Natural Pool Inspiration from Europe

Today I was looking at pictures of “schwimmtiechs.”

“Schwimmteich” is the German word for swimming pond or natural pool. Since this is a trend coming over from Europe, I looked at pictures and designs from people who have been building these water features in their own backyards.


Inspiration for My Natural Pool

One of my goals for my garden is to have a natural pool, I do not want it black though, I want it to look like a regular tropical lagoon but have a natural filtration system. This blog entry is to collect inspiring pictures for my project. Not everything has a tropical theme but they all contain a lush landscape.

The Natural Swimming Pool

So I have mentioned “the Natural Pool” earlier today. I was surveying the area in my garden where I want a pond. I had someone come start digging it out. During my research over the past few years for a pond I have consistently come across the natural swimming pool or swimming pond. The idea is that you use plants to clean the water and therefore need NO harsh chemicals. That is correct, no CHLORINE!

Chlorine has recently been linked to colon cancer, for obvious reasons, plus it dries out your skin and hair and those noxious fumes fill your backyard paradise. The natural swimming pool has none of these problems. In fact if you have you system set up just right it is super clean and the water NEVER needs to be dumped. You do need to have a plant area which is equal to 50% of your pool’s surface area. The area of your pool where your plants grow and filter the water are called plant bogs. Plants take care of waste and bacteria through their roots. You can add some fish for any water born insects. The fish waste feeds the plants. As long as you keep the water moving there is no need to worry about mosquitoes since they only breed in stagnate water.

Chlorine pools tend to start breeding harmful bacteria which begin to tolerate the pool’s chlorine levels. Due to chlorine resistant bacteria or “accidents” the pool needs to be “shocked” by adding more chlorine to an already toxic system. Over time the water itself loses its quality, I assume that it becomes filled with remnants of chlorine and other chemicals breaking down over time, which is why people have to dump the pool water about every ten years and start fresh. Can you see why the natural pool concept is so alluring!

There are of course other new innovative ways to clean pool but most of them still require some amount of chlorine. The natural pool just requires some healthy plants and a means to oxygenate the water. Growing up in Germany we often swam in all sorts of lakes, and “natural swimming pools.” Even in Southewest U.S.A. I have been to Elephant Butte, Balmorhea, and the 1990’s attraction Mountain Shadow Lake. I am hoping to make it to Sitting Bull Falls this summer. I love swimming in nature. My hair stays good and I do not smell like a chemical after. Balmorhea is actually my favorite because in 28 feet deep you can see crystal clear to the bottom with all the fish and amazing rocks. Balmorhea has to visited to appreciated.

Apparently natural pools and swimming ponds are popular in Europe and are starting to pop up all over the U.S. So here is the million dollar question!




Brainstorm about pond liners

After researching many different sites and raking my own brain I have discovered a large array of pond liners and ideas. Originally I was simply going to line my pond with hand poured concrete. However, after lining my streambed and experiencing the immense amount of labor, I decided not to. But I did not change my mind because of the labor; I changed my mind due to its permanency. I have been thinking that if all goes well with my pond I may decide to create a natural swimming pool in my backyard once my children are older. A natural swimming pool has many similarities to a pond except that it is large enough to swim in. A natural swimming pool uses NO CHEMICALS!!!! Plants are used to filter the water and keep it clean.

Now back to pond liners. Most home improvement centers carry the basic black plastic pond liners. Some also carry the premade pond forms. You can also check places like craigslist and the freecycle groups to see if anyone is giving them away. A good friend of mine lives between Indiana and Kentucky. She used the basic pond liner, she told me her father on the other hand is using an old swimming pool liner and it has lasted many years. Another idea occurred to me was to get the roof liner and simply glue it together to make it the size I need.

I have not made my final decision yet as cost is a factor. I want a beautiful long lasting pond as cheap as possible. I would rather invest in plants, rocks and the pump than the liner. I have made a decision regarding the underlayment, I will use newspaper. I have read that newspaper is one of the best. I am currently collecting newspaper now.

My house is basically on a sand dune. I literally have beach sand in my yards with some rocks, but they are not a big deal as with homes located closer to the mountain. In fact once I have dug about 13 – 16 inches there are no longer any rocks. Based on the natural soil composite of my yard I have read that I can by a thinner pond liner, but I would like it long lasting so I will continue to think about what I will do.

Another factor determining my decision is the color. I really do not want a black pond. I want my backyard to be an oasis with a greenish blue pond. I did run across a site yesterday that sparked some an idea. I will write about it in another post.