Natural Swimming Pools | A Pros & Cons Guide

Natural swimming pools are a great idea. They were first used in Europe, but they’ve caught on around the world.

The idea is that instead of filling a sunken tub with water and chemicals, you can create a natural self-cleaning environment that you can swim in without damaging the environment.

Our guide to natural pools will walk you through the pros and cons of these pools as well as the basic considerations of building one of these pools for your home.

Natural Swimming Pools

“With a minimum of materials and without an arsenal of chemicals, you can build an idyllic water oasis right in your own back yard and thwart summertime’s sultry dog days.” – Mother Earth News

How Do Organic Pools Work?

Organic pools are filtered using organic systems (aquatic plants) rather than chemicals like chlorine.

These pools are just as clean and safe as chlorine filtered pools but they do much less damage to the environment.

Natural Pools

They are usually surrounded by a “regeneration zone” that acts as a natural barrier to the wider world. This zone can attract animals and/or insects, but they will not contaminate the pool because the environment created in the pool deters them from going near it.

The Pros And Cons Of Having An Organic Pool

There are some super advantages of having an organic pool but we’d be remiss in pretending that they’re 100% trouble free.

So, let’s look at the pros and the cons of installing an organic pool for your home.

The Pros Of Having An Organic Pool

  • Highly flexible design. You can pretty much make an organic pool look like anything, while you may be thinking “muddy puddle”, they’re usually lined with concrete and they can look like a traditional swimming pool or you can make them look like a pool you might find in a forest.
  • Highly environmentally friendly. Chlorine is a bleaching agent. It’s not good for the soil, the water or possibly, even our lungs.
  • Lower costs of maintenance. You don’t keep adding stuff to a natural pool once it’s finished, it’s a self-sustaining environment. So, you can skip most maintenance tasks (though you still need to skim any pollutants that fall in from the surface every week) and save cash.
  • They can be used in any climate. They’ll freeze in a cold winter, just like a pond would. This doesn’t damage the eco-system.
building a natural swimming pool review

The Cons Of Having An Organic Pool

  • Higher initial outlay. These things are more expensive than traditional pools to design and build. You, in fact, need to build two pools. One you can see and a “hidden pool” that deals with the filtration element.
  • Harder to find a building contractor. Natural pools are still quite specialist in nature. In some parts of the world, you may struggle to find anyone competent to build one for you.
  • You need more land. The regeneration zone surrounding the pool is not optional. That means you need more surface area for a natural pool than a traditional one. That regeneration zone is usually the same size as the pool. Thus a 50 square meter pool will need 100 square meters of space.
  • The water’s not so pretty. The water is completely clean, but it doesn’t look like that lovely blue chemical induced hue that you are used to in chlorinated swimming pools. It’s often got a brown or green tint to it from minor algal build up and there is usually a little sediment floating in it. This stuff is harmless, mind you, but if you wanted crystal clear water, you can’t get it in a natural pool.
  • Total cost of ownership. If you build a natural pool and live in a property for decades, it’s cheaper than a traditional pool because of the low maintenance costs. If you intend to move inside 10 years, however, you will lose money on the initial costs of the pool.

How To Build A Natural Swimming Pool

We’d need a bit more than an article to describe the whole process and we’d recommend that you see our review of A Guide to Building Natural Swimming Pools by Michael Littlewood to find a superb instruction manual on this subject.

However, the basics are to create enough surface area that the pool can breathe and won’t develop algae problems. This will mean a space of at least 50 square meters, in practice.

building a natural swimming pool

It should be between one and two meters deep, to ensure that you have enough room to swim and that the living organisms in the water can thrive. It will also keep the pool the right temperature in summer to be cool and refreshing.

It ought to be in the shade as much as possible to reduce the chances of algal growth and to make it comfortable to swim in.

Final Thoughts On Natural Pools

We think everyone should, at least, consider a natural pool.

They are very eco-friendly and the swimming experience is excellent.

Want to live a more sustainable lifestyle? Don’t miss our Guide to Sustainable Living.

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