Natural Swimming Pool Design

Swimming can be great exercise and a lot of fun, not to mention an exciting sport at the Olympics. But the chlorine used in most pools can have some negative side effects, not the least of which is reliance on toxic (and finicky) chemicals.Chlorine’s damaging effects on hair are well known, but few people realize that a number of studies have linked inhalation of the chemical by swimmers to increased asthma rates (in fact a new Irish study published this April reported a significant link between the number of years a boy had been swimming and the likelihood of the child being wheezy in the past year). A Norwegian study also documented an increased risk of wheezing among children who swim in pools before 6 months of age. Further, in an unpleasant reaction, pee and sweat in water can react with chlorine to form toxic breakdown products known as chloramines.For health, environmental and aesthetic reasons, a lot of people have expressed interest in alternatives to chlorine pools, and luckily there are more and more options to get wet without smelling like cleaning products. Companies offer alternative pool systems that treat water by pumping it through a chamber containing coated titanium plates and copper and zinc ions. Some make ozone injectors that can reduce the need for chlorine up to 90% — there’s been one installed at the White House for years! Some systems rely on a combination of ozone and copper and silver ions, while others are saline, though saltwater pools result in the formation of chlorine in the water.One elegant, eco-friendly solution that has had enthusiastic supporters in Europe for decades is the so-called natural swimming pool, which is slowly beginning to gain buzz in the U.S. Natural swimming pools, often called swimming ponds across the Atlantic, can be beautiful oases of greenery and sustainability, as well as safe, fun places to take a dip.Managed properly, natural swimming pools have crystal clear water and require no chemicals to maintain, as they are self-cleaning mini-ecosystems. The natural pool designers say the systems also have lower maintenance costs than conventional pools, and their installation costs are not much more than standard designs.The possibilities for natural pool designs are nearly limitless, from traditional looks to serene settings that closely resemble wild ponds.

You may have never heard of these, but the principles and technology have been well established and tested in Europe and the UK over the past two decades. For about the same cost as a normal swimming pool, a natural swimming pool features chlorine and chemical-free water which is cleaned and purified by a biological plant filter which also creates an attractive and natural backdrop.

The concept is essentially the same as building a backyard pond with an attached bog and circulating pump, except on a larger scale. A barrier separates the swimming area from a gravel bed holding the plants, and a submerged pump draws the water through the plant root system, which absorbs nitrates and trap leaf and other debris, which are broken down by bacteria, or removed at year's end. Water also circulates through a sand filter which removes fine particulates and where bacteria break down ammonia into nitrites and nitrates. A UV steralizer is included in some designs, and absent in others.

To achieve sufficient filtration, the area of the plant zone should equal at least 50% of the area of the swimming zone. In the most common design style, the plant zone is placed around the periphery of the swimming zone. There is no reason, however, why the plant zone couldn't be placed in a different configuration or separated from the pool entirely. It is possible to have a completely normal looking pool where the water is pumped to a separate plant zone for filtration. In fact, an existing concrete pool could be converted to a natural pool in this way.

Your natural pool or swimming pond is also a fine environment for keeping goldfish or koi. A few small fish are recommended at minimum to eliminate mosquitos. Pet turtles are also welcome, and frogs, birds, and other wildlife will naturally be drawn to the plant zone, and will naturally avoid swimmers.

Beautiful Natural Swimming Pool Design

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Creative Natural Swimming Pool Design

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