With summer in full swing, you may be thinking about adding a swimming pool to your backyard. They are great for fitness, relaxation, fun with the kids, and for cooling off on a sweltering summer day. If you’re concerned about the harsh chemicals and high maintenance costs that come with conventional swimming pools, you may be interested in an old idea that has become new again: natural swimming pools.
Also known as swimming ponds, natural pools are man-made swimming holes that utilize plants to keep the water clear and the pool functioning properly.
Natural swimming pools have been around for quite a while, but they’re undergoing a renaissance of sorts thanks to new construction methods, their reputed environmental benefits, and their ability to blend in with the natural landscape.
In a world where chemicals are used on almost every surface we touch, the thought of a chlorine-free pool may sound impossible. After all, we use chlorine and other chemicals to keep nature -out- of traditional swimming pools. These chemicals literally shock the water to keep it free of algae growth and insects.
In the case of natural pools, we actually do the opposite. Selected water plants are intentionally placed in the water to keep the swimming area clean and clear. You can choose to have the plants placed directly in the swimming area, or have them planted in a separate adjacent area. It all depends on your preference, and how close to nature you’d like to be.
The plants keep the water clean by absorbing all the nutrients in the water so that there’s not enough left for algae to live on. Some algae growth is inevitable, but if you set up and maintain your pool according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, overgrowth won’t be a problem.
Water plants promote the growth of bacteria that is beneficial to the health of your pool, in addition to encouraging local wildlife to come say hello. Birds will stop by for a drink, and eat up any mosquitoes or other bugs that are skimming the water’s surface. You may also see the occasional frog or small turtle swim by, which adds to the charm of a natural swimming pond.
Another way that natural pools stay clean is through the installation of pumps that keep the water circulating constantly. This will prevent your pool from turning into an unsightly bog. In addition, the bottom of the pool can be made of gravel stone or clay, which is soft on the feet and very durable.
Many of today’s swimming ponds have beach entries, which means that there is a gentle slope entering the water. Just like at the beach, you ease your way into deeper water. This is a great feature for families with small children, as there are no stairs to climb. It is safer to bring your little one into the water because you can easily determine how deep you go. Unlike a conventional pool, you don’t have to dive in all at once.
Aside from the environmental benefits of having a natural pool versus a traditional one, swimming ponds beautifully complement their natural surroundings. You can use plants and shrubs that are native to your area, as well as add features such as rocks and waterfalls. Natural pools are much more flexible in terms of their design, and can fit in with your current landscaping.
With a natural pool, missing is the electric blue chemical water, and in its stead is a naturally clear and beautiful swimming area for you and your family.