Stuc though-body porcelain tiles by Urbatek

How to build a natural swimming pool

First and foremost it’s advisable to get a contractor to actually carry out the construction work. In terms of planning a pool or pond the location is key, making sure to avoid waste water run-off from the main house and allowing views from the living quarters for maximum advantage. The sides of the pool should be non-porous and water tight, ideally stone or concrete, making sure to survey the site in question to establish the water table.

Natural swimming pools
Sardinera House by Ramón Esteve. Credit: Mariela Apollonio, Ramón Esteve, Juan M.Ruano

Eco-swimming pools are better for the environment

One of the great advantages of the natural swimming pool is that it is kinder to the environment and provides a natural habitat for local flora. The water does not contaminate and although heating can be provided most users prefer to go the natural route.

Nobu Hotel in Marbella, Spain

Maintenance of the natural swimming pool

Running costs for natural swimming ponds can be more economical than conventional pools. Generally the only expense in use is a pump to keep water circulating but otherwise nothing else is needed, and in fact maintenance is less onerous than a regular swimming pool. The natural swimming pool doesn’t require covering during the winter months, although ducks and other animals should be kept at a distance as they produce organic contaminants. By locating the pool away from trees the hassle of keeping the surface free from dead leaves will also be avoided.

The natural swimming pool then is not just for summer but all year round. The changing seasons are etched on the surface of the water and surrounding planting like a living canvas: autumn, winter, spring and summer.


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