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 Swimming Pool conversions

Natural Swimming Pool Conversions

As I became aware of the concept of Natural Swimming Pools for me the next logical step, was exisiting concrete swimming pool conversions. With some 4 million chlorine pools in the U.S alone, surely some swimming pool owners could appreciate the idea.

 Gradually turning into my pet project, I set out to design a way to convert pools to natural filtration. chlorine free with no chemicals of any kind, maintaining crystal clear, fresh clean water.

A well designed system, just as with any natural swimming pool, should easily beat any municipal “drinking” water standards. It may require a little more elbow grease especially in the first year or so, but truly shouldn’t be much more work than the traditional ‘chemical bath’ of a chlorine pool. A true chlorine alternative.

It requires constructing a basin equal to 5-10% of the pool volume(1 cubic foot=7.481 gallons), and about 4 feet deep. Build along one side of the pool with a smaller second basin up on your existing pool deck. This will allow for getting around the pool as long as the smaller basin is built for walking on its outer edges.

The basin can be built of concrete, adobe/stucco , stone mortared, or even wood. You can be very creative with shape and style. I do recommend lining with a pond liner  regardless. There will be less chance of mineral leaching in the water, plus a pond liner will go years longer without maintenance. You never want to disturb a filter basin that is working properly. I’m talking about the possibility of never, or almost never, cleaning out the filter other than seasonal plant thinning. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Fill the basin with some sort of inert gravel, maybe half inch size, haydite or even cinders. Haydite and cinders are good because of their incredible surface area for beneficial bacteria to adhere to. Bacteria that is required for Biological Filtration. Many water gardeners may cringe at the idea of using cinders due to what they’ve seen as a ‘clogging’ problem. Often this is because of large fish loads that the filter simply cannot keep up with. Swimming pool conversions on the other hand will never deal with this level of nutrient build up and should easily digest what is present. After all a pool starts with clean water so it’s only a matter of maintaining water quality.

Divert 2/3rds of the water away from the existing plumbing, to percolate up through the large basin. From there the water pours out and down into the second smaller basin(adding oxygen), and finally pouring back into the pool. Functioning much like an aquarium 'pour-over' filter.

Plant a diversity of Aquatic Plants especially aquatic mint for its antibacterail properties and reeds. This will finish the Nutrient Cycle. Leave everything from the original pool intact. The existing pressurized filter will help especially with its ability to backflush.

 UV Sterilizers can and probably should be used for further filtration. Also, 'Pebble Tech' pool plastering is recommended for its overall more natural feel. This is when a pool is covered with small polished stones, all the rage these days.

Additionally, when deciding on placement of the filter basins be aware of the placement of the skimmer. The skimmer being the most important peice of the filtering process(everything floats first)so good circulation is escential. Lastly, bacteria cultures can be used within the pool water and/or the filter basin to 'seed' the biological filter. Not escential but will add diversity and speed up the process.

In the end not only will you have a naturally filtered swimming pool, but also a two-tiered waterfall and gorgeous water garden to be enjoyed year round.

Hope I did a decent job of explaining this still experimental concept. I would like to add that after discussions with Dr. John Todd of Ocean Arks International and Michael Littlewood, the true pioneer in the development of natural swimming pools throughout Europe and Authur of "Natural Swimming Pools: Inspiration For Harmony With Nature" , I have complete faith in the concept. Offering a true chlorine alternative. No more Chlorine Poisoning, Chlorine allergy, chlorine irritations or cancer risk. Pure chlorine free pool swimming.


If you're planning a pool conversion please keep me posted and don't be afraid to "Ask Me Anything".