The Garden Guide

Construction of swimming ponds - review

Pond Construction Guide


Natural swimming ponds are a brilliant innovation in garden design. They are delightful for swimmers; they look beautiful: they are cheap to maintain; they are much healthier than chemical pools; they are good for wildlife It was a great pleasure to see the first example at a Chelsea Flower Show in 2005. The principles of their construction are illustrated above and summarised below:

  • design for water-retention is similar to other types of garden pond construction, with many design alternatives
  • the swimming pond is diviided into a regeneration area (right above) swimming area (left above) the regeneration area can surround the swimming area or can be on 1,2 or 3 sides of the pool. A wall which terminates below the water surface is used to keep the soil and planting apart from the swimming pond
  • the base of the swimming area can be surfaced in gravel (as shown above) or it can be tiled like a conventional swimming pool. If it is gravel, water is pumped downwards to porous pipes. If it is tiled, water is pumped through gratings. Tiled pools can be cleaned in the conventional manner (eg a pond vacuum cleaner), but chemicals should not be used
  • a pump (in a pump chamber, not shown above) is required to move water from the base of the swimming area to the edge of the regeneration area. A skimmer box (not shown above) can be used to keep the surface of the pool free of floating debris. The pumps can be powered by solar panels, to make the pool sustainable.
  • discharging water into a shallow area at the top of the regeneration zone keeps it slightly warmer than a stagnant pond. Additional heating can be applied (using the mains supply or solar panels) but the temperature should not be so high that it will disturb the planting ( (20-25 Centigrade in a temperate climate)