My Organic Swimming Pond

Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
40
Reaction score
45
Location
Chelsea, Quebec
Hardiness Zone
4b
Country
Chelseabreeze submitted a new Showcase Item:

My Organic Swimming Pond

June 2014, I began the conversion of my badly damaged 23 y/o conventional swimming pool to an organic swimming pond, after researching various concepts for three years. I worked within the existing fence line and did all work by hand/power tools and my small tractor/trailer.

I opted to go with an air system to circulate water using a small 60w air compressor, air lines, air stones and common 4" plumbing fittings and perforated plastic distribution pipe. This, combined with aquatic plants (in tubs) placed in a greatly expanded water area filled with layers of sharp sand and colorful river rock, and the emergence of a natural ecosystem of water life (frogs, tadpoles, water beetles, dragonflies, etc. that mostly tend to stay in the planting zone), continually cleans the water (the 8' bottom can be clearly seen) and controls mosquitos. There is no algae, and the shallow plant area also serves as a natural solar water heater with the warmed water recirculated back into the swimming area. The water has been totally clear since I first added water last fall, even through very heat/humid periods thus far this summer. Best of all, no chemicals whatsoever. No more fishing out dead frogs and other critters. As for fish, although I could add ornamental fish like koi, or even eating fish like bass, I will not be doing that. I've struck a great water quality balance for swimming which is my priority and fish could be problematic.

This system is minimal maintenance. It balances itself. For winter, no draining of lines because they are only air-filled...no water/pump lines. Just turn off the compressor and cut-back the plants. That's it! It is wonderful to swim in. I just placed the deck furniture yesterday and my wife and I have finally been able to sit out and enjoy...read, me playing guitar.

Below are pics of some major steps of the project. All I have left to do is build the in-water stairs, ladder and diving board, which I will do next week.

Original pool: The pic was taken a few years before the damage that occurred as a result of a very cold/harsh winter in 2013/14 where the side walls bowed-in somewhat, separating the skimmer housing, and the concrete decking seriously heaved and cracked. I knew the day was coming where serious intervention would be required, which is why I began to research an alternative, especially since I was never comfortable with a chemical pool....
Read more about this showcase item here...
 
A

Advertising

Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
261
Reaction score
100
Hardiness Zone
6a
I like the concept but if you dont mind some personal opinions id like to add a few things. I think the edges of the pond in the shallow part of the water should look more natural and not so perfect. Some long flat rocks can change the shape of the perimeter allowing you to place the rocks in a way where it won't look like a filled in swimming pool. As for the edges where the decking is well theres nothing you can do about that.....Another idea is you have so much room that you can put a huge 10ft tall waterfall if you wanted or several waterfalls around the edges. You have so much room for potential its incredible! I would take down the fence surrounding the entire pond too. If you want a fence to surround the pond maybe something made out of wood. Something natural looking! Its a pond now. Make it look like a pond in a natural setting. You don't want it looking like a filled in swimming pool with a chain link fence surrounding it. I hope I didnt offend you. Im just giving you some ideas because the potential you have there is incredible.
 
Last edited:
A

Advertising

Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
40
Reaction score
45
Location
Chelsea, Quebec
Hardiness Zone
4b
Country
No offence taken, jersey. I'm open to ideas. I just finished the main work to get the space to a point where we can now relax a bit and enjoy it, but by no means are we yet done in terms of 'landscaping' the area. The fence is 23 y/o from the old pool and fences are required in my municipality...a little silly given that my house is rural and there are many wild ponds nearby. Perhaps someday, I'll change the entire fence to something more complementary of the new environment, but since it's in good shape, our idea is to add flowering vines to the fencing. Also, I have a fair number of large granite field stones left over from my house fireplace build some years ago, so I plan to place a number of them in the regeneration/planting zones. Thanks!
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
2,982
Reaction score
5,980
Location
Rhode Island, USA
Hardiness Zone
6a
Country
A lot of work for sure, nice job. I also prefer the more natural look but as you stated it is a work in progress. Enjoy your hard work
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
261
Reaction score
100
Hardiness Zone
6a
No offence taken, jersey. I'm open to ideas. I just finished the main work to get the space to a point where we can now relax a bit and enjoy it, but by no means are we yet done in terms of 'landscaping' the area. The fence is 23 y/o from the old pool and fences are required in my municipality...a little silly given that my house is rural and there are many wild ponds nearby. Perhaps someday, I'll change the entire fence to something more complementary of the new environment, but since it's in good shape, our idea is to add flowering vines to the fencing. Also, I have a fair number of large granite field stones left over from my house fireplace build some years ago, so I plan to place a number of them in the regeneration/planting zones. Thanks!
My suggestion if you want to keep that fence is to plant trumpet vines every few feet on both sides of the fence. Spend some money and time because the closer you plant them the faster they will take over. Trumpet vines are super invasive and will take over that entire fence in no time. You wont even see the fence. It will require some work though because they grow so fast and can get out of control if you dont maintain them. They have beautiful trumpet looking flowers (hence the name) that really cover the vines. Its not like there are only a few flowers here and there. The flowers when in bloom cover the vines substantially. Once they begin to take over the fence you can trim them with a hedge trimmer. That commercial looking fence will turn into a trumpet vine hedge in no time. By the way, not sure if you have Craigslist or a website that people can sell used items and advertise services on by you but sometimes people advertise free stuff. I had a lady by me who didnt plan correctly and planted trumpet vine where she shouldnt have. She told me just to come and take as much as I wanted for free as it would help her get rid of it. Maybe you can find somene like that or even some wild vine somewhere that you can take. Like I said its super invasive but for what you have its perfect. I would make that fence into a trumpet vine hedge in 2-3 seasons...
 
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
40
Reaction score
45
Location
Chelsea, Quebec
Hardiness Zone
4b
Country
Jersey, in fact, we obtained our pond plants via a lady we found on kijiji. She has been a ponder for 10+ years and as hers outgrow their planting tubs, she separates and sells. She has been very helpful to me since, and she knows someone who has vines that we can take advantage of when we're ready, though I don't yet know what variety(ies) they are. Once done, I think the fencing will be largely hidden and look great. I have two gates along the fencing (one leads to a sitting area by a natural stream and paths through our 1+ acres of woodland), both which I'll likely change to cedar once the vines have taken hold.
 
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
249
Reaction score
222
Location
NJ
Hardiness Zone
7a
I think this is incredible, great idea and execution! Why did you put the plants into tubs though? That stands out to me even more so then the rigid shape. The shape just gives it a more formal look in my mind.
 
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
40
Reaction score
45
Location
Chelsea, Quebec
Hardiness Zone
4b
Country
I think this is incredible, great idea and execution! Why did you put the plants into tubs though? That stands out to me even more so then the rigid shape. The shape just gives it a more formal look in my mind.
Thanks! I used tubs for plants to control growth as I don't want it to get too wild, and want to add plants of various types and colors over time in a somewhat controlled design. I may consider direct planting in the future when I have established my preferred design. I may have to keep the lilies in tubs because they could perish due to winter ice in the shallow depth of the two regeneration zones. For winter, I cut back the lilies and have moved the tubs to the bottom of the shallow end of the swimming zone (3.5') for the winter. The pics I posted were taken mid-season last summer, the first year of the plants. When the lilies roots expand to more fill the tubs and are in full growth, the pads will pretty much cover the tubs so that the tubs will barely show. By end of last season the tubs were not too visible.
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
89
Reaction score
218
Location
Philadelphia Pa.
Hardiness Zone
6b
Country
Looks Great bud. I am Jealous. I would love to build one. Someday when I move to a new house. If your anything like me, that thing will ALWAYS be a work in progress.
 
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
40
Reaction score
45
Location
Chelsea, Quebec
Hardiness Zone
4b
Country
Chelseabreeze updated My Organic Swimming Pond

Yesterday on Father's Day, we had some family over for a BBQ and swim in the pond. It was sunny and 90+ degrees, so it was great to spend the day in and around the water with areas in full sun, others in shade. We all had a lot of fun, great food and beverage. It's hard to see because the lilies flowers had closed, but there are many now blooming, and the yellow irises are about to flower.

Without them knowing, I took a pic of my Dad (84) and Mom (80) simply sitting, taking in the pond environment in the early evening. There's something about this shot that I find cute. My Mom just finished chemo treatments for kidney cancer and will undergo surgery early July. This is probably why this pic means something to me.
View updates to this showcase item...
 
A

Advertising

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top