Build Your Own Natural Swimming Hole

These beautiful pools are low-tech, easy to maintain and best of all, only need to be filled once.

| July/August 2007

  • Pool05
    Natural pools are home to frogs, water striders and dragonflies, making them a treasure trove of riches for children to explore.
    Courtesy BIOTOP
  • WaterGritty

    Illustration by Brad Anderson
  • Pool01
    A natural pond in your backyard offers an idyllic oasis for the entire family.
    Courtesy BIOTOP
  • Pool03
    Neat stonework and a graceful waterfall help create a spectacular pool in Castle Rock, Colorado.
    Courtesy Cheryl Opperman
  • swim-pond-updated
    This cross-section shows the plant zone and swimming area of a natural pond. After compacting a thin layer of soil, a liner and gravel are applied to the pond's bottom. A floating dock equipped with a ladder provides easy access to the pool.
    Illustration by Melanie Powell
  • LEADPool02
    Rushes, sedges and water lilies provide a beautiful border to your natural pond, and they keep the water clear and clean.
    Courtesy BIOTOP

  • Pool05
  • WaterGritty
  • Pool01
  • Pool03
  • swim-pond-updated
  • LEADPool02

Whether you like to practice your dolphin dives or lounge away the day on a raft, swimming is one of summer’s perfect pleasures. With a minimum of materials you can build an idyllic water oasis right in your own backyard and thwart summertime’s sultry dog days.

Although fairly common in Europe, natural swimming pools are in their infancy in the United States. Ask most American swimming-pool contractors to build a backyard pool and chances are they’ll roll out a long list of goods, including rebar, sprayed concrete, fiberglass and a complex filtration system. But in recent years, a few builders and a growing number of homeowners have learned how to build pools that look more natural and blend nicely into the landscape.  

In a natural pool, plants enrich the water with oxygen, support beneficial bacteria and other micro-organisms that consume debris, and give habitat to frogs, dragonflies and other water life. The result is a beautiful, ecologically diverse system that is relatively inexpensive to construct. A natural pool can be constructed for as little as $2,000 if you do it yourself, while conventional pools can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But the savings don’t end there. A natural swimming hole is fairly low-tech, and once established requires only a modicum of management. You won’t have to drain the pool each autumn and, except for topping it off now and then, you’ll fill the pool only once.

Dig it

The easiest and least costly way to build a swimming pool is simply to hollow a hole in the ground. You can make your pool as deep as you want, but the key is to make sure the sides slope, which will prevent cave-ins and offer easy entrance and exit. The ratio should be a 1-foot vertical drop for every 3 horizontal feet.



“It’s not a bathtub effect, but more like a soup bowl,” says Tom Zingaro, partner with Denver-based Blue Lotus Designs (www.BlueLotusDesigns.net), a pool- and pond-architecture company.

One of the main reasons traditional swimming pools are constructed with a steel framework is to ensure the walls stay vertical and perpendicular to the bottom surface of the pool. Construct a pool with sloping sides and you’ll eliminate the need for steel reinforcement.

www.EasyWoodwork.org
5/15/2018 7:57:58 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build mine – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)


PondLinerRepair
4/26/2018 7:03:42 AM

The natural swimming pole is good to see. A natural pool can be constructed for as little as $2,000 if you do it yourself, while conventional pools can cost tens of thousands of dollars. One of the main reasons traditional swimming pools are constructed with a steel framework is to ensure the walls stay vertical and perpendicular to the bottom surface of the pool. For more pool/pond maintenance tips: https://www.pondpro2000.com/epdm-pond-liner.php


PondLinerRepair
4/26/2018 7:03:38 AM

Natural swimming hole is good to see. A natural pool can be constructed for as little as $2,000 if you do it yourself, while conventional pools can cost tens of thousands of dollars. One of the main reasons traditional swimming pools are constructed with a steelframework is to ensure the walls stay vertical and perpendicular to the bottomsurface of the pool.







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