Summer’s heat is not far behind the bursting of spring blooms and windy rains. This summer imagine yourself cooling off by floating in a backyard pool that feels immersed in nature.
Natural swimming pools use plants or a combination of plants and sand filters to keep the water clean and clear without chemicals. They were developed in Austria and Germany in the 1980s and have since grown in popularity worldwide. They can be designed in a multitude of ways: Some look like natural ponds; others may be disguised as standard tiled pools.
Whatever look you are trying to achieve, the principles of function are the same for both natural swimming pools and traditional ones. But natural pools are better for your hair and skin because they’re chemical free.
How they work. Natural swimming pools rely on a constructed wetland of plants and gravel to filter the water in an area called the regeneration zone. This zone is like a water garden; a variety of plants selected by a natural pool specialist or a landscape architect create an ecosystem that cleans the pool water.
How the zones interact.
The regeneration zone’s size and depth are related to the volume of water to be cleaned. The planted zone is shallower than the swimming area. Clean water slowly flows from the planted zone into the swimming zone.
A specialized water skimmer removes large debris that falls on the water’s surface in the swim zone. The skimmer is fitted with a fine sieve that removes small debris before the water is circulated into a biological filter. Additional equipment, like UV light filters and filters that use sand to remove phosphorous, is helpful in maintaining the balance in a natural pool system.
How much space do you need? Natural swimming pools can be small enough for an urban yard or extra large for a rural property. The relationship between the regeneration and swimming zones can also vary depending on the space available. For instance, a rectilinear pool can be designed as the swimming area, with the water circulation apparatus running underground to the regeneration zone. In the most common setup, the regeneration zone is directly adjacent to the swimming zone, as shown here, with edges that allow for a specific volume of water to flow over the edge. Generally, the size of the zones should be equal for adequate water cleansing.