10 Steps to Build Your Natural Swimming Pool

10 Steps to Build Your Natural Swimming Pool

Natural Swimming pool are a wonderful eco-friendly alternative to traditional pools. They use plants and biological filters to keep the water clean. This makes them healthier for swimmers and the environment.

If you’re interested in building your own, follow these 10 steps. This guide will take you from planning to enjoying your natural swimming pool.

Step 1: Research and Design

Understand Natural Swimming Pools

Firstly, understand what a natural swimming pool is. They have two main zones: a swimming area and a regeneration area. The regeneration area has plants that filter the water. This setup mimics natural water bodies.

Design Your Pool

Secondly, design your pool. Consider the size and shape that fit your space. The swimming zone should be deep enough for comfortable swimming.

The regeneration zone can be shallower. Plan the layout carefully to ensure proper water flow between the zones.

Step 2: Choose the Right Location

Sunlight and Accessibility

Choosing the right location is crucial. The pool should receive plenty of sunlight. Sunlight helps plants in the regeneration zone thrive. Also, ensure easy access for construction and maintenance.

Avoiding Contaminants

Avoid areas with potential contaminants. For instance, avoid large trees that drop leaves into the pool. Also, check for underground utilities before digging.

Step 3: Budget Planning

Initial Costs

Planning your budget is essential. Natural swimming pools can have higher initial costs. This includes excavation, materials, plants, and labour. However, they save money in the long run due to lower maintenance costs.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Consider ongoing maintenance costs. These include electricity for the pump and occasional plant replacements. Despite the initial investment, the long-term savings are significant.

Step 4: Obtain Permits

Local Regulations

Check local regulations before starting construction. You might need permits for excavation and water use.

Contact your local planning department for details. This step ensures compliance with local laws.

Environmental Considerations

Consider environmental regulations. Some areas have specific rules for water bodies. Ensure your pool doesn’t harm local ecosystems. Compliance with regulations avoids legal issues later.

Step 5: Excavation

Marking the Area

Once you have the permits, start with excavation. Mark the area according to your design. Clear the site of any obstacles like rocks and roots.

Digging the Zones

Excavate both the swimming and regeneration zones. Ensure the swimming zone is deep enough for swimming.

The regeneration zone can be shallower but must have varied depths for different plants.

Step 6: Installing the Liner

Choosing the Right Liner

After excavation, install a waterproof liner. This prevents water leakage. Choose a durable, UV-resistant liner for longevity. An underlay can provide extra protection against punctures.

Securing the Liner

Secure the liner properly to avoid wrinkles and leaks. Smooth out any creases during installation. This step is crucial for maintaining water levels and preventing seepage.

Step 7: Installing Filtration and Circulation Systems

Mechanical Filters

Although plants do most of the filtration, mechanical filters help. A skimmer removes debris from the water’s surface. This keeps the pool clean and reduces plant debris.

Water Pump

Install a water pump to circulate water between the zones. Ensure the pump is energy-efficient. Position it to maintain natural water flow, which keeps the pool clean.

Step 8: Planting the Regeneration Zone

Selecting Plants

Now, focus on the regeneration zone. Choose a variety of aquatic plants. Common choices include water lilies, reeds, and sedges. These plants absorb nutrients and filter the water.

Planting Arrangement

Arrange plants at different depths for a natural look. Ensure they cover at least 50% of the regeneration zone. This maximizes their filtering efficiency.

Step 9: Filling the Pool

Using Untreated Water

Once everything is in place, fill the pool with water. Use untreated water to avoid chemicals. Rainwater or well water is ideal for this purpose.

Checking for Leaks

Gradually fill the swimming zone first, then the regeneration zone. Check for any leaks or issues during filling. Ensure the water flows naturally between the zones.

10 Steps to Build Your Natural Swimming Pool

Step 10: Regular Maintenance


Regular maintenance is key to a healthy natural swimming pool. Use a skimmer to remove floating debris.

Check the bottom for settled debris and remove it. Clean mechanical filters regularly to ensure they function properly.

Plant Care

Plants play a vital role in water filtration. Remove dead or decaying plant material to prevent nutrient buildup.

Trim overgrown plants to maintain balance. Replace any plants that aren’t thriving. Healthy plants ensure effective water filtration.

Water Quality Monitoring

Regularly monitor the water quality—test for pH, nitrates, and phosphates. The ideal pH is between 6.5 and 8. Excess nitrates and phosphates can cause algae blooms. If levels are high, take corrective actions. Add more plants or reduce feeding if you have fish. Clearwater indicates a healthy pool.

Seasonal Maintenance

Each season requires different maintenance tasks. Clean the pool thoroughly and check the plants.

In summer, regular cleaning and monitoring are essential. In autumn, remove fallen leaves and debris. Prepare plants for winter. In winter, reduce maintenance but keep an eye on water levels.


Building a natural swimming pool is a rewarding project. It requires careful planning and regular maintenance. However, the benefits far outweigh the efforts. You’ll enjoy a chemical-free, eco-friendly swimming experience. Your pool will be a beautiful addition to your property.

Moreover, you’ll contribute to environmental conservation. Embrace the idea of a natural swimming pool. Enjoy the harmony between nature and recreation.

Tony Augustine

About the author

In 2012, I helped establish KJA & Sons and have been deeply engaged in many swimming pool initiatives ever since. My expertise lies in designing filters for chlorine-free swimming pools, as well as living water gardens, koi fish ponds etc.