Natural pools design ideas, also known as organic bio swimming pond or natural swimming pond, are finding their rightful place as they offer a combination of both swimming pool and pond landscape. Natural pools, as the name suggests, look very similar to natural ponds and you can instantly recognize them for the aquatic plants, the presence of the aquatic insects, even fish. Many people begin to realize that chlorinated water is not a better option and there is a strong trend of a growing popularity of natural pools as a gradual replacement of swimming pools. Many homeowners who have experienced the benefits of them are reluctant to use swimming pools where water is chemically treated.
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Natural pools design ideas – Environmentally-friendly swimming pools
Natural pools keep the water clean and clear, use a variety of combinations of plants and sand filters. At the same time they manage to do without the use of chemicals. They were developed in Austria and Germany in 1980 and since then their popularity has grown worldwide. Natural pools design ideas feature many different options – some swimming ponds look like natural ponds, others can have the appearance of a standard pool. What is the difference when we compare them with traditional swimming pools? Natural pools are different from traditional swimming pools in several ways.
- Swimming pools require costly purification with chlorine and other chemicals;
- the water in a swimming pond does not require to be emptied and refilled;
- you do not need to protect the water of a natural pond with a pool cover;
- natural pools are eco-friendly;
- they have low energy consumption.
Instead of chemicals a swimming pond contains microorganisms, minerals and aquatic plants that perform the tasks to purify this complex water system. Using modern biotechnology creates an ecological balance and it is possible to get a pond with crystal clear water and get maximum pleasure from swimming.
In addition, natural pools design ideas are just as numerous as traditional swimming pool ideas. You can have a natural pool in any shape or size. The choice will depend on the landscape concept, the preferences of the homeowner and the particular characteristics of the plot. When planning the construction of a natural pond is better to use natural ingredients and materials and plants that tolerate winter. Pond should be located at a place where it will be illuminated by the sun no more than six hours per day.
Natural pools design ideas – what do you need to consider prior construction
We are all fascinated by the magnificent natural pools design ideas but the construction of swimming ponds requires a lot of preliminary work and even the smallest, but, nevertheless, very important details should be taken into account. We must always remember that any kind of swimming pool or pond is a serious task and it is advisable to trust professionals. What are the main components of a natural swimming pond? What do you need to plan and how to design it so that it meets your personal criteria and aesthetic idea?
The basic principle of natural pool is a combination of deep-water area for swimming and shallow water area with plants and soil that clean the entire pool. Usually the deep zone, suitable for swimming, is not very big, but it is surrounded by a shallow area – the regeneration zone, usually twice the size of the swimming area. Another major element is the surrounding vegetation – plants on the edge of the pool – as well as floating plants. The third major group includes additional equipment – bridges, rafts, decks, springboards – as per the individual requirements of every homeowner.
Natural pools design ideas – how to build one?
How to build a natural swimming pool? Although this is a serious task there are people who prefer to do the job by themselves. As we already said, this is a serious task and we shall give you some guidelines that will help you in the planning and construction. Natural pools, like any swimming pool, may be a subject to municipal regulations. Before undertaking such a project, get yourself acquainted with any legal provisions, requirements or restrictions.
Step 1 – Digging and zoning the pool
The cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to build a natural pool is to dig the ground. The size and depth will depend entirely on the individual preferences of the pool owner, but it is best if the pool is constructed with sloping sides to avoid the necessity of reinforcing the pool. Separate the swimming area and the filtration area, or plant zone. You can arrange the regeneration zone at one end of the natural pool or around the perimeter of the pool. The regeneration zone is essential as this is the purification system of your pond. The bacteria which are concentrated on the plants’ roots act as a biological filter and removing contaminants and excess nutrients in the water. Micro-organisms which are also in the plant’s roots consume the bacteria and eliminate underwater waste buildup.
Step 2 – plan the necessary pool equipment
Think about the necessary equipment as the water in your natural pond needs to move and circulate continuously so that the plants’ roots are able to cleanse the pool. The water in a natural pool may need to be aerated. Without adequate amount of oxygen, your pool could become and a harbor of mosquitoes or anaerobic bacteria. This means that you will have to install a pump and compressor, a skimmer and you should carefully consider how to connect the equipment to electrical power supply. It is best if this is done with a buried conduit and hiring a skilled electrician is strongly advisable, so that your system is safe.
Step 3 – Seal your pool
When the hole for the natural pool is ready and the swimming and regeneration areas are determined, you need to make sure that the pool will hold the water. You can either apply a layer of bentonite clay, lay a synthetic liner or pour concrete. This is necessary to prevent pool water from seeping into the ground. Once you have completed the sealing, cover the bottom of the pool with a layer of gravel four to five inches thick. The gravel is the habitat for beneficial bacteria. You can line the pool with gravel or natural stone and construct access steps or a deck over the pond.
Step 4 – how to select the plants?
When the natural pool is constructed you need to think of the plants for the regeneration area. Make sure the plant area is prepared with enough soil – the thickness of the soil should be three to six inches. When it comes to choosing the plants for your natural pool you need to select the right ones for your climate. Experts advise that you group the plants in accordance with their height and type. When the plants are placed into the soil, anchor them with plenty of gravel. Sedges (Carex), rushes (Scirpus), lesser cattails (Typha angustifolia), aquatic irises are a good choice for plants to be placed on the perimeter of the pool. Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata), arrowhead (Sagittaria) and water primroses (Ludwigia) are suitable for the shallow area of the pool while waterweed (Elodea) and hornwort (Ceratophyllum) have a high oxygen output and are a good choice of submergent plants. Floating plants like Water lilies (Nymphaea), pondweeds (Potamogeton), duckweed (Lemna minor) adapt to any depth and drift freely on the surface. Introducing fish to your natural pool is a personal decision. However, you should remember that this is an element of the ecosystem which will lead to additional maintenance due to the fish excrement which facilitates the growth of algae.
Natural pools design ideas – algae control and maintenance tips
Despite the beauty of natural pools design ideas, the maintenance of these pools means that you have to take care of a natural environment. Depending on the design the maintenance will be different but in any case you will need to prune your plants and battle the algae growth. Algae growth can be easily controlled with plants which do not leave nutrients to algae. Monitor the levels of phosphorus in your pool as fertilizers and urine are the major sources of phosphorus. If necessary, increase the aeration to stimulate the biological activity. Try to avoid adding synthetic chemicals to you pond as this is an ecosystem and chemicals are not a good option. Maintain a constant level of water and remove plant litter. At least once a year check your mechanical equipment to make sure there are no cracks or obstructions in the pipes and hoses. Test the water on a regular basis to monitor its cleanness and balance.