The beauty of natural swimming pools

It is believed the first natural swimming pool was built in the 1980’s by DI Werner Gamerith in his private garden in Austria. These were called Schwimmteiche, which translates to swimming ponds, and since then they have only grown in popularity.

How they work

Natural swimming pools are divided into two areas, namely:

• The swimming zone is the area intended for swimming that resembles a conventional swimming pool or pond.
• The regeneration zone consists of a lined overflow pool filled with specific filtration substrate and flora. Plants used for water regeneration can be supplemented with decorative flowering species to create an attractive water garden environment. The biological processes that clean the water take place in this zone.

The swimming zone should be physically separated from the regeneration and should reach a depth of 2 m in swimming ponds. The regeneration zone and swimming zone must be equal in area for sufficient purification. The swimming portion of the pool can look like a conventional swimming pool or a natural pond. The regeneration zone can be placed adjacent to the swimming area or in a remote location depending on the space available. In modern natural swimming pools there is no minimum depth for the swimming zone and the regeneration zone can now be reduced greatly and in some cases is non existent.

In an natural swimming pool water flows via gravity from the swimming pool into distribution shafts. The water then passes through a biological fine filter/bioreactor before it is pumped into the regeneration zone. Plants in the regeneration zone are planted in the substrate, and these plants compete for nutrients that would feed algae. The water is cleaned biologically by the metabolic processes found in the substrate in which the plants are rooted. Thus, microorganisms and the water plants ensure effective, continuous cleaning. No processes beyond these, such as UV sterilization, are found in true European style natural swimming pools.

natural swimming pools

Because of their reliance on natural environmental factors, each natural swimming pool system is built with consideration to the region and climate where it is installed. Construction elements such as the biological filter and the combination of contaminant ridding plants vary with each pool.

Environmental considerations

Typically, a chemically treated pool can discharge up to 3 times its volume of water into the sewer per year. As there is no use of chemicals in the water of natural swimming pools  and their water is maintained as "living,” there is no need for this waste of water being discharged into the sewer. Also, there is considerably reduced energy consumption for the mechanical operation of many natural swimming pool systems.

Additionally, amphibious and aquatic creatures like frogs, salamanders, and snails often make their homes in the regeneration zones of natural swimming pools. While some pool owners might be made uncomfortable by this idea, others find comfort knowing that their swimming pool environment is clean and balanced enough to support life as it is well known that these types of creatures indicate a healthy ecosystem. The equipment used in natural swimming pools takes the possibility of this wildlife into consideration, as skimmers utilize fine sieves that prevent small creatures from being sucked through the filtration process.

Commonly asked questions

How much work is involved?

Very little. Natural swimming pools are designed to be self-cleaning as far as possible. Leaf skimmers need to be emptied regularly and their is the occasional vacuuming of the pool - but that is about it.

Clear Water Revival

What about mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes only grow in low oxygen environments where they have no predators: e.g. in stagnant pools. The water in natural swimming pools  is highly oxygenated. The ecosystem supports a diversity of predators such as dragonfly larvae, water beetles, skimmers, that eat mosquito larvae. 

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 25 Jun 2018
      The mid-year break is upon us and, whether you’ve planned for it or not, your children are going to be at home for the next three weeks. Why not take a few days leave and enjoy a mini staycation with them? Those without children can call it a well-deserved mid-year pitstop.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      The rental market in many Johannesburg suburbs has shown encouraging signs of revival this year but it remains a competitive market and landlords who best cater to their market’s needs will reap the healthiest returns.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      Home design is constantly evolving to reflect the changing needs of society. We look at some of the ways in which our use of space is changing.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      While estate agents can help the seller with correctly pricing the property and marketing a property to the right pool of potential buyers, at the end of the day it’s the impression that the property will make on buyers that counts the most.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      Anyone who’s ever been involved in a building project that’s gone wrong will appreciate the importance of adequate insurance cover in the construction industry.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A recent news story about a blind tenant caught in a legal battle with his body corporate over letters and notices he was unable to read and consequently comply with has raised the question: what are the legal obligations for landlords with disabled tenants?
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A trend that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is that of hygge (pronounced: hue-guh), a Danish concept that is about creating intimacy, connecting with loved ones and taking pleasure in small, ordinary things.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      Buying or selling real estate isn’t as easy as it is portrayed sometimes, especially if there is a death of a party during the transaction which can make it awkward, tricky and inconvenient.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us