Health : Organic or natural swimming pool – how and why to create it?
Organic swimming pool – what is it? How and why to build it? Here are the questions that will concern us in this article.
Fancy taking a dip in an organic swimming pool?
The natural way to cool off! When managed properly, the organic swimming pool has crystal clear water and does not require any chemicals to maintain. This pool is a self-cleaning mini-ecosystem.
“You can drink water if you want, and you don’t necessarily need to take a shower,” says Morgan Brown. He is the legal representative of Whole Water Systems, LLC, based in Idaho, United States. The designer of natural pools claims that the systems also have lower maintenance costs than conventional pools. It ensures that their installation costs are not much greater than those of standard designs.
How does the biological swimming pool work?
The materials and design of natural pools can vary widely. Many are lined with rubber or reinforced polyethylene. In the most popular models, the swimming area is separated from an area planted with aquatic vegetation. The latter acts as a biological filter. A small waterfall can be added. It would provide ambiance as well as valuable ventilation.
A skimmer can be used to collect large debris. As a reminder, the skimmer is also called a surface skimmer. This is one of the entry points for the filtration system. The others are the main drain and the broom price. Like the others, the skimmer allows the suction of the water to be filtered. Usually, a UV sterilizer can be added to make sure all germs are killed.
The organic swimming pool: the smart green design
Conventional swimming pools use ozone or chlorine. The use of these chemicals is essential for the health and safety of the people who swim in them. However, they disturb the natural balance. “In fact, it’s hard to keep a chlorinated swimming pool biologically dead because nature enters it,” says Morgan Brown of Whole Water Systems, LLC. With natural swimming pools, the living system takes care of itself.
Is the water in the biological swimming pool safe?
People always ask the question of health first. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about swimming pools a little differently. Many create a horror around the idea of direct contact with nature. Remember, however, that natural water is healthy because it takes care of itself. However, will it take care of the humans who bathe there?
The designer of natural pools believes that it’s all about the right design. In fact, if they are correctly designed, they can hardly present any risk of dangerous contamination. On the other hand, their use must be reasonable. The full capacity of bathers should not be constantly reached.
Furthermore, most health departments do not have regulations on residential swimming pools, so consumers are unlikely to violate the public health code. In contrast, this is not the case with public swimming pools, which often have strict requirements.
Where did the idea for the biological swimming pool come from?
Morgan Brown says he first experienced natural swimming pools when he lived in Germany. In Munich, a large public natural swimming pool was his daily haunt. She safely supported huge crowds for years.
“Natural swimming pools evolved from ponds that people used to swim in,” he explains. “People gradually started to improve them for swimming and to solve water problems. Europeans have decades of experience in this area “.
Whole Water Systems uses technology from the European company BioNova, which notably supplies many public natural swimming pools in Germany.
What attracts is the peaceful surroundings
The possibilities for designing natural swimming pools are almost limitless. From traditional looks to serene surroundings, the organic swimming pool strongly resembles wild ponds.
Hybrid pools between the traditional pool and the organic pool
Vista-based Expanding Horizons takes over the banner of natural swimming pools in California. The company has been designing and installing water features, gardens and other projects since 1978. Expanding Horizons founder Bryan Morse’s approach has been to build what he calls a “hybrid pool”.
This incorporates technology commonly found in conventional swimming pools such as pool cleaners, surface skimmers and main drains. Designs often include beaches and aquatic plants. Sown in the nooks and crannies between the perimeter rocks, they enhance the natural experience.
Across the Pond by Clear Water Revival
Headquartered in Bristol, UK, Clear Water Revival manufactures some of the most attractive, modern and swim-worthy natural pools. The company’s aim is to bring back some of the essence of Victorian England, with a modern understanding of science and ecology. The magnificent swimming pools may even replace some of the ecological functions lost with the extensive destruction of wetlands and ponds, especially in the form of habitat for plants.
Clear Water Revival tends to focus its designs for natural pools on maximizing biodiversity and the educational value of space. In this way, the company creates a very natural look and feel. There are a number of options available, from simple clay liners to more advanced systems. Customers can even order DIY kits.
Their pools can work well with fewer plants and only 20% of the area occupied by the regeneration area. It is 50% in the most common cases. The Aqua Viva systems she uses have long term filtration. There is little maintenance required. A single substrate for the plants and several advanced pumps and skimmers are used. The result is, if necessary, a clean and healthy swimming pool in a small space.
Green pools by gartenART
Here is another UK leader that has beautiful, innovative natural pools: gartenART. Whether you want to have your own unique design built or convert your conventional pool to an organic pool, while still retaining your original swimming area, gartenART is the company for you.
Of course, if you wish, you can modify it. All you need to do is add a shallow plant area around it for natural cleansing. Another option is to keep the existing pool structure and create the two areas inside, underwater. This will give you more flexibility.
Woodhouse natural pools
Woodhouse Natural Pools is a UK based company. It has been developing and building natural swimming pools since 2000. This company has partnered with Biotop Natural Pool in Austria, which is one of the original pioneers in the industry.
Woodhouse emphasizes that in addition to being beautiful, its natural pools heat up naturally quickly and efficiently in the sun. This means they don’t cost a fortune to heat. Woodhouse also touts water as gentle on skin and hair.
Woodhouse Natural Pools offers a range of attractive options. Ultra-contemporary designs with functionality blend seamlessly into the gardens or surrounding landscape. Lounging by a natural swimming pool can be a totally different experience than a traditional chlorine pool.
Design by Michael Littlewood
Landscape architect and gardener Michael Littlewood from Somerset, UK also has extensive experience in designing successful natural pools. In fact, he even wrote the first English book on the subject, Natural Swimming Pools, Inspiration for Harmony with Nature, available on its website. This book also includes a guide to building natural swimming pools.
According to Michael Littlewood, an organic swimming pool seems to harmonize much more with the picturesque mountain landscape than a traditional artificial blue swimming pool.
How and why to build a biological swimming pool?
Learn how to build a natural swimming pool. Like this, you will spend unforgettable summers in a refreshing atmosphere in your property. Whether you like practicing your dives or relaxing the day on a raft, swimming is one of the summer pleasures.
With minimal materials and no arsenal of chemicals, you can build an idyllic water oasis right in your own backyard and weather the sweltering summer days.
Back to the question of whether there is a risk of swimming in a biological swimming pool!
Fairly common in Europe, natural swimming pools do not always have a following. Most pool fans would prefer to build a backyard pool where they roll out a long list of products including rebar, gunite, fiberglass, chlorine, and a fuel-efficient filtration system. energy. The source of concern is the risk of bacteria and therefore diseases that could spoil your summer.
But in recent years, the trends seem to be reversing. A few builders and a growing number of homeowners have learned to build swimming pools without relying on a mass of manufactured materials and chemical additives. They discovered that it was possible to build swimming pools that were more about blending into the natural landscape.
Nature vs chemistry
Natural pools use gravel and clay instead of concrete or fiberglass. Aquatic plants are preferred over harmful chemicals and complicated mechanical filtering systems. Plants enrich the pool with oxygen.
They support beneficial bacteria that consume debris and potentially harmful organisms. Providing habitat for frogs, dragonflies and other aquatic species has a naturally positive result.
The result is a beautiful, ecologically diverse, and relatively inexpensive system to build. A natural swimming pool can be built for as little as 2000 euros if you do it yourself. However, conventional swimming pools can cost tens of thousands of euros. Natural swimming pools do not require any harmful chemicals.
They are relatively low-tech and, once established, require minimal management. You won’t have to empty the pool every fall. Except to top up every now and then, you will only fill the pool once.
Create a natural swimming pool by hand
It is indeed the cheapest and most ecological way! Building a swimming pool is simply the act of digging a hole in the ground. You can make your pool shallow or as deep as you want. The key is to make sure the sides are sloped or the floor will collapse.
The ratio should be a vertical drop of 30 cm for every 100 cm horizontal. “It’s not a tub effect, it’s more of a soup bowl,” says Tom Zingaro, partner of Blue Lotus Designs, a pool and pond architecture firm in Denver, Colorado, United States.
One of the main reasons traditional pools are built with a steel frame is to make sure the walls stay vertical and perpendicular to the bottom surface of the pool. Build a pool with sloping sides and you will eliminate the need for steel reinforcement.
The areas in your pool
Reserve at least 50% of your pool area for shallow plants. Consider planting them at one end or in a ring on the sides. This will eliminate the need for chlorine and expensive filters and pumps. You will want to separate the swimming area of your pool and the plant filtration area.
A rim less than 3 cm from the surface of the water keeps the plants in their place but allows the water in the swimming area to travel to the plant area for filtration.
When water passes through the fibrous root structure of plants, bacteria concentrated in the roots of the plants act as a biological filter, removing contaminants and excess nutrients from the water. Decomposers, also found in the root zones of plants, consume bacteria, effectively removing waste buildup underwater.
Inside the plant zone, the water should become increasingly deep, reaching a maximum depth of 50 cm near the swimming area. The outermost 15cm of the plant zone will be 7-8cm deep, providing habitat for larger aquatic plants. Submerged and floating vegetation occupies the deepest area.
In addition to cleaning the water and making your pool look great, the shallow plant zone heats the water quickly. This provides habitat for frogs and many invertebrates. They will enjoy shallow water for breeding grounds and will eat mosquito larvae.
Biological swimming pool filtration
The water must circulate constantly for the roots of the plants to clean the pool. You may also need to aerate the water to meet the oxygen needs of aquatic organisms. Without adequate oxygen, your pool could become stagnant and harbor odoriferous anaerobic bacteria.
Water can be piped from your pump to your plant area through the use of PVC tubing. Whatever the climate, bury the tube in the ground about 50 cm deep. Underwater aeration, which uses less energy than constructed waterfalls and circulates water more efficiently, involves diffusing air at the bottom of the pool.
Make your own aerator
You can build your own aerator, using an air compressor (1/4 power for a pool of less than 4000m²) and high resistance tubes that connect to a diffuser. The diffuser, which bubbles air in the water, sits in the deepest part of the pool, where swimmers are unlikely to damage it.
Connect a brass manifold to the compressor to regulate the air pumped into the pool. Inspired By Nature, a US-based pond and lake restoration company, suggests airing the pool four to eight hours a day: in the morning, when oxygen demand is highest, and again in the morning. evening.
Place your aerator, pump, and skimmer in a plastic container. Use a bucket or large plant container. Place a steel mesh filter mat on top, to prevent debris from entering your equipment. A quality underwater ventilation system costs between 1000 and 1500 euros.
Although the skimmer is not mandatory, you may want to consider purchasing one if the leaves or seeds of nearby trees and shrubs are likely to litter your pool. The skimmer removes debris that would otherwise leak and contribute to algae growth.
Installing pumps and compressors can be a tricky business as you use electrical devices near or in the water. Do not run your power through an extension cord. Hire a qualified electrician to ensure the safety of the system.
Seal the biological pool
Once you have dug the hole for the pool and plant area, you have a few options, depending on your soil conditions, to make sure the pool holds water. You can apply a coat of bentonite clay to seal the floor or lay a synthetic liner.
Bentonite is generally the cheapest option. Bentonite works like a glue, bonding to soil particles and preventing pool water from seeping into the soil. Some soils may contain enough clay that simply compacting the bottom of the pond allows it to hold water.
But beware: bentonite does not bond well with sandy soil. Particularly sandy soil may require up to twice as much bentonite per square meter, as opposed to soil rich in clay.
Bentonite can also be a problem when the surrounding soil is very dry. In arid climates, it is recommended to apply the bentonite under a woven or textured plastic liner on the bottom. This liner prevents the bentonite from shifting. In more humid climates, bentonite can be applied directly to the ground.
Compact the soil of the natural swimming pool
Before treating your pool with bentonite or any other clay powder, carefully compact the soil. You can do this with a lawn roller or a plate compactor. Then, while wearing a mask, spread a 10-15cm layer of bentonite powder along the sides and bottom of the pool. Pack it up with a tractor or plate compactor. Then apply another layer of quality topsoil and compact again.
If you choose a liner, choose one made from ethylene-propylene-diene monomer rather than PVC. EPDM is a synthetic rubber that is twice as expensive as PVC, but it’s worth the cost. It has protection against ultraviolet rays and, unlike PVC, remains flexible in cold weather.
If your soil has a lot of rocks or roots, choose a 45 or 60 millimeter covering. You can use a 30-millimeter liner if your soil is very sandy and smooth. Compact the grass and cover it with a layer of sand or an absorbent material such as an old carpet or newspaper. Newsprint is a good option. This is because when wet, it adheres to the liner, providing extra protection if the liner develops a small hole.
Gravel at the bottom of the organic pool
Once the bentonite clay or liner is installed, cover the bottom of the pool with 15cm of gravel. Gravel provides a habitat for beneficial bacteria, which help biodegrade leaves or other natural materials that sink to the bottom of your pool. Fill with tap water over clean gravel.
In addition to lining the pool with gravel, many people choose to build paved steps to access and exit the pool. A cantilever dock built over the water also provides an easy way to get in and out of the pool and helps protect the sides of the pool.
To finish the edges of your pool, run a plate compactor around the perimeter. This will contribute to soil erosion, but it’s not enough to ensure that dirt won’t fall into your pool. One option is to mark the perimeter with stones, slabs or wooden planks. Better yet, plant right next to the edge and let the plants stabilize the perimeter.
Plants not only work to anchor the soil, but create a natural setting for an old-fashioned swimming hole effect. If you are using plants instead of stone, choose plants that thrive in moist soil. Regarding the water level, make sure that the plants around the perimeter are not waterlogged.
When the shape of the pool is more conventional …
If you prefer a more conventional pool shape, consider building with cement or Rastra block. The latter is a material made from cement and recycled plastic foam.
Less environmentally friendly than gravel and stone, these systems can further reduce chemical and energy consumption by using plant-based filtration systems rather than mechanical filters and chlorine to clarify the water. of the swimming pool.
Prepare to plant around your organic swimming pool
Once your pool is built, you will need to prepare the plant area with 20 cm of soil. Choose your soil carefully because the soil can carry various contaminants. Avoid harvesting the soil in areas where animal droppings are widespread, such as in grazing areas. Choose a soil free of organic matter, which will rot under water.
You can ask a lab to analyze soil samples for potentially pathogenic bacteria. Disrupt the soil as little as possible and let the pool sit for a week before installing the plants.
Sedges (Carex) and rushes (Scirpus), two aquatic plants, make excellent emergent vegetation for the perimeter of your pool. You can also consider smaller cattails (Typha angustifolia) and aquatic irises. Pike (Pontederia cordata), arrowhead (Sagittaria), and water primroses (Ludwigia) are all contenders for the shallower areas of your pool. Be sure to include submerged plants such as common water lily (Elodea) and hornwort (Ceratophyllum) for their high oxygen yield.
Water lilies (Nymphaea) adapt to all depths. Other floats, such as pondweed (Potamogeton) and duckweed (Lemna minor) drift freely on the surface and rapidly cover the surface of the plant area.
How to control algae in your natural swimming pool
Pond owners have been battling algae, the powerful green threat – for eons. Algae compete with plants for nutrients and light, but spring algae blooms often fade as soon as water lilies and other plants emerge to shade the water. Promotes plant growth and deters algae by adding plants and removing phosphorus to maintain a lower pH (5.5-6.5).
The simplest, and least risky, remedy for your aquatic ecosystem is to add more plants, which will surpass algae for nutrients. A second option is to monitor the pool for phosphorus.
Fertilizers and urine are the two main sources of this nutrient, so make sure your pool is free from nutrient-rich runoff and remind everyone to use the bathroom before swimming. You can also increase your aeration program to stimulate more biological activity.
Enzymes, bacteria, acids and other strange drinks have been suggested as remedies for stubborn algae. Introducing additives to your pool can help, but it won’t necessarily improve the pool. Beware of miracle seaweed. Remember that your swimming pool is a dynamic and living ecosystem. Adding synthetic chemicals probably won’t bring it back into balance.
Maintenance of the biological swimming pool
Removing plant waste in the spring and fall will help maintain the long life of your natural pool. Keep your water level constant and be prepared to add more water as needed. Inexpensive test kits, available at garden centers, will allow you to monitor your pool’s nutrient levels, alerting you to problems.
In addition to maintaining the biological health of the pool, check the mechanical systems annually. Wipe diffusers with vinegar to remove deposits. Check the air hoses for cracks and obstructions. Examine all connections to the pumps. With these precautions in mind, your swimming pool should provide you with cool enjoyment for years to come.