Swimming Pond, Ambiance and Recreation Combined: What You Need To Know.
A swimming pond you say? While browsing the pages of a glossy homeware and interiors magazine, you may be greeted by a series of images and a feature on swimming pools which would pique the interest of many.
It may get you thinking about being away or somewhere exotic, so while initial reactions could be of enticement and fancy for those turquoise waters, the inviting aspect of a swimming pool in the UK was short lived, most would realise they didn’t actually want a traditional swimming pool – in the UK – at all.
The draw of a pool for most is, essentially, because it’s somewhere else. Somewhere more fitting, warm and palm tree strewn. However much we try and convince ourselves a pool is a good idea, a quick google search of our average annual precipitation is often enough to sober us up.
In a country as solidly overcast as the UK, a conventional swimming pool, with its Bahama-blue waters and regimented tiles, can feel rigid and jarring and not befitting of even the most manicured lawn or contemporary property.
Outdoor swimming pools are expensive to install, pose numerous issues with upkeep and require hearty doses of ozone or chlorine in the fight to keep nature out. Many end up drained, a sad inevitability from the financial obligations which simply can’t be offset because of their lack of use, but there is another way…
Introducing the swimming pond
A swimming pond is not a new concept; the first was in Austria in 1985. They are popular on the continent – with countries like Germany the forerunners in experience and design – these aquatic wonders are both aesthetically beautiful and functional wildlife havens.
They’re also eco-friendly and boast a heap of health benefits. The appeal is actually remarkably unsurprising when you think of our population, as a nation it’s statistically fair to say we love swimming.
A pool pond, swim pond, or natural pool, whatever you wish to call it, will always be – not just sympathetic – but complimentary to the landscape. They mature and change with the seasons, providing a constant focal point in your garden.
As if borne of a natural spring, calm teal waters are punctuated by water lilies and pond skaters, birds drink and bathe, dragonflies zip over and irises pierce the sky on the banks.
Many have waterfalls installed which provide aeration and movement for the water and add ambiance to the scene. And of course, the best bit is that you can quite literally submerge yourself in it, whenever you like.
So how does a swimming pond work?
Well, most will have some degree of mechanical filtration (UV, quiet submerged pumps, surface skimmers etc.) but – providing you’ve got the space – the purist approach requires little more than a rubber lining and some carefully selected vegetation. With absolutely no chemicals to boot. Other materials can be used as well such as fiberglass.
The idea of a swimming pond is that they are a self-sustaining and contained ecosystem. Think a terrarium but much wetter! Most will have a shallow zone or shelf around the outside called a ‘Regeneration area’, stocked with plants.
These are your biological filters. Plants absorb impurities from the water and halt the spread of algae. They also anchor soil in place.
Try and use our native plants if you can, as these encourage an array of our wildlife. We have some stunning native plants you can introduce, with Water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpiodes) and Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) being a couple of my favourites.
Whichever supplier you go for will be able to provide you with the desired mix of shallow and deep marginals.
A swimming pond also requires far less maintenance than a regular swimming pool as they don’t need to be drained or treated regularly – Apart from keeping leaves at bay and removing dead vegetation, there is little else to worry about.
If you opt for some mechanical filtration – which is advisable and will generate the clearest water, this should be cleaned as needed.
A large area of water ideally will have a pump, filter and surface skimmer, all working in unison.
What considerations need to be made?
Well, placement is important. You don’t want it situated in the path of any effluent run off, for example. It’s also worth remembering that however big of an area you’ve earmarked for swimming, you will need this again for your regeneration zone.
Unsurprising given that an ecosystem requires harmony and balance, but still worth noting as you see what space you’ve got to work with. Particularly as a swim pond with no mechanical filtration will need to be pretty big…
Be mindful also of nearby trees, nobody wants to be constantly contending with leaf litter – regular pool or otherwise!
It’s also worth seriously considering placement with regards to young children. Children love pond dipping, and while they’ll be enthralled by newts, water beetles and frogs, a child’s safety is imperative. A large, deep body of water needs to be entirely separate from the smallest members of our families.
If you want fish, à la a traditional pond… It’s doable, (particularly if you’re paying big bucks for a hefty filtration system), but it’s not advisable. Fish stir up sediment and also produce a lot of nutrients, and sadly this just isn’t compatible for a body of water where nutrient levels need to be kept low. It’s this reason also that prohibits the introduction of ducks. Ducks are a no no on a swimming pond.
It’s also worth remembering that the initial swimming pond installation will be costly. If you’ve already got a large pond to work with, a conversion project may save you some pennies, but labour and materials are expensive.
Some of the filtration systems available are all singing and all dancing, with self cleaning features and app controls, they are also incredibly powerful, pumping and filtering gallons and gallons of water, it stands to reason then, that this stuff does not come cheap, and as is the case with most specialist equipment, if you buy cheap, you buy twice.
It’s all food for thought, a year round showstopper that will increase the value of your property, while remaining environmentally conscientious? It’s definitely a good thing.
A swimming pond is an opportunity to use creative zeal, unlike a regular pool which spends much of the year covered, a swim pond will become an indispensable space for the natural world and your family alike. If you are looking for that feature that resets your garden from ‘good looking’ to ‘magnificent’, a swim pond is for you.
If you are interested in having a swimming pond at your property please contact us do discuss your requirements further. From a formal rectangle and clear planted divide to full blow immersive experience we can help create and real center piece for all to enjoy.