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A Guide to Natural Swimming Pools

Already quite the trend in Europe, natural swimming pools have yet to catch on in the United States and Canada. Though this organic alternative to the standard swimming pool is chemical-free and designed with the natural ecology of your yard in mind, many homeowners find it off-putting. The lack of chlorine and abundance of plant-life give some the impression that an organic pool is nothing more than a water hole.

If you’re interested in an environmentally friendly swimming hole but still on the fence about this burgeoning trend, get the facts before you determine whether or not it’s the right fit for you.

Natural Materials

Unlike a standard swimming pool, which is lined in fiberglass or concrete, a green pool uses natural elements like clay, gravel or stone on its bottom. This lack of manufactured materials makes the natural swimming pool a low price alternative — costing as little as $2,000 in some cases.

It also means that this is one backyard addition that doesn’t necessarily need a contractor for construction. If you’re looking to save a lot of money you can opt to dig the hole yourself. Keep in mind though, if you chose to do-it-yourself, you’ll want to make sure the sides slope so the soil doesn’t cave in. Having a ratio of a 1-foot vertical drop for every 3-horizontal feet will stave off the need for steel reinforcement or the potential pool disaster. For more information on building your own natural swimming hole, check out this video from Treehugger.

Natural Filter

Fifty percent of your organic pool will need to be devoted to aquatic vegetation. These plants and microorganisms act as a biological filter for your pool. They should be native to your region and situated in about 6 to 18 inches of water.

You can also install a small manual pump to help regenerate the water or add a natural waterfall to aid with aeration. If you’re worried about algae, keep the plant life abundant so as not to give the unwanted pests a place to grow.


While the low-cost to install is a major upside to an organic pool, there are also a whole host of other advantages. Natural pools only need to be filled once, meaning you’re more than doing your part to conserve water. They also require less energy than a standard swimming pool, as there’s no need to install a heating system. Simply line the bottom of the pool with rubber or reinforced polyethylene and let the sun’s rays heat it the natural way.

Good For Your Health

Those worried about the health hazards of a green pool should set their fears aside. Properly designed, natural pools don’t pose a health risk. In fact, their lack of chemicals means you’ll avoid some of the health concerns associated with chlorine, as well as keep the natural balance of your backyard’s ecosystem.


A green pool does need to be maintained — though there’s no need to hire a pool boy. You’ll have to remove debris in spring and in fall, just like with a chlorinated pool. The water level and nutrient levels also need to be managed. This may sound complicated, but actually nutrient levels can be easily monitored with a kit available at most home and garden stores.

Beautiful, earth-friendly, and better for your health; what more could a backyard ask for?

By Megan Mostyn-Brown

Ready to get started on your pool? Take a look at eieihome’s directory of swimming pool contractors.

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