As the warm air hits Chicago, you’ve got a lot on your plate. There are family BBQs, little league games, and everyone’s least favorite: summertime pool maintenance. This year, instead of adding one more stressful task to your never-ending to-do list, it’s time to consider upgrading to a natural swimming pool.
Whereas traditional pools have dominated the backyard landscape for centuries, natural swimming pools are growing in popularity thanks to their beautiful designs, need for minor maintenance, and chemical-free nature.
If you’ve never heard of a natural swimming pool or are thinking about transforming your backyard into a water-filled oasis of relaxation, our guide to natural swimming pools is designed to answer all your questions and highlight some of Reflections Water Gardens’ favorite projects.
What Are Natural Swimming Pools?
Think of a natural swimming pool as taking your favorite swimming spot as a kid: a lake, stream, or pond, and then building it in your backyard with less money and time spent on maintenance or chemicals.
Natural pools are chemical-free. Rather than needing chlorine to maintain water quality, natural swimming pools rely on biological filters, plants, and moving water to keep the area safe for swimming. This protects you from harmful chemical exposure and saves you time and money.
Reflections also custom designs natural swimming pools to mimic streams, lakes, or ponds, allowing them to fit your backyard aesthetic. Imagine all your favorite places you used to swim in as a kid but are now built cleaner, safer, and perfectly laid out for your yard.
Every natural swimming pool Reflections works on is custom-built and designed to fit your individual needs.
What Are the Benefits of a Natural Pool?
Natural swimming pools share all of the benefits you’d receive from a traditional pool but with a few exceptions.
Year over year, you can expect a natural swimming pool to cost less money than an in-ground or above-ground pool. That’s partly because you don’t have to spend money on chemicals like chlorine or other pool cleaning accessories.
Since natural pools by Reflections are custom designed, we can mix and match your home’s aesthetic. Our team considers your entire yard, as well as your wants, to develop something uniquely yours. Check out our projects to see some of our most unique designs.
Another benefit of a natural swimming pool is its potential to work year-round. For example, a traditional pool in the winter needs to be shut down, closed up, and covered until it’s warm enough to reopen.
A natural swimming pool not only doesn’t need to be covered or shut down but doubles as an ice skating rink. There are some winterizing instructions, but unlike a traditional pool, you don’t have to worry about draining your natural pool in the winter. Let it ice over, put on those skates, and be the only family on the block to enjoy your swimming pool in the winter.
But for most people, the greatest benefit of a natural swimming pool is that once we build it, your yearly maintenance is minimal. Allow the natural plants to become biological filters as they clean the pool for you as you relax on a custom-built beach or dock.
And as time goes on, your pool requires less and less maintenance as the natural ecosystem continues to grow and do the work for you.
Reflections builds every natural swimming pool to be a customizable, low-maintenance backyard relaxation spot.
Natural Swimming Pool Maintenance
One of the first questions everyone asks us when inquiring about natural swimming pools is what kind of maintenance is required. The good news is that Reflections has the answers to all your natural swimming pool maintenance questions.
Early on, after completing your natural swimming pool, you’ll need to put more work into the maintenance because the natural ecosystem is still growing. But over time and as the plants continue to grow, the amount of work you’ll need to put in will lessen.
During the summer months, you do not need to vacuum or clean your natural swimming pool as all those plants benefit from cleaning your pool. Reflections can also install a mechanical skimmer that works to remove leaves and other debris from the top of your pool without you having to move a muscle.
A natural swimming pool shines because you no longer have to worry about chemical filtration, pH, and chemical balances. The biological ecosystem built into your pool takes care of everything for you.
Outside of filtering some unwanted debris, natural swimming pools and the plants inside them do a lot of the maintenance work, allowing you more time to relax and less cleaning.
Cost of a Natural Swimming Pool
The truth about a natural swimming pool is that the upfront costs will often be a bigger investment than a traditional pool. Natural swimming pools save you money over the long run between multi-season functionality and lower maintenance costs.
Some of the natural swimming pool’s expenses include construction costs, design time, and necessary initial supplies. Building a one-of-a-kind natural swimming pool has many different cost considerations depending on the property features and preferences.
While we can do our best to provide you with an estimate, call Larry at Reflections for a free consultation for a better understanding of everything associated with your natural swimming pool.
How do Natural Swimming Pools Work?
Natural swimming pools take all of the best parts of a traditional pool and add beautiful landscapes alongside biological filtration systems.
Let’s take a look at how a natural swimming pool works.
Once your natural swimming pool is entirely constructed, you fill up your pool with water like always. Unlike a traditional pool, once it’s filled, you won’t have to worry about draining it in the winter.
During the construction of your pool, we install a variety of plants “to absorb phosphates and promote the growth of ‘good’ bacteria to eat algae and bad bacteria.” These plants act as a natural filtration system that cleans your pool replacing harmful chemicals such as chlorine.
This is often in a regeneration zone as the pump filters dirty water toward these plants. As the water moves through the pumps into the regeneration zone, it’s cleaned by the filter and pumped back to the top of the water.
Around 50% of your pool surface area will be these plants as they are necessary to the long-term health of your natural swimming pool.
We also recommend purchasing a small robotic vacuum to clean up any biofilm on the bottom or walls of the pool.
At Reflections, our go-to aquatic plants are; hardy water lilies, pickerel weed, arrowhead, iris, sweet flag, marsh marigold, rushes, and sedges.
We typically suggest choosing native plants whenever possible. We can help you select elegant options that are right for your water garden and geographic location.
One of the most significant benefits of building a natural swimming pool is that our natural plant life keeps your pool clean and safe without worrying about using chemicals or shocking your pool every summer.
How Do You Install a Natural Swimming Pool?
Reflections designs, builds, and installs natural swimming pools with a simple three-step process: Dream It, Design It, Do It.
This is one of the most fun parts of the natural swimming pool process. Do you ever look into your backyard, imagine summertime cookouts or an updated version of your favorite childhood pond?
Reflections helps make that a reality. Give us a call, and Larry will talk you through the entire process while listening to what you want.
After our conversation, Larry will send some rough sketches for your approval.
Once our rough sketches are approved, we move on to creating a 2D design using our rendering software.
We also begin developing a project budget and mocking up a 3D version of your future backyard natural swimming pool.
Reflections will reach out to engineers and contractors during the design process and obtain any necessary permits from your local government.
In the final step, construction begins.
Reflections will seek client approval for any changes to the budget or structural/design changes deemed necessary during construction.
Once we finish construction on your natural swimming pool, we will instruct the client on the care and service required to maintain their new pool to maximize longevity.
Now all that’s left is to enjoy your oasis of tranquility.
Can I Build My Own Natural Swimming Pool?
Technically yes, but Reflections does not recommend it. It’s not as simple as grabbing a shovel and digging a hole in the ground.
To build your own natural swimming pool, you need access to construction equipment, design software, and a wide variety of appropriate plant life. In addition to that, you must also identify and fill out any local government permits before constructing your pool.
Simply put, constructing natural swimming pools should be performed by professionals. Reflections follows all safety precautions while creating your natural pool.
Are Natural Swimming Pools Safe?
Yes, natural swimming pools are 100% safe. No chemicals are used, and all plants are safe (some are even edible).
Sensitivity to aquatic plants is not common. People who enjoy swimming in natural pools experience less skin or eye irritation than in traditional pools with chemicals like chlorine.
Installing a natural swimming pool allows you to have a beautiful, one-of-a-kind backyard oasis that is safe, clean, and natural.
Ready to take the plunge? Call Larry at Reflections Water Gardens today.
Are you interested in building your own backyard zen-oasis? Would you like to recreate your favorite swimming pond as a child? Or are you ready to ditch the chemicals and go natural this summer with your pool?
If you answered yes to any of these questions or just want more information about Reflections Water Gardens’ natural swimming pools, call Larry today for a free consultation at 815-324-3014.