Why you should put a natural swimming pond in your backyard this summer


Natural pool

Flickr/Peri Apex

Natural swimming ponds offer a tranquil escape from reality.

Nature lovers and chlorine haters, rejoice. There's a new pool in town.


And by pool, we mean pond.

These eco-system swimming creations are environmentally-friendly and will protect you from #DraughtShaming.

If you care about the Earth, or if you hate the way your skin smells and feels after swimming in a chlorinated pool, consider going au naturale.

What is a swimming pond?

Split 50/50 to accommodate vegetation and swimming, Bloomberg recently dubbed the swimming pond as the new and improved backyard pond.


The plant section of the pond is around a foot deep, while the swimming area typically ranges from six-and-a-half to eight feet deep. Timber usually separates the two zones.

How clean is it without chemicals?

Very. The regeneration portion isn't just there for ambiance, it's also the pond's natural filter.

Plants like flag irises and water lilies keep phosphate levels in check while getting rid of nitrates so there's no algae. Gravel also plays a role in filtering the pond.

To keep the water moving, go the scenic route with a waterfall or install a small pump - this will also help keep the pond clean.

Bonus: Your natural oasis will attract wildlife (think dragon flies, birds, tadpoles.), which will help control pesky insects. To avoid snakes, the surrounding grass is kept as short as peach fuzz.


natural pool


Create an oasis by adding a gazebo.

Does a swimming pond cost more than a pool?

Michael George, owner and president of Gartenart USA - a company that specializes in natural swimming pools and ponds - told Bloomberg the upfront payment is more expensive because of the regeneration zone, but the cost per square foot is about the same.

Thinking ahead, the initial cost pays off. Unheated natural ponds evaporate less than normal pools, don't have energy costs, and you save around $350-500 on chemicals and chlorine.

How much does a swimming pond cost?

The design you choose plays into the overall cost of installation. Here's a rough estimate of what a basic natural pond costs, courtesy of Gartenart's website.

Up to 100 sq ft (e.g. swimming area 30 ft x 15 ft)$90,000 -- $110,000
Up to 150 sq ft (e.g swimming area 40 ft x 20 ft)$110,000 -- $120,000
Up to 200 sq ft (e.g. swimming area 50 ft x 24 ft)$120,000 -- $135,000
> 2000 square feet> $135,000

Natural swimming pond

Wikimedia Commons

Kids love swimming ponds.

Is it maintenance-heavy?

According to Gartenart, a pond requires less maintenance than a pool. You don't have to worry about chemicals, the pond essentially cleans itself, and you can keep it uncovered and full during the winter (ponds make great ice-skating rinks).


Tend to it as you would a garden - and make sure the surface is skimmed.

Is this really something people are doing?

While the trend is still developing in the U.S., Europe is all over natural swimming ponds and pools. The idea originated in Austria and Germany in the 1980s and has evolved from there. Last month, the UK unveiled its first man-made public swimming pond in London.