How to Build a Natural Swimming Pool

Swimming is summer’s best activity, whether you wish to practice dolphin dives or simply want to spend some time afloat. Whatever your goal may be, swimming, especially in natural swimming pools, is the best way to unwind and relax during hot, sunny days. When it comes to swimming, you don’t want to take a dip in water infused with several chemicals and toxins. After all, your health comes first. Therefore, natural swimming pools are much better, as they use natural plants as filters and utilize gravel, stone, and clay in place of fiberglass.  

This ensures sustainability as plants supply oxygen and support good bacteria that consume debris and other harmful organisms. Moreover, they also attract wildlife, which gives a true touch of nature to your backyard. 

If you are wondering how to build a natural swimming pool from scratch, give this comprehensive guide a read. 

What is a Natural Swimming Pool?  

A natural swimming pool is one that doesn’t use any chemicals or plastic filters. Instead, it utilizes natural plants as a filtration system to purify water. These pools are like a mini-ecosystem, as they attract different sorts of wildlife to them, creating a beautiful and natural environment.  

A natural swimming pool is made of two components: a swimming area where swimming happens and a regeneration area where water is regenerated and purified. To make these pools more sustainable, you may install a solar power system to run the filtration system. The walls of these pools help keep out soil and harmful pathogens. The biological filters help absorb phosphates and promote the growth of good bacteria that consume debris, bad bacteria, and algae.  

The aquatic plants in the regeneration zone act as natural filters for the water in the swimming pool. The water in these natural pools is always running, which prevents the growth of harmful organisms. 

children swimming in a natural pool

Steps to Building a Natural Swimming Pool  

Building a natural swimming pool is fairly easy and can be done at home. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building a natural pool at home. 

Dig the Swimming Pool 

The first step is to locate the area where you want to build a swimming pool. Dig a hole big enough to accommodate a normal-sized swimming pool. The choice of the depth of the swimming pool depends on you. Ensure you keep the sides of the pool sloped to prevent soil from caving in. 

Zone the Swimming Pool 

You may need to create two zones for your swimming pool. One zone should be reserved for shallow plants, as they act as filters and eliminate the need for chlorine and expensive filters. The other should act as the main swimming area. Create a rim with an inch of water’s surface, as it keeps the plants in their place and also allows water to move from the swimming zone to the regeneration zone.  

As water passes through plants, the good bacteria present in the plant’s roots act as a biological filter by removing contaminants and organic matter. Remember that water should reach a maximum depth of at least 18 inches near the swimming zone. 

Moreover, the plant zones also keep the water warm and provide a habitat for frogs and related organisms to live, as this adds a touch of mother nature and also consumes mosquito larvae.  

Natural Swimming Pool Filtration 

The next step is to keep the water running continuously to filter water. You should also aerate the water, as it provides oxygen to organisms and prevents your pool from developing harmful bacteria. You may use PVC pipes to move water from the swimming zone to the plant zone. 

Natural Swimming Pool Sealing 

Now that you have dug holes for the swimming pool and the plant zone, it is time to ensure water holds in your pool. You may do so by applying a layer of bentonite clay to seal the soil, as it works as a glue, bonding with soil and preventing pool water from seeping into the ground. Remember that bentonite clay doesn’t bond well with sandy soil and may require more bags of it. 

Compact the Soil 

Before you apply bentonite clay to your pool, you must compact the soil thoroughly using a lawn roller. Afterwards, spread a 2-3-inch bentonite clay layer on the pool sides and then compact it again. 

Once the bentonite clay has been applied, cover the bottom of the swimming pool with 4-5 inches of gravel. Gravel provides a habitat for beneficial bacteria that helps materials sink to the bottom of your natural swimming pool. You may also install cobblestone steps for easy access into and out of the swimming pool. 

Finishing Touches 

For final touches, use a plate compactor to smooth the edges of your natural pool, as it helps with soil erosion. You may also line up rocks or wood planks to prevent soil or dirt from falling into the water. 

Pros of Natural Pools  

Now that you have learned about natural swimming pools’ construction, let’s take a look at the pros of natural pools. 

Chemical-Free Pools 

The biggest benefit of natural swimming pools is that they are devoid of chemicals and toxins, guaranteeing a 100% natural environment, which is pretty beneficial to your health. They use aquatic plants as natural filters that guarantee premium water quality and also keep water clean. 


Natural pools are relaxing and beautiful as they are made with gravel and stone and feature natural plants which attract all sorts of wildlife. This creates a pleasant ambiance which looks pleasing to the eye. You may also hear the calming sound of water splashing against the rock walls. 

Low Maintenance Costs 

Natural swimming pools are cost-effective as they feature natural filters made of plants and bacteria that consume harmful pathogens. 

Utilizes Less Energy 

Since natural pools use plants as filters, they use less energy as they only require a pump to circulate water from the swimming zone to the regeneration zone. 

Cons of Natural Pools  

Now that you have learned about the pros of these pools, let’s look at the cons of natural pools. 

aerial view of a natural swimming pool

May Become Expensive 

While natural pool maintenance is relatively cheaper, the addition of aquatic plants, the type of material you choose, and the custom shape may affect the budget. 


Since natural swimming pools take time to install due to their large size, you may have to wait for a while for the project to get into the completion stage. 

Algae Growth 

The biggest problem is algae growth, which usually happens in natural pools. With proper and regular maintenance, you can keep algae growth in check. 

Maintenance Challenges 

Since natural pools face the issue of algae growth, you may have to maintain them regularly to prevent your pool from being damaged by algae. You may also need to clean the pool regularly, as wildlife is mostly attracted to natural ponds and they may contaminate it. 

Pool Maintenance Tips  

Pool maintenance doesn’t need to be laborious. By cleaning it regularly and following the essential tips, you can keep your natural pool pristine. 

Vacuum your Natural Swimming Pool 

Cleaning your swimming pool is essential to keeping it debris-free. You may use a pool vacuum cleaner to remove algae, dirt, and debris from the pool, similar to the one you use to clean your home. 

Maintain the Water Levels 

You should also be careful about maintaining the optimum water level in your natural pool, as quickly disrupting water levels leads to chemical imbalances in the pool. Also, it may affect the efficiency of pool filters. 

Clean Your Pool Filter 

You must also take time to clean your pool filter, especially if you use your pool regularly. If you experience pool odor and a clogged drain, it is time to clean your pool’s filter. 


Having a natural swimming pool is beneficial to your health in various ways. First, you will be swimming in chemical-free water and natural plants will filter out pool water. Your backyard will appear attractive, especially if you spot wildlife near your natural pool.  

Moreover, cleaning your pool will prevent debris and dirt accumulation and also keep algae growth in check. You must consider installing a natural pool if you are a fan of swimming. It is also advised to keep all the necessary pool cleaning tools, like a pool vacuum cleaner, to keep your pool dirt- and bacteria-free.


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