Eco Friendly and Chlorine Free: The True Potential of Swimming Pools

After spending three dark months shivering, I think I’m just about ready to bask in the sun and waste away my afternoons swimming. While fairly common in Europe (such trend setters), these pools are just starting to catch on in the U.S., and it’s a good thing too, because my hair is tired of the chlorine.

When I think of “natural pools,” I essentially picture a pond; mud, slime and critters. Good news, it’s nothing like that. The pool has two areas, one for swimming and one for the plants. It could be made with clay (if that tickles your fancy), but concrete is also an option.

Natural pools benefit you, the environment and your wallet. Apparently they’re easy to construct yourself, and you can click here for instructions. Compared to the tens of thousands of dollars you could spend on a conventional pool, a do-it-yourself all natural pool costs around $2,000. They only need to be filled once (with some topping off to maintain water levels), don’t require extensive pumps or a mass of manufactured materials; they’re low maintenance, warm faster (naturally by the sun) and have no chemical additives. That’s right! The water is pure thanks to the cleansing power of plants, so no need to worry about harsh effects for your eyes, skin and hair.

While natural pools add to the landscape aesthetics, it also creates a complex ecosystem. The shallow plant area acts as a habitat for some critters. Good critters, I should say, and frogs being the best because they eat all the mosquitoes.  

This is pretty much my current obsession. In addition to its environmental sensitivity, some of these designs are pretty snazzy, ranging from naturalistic to contemporary. Enjoy!

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Also Check Out: 9 Myths about Natural Swimming Pools

Picture sources: naturalswimmingpools.com, flickr.com, & gartenart.co.uk

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8 comments

  1. $2000? Maybe if you own a Bobcat! The pools look great, but the main problem with these is that you can’t see if a kid is at the bottom of the pool very easily. Unfortunately, that’s going to be the primary deterrent from many people getting a pool like this. That, and you can’t see if there are any snakes in there.

  2. its the idea of a controlled pond in your own backyard!

    ” hey kids , go for a swim at the old swimming hole!”

    today most parents think keeping their children in a bleached ( chlorine) sterile environs are the best thing for them. Over-barring suburbia parents are the bane of a fulfilling childhood experience !

    1. While that may be true, I sincerely doubt many parents will go for this due to the safety concerns. I can definitely see people building a pool like this, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think it will ever catch on and replace our super clear bleached pools across the suburban landscape. It would only become super popular if there was a way to catch enough light in there – be it a super reflective surface for the interior of the pool or some sort of light source within the pool.

      I’m sure an insurance adjuster/neighborhood restrictions would have something to say about having a dark death trap in your back yard. You would need a fence all around it, kind of killing the appeal. We’ll see what happens. I would love to have one, but Kathy would never go for it.

  3. I agree that there will always be people who will never get on board with natural pools. People loooove their traditional pools. It’s interesting though because the statistic (which I don’t know right off the top of my head) is that pools are more dangerous for children than having a gun in the house, but most parents would opt for having a pool than ever letting a gun into their home.

    I added a couple more pictures though, ones that show ‘better lit’ pools. With a little more reading, I found you can actually have a ‘natural pool’ (plants + no chemicals) with a traditional pool look, even completely surrounded by concrete and all. But, the plant/water system is just further away/out of sight. I would imagine that this costs more, since the water would have to be pumped between the two. It just comes down to aesthetic preference.

    Although, I don’t know what to tell you about the ‘snake issue.’ I’m sure they have a better chance of hiding in the plant portion of the pool, than hiding in an open traditional pool. But, if there are snakes around wouldn’t the risk of running into one while frolicking in the backyard be the same?

  4. There are only 4 species of poisonous snakes in North America, and the one that likes water is also the most aggressive one. The natural pool would actually draw them into your yard. Take a walk down a creek in the morning and within a mile you will have almost certainly encountered one (around the Houston area).Water moccasins will actually chase people (I’m an idiot reptile lover and have experienced this more than once), something it has in common with mambas. Most snakes on the planet will just slither away and avoid conflict, but the fact that you could have such an aggressive, venomous snake hiding in a darker pool in your yard isn’t so good. It also depends on what part of the country that you live in. I’m just playing the devil’s advocate here. The “cleaner” transparent natural pools look pretty awesome.

    It is kind of odd how often kids drown themselves. The parents spend $100,000 on a pool, but can’t afford to build a child-proof fence around it? I don’t have much sympathy for that. Like Jen mentioned, that’s the equivalent of having a loaded gun on the kitchen table at all times. No one would do that because it’s idiotic. However a huge open body of water that is enticing to kids? Don’t worry about it!

  5. Yea, I’m not a big fan of creepy crawlies (or slitheries) so I guess I’ll have to build my pool in Ireland.

    FYI, I like devil’s advocates… keeps things interesting! 🙂

  6. Anonymous · · Reply

    I used to swim in a pond all the time. This is a big improvement. Get over it people. I’m building one.

  7. Uhm, most of the pools pictured here were built by our company in south africa: eco pools. Check out our website: ecopools.co.za. we are interested in building pools in the us and can help you with innovative designs and cost saving techniques.

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