Natural pools are contrasted with standard pools primarily in terms of how they keep the pool water clean. Although they are easier and cost-friendly to maintain, they usually require a relatively higher input in terms of cost to install. But How do they work and what are the other advantages and disadvantages of these natural pools?
What is a Natural Pool?
A natural pool is a pool that is filtered by biological agents rather than by the use of chemicals as in standard pools. This is the main feature that distinguishes natural pools from standard pools (traditional pools).
The filtration by biological agents is known as natural filtration or organic filtration. For this reason, the pool is either known as a natural pool or sometimes as an organic pool.
Organic filtration refers to the use of a gravel filter or wetlands made of plants, or both. This is contrasted with the use of chemicals in the standard pools. To use organic filtration, a natural pool is designed to accommodate the required processes.
Basically, natural pools are designed in a way that imitates wild water bodies such as wild pools, ponds, and lakes. They may have irregular shapes with artificial features such as rocks waterfalls and boulders.
What Is the Origin of Natural Pools?
The trend towards natural pools began in Europe many decades ago. They have since slowly but steadily gained popularity in other parts of the world including the United States, Australia, and other regions with them sunny climates.
How Does a Natural Pool Work?
There is a separate section of the pool that is constructed near or beside the pool called the regeneration zone. This section consists of a shallow water body with about 4 to 5 inches of gravel or pea rock. It may also be wetlands of plants.
It is in this regeneration zone where organic filtration occurs. A small pump is installed to continuously but slowly pump water from the pool into the regeneration zone and back to the pool after filtration.
When the water from the pool reaches the regeneration zone it undergoes organic filtration. In the process, a complex biological film that naturally grows on the surface of the gravel or is present in the aquatic plants biologically filters the water as it slowly trickles through them. The filtered water is then channeled back into the pool.
This process is similar to the way aquatic plants filter water bodies in the wild. The exception is that in the wild water bodies, the process that takes place is not organized and is separated into different zones.
However, in natural pools, the section where this organic filtration happens has to be separated from the pool where swimming takes place. This is important because it keeps the swimming pool clear and free from organic matter.
With time, the natural pool together with the regeneration zone forms an ecosystem that even attracts some aquatic animals. Coincidentally, the aquatic animals are attracted to the regeneration zone rather than to the pool zone where they are not required.
Natural Pools Vs Swimming Ponds
Natural pools and swimming ponds bear some similarities but also have very significant differences. The main similarity between the two is that none of them uses chemical filtration.
On the other hand, the main difference lies in the process by which the pool water is kept clean. While a natural swimming pool uses organic filtration to keep the pool water clean, a swimming pond has a balanced ecosystem that keeps the water clean without any filtration process. This makes the natural pool water comparatively clean than swimming pond water.
Additionally, natural pools do not necessarily need any plant matter to stay clean, but at least 50% of a swimming pond needs to be planted for efficient water cleaning. Hence, whereas a natural pool can be heated and covered, a swimming pond can neither be heated nor covered. This helps to keep the necessary plants alive and healthy.
Are Natural Pools as Clean as Standard Pools?
The fact that natural pools are organically filtered does not make them less clean than standard pools. They are essentially different but equally efficient methods of filtration.
Sometimes, organic pools may have their water slightly brown. However, this is only a physical difference rather than an essential one.
Nevertheless, the clear blue chemically filtered water tends to be more attractive to swimmers than the brown tint water in the natural pool. Again, this is only an aesthetic difference rather than an essential one.
The outstanding feature between chemical filtration in standard pools and organic filtration in natural pools is the effort and cost required. Natural filtration is easier and cheaper.
Pros & Cons of Natural Pools
Natural pools have their own advantages and disadvantages. The most outstanding ones include the following:
- Natural Pools can be adapted to the natural environment much more easily than conventional pools. They can be tailored to look like ponds, with rocks and boulders factored into the design. Generally, natural pools are more flexible in design than conventional pools.
- Natural pools do not pollute the environment, unlike conventional pools. builders because they do not use pool chemicals, some of which may be dangerous to the environment.
- Once installed, natural pools require less maintenance. Accordingly, they require less cost and effort to maintain. They don’t require chemical filtration, pH balancing, or the use of chlorine. Furthermore, they don’t require any other related costs such as the payment of extra personnel required in the case of conventional pools.
- Natural pools work well in most climatic conditions. However, they will freeze over during winter, just like any other natural water body does.
- Natural pools require a huge initial investment. Unlike conventional pools, natural pools require an extra zone that is dedicated to filtering the pool. Since the pools are relatively rare, it might not be easy to get a specialized builder. Rare specialized builders for natural pools will certainly be relatively expensive.
- A natural pool requires an extra area used as our regeneration zone. This means natural pools will occupy a bigger space than traditional pools. So if you have a small space you would instead build a conventional pool.
- Natural pools are generally poorer aesthetically. The organic water in a natural pool may take on a brownish tint. This is a contrast with that perfectly clear, blue, chemically filtered water.
- Natural pools are comparatively untidy than standard pools. Removing all the sediment from a natural pool is impossible because organic matter and plants are integral to the pool.
What Is the Cost of a Natural Pool?
The actual cost of a particular natural pool is not fixed. Rather, it depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the desired site. The pools also vary in terms of size, shape, depth, and style, and this means their cost will be different.
Typically, prices for natural pools range from $50 to $100 per square foot installed. Mostly, property owners spend around $70,000 for a pool that measures approximately 20 by 30 feet.
Finding a Natural Pool Builder?
Considering the fact that natural pools are comparatively rare, it follows that getting a specialized builder is not easy. Therefore, whether you meet them online or in their office, ensure you subject them to a thorough interview to ascertain that they have the needed skills.
You may want to have them show you their past projects so that you can be in touch with their workmanship. Remember that natural pools required comparatively higher input to install. So if you end up assigning the job to an inexperienced builder, you will certainly make a huge loss.
Notable Natural Pools Around the World
Most notable natural pools are found in the united states of America But others are spread all over the world.
Hamilton Pool Preserve – Dripping Springs, Texas, USA
It is a jade-green swimming hole surrounded by limestone cliffs at Dripping Springs, Texas State, United States of America.
Grotta Della Poesia – Roca Vecchia, Italy
It is a turquoise sinkhole that is one of many pools along the rocky coast Located in Rosa Vecchia, Italy.
Fossil Creek – Strawberry, Arizona, USA
It is an oasis located about 80 miles from Phoenix, Arizona State United States of America. It is a crystal blue swimming hole teeming with waterfalls.
Queen’s Bath – Princeville, Hawaii, USA
It is located in Princeville, Hawaii state in the United States of America. Visitors hike a red dirt path to this idyllic tide pool overlooking the ocean
Gunlom Plunge Pool – Darwin, Australia
It is located in Kakadu National Park, Darwin Australia. It is an infinity pool overlooking the Australian bushland.
Giola Lagoon – Thassos, Greece
It is located in the village of Astris, Thasos Greece. It is carved into terraced rocks with shimmering water that overlooks the sea.
Krka National Park – Lozovac, Croatia
It consists of natural, azure pools that are set against a backdrop of cascading waterfalls in Krka National Park, Lozovac, Croatia
Figure Eight Pools – Sydney, Australia
It is a cluster of naturally-formed rock pools located in Royal National Park, Sydney Australia.
Opal Creek Wilderness – Lyons, Oregon, USA
It is carved into the Cascade Mountains, the pools of Opal Creek are located in Lyons, Oregon State, USA. Besides swimming, there is cliff jumping.
Madison Blue Spring – Lee, Florida, USA
It is located on the bank of the Withlacoochee River in Lee, Florida State, United States of America. The cerulean blue water runs over limestone boulders and an underwater cave.