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Everything You Need To Know About Natural Swimming Pools

In essence, natural swimming pools offer homeowners everything they’d want from a pool. Easy maintenance, low running costs and increased sustainability – so, what’s not to like?

Designed to offer the same kind of experience of swimming in a lake or the river, natural pools don’t require chemicals to run, relying instead on natural resources to keep the water clean and safe to swim in. This, in turn, makes them a much more eco-friendly alternative, since your home will be expending a lot less energy than it would if it were powering a more traditional swimming pool.

But, how exactly do they work? Are they easy to build from a DIY perspective? And how easy are they to maintain?

Well, we’ve compiled this guide to answer all these questions and more, providing you with a detailed overview with all you need to know about natural swimming pools. So, pun intended, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in.

Why are Natural Swimming Pools so popular?

If you love that feeling of diving into a lake or river, allowing the natural water to swirl around you, natural pools are designed to offer a similar experience.

After being dug into your garden, they are then filled with natural, chemical-free water. Over time, the plants and wildlife that come to the pool help create a beautiful spectacle, allowing you to bathe peacefully amongst nature whenever you like.

How do natural swimming pools work?

Natural garden pools work by using a combination of a specialist reed bed technology and a filtration system. This reed bed technology helps to naturally filter the water in the pool itself, while the filtration system helps to pump oxygen molecules around the floor area.

As a result of this process, this helps circulate the water and move any debris within the pool into the filter system. In doing so, this prevents stagnant water from building up and kills off any bacteria that enters into the pool, keeping it fresh, clean and perfectly safe for you to swim in.

It’s for this reason why natural swimming pools are much cheaper and easier to maintain than traditional pool designs. The only maintenance you’ll ever need to do is to remove any larger debris that falls on the water’s surface and replace the filter from time to time.

Put simply, a well-built natural garden pool should take care of itself.

So, what benefits do they offer over standard swimming pools?

Natural swimming pools come with a number of benefits over more traditional pool designs. These typically include:

  • They are more unique
  • They tend to be cheaper
  • They are easier to maintain
  • They are a lot more sustainable
  • They are chemical-free
  • They support garden wildlife
  • They improve the look of your garden
  • They are more attractive (in our opinion!)

That all sounds great, but do they have any disadvantages?

While natural swimming pools may sound pretty incredible up to this point, they do have a few drawbacks worth mentioning as well.

For example, as they tend to mimic the feel of a lake or river, they are colder than traditional pools. Plus, if you choose to not use an artificial heating system, this means that your pool could freeze over during the winter months, making it unusable.

Similarly, building a natural swimming pool is not exactly cheap and can even cost upwards of £100,000. However, that’s not saying they’re not worth investing in though; according to research, adding a swimming pool to your home can actually somewhat increase its value should you ever decide to sell.

As a final drawback, natural swimming pools require a fair bit of space to construct effectively. It’s not just the body of water you swim in to think about either, since there’s the regeneration pool to consider as well. Therefore, you’ll need to bear this in mind when it comes to installing one of your own.

Is it possible to build your own natural swimming pool?

While yes, it’s technically possible with the right time, knowledge and experience to construct your own natural swimming pool, hiring a professional UK-based swimming pool contractor is a much better idea. This will cover you in case of any issues and will add a certain professional touch.

However, if you’d like to get an idea of the work involved with constructing a natural pool by yourself, here is the typical process:

  1. Plan. The first thing you’ll need to do is plan the size, shape, and depth of your new swimming pool. When doing this, you’ll need to design your pool in such a way that dirty water won’t run off your garden into the water.
  2. Dig. Once you’ve decided on where you want your pool to go, it’s time to get digging. Remember that the regeneration area will need to be approximately one-third of the total pool and you’ll need room for your water pump as well.
  3. Install. Now that you’ve dug the outline of your pool, it’s time for the fun bit: the installation. The way in which you do this will depend on the type of material you decide to construct your pool with. Typically, this will either be concrete, liner or – as we’d recommend – a one-piece ceramic composite shell.

Why would you recommend carbon-ceramic over concrete or liner?

Natural pools work by mimicking the mechanics of a river or stream environment, utilising a reed bed or biological filter and a pump to keep the water circulating and constantly refreshed. However, in such a small body of water, for this work most effectively, you need to keep the water temperature low and the pH high to avoid any kind of bacterial build-up.

This is where other types of natural pools tend to fall down. If you were to have a swimming pool constructed using concrete or liner, for example, this would create a porous environment where bacteria would be able to breed more easily. Likewise, you’d need to use chemicals to keep the pH high to kill off any bacteria, which could not only affect the structural composition of the pool itself but harm your eyes as well.

The carbon-ceramic composite material we produce our pools with here at Compass Pools, on the other hand, is entirely non-porous. Thanks to the design of our pools, we remove the need for you to worry about bacteria – Instead, you can heat the pool to a more pleasant temperature while keeping it nice and chemical-free as well.

Therefore, between the choice of concrete and carbon-ceramic for your natural swimming pool, there’s only one winner.


Are natural swimming pools safe?

Absolutely! When maintained correctly, natural swimming pools can be perfectly safe. The same safety rules apply to traditional pools though, of course, such as keeping animals and children away.

Can fish be kept in a natural swimming pool?

While yes, fish technically can be kept in a natural swimming pool, we wouldn’t advise it. This is because your pool will be set up in a way to filter nutrients out of the water – nutrients in which fish need to survive. Plus, it may mean you need to change your filter more often, to remove any fish faeces or debris from the water.

How small can a natural swimming pool be?

In theory, natural swimming pools can be any size you like! However, remember that approximately 30% of the space will be taken up by the regeneration bank, so if your garden is a little on the smaller side, why not consider building a natural plunge pool instead.

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