Swimming Pond: Design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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What are the main characteristics of a swimming pond?

Natural swimming ponds (NSP) are partly built as swimming pools and partly as natural ponds. They give your garden a natural look and promote the growth of aquatic plants and animals. Due to their natural look they are much admired for modern gardens. Swimming ponds use organic methods of filtering the water which is another key reason for its increasing popularity. By having a swimming pond or natural pool in your garden, you can enjoy taking a dip in healthy and chemical free water.

The first natural pool was built in Austria in the early part of 1980s. Currently, there are over 20,000 swimming ponds in Europe. In the last two decades, the practice started catching up in Canada. Currently, the country boasts of a few dozen privately owned natural pools.

Styles, designs and decoration of a swimming pond

Though many domestic swimming ponds tend to have a rectangular shape, you can give your pond any shape you wish. In fact, freeform styles are quite popular among the owners of contemporary homes. Using a submerged wall, the swimming area is kept apart from the pond section which is known as a regeneration zone.

For ease of construction, you may invest in a flat bottom swimming pool. But the regeneration zone will have to have a gentle slope. This will help you grow different varieties of aquatic or marsh plants. To decorate your natural pool, buy plants like bulrushes, Typha, Carex and water lilies. You may also like to have colourful fishes in the regeneration zone.

To give a natural feel to the entire arena, use boulder rock or wood flooring for the deck. Sandstone, granite, limestone and travertine tiles are generally preferred for pool decking. Cedar is the most popular choice for wooden pool decks. You may also opt for pine, mahogany or redwood.

What materials and supplies are needed for a swimming pond?

Swimming ponds make extensive use of organic materials. The base of the pool is reinforced with sandbags and stones. A combination of loamy sand, gravel and stone are used in the regeneration zone. Sometimes bamboo is used to create a submerged fencing along the border of the pool.

In natural pools, the bushy roots of aquatic plants like swamp hibiscus, Ipomoea and water celery filter the water and keep it good enough for regular use. Pumps are installed in the swimming zone and regeneration zone. The pump in the regeneration zone collects filtered water and transfers it back to the pool.

How to build a DIY swimming pond?

First, design your natural pool on paper. Based on the availability of space in your backyard, decide on the dimensions of the pool area. Start digging the ground until you obtain a depth of 1.5 meters in the swimming pool section. This is a comfortable depth for family friendly pools. Maintain a gentle slope in the regeneration zone.

To build the boundary walls as well as the interior wall, utilise stone and sand bags. You can use brown or black liners to cover the base. Many people also use clay tiles to cover the base. If you are not already experienced in this, seek help from a professional plumber to sort out the plumbing system. Create a drainage plan.

Install a circulation pump in the midpoint of the cavity and the main pump in the regeneration zone. Don’t forget to plant aquatic flora as biofilters in the regeneration zone. Fill in water. With the help of commercially available pool kits, check the water quality twice a week. Design a spacious deck area. Place a couple of comfortable deck chairs and, after taking a cool dip, enjoy the view around.

What are the costs of building and maintaining a swimming pond?

The cost of building a natural swimming pond resembles the cost of constructing a regular swimming pool. By spending between CAD 50,000 to 70,000 you will be able to build a charming swimming pond in Canada. The cost of maintenance remains between CAD 500 and 750 per year. Over a period of time, maintaining a natural pool becomes easier and you also tend to save a lot on the cost of maintenance. Their organic nature helps in keeping the maintenance cost low. You also avoid the recurrent costs of buying chemicals and keeping the water quality clean and healthy.

Pros and cons of having a swimming pond

Swimming ponds have a great beautifying effect on your garden. They are environment friendly and don’t upset your garden ecosystem. They encourage the growth of many native plant and animal species fast vanishing from the urban and suburban areas of the country. With a natural pool in place, it is common to see many unlikely visitors like a variety of shell fishes and migratory birds in your garden.

Natural swimming ponds use plants to keep the water clean. In building one of these, you can easily avoid the side effects of using harmful chemicals in your pool water. For those allergic to chlorinated water, swimming ponds come as a huge blessing. These pools also consume low amount of energy. The heating is performed by direct sunlight.

As swimming ponds are built with separate swimming section and regeneration zone, they take up more space in your garden. Accommodating them in tiny gardens could prove to be a challenging task. Like ordinary swimming pools, they cannot be installed on terrace. There is some concern about maintaining the optimal level of heating in the swimming section in the cold winter months. To get optimum heating in your natural pool, let your pool designer guide you through the entire process.