Natural Pools: What Are They and How Do They Work?
If you’re looking for an alternative to a chlorine-treated backyard pool, a natural pool may be an option to consider. Natural pools often serve both recreational and decorative purposes for homeowners looking to enhance their property while providing a more environmentally friendly place to swim.
What Is a Natural Pool?
A natural pool relies on plants to help keep the water clean without the use of chemicals, Forbes says. Some natural pools have a pond-like appearance, while others are designed to look like a traditional swimming pool, Forbes adds.
Aquatic plants that are native to the area help kill algae and bacteria in the water, according to Sierra Magazine.
In natural pools that look like ponds, swimmers may encounter plant life throughout the water, Sierra Magazine says, but those who opt for a more traditional pool setup often place the plants in water adjacent to the swimming area.
How Does a Natural Pool Work?
A natural pool is typically made up of two sections — a deeper half for swimming, and a shallow half with a gravel bed containing plants like water lilies and flowering rushes, Bloomberg says. The aquatic plants can reduce phosphate levels to help prevent algae, while the gravel works with the plants to filter nitrates, according to Bloomberg.
The area with plants and gravel is often referred to as the “regeneration zone,” Forbes says. As water flows between the pool and the regeneration zone, the plants naturally filter the water, HGTV explains. If water doesn’t naturally flow in your pool, a water pump may help keep it moving toward the plants, HouseLogic.com suggests.
Your state’s extension service can help you determine what types of plants will best clean the water in your natural pool, HouseLogic.com says.
What Are Some Benefits of Natural Pools?
While you’ll need to invest in establishing your regeneration zone, over time you may save money on maintenance because you won’t have to purchase pool chemicals, HouseLogic.com says. Chlorine can also release mercury when it’s manufactured and cause pollution when used in pools, so choosing a natural pool may also offer environmental benefits, Sierra Magazine says.
In addition, pumps for natural pools typically use less electricity, so you may notice some savings there, according to Sierra Magazine. And because natural pools generally aren’t heated, that may help further reduce your electric bill, Bloomberg says.
The plant side of a natural pool can also attract creatures such as dragonflies and frogs, which eat mosquitoes and their larvae, HouseLogic.com says. This can help you enjoy your yard while keeping mosquito bites to a minimum.
Natural pools can offer practical solutions to people who want an alternative to a chlorine-treated swimming pool. Consult with local professionals to learn more about natural pools so you can decide whether one might make a good addition to your backyard.
Originally published on July 23, 2013.