Choose a Natural Swimming Pool or Pond: All Plants and No Chemicals

The natural swimming pool has made it across the pond at last. You can stop swimming in chemicals. Now, there’s a way to make your swimming pool look like it’s part of nature’s plan. Sure, there are saltwater and ion pools, and they are much better for you than the standard chemical ones – but both have some chlorine and/or other chemicals. The saltwater pool generates a natural chlorine, and with an ion-filtered pool you still need to add chemicals -albeit a much smaller amount. But natural swimming pools clean themselves with plants (and occasionally with UV filters). Just pond plants. No chemicals. Ever. That’s as eco-friendly as it gets. And they look amazing.

Natural swimming pool with seating


How Does a Natural Swimming Pool Work?

Anther pool filled with pond plants, called a regeneration zone, is built nearby.  The pool water enters and is cleaned by the plants and a gravel filter. This mimics the process aquatic plants use to clean ponds in nature. The result? A pool just as clean as one that uses chemically filtered water.

Natural pond grasses

The natural swimming pool and the regeneration zone build a small ecosystem that changes over time. There is one hitch if your pool runs into your plants. You won’t be able to heat it above 80 degrees fahrenheit (27 Celsius) – because of the plants. There is a solution – a middle holding pond that cools down the water before sending it to the plants for purification. Depends on how warm you like your pool. And that would be solar heat, of course. Source

All natural swimming pond

You can choose any range of designs. Go modern and elegant, like the first two pools, or go right back to nature like this tropical swimming pond. Source

An environmentally friendly swimming pool


What are the Pros of a Natural Swimming Pool?

  • Much more flexible in design than standard pools.
  • Environmentally friendly and safe – no chemicals, ever.
  • Much less maintenance required: no chlorine, chemical filtration, or pH balancing.
  • Any climate is fine – if you experience winter, the natural swimming pool simply freezes over the way it does in nature.

Doesn't that water look gorgeous?


What are the Cons?

  • Your initial investment may be more for a natural swimming pool.
  • You will need more land area – the plants add additional space requirements.
  • Some people can’t get their heads around swimming in a non-traditional pool. But as long as you’re not one of them, this isn’t an issue.

A modern natural swimming pool with waterfall

What About a Saltwater Pool or an Ionized Pool? Aren’t they chemical free?

Not quite. While better for you than a full-on chlorine pool, both of these systems still contain chemicals. The saltwater system uses a chlorine generator to turn the salt into chlorine. It’s a more natural process – but it’s still chlorine.

A copper ionization pool is another alternative and less harmful again than a full-on chlorine pool (but do your research if your pool is plaster). You’ll still need to add chlorine (or another such chemical), albeit in smaller amounts. The system just can’t do the complete job. Only mother nature can. And natural swimming pools.

Sustainable Natural Swimming Pool

There’s no need to pollute the planet to have a pool – let the pond plants do your work for you, the natural way. And note how clean the water is.

Tropical Natural Swimming Pool

This natural swimming pond is in a Caribbean villa rental, if you’d like to try one out before you build it. Source

Gazebo and natural swimming pond

This natural pond only has a small swimming area – the choice is entirely yours. Source

Water lilies clean the swimming pool

Your pond plants can be flowering water lilies. The part of your natural pool or pond reserved for swimming can be tile or cement, if it makes you feel better. That does cost more – the standard bottom is thick gauge pond lining with sand.  Source

Olympic size natural swimming pool

This Olympic size pool shows just what is possible. The trend of natural swimming pools and ponds has been floating around Europe for some years but has just recently started to take hold in the US. Source

small space natural swimming pool

Even a small space can have a natural swimming pool or pond. Source

Natural swimming pond

The wall that separates the regeneration zone from the swimming area is seen a couple of inches under water. When building a natural swimming pool, the pond area is usually no more than two feet deep. Source

natural swimming pool lap lanes

The swimming pool is separate from the plants. But it is filtered by them nonetheless. It has less of a natural look but some may prefer that. It also allows for higher water temperatures. Source

Modern natural swimming pool

It’s quite stunning to see a sea of water lilies next to, and almost spilling into, such a modern pool setting. Source

Natural tropical pool in New Zealand

A natural infinity pool on a mountain top in New Zealand uses tropical plants for its cleaning system. Source

About Joe Hats 176 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of Joe has been remodeling homes since 1997 when he bought his first fixer-upper. He has built many pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture with his own hands and has every DIY woodworking tool in his possession. Coming from an engineering background, he has designed and built many patio fixture plans. Following his wife's lead, he is also very passionate about home decor and together they keep track of the latest trends. When he is not remodeling or trying a new woodworking tool, he is busy gardening or designing a new outdoor plan.