Water is such a fundamental giver of life that creating naturally filtered water systems in the living space invites a different kind of awareness and connection with nature into the home.
There is something profound that happens when a pool becomes a green space, an ecosystem.
Natural Pools keep swimming pools clean by gently circulating water through a living ecosystem of aquatic plants? Our understanding of microbiology in the plant root zone, and how soils and ecosystems clean water has enabled us to develop very simple and robust natural swimming pool designs. Through designing and working with constructed wetlands, aquatic plant ecosystems capable of cleaning grey water & black water, we developed and refined our natural wetland filtration system for swimming pools.
With a chlorinated pool. Time & money is constantly applied to poison life and to stem the force of nature instead of letting it work for you. What would you rather bathe in? Pristine living-giving spring water? or dead, chemically infused H20?
The advantage of taking the natural approach to cleaning water
- You are no longer exposing yourself and your family to chlorine, which is poison and easily absorbed through the skin.
- It invites nature into your property & benefits the rest of the landscape in terms of ecosystem diversity.
- Less time and money for maintenance as natural pool pumps need far less power (60% less) and the system self cleans and regulates. It just needs pruning once a year.
- Water can be used to drink or irrigate If needed.
Pond or Pool?
Natural swimming pools can be designed to look like a mountain pool, a pond or very much like a modern conventional pool. The wetland can be in the pool, adjacent or even on the other side of a garden. It is really up to the taste of the owner.
Pools can be designed with formal, separate swimming zones such as above or they can be designed as wild, natural ponds below.
Although the level of maintenance is less than that of a traditional chlorinated pool which requires water testing, chemical additives, backwashing etc. it does still need maintenance. This is why we take great care and pride to ensure that this is as minimal as possible. Part of our system design is a pre-filtration area that will physically trap sediment from going into the gravel zone. This is to avoid the wetland silting up over too quickly and having to be dug up, washed and replanted (which you really want to avoid!). The system is also designed in such a way that the pipes that carry water under the plants and gravel can be accessed via a hatch as they sometimes need to have roots cleaned out to keep them flowing nicely.
Maintenance that needs to be carried out:
- Empty out the skimmer once a week
- Clean/vacuum the floor surface of the swimzone once a month.
- Clean out the pre-filter sponges once a year.
- Prune the plants once a year.
* We are happy to do this as part of a maintenance plan.
A natural pool uses less than half the energy of a conventional pool. This is because they can get away with more efficient submersible pumps than conventional swimming pools, as the water flow requirement is very different.
A conventional pool has a pump that needs to be strong enough to force water through a sand filter at very high pressure. With a natural pool the pump doesn’t need great strength to move water through the wetland. With a natural pool the pump does need to run 24/7 though compared to a conventional pool which only requires 6hrs a day. Even still a natural pool works out to less than half the energy consumption.
Conventional chemical pool: 6 hrs x 750W = 4500W/day = 135kWh/month
Natural Pool: 24 hrs x 90W = 2160W/day = 64.8kWh/month
Kalk Bay Conversion
The owner of this old 60 000l swimming pool was about to fill it in before we managed to convince them to convert it into a natural pool. We redirected all rainwater into the pool via discreet subsurface pipes so the pool stays full in the Cape Town dry season. It also has a floating wetland inside the pool area in case the water level does drop as well as a gravel wetland and small pond outside the pool. They are delighted with the result.
Before & After Comparison
The pool was in a serious state of disrepair. We drained it, stored the water, fixed all holes and cracks and resurfaced it with a beautiful charcoal finish. The process involved design and visioning the whole space including hardscaping such as decking and paving around the pool.