Natural Swimming Pools for Beauty, Health & the Environment

Being blond haired, swimming pools have always come with a huge negative side effect.  The battle against green tinged hair is always a consideration for even one afternoon in a swimming pool.   But green hair isn’t the only awful side effect of chlorinated swimming pools.  Reliance on toxic chemicals to keep “pristine” swimming conditions has been cited as a cause for increased asthma and wheezing in children and when pee and sweat in water react with chlorine they form toxic breakdown products known as chloramines which are toxic to many animals (including humans) and are the true cause of eye irritation from pools.

natural swimming pools pond alps

Conventional swimming pools are dead (chmically), and are a product of an obsession with cleanliness and sterilization  but natural swimming pools can be just as clear as a chlorinated pools with no chemicals and are better for the environment and a greener choice and natural pools  tend to look more at ease with the land (because they are).

For health, environmental and aesthetic reasons natural pools are on the rise and checking out some of the companies that are creating them, I am amazed at the designs and clean modern looks that are being created without chemicals.

natural swimming pool

So I have been reading up these green pools….I have never been one for a pool in my own backyard, but I am actually starting to consider a natural swimming pond.   The top selling points for me are:

1) It doesn’t have to look like a swimming pool (I think the pond look would be more appropriate for my location.)

2) I hate chlorine and all it’s side effects.

3) I love that a natural swimming pool can also be an ice rink in the winter

4) Maintenance is cheaper and installation is not much more that a normal pool

5) I would get to plant marginals and water plants (something that I don’t get to play with now)

natural swimming pond

So who are the players and the industry leaders?  There are actually quite a few here in the US, even though the trend has fully caught on and is really more popular in Europe.

Whole Water Systems, LLC in Idaho

Expanding Horizons in California.

Total Habitat in Kansas.

Del Ozone in San Luis Obispo, California.

Techno Pure with offices in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and California.

Biotop Natural Pools with a network that covers Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, France, Spain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Israel and New Zealand.

Clear Water Revival in the UK.

BioNova in Germany.

Garten Art in the UK.

natural swimming pool

(This one is my favorite)

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

11 Comments

  1. terri on July 17, 2009 at 8:28 am

    This is very interesting. Here in rural Vermont, lots of homeowners install ponds in their yard, as a natural alternative to pools. It is pretty common here. The style is generally completely natural, and not much landscaping is done to make it look more pool-like and less pond-like, in keeping with our Vermont vernacular. I guess, regionally speaking, these ponds are very suitable to our climate and geology. We have hard freezes in winter, lots of rain, lots of natural spring water, and clayey soil. Besides our many naturally occurring ponds, lakes and river swimming holes, residential ponds provide refreshing opportunities for a quick dip on the rare muggy warm day.
    Here is a book on the subject:
    http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/landscaping_earth_ponds:paperback



  2. dana on July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am

    my favorite swimming pool are from
    http://www.gerard-gay.com/galeries.php?galerie=01

    now… I would like to be on water !!
    ciao dana



  3. Jeff Sloan on July 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Hey Rochelle,

    Keep in mind that the primary reason for using chlorine is to kill germs that can make swimmers sick. Clean and clear looking water is good, but it doesn’t guarantee that the water is healthy for swimming. Thank you for noting that chloramines, and not chlorine, cause irritation. It’s important distinction that many people don’t understand. Swimmers can help control chloramines by showering before swimming and other practices to keep contaminants out of the pool. Also, chlorine doesn’t turn hair green. Copper, sometimes used to control algae, is usually the culprit.

    I hope this is helpful to understanding chlorine pools better. Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to discuss this in more detail.

    Best Regards,
    Jeff

    Jeff Sloan
    American Chemistry Council



  4. michelle d. on July 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I haven’t designed or have had the chance to swim in a ‘natural man built swimming pool’, but the trend here , before the major economic melt down, was salt water pools.

    They require just about the same amount of labor to build, but the maintenance is slightly different.
    In regard to costs, it adds a minor amount to the overall pool cost. In my neck of the woods it is extremely expensive to build a pool.
    A simple 16 x 36 ft. rectangle pool cost about 70 grand.



  5. pool builder on July 25, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Natural swimming pools are a feast for the eyes. Its beauty cannot be compared.Swimming in such environment is very exciting.



  6. swimming ponds on March 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I found these fascinating images for natural swimming ponds that show a greater diversity than other offerings. There is really a lot of creativity out there.

    I also agree with Jeff Sloan. This seems to be a blooming industry and I worry about safety aspects from so many new people jumping in without any real background in aquatic biology.



  7. shaggy on May 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Hey Jeff,
    Chlorine is toxic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine and it’s name means ‘light green’.



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  10. Ron on June 2, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I am researching a standard pool to natural pool conversion at my house in southeastern Massachusetts and I’m struggling to find experienced vendors/contractors for this project. If you have any contact information for companies in this area I would really appreciate it…