Pond Expert Larry Carnes - Reflections Water Gardens
Natural Pool

Are Natural Swimming Pools Safe? An Interview with Natural Pool and Pond Expert Larry Carnes

February 10, 2020, 0 Comments

Natural Pools are beautiful, practical, and good for the environment, however, you may not be familiar with what owning a natural pool is like and have concerns about the safety and maintenance of your pool. We spoke with water garden expert, Larry Carnes to address common concerns regarding natural swimming pool safety. 

Larry has been a lifelong student of art and design and began his passion for landscaping and water-shaping early on in his career. He founded Reflections Water Gardens to focus his professional life on design and building high-end residential and commercial water features including but not limited to natural pools, ponds, koi ponds, streams, waterfalls, water fountains and more.

What chemicals will be seeping directly into the ground from my natural pool?

None, natural pools are chemical-free. This is one of the many advantages of having a natural swimming pool.

I can see how the area of the pool with plants might be safe for the environment. How about the area set aside for swimming?

Safety is relative but without traditional pool chemicals, health and safety are better. Any plants that you planted in and around your pool will act as a natural filtration system and be completely safe. 

What sort of equipment will be placed in the swimming area?

Other than a ladder to get in and out, nothing else is needed. In lieu of traditional pool equipment, your pool may include natural stone features. This is at your discretion and we will help you design every aspect of your natural pool so that it suits your needs and taste. 

If the plants we place in the pool will help to keep the water pure, are they safe for humans to swim near?

Yes, and in some cases, they are even edible. As I mentioned before, plants act as natural filter systems for your pool water, they are also beautiful additions to the natural environment you are hoping to create with a natural pool. 

A stone pool deck surrounding a natural pool installation in Princeton, New Jersey by Reflections Water Gardens

Will the plants in the water release any toxins that will affect my skin or eyes?

Typically, no. Sensitivity to aquatic plants is not common. People who enjoy swimming in natural pools tend to experience less skin or eye irritation than they do in traditional pools with chemicals like chlorine.

Will my pool attract any wildlife?

Yes, anything that would be attracted to a natural water source may be attracted to your pool. If you are concerned about larger animals you may want to install a fence or barrier around your pool. 

Will there be snakes in my pool?

It’s possible depending on where you live. If you are concerned about snakes consider installing natural deterrents around the perimeter of your pool area. 

Will frogs make my pool their breeding ground?

Frogs will be attracted but it is not likely that they would become a nuisance.

A natural pool installation with a diving board in Princeton, New Jersey by Reflections Water Gardens

Will the wildlife that is attracted to my pool make the water unsafe?

No, most wildlife will approach your pool when you are not around and flee if they hear or see you coming. If you are concerned about larger animals coming into contact with your natural pool, we recommend installing a barrier to keep them out. 

What kind of machinery will be placed in my pond to keep the water filtered?

All mechanical equipment will be kept outside of the pool to ensure that it is safe for swimming. 

How close to the swimming area would the filtering mechanisms be placed?

This all depends on the design of your pool. If you have a large area the mechanical equipment can be away from the pool concealed by shrubbery. If you have a smaller space, it may need to be placed closer.

Will the extra water that falls into the pool during a heavy rain affect the natural balance?

Normal rainfall will not affect your pool. If heavy rainfall causes flooding in your area, this could affect your pool or any other water features you have installed. 

Aquatic plants thrive in a natural pool installation in Princeton, New Jersey by Reflections Water Gardens

What about a stretch of time with no rainfall? If the water begins to evaporate will that affect plant life?

A Waterfill system is installed to maintain the water level in your pool when precipitation varies from light to heavy. 

Will I have to test the water’s PH in order to know if it is safe for swimming?

No, this is actually not necessary because your pool is chemical-free. However, if you’d like to test your pool waters natural PH there are many kits that you can purchase. 

Would there be rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pool that could cause swimmers to cut their feet?

This depends on the design of your natural pool. If you have rocks or stone in or around the bottom of your pool it is wise to be cautious when swimming. Children should be monitored at all times when swimming in a natural pool.

Will the natural “things” that land in my pool overnight changes the cleanliness of the water?

The cleanliness of the water will not be affected, however, you can skim your natural pool to remove debris or leaves just like you would with a traditional pool. 


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