Pros and Cons of Natural Pools

natural pool with deck and plants
  • 40-400 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-20,000

A natural swimming pool is more or less what you think it is. Well, okay, probably less. Popular across Europe and other parts of the world, natural swimming pools hide a lot of the system behind the curtain so to speak. They work by filtering the water in the same way that nature does it. The filtering takes place in a second pool, called a regeneration zone, that filters water through the use of a gravel filter or by using wetland plants that thrive in the task. Like any system, a natural pool offers some pros and cons to consider.

Pros

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We’ll start with a few of the many advantages of this natural system.

1. Immerses into the Natural Environment

The swimming portion of the natural pool marries with the regeneration zone to create an ecosystem. This natural landscape invites animals and insects, who are drawn to the wetland portion, but not the pool. It provides habitat, food, nectar, and water for a variety of species.

2. Require No Chemicals

With this setup, natural pools do not require any chemicals. This is definitely great for the environment and much better for your health while going for a soak.

3. Endless Design Options

The organs of the natural pool are in the regeneration pool so the swimming area has myriad options as it takes shape. In general, the swimming area should be about the same size as the filtration zone, but that size can take any form. You can create a tiered look, surround it in rocks, add a water feature, or make it resemble a pond. Similarly, you can emulate a traditional pool and even use a concrete bottom.

natural swimming pool with growing plants

4. Very Low Maintenance

Really, a natural pool is nearly maintenance-free. That’s a huge advantage compared to standard pools that seem to have endless maintenance requirements. Aside from skimming out leaves and other debris, natural pools need no chemical testing, additions, or balancing.

5. They’re a Good Fit for Any Climate

Natural Pools can be installed in hot or seasonally-hot areas so they are a perfect fit for year-round use or for just a few weeks during the hottest part of the year.

Cons

With the good comes the bad.

1. Cost

Natural pools bring a high up-front cost. Think of it like investing in solar panels or an electric car. The up-front expenses of creating a wetland filtration system in addition to building the actual pool can’t be ignored. However, over time the costs will level out.

2. Water Color

Natural pools take on a natural color. Think about your local lake and you’ll note it’s sometimes brilliantly clear and sometimes murky. A natural pool will not maintain a sparkling blue appeal that the standard pool achieves. It’s important to note, though, that even with a natural color, the water is just as safe to swim in.

3. Land Requirements

While the system is a benefit to the land, this type of setup won’t work for a suburban lot. Because it is basically equivalent to two pools, owners must have enough space to accommodate a natural swimming pool. If you do plan to install a natural pool, check your local regulations to ensure you’re within compliance.

natural pool next to stone house with plants on the water edge

4. Difficult to Find Professional Guidance

Natural pools are still relatively new to America, which means there aren’t a lot of experts in the country. The system has distinctly different requirements from a traditional pool so it’s important to know what you’re doing—especially with the investment involved. You can, of course, DIY your setup with some research via the internet and books, but if you need the assistance of a pro it might be difficult to find. If you do find someone who says they’ll tackle it, ask for examples of their work and talk with the clients if possible.

5. May Not be a Good Home Investment

Pools in general are a subject of debate in the real estate world. In hot climates, home buyers expect it. In cooler areas, they may feel inconvenienced by one. A natural pool may or may not be a significant factor in the sale of your home. In the end, the investment in a natural swimming pool should be for the benefit of the homeowner and not with home value in mind. However, if you’re thinking of selling within a few years, it’s likely not a good return on investment.

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