How to Build a Natural Swimming Pond Step by Step

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Thinking on how to build a natural swimming pond step by step? It can be a daunting task when you don’t know where to begin. And that’s why we have this post. But before then, we know swimming can be much fun, especially when the environment resembles that of an oasis. Unfortunately, while conventional swimming pools enhance outdoor living, they cannot offer this. But thanks to natural pools, they improve your backyard and provide you with the ideal water oasis in your home.

Whether you like to try new swimming techniques or cool off during summer, this pool with no chemicals is a great option. To learn how to build a natural swimming pond step by step, read on.

How Do Natural Swimming Ponds Work?

Natural swimming ponds simulate the natural environment’s function and biodiversity. They have separate zones for water purification and swimming. Depending on the natural swimming pool design you choose, you can allocate 50 to 70% of the total water surface area to swimming and the rest to filtration.

Usually, water is pumped to the shallow end where plants and aggregate are abundant. These elements filter the pool water keeping it pure and clear. Also known as the purification zone, the shallow end adds a decorative element to the reservoir.

Since these aquatic plants are crucial for filtration, you need to provide friendly conditions for them to thrive. Otherwise, you may have to put up with dirty pool water. Maintaining PH between 5.5 and 7 helps the plants flourish, allowing filtration to take place.

The design and location of the natural swimming pool also determine how it will function. With a large and deep pool, you are not likely to encounter algae problems. You can build a 45 to 50 square meter pool to have the right plant life for filtration.

Balancing the sun and shade also helps in the optimal functioning of your swimming pond. However, since the sun promotes algae and photosynthesis, when the exposure is excessive, it will create problems.

So if you live in a sunny area, you may have to shade the pool naturally using floating leaves to slow algae growth and protect aquatic plants. What happens during winter?

The right depth of the swimming pond takes care of this. Generally, with a depth of 1 to 2 meters, the living organisms are protected. Thus, you can enjoy your natural pool throughout!

8 Steps to Building a Natural Swimming Pond

Natural pool with fountain

Step 1. Designing Your Natural Swimming Pond

Whether you are building a natural swimming pool or pond, the first step you need to take is to develop a design. Planning determines several factors, such as cost. So, if you want a large natural swimming pool, you need to prepare both financially and span of time.

Some people have been excited about building natural swimming pools, but the contractors they settled for failed to deliver excellent designs. To avoid such frustration, you need a contractor who is established in this industry.

Ensure they can do exceptional construction and are knowledgeable about natural swimming pools. If you like their previous projects, you can hire them, then the company’s architect can start working on the blueprint.

Besides giving you an idea of the expenses, the design portrays the shape of the pool, the size, and the different sections. For instance, with a plan, you will know if you have a 100sqft natural swimming pool, where the particulars; aquatic plants, and swimming channel are located.

Planning to add a solar heating system to your natural swimming pond? If yes, the designer will help you figure out the best position for effective pool heating.

Step 2. Choosing the Location

While you may prefer to view the natural pool from your house, you need to analyze certain factors. For instance, size, the ecosystem, soil type, ground gradients, location of large plants, and the ground gradient.

Don’t build your natural pool near trees because their roots may grow towards the pond and damage the waterproofing. Trees can also drop leaves on the pool, which will decay and promote algae in your pool. Moreover, picking leaves each day can be tiring.

Step 3. Configuration of the Natural Swimming Pond

A natural pool usually has several distinct areas that make your pond chemical-free. Without these zones, your natural swimming pond will not function properly. These areas include:

  • Filtration zone
  • Regeneration zone
  • Oxygenation area
  • Swimming zone

If it’s a DIY natural swimming pool, you need to arrange the four zones properly for optimal functioning. Have the water garden on the shallow end (regeneration zone) where plants are abundant. These plants feed on organic matter that falls in the pond, thus purifying it.

While purchasing the plants, you need to select specific ones to prevent the algae problem. If you are not certain, you can talk to an expert in this field who will also help you acquire hydrophytic plants that will survive your region’s climate.

Before you progress to the next step, ensure you have the arrangement of every element figured out. For instance, the corner element, drainage pipe, swimming pool water level, and horse leading to the pump.

Step 4. Prepare the Construction Materials

Building a DIY natural swimming pool or pond requires thorough planning. Consequently, you need to acquire all the materials and tools necessary for construction before start building. This preparation will save you time and help you focus on building the pool.

Below is a list of what you need for your DIY pond

1. Materials

  • Cement
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Liquid glass
  • Clay
  • Fittings
  • Formworks, boards, and bars

2. Tools

  • Shovel
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Hacksaws
  • Mixer
  • Pliers
  • Plumb

This list generally is suitable for organic pools projects. However, if you will be working on a more detailed natural swimming pool, you may have to purchase more supplies and tools for decoration or to add other features.

If you are uncertain about your order, professionals can help you figure out what you may need in the progressive stages of construction.

Step 5. Construction

The construction of natural swimming pools involves two processes:

1. Excavation

To begin this process, mark out the swimming pool area, remove the soil and set it aside. That will give you the ground space you should uncover. So dig the hole first using the outline and finish by lining up the walls.

After digging the hole, it’s vital you create a walkway so that the soil on the edges won’t be compacted as people walk. Additionally, the boundary will serve as a sign so that no visitors or kids will fall unknowingly.

To plot accurately, lay a clay liner at the bottom of the hole and use a measuring wheel to check the measurements. Then, complete the excavation by cutting the valve stems to the preferred size and arranging the plumbing system according to water purification and collection design.

2. Preparing the Floor for Natural Pond

To prepare the floor, start by mixing the cement and sand. Then add gravel and water to this mixture and stir the resulting combination. If you do not have a mixer, you can perform this manually.

The proportions of the mixture to use for the floor are 1 part cement, 3 part sand, and 4 parts gravel. When the concrete mixture is ready, pour it on the bottom of the pool hole. Then smooth it and let it dry properly for a minimum of 12 hours.

When executing step five, ensure you make a slope so water can flow to a specific area. It will make draining water to the pump effortless.

Step 6. Building the Floor and Walls

At this point, if you are building a DIY natural swimming pool, you can see some great progress. With the next few steps, you will complete the natural pool.

As the floor is drying, start making the formwork, and remember to leave a 13 cm space between it and the walls in the hole. Then hammer all the panels and cut the boards together.

Before you install the formwork, place the roofing at the bottom of the concrete shell, then cover it with panels. It will allow unlimited installation of the formwork.

After placing the roofing material, install the formwork and join them. Then prepare the mortar solution using the proportions in step five and lay the mixture in layers (15 to 20 cm), compressing every layer.

To complete the walls, remove the entire formwork and smooth the pool walls. Then finish the pool’s surface and bottom with a liquid glass layer. Alternatively, you can use tiles to finish.

Step 7. The Filtration System

In natural pools based on biological filters, you must create the natural process that maintains the aquatic environment balance. As a result, you have to apply the principle of water treatment in lakes.

Natural swimming pools work due to the continuous exchange between the lower and upper water layers. This process is made possible by the temperature difference in large pools and forced filtration in small ponds.

Consequently, the pool water is purified by the biofilter and enriched with nutrients. Below are two filtration systems applicable in natural swimming pools or ponds:

Mechanical Filtration System

Water in the lakes utilizes a biological filter to keep the water clean. However, with natural swimming pools and ponds, you have to remove floating leaves and grass to keep the water clean.

This system helps the biological filter to eliminate large particles not to be overwhelmed by the extra load. It accounts for 20% of the entire filtration system.

Biological Filtration

This system accounts for 80% of the entire filtration. The regeneration zone that contains hydrophytic plants and microorganisms filters the water maintaining a natural balance.

Unlike natural swimming pools, conventional pools are treated with chlorine. However, that does not decrease the effectiveness of natural ponds since they extract nitrogen, heavy metals, and other compounds.

With specially selected plants, these pools can maintain the hydrochemical system.

Step 8. Maintain the Pool

After you construct a natural pond, you will need to perform some maintenance practices to keep it functioning well. Nevertheless, these types of swimming pools are cost-effective to maintain, unlike their counterparts.

You don’t have to worry about purchasing expensive chemicals or hiring someone to take care of them when you are away for a short while. While the conventional swimming pools require constant inspection of the filter’s condition, the natural pond’s annual treatment keeps the plants healthy.

You may also need to check the water level whether it needs topping up, although you don’t have to change the pool water. Keeping the surface and the bottom of the pool clean will make the reservoir more appealing and cozy for you and your loved ones.

So, ensure you clean the bottom and prune the plants once a year to prevent overgrowth. Natural swimming pools also need regular removal of dead plants, leaves floating on the surface, and filter network cleaning.

Other than that, you can do deep cleaning after every five years. So what maintenance practices does a natural swimming pool require during winter? Luckily, you don’t have to perform any preservation in this season. You can even turn it into an ice rink!

Finally, you got the natural swimming pool ready; you can dive in and have your first swimming experience at home. With a suitable garden for regeneration and maintenance of the natural pool, you will enjoy your eco-pool for a long time!

Tips for Building an Exclusive and Cost-Effective Natural Swimming Pond

Swimming pond

1. Choose a Simple Design

Feeling excited about those online natural swimming pools with fountains? Such features add glamour to natural pools; however, they cost more and can be overwhelming if you are working with a tight budget.

That does not leave you with no choice; you can add wildlife, plants, or even stepping stones leading to the pool. As a result, the reservoir can look stunning even with a simple design.

A pool design with a flat bottom and simple shape will also be easy to build. You will have a foundation with one level making the digging and cleaning process easy. Eventually, you will save time and money!

2. Plan

While building a natural swimming pool can be a great experience, you may get overwhelmed amid construction without planning. Consequently, it is essential to plan and prepare before you can begin the building process.

So, what should you include in the plan?

  • Start by thinking, writing, and acquiring the basic elements for the natural pool, then you can think of extra features.
  • Write down a step-by-step plan of each stage of construction. It will help you identify what you have not done and will save you time. Additionally, you won’t get stuck in one stage trying to figure out what you should do next.
  • Be realistic when giving yourself a deadline because building a natural swimming pool is not a fast DIY project. It may require a lot of time, especially if you are working.
  • You also need to put aside some money if a need arises, like hiring a professional if you are building a DIY pool or forget to buy something.

3. Don’t Use Many Fittings

While fittings may not be expensive to install, you should avoid using too much as they may make waterproofing harder. You also need to creatively place them in places where the swimmer can’t see them as they create an unnatural look.

This tip may be challenging to implement in a small natural swimming pool, but you can find inexpensive ideas that will work. If you are okay with more costs, you can have the piping under the pool, although it may be difficult to repair in the future.

4. Build a Shallow Pool

A deeper pool offers an exhilarating swimming experience, but the deeper you go, the higher the expense. When building a deep pool, you will dig more, build higher walls, and strengthen them with another layer. These will add to your material and workforce costs.

If you like diving, you can use the ideal natural swimming pool measurement of 2 meters for your walls. Alternatively, you can build a pool that is 1.5 meters to lower the expenditure and have an easy cleaning time.

A shallow pool offers other benefits like lengthening the swimming season since water is warmer than a deeper pool. Nevertheless, deep pools are less prone to algae growth, so you won’t find this challenging.

5. Use Sandbags or Stones for the Walls

If it’s possible, avoid using concrete or prefabricated walls if you want to add depth at the center. Sandbags can help you accomplish this since they raise the pool’s base and create extra depth in the middle.

When applying this, you need some construction skills so that you have the right combination of sandbags. You also need to use the flat liner carefully to ensure you have an even pool with beautiful finishing.

6. Use a Black Liner to Heat the Pool Water

Planning to go more natural and save energy costs? Using a black liner will not only add a rustic look to your backyard but also heat the pool water. It will enhance your outdoor living at no recurrent expenses since it absorbs heat better from sunlight than other liners.

If you calculate the cost of heating a pool using electricity, it ranges between $2,100 and $7,200 depending on factors like the pool size and the number of times you heat it.

Hence, it can be overwhelming if you are working on a fixed budget. But, thanks to the black liner, it helps you warm the pool for free!

7. Have an Efficient Drainage Plan

Most natural pools or ponds fail due to a lack of an efficient drainage plan. An excellent layout will prevent groundwater from penetrating the pool and repair work in the long term.

When choosing the location for construction, avoid the lowest point of your garden because it can cause flooding. Additionally, you will need to use top-quality drainage channels that are proof of sipping.

The channels’ design and positioning will also determine how effective the drainage will be. So, ensure they follow the concept of your reservoir. Alternatively, you can use a natural well if you have one.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Much Does It Cost to Build a Natural Swimming Pond?

The expenditure of building natural pools varies depending on different factors. For instance, the larger the natural swimming pool, the higher the spending since you will need more materials, cement to make concrete and workforce.

Some of the questions you need to answer to determine the amount of money you will use to install a natural pool in your backyard include:

Do I want plastic or a cement bottom?

What source of energy will I use to heat the pool?

Will the water garden be separate from the pool, or will they flow over each other?

Generally, natural pool builders approximate the expenditure to between $30,000 and $100,000. This huge difference is also a result of complex designs and additional features like fountains.

2. How Do I Turn My Pond into a Natural Pool?

Planning to transform the pond in your backyard into a natural swimming pool? You can start the transformation by planning and preparing, like securing the proper permits and all the construction requirements.

Once done with the preparation, you will have to drain the pond and section it off for the plant zone and the swimming area. After zoning, you should follow the other steps, such as restructuring the hole as you progress to the last stage.


Imagine a water garden purifying your pool as you cool off in an oasis-like environment right in your outdoor space. You can make this your reality; all you need is to plan and implement the construction stages, practice proper maintenance, to have a natural swimming pool to enjoy.

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