How is a natural swimming pool different from a chemical pool

Are the plants in the pool?

No, the aqua-garden is separate from the swimming pool. The aqua-garden can be situated alongside the pool with a wall in-between, or can be in a different part of the garden altogether and linked via pipes. Please refer to the gallery for examples of this.

How is a natural swimming pool different from a conventional pool?

Conventional pools use poisons in the form of chemicals, salt (a different form of chlorine), ionisers, oxygen,  copper, silver, electrodes (etc.) to kill algae and bacteria. The problem with chemical/sterile pools is that nutrients tend to build up over time, creating perfect conditions for algae and bacteria to bloom. This is why you need to use more and more chemicals in normal pools – because there are more and more nutrients in the system. Natural swimming pools need less and less care as nutrients are stripped out of the water leaving nothing behind for algae or bacteria.

How much work is involved?

Very, very little. Aqua-design natural swimming pools are designed to be self-cleaning as far as possible. Leaf skimmers need to be emptied regularly, but for holidays away, they can be removed and the leaves will be digested by the ecosystem. Occasional vacuuming of the swimming pool is needed.

How much space do I need?

The size of the aqua-garden varies according to conditions on the property. A rule of thumb is equal surface area between swimming area and aqua-garden, but we have succeeded with a lot less. It depends very much on the environmental conditions that we have to work with. Generally, the bigger the better.

What about mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes only grow in low oxygen environments where they have no predators: e.g. in stagnant pools. The water in natural swimming pools is highly oxygenated. The ecosystem supports a diversity of predators such as dragonfly larvae, water beetles, skimmers, that eat mosquito larvae. Therefore – no mosquitoes.

Are natural swimming pools more energy efficient?

Yes, significantly smaller pumps are needed because there is no preassurised sand filter. aQua-design has also developed an extremely efficient pumping technology which requires an even smaller pump. Wind/solar generators are an optional extra with some of our designs. Aqua-design eco Pools use less than 60% of the electricity than any other system available.

Can I keep fish in the system?

Yes, a small number of fish can be kept in natural pools as long as they are kept in the swimming part of the pool and are not allowed to go into the aqua-garden where they would destroy the animal life. The fish should not be fed.

And ducks?

Not such a great idea. Ducks tend to carry a large quantity of nutrients into the system. Some of our pools play host to Egyptian geese and migrating wild ducks and we haven’t experienced too many problems, but if it can be avoided, domestic ducks should be kept out.

Do natural swimming pools use less water?

The plants in natural swimming pools transpire water, which adds to the evaporation of water from the pool, especially in sunny, windy weather. However, there is no need to backwash the filters. Because of the gentle chemistry of the water, there is no erosion of pipes, fittings or shells and therefore less likelihood of leaks occurring. Slow leaks tend to seal themselves over time.

How does the system handle suntan lotion?

Products which have natural or organic origins are of course preferable, but the ecosystem can generally metabolise a usual amount of sunblock.

Can I use the water from natural swimming pools in the house?

Absolutely! One of the wonderful benefits of natural swimming pools is the clean, safe water. What could be better than showering in clean, pure water. In fact, having a tap installed somewhere in the garden where you can rinse your hair is a great idea – no need for conditioner after that!.

Can natural swimming pools be heated?

Natural swimming pools are generally warmer than conventional pools because the aqua-garden acts as a solar heater. If higher temperatures are required, it can be done, but this needs to be allowed for in the design. Heated water carries less oxygen – the fuel of aquatic ecosystems and so adequate oxygenation is required and the aqua-garden needs to be larger.

Public / school swimming pools?

Natural swimming pools are very well suited to public and school environments. Their large size means that nutrients are diluted. Public natural pools are safe and obviously do not contain the high levels of chlorine that are normally associated with them.