grand designs pond house in chichester with natural swimming pool

How to build a natural swimming pond

Enjoy crystal-clear, chemical-free water that's great for wellbeing and wildlife

By Emily Brooks | 5 April 2022

Natural swimming ponds are not only a beautiful place to take a dip, right in your own back yard, they also encourage wildlife into the garden. Ponds can even cool your home. Plus, a daily dip is great for your wellbeing.

The idea behind natural swimming ponds is to create a beautiful, crystal-clear swimming environment without chemicals. To prevent algae growing and creating murky waters, it’s imperative to reduce the nutrients in the water. Rather than pumping water through shingle, which acts as a filter, a true natural swimming pond uses a delicate balance of plants to absorb nutrients, micro-organisms and pathogens.

natural swimming pond

Dan and Nina Rowland’s Chichester home with natural swimming pond. Photo: James French

Dan & Nina’s natural swimming pond

Being able to dive straight off the deck outside the kitchen into crystal-clear waters is surely a highlight of Dan and Nina Rowland’s Grand Designs home in Chichester. The couple started off with an existing pond, which had been dug more than a century ago to drain the surrounding land, but a natural swimming pond can be created from scratch, too.

The first step for Dan and Nina was, of course, excavation. Some 1.5m of sludge was removed from the bottom, which amounted to around 500 tonnes, and allowed to dry so it could be used to landscape the garden. Further excavation created the swimming pond, while a shallower pond, separate from the main body of water, continues to act as a natural drain.