Pond for swimming?

dustboy

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Long story short, I have a big hole in my backyard, 25'x25' and between 12-18" deep. I swore I'd never own a pool (too much maintenance and $$$) but what about a pond we could swim in? The kids would love it, we could bring in some sand to make a beach. Could dig one end down to maybe 4' for some decent wading. We love swimming in forest ponds and lakes, why not in our backyard?

Would it involve a lot of maintenance, say beyond cleaning a filter every few weeks and skimming some leaves? Would we smell like pond scum after swimming in it?
 
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Mmathis

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Does this hole have a liner or is it a natural feature? And just curious about how it got there if you didn’t intend to have anything there in the first place? If it’s just a hole in the ground, I don’t think I’d want to swim in it (18” isn’t deep enough to swim in), and seems it would be difficult to filter the water.

Please post some pictures of this hole for us.
 
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take a look at this video. He has several other swim pond builds on his channel as well.
 
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If there is no filtration of any kind, I don't think you would want to swim in it. All sorts of bacteria and other harmful life forms can thrive in this kind of water. I would be very hesitant.
 

dustboy

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This would definitely be more than just a hole in the ground with water. Pumps, filtration, liner, waterfall, all that good stuff. Maybe not enough of a hole to swim per se, but at least enough for the kids to splash and cool our feet.

The hole is the result of a small asteroid..Just kidding! Actually I had half a day left on a Bobcat rental so I went nuts. The idea was to build my son a grade-level basketball pad, but we decided to just put a hoop over the garage and call it a day.

I tend to shoot first and ask questions later...
 
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The key to success with a natural pool is keeping it clean enough to swim in, and the key to that is planting sufficient rush and reed areas in media together with some way to keep water flowing through those filters and aeration to prevent muck buildup. Natural pools like this are a real growth area in the UK and there are more than a few companies getting in on the act ie check out these guys http://www.naturalswimmingpools.com/

I have a similar project (but fed by a spring), and one thing I'l looking at is adding a robot into the mix to keep it clean, ie https://www.maytronics.com/the-dolphin-difference-en

Bottom line: all very doable if you have the ££ to do it properly and make the processes work for you :)
 
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There was a show on a couple of years ago -- probably on HGTV or DIY. The Pool Master. The older man, Anthony Archer-Wills, specialized in building pools that mimicked nature and used bog filtration. I wonder if you could find some of his episodes on line. I liked the show!
 

dustboy

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Cool! Good to know it can be done. I figured so since nature has been doing it since well before the dinosaurs.

There is a somewhat scatological and more theoretical discussion in this thread about swimming ponds. Somehow it doesn't bother me too much, I'm more afraid of the bugs in a chlorinated public pool than what might be found in our backyard wading pond.

On the topic of filtration, a bog filter has been mentioned, any good resources for how this is properly (and economically) done?

I don't think we would add fish, at the most maybe some mosquito fish. All the splashing we do would probably just stress any koi.
 
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There's a whole thread here - it's pinned to the top - about bog building. If I were going to build a swimming pond, I'd make the bog as big as I possibly could.

You say no fish, but you may want to consider what the fish add to the system - the plants clean the water, the fish feed the plants. I've seen a few of these designed in three parts: bog, fish pond, swim pond. The water flows from one to the other, but the fish stay separate from the swimmers. And honestly, my fish could care less when I get in the pond. They poke around and check me out, but they don't get worked up at all.
 
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I think it’s a great idea. Read the bog thread thoroughly. If done correctly the water will be cleaner and safer than a pool without the chemicals.
 

dustboy

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Ah, found the bog thread, excellent info. Love the border bog idea. Thanks!
 
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Yes people swim in koi ponds. A recirculating koi pond can be an infection problem especially with a lot of fish. If we swim in a lake or stream, we never swim through the same water twice. The waste flows away. Swim in a recirculating koi pond and waste builds up even with filter cleaning. We can’t see the microbes because they are so small but they are there in the billions. And it’s not just parasitic bacteria. It’s opportunistic bacteria like a aeromonas and pseudomonas that populate falling leaves and seeds from trees.

So keep the fish population low and feed appropriately to the fish weight. Fish food feeds bacteria too. And never wear contact lenses in the pond water. There is an amoeba in lakes that can get under the lenses onthe cornea and erode It irreparably. I got a pseudomonas infection in my index finger because I had a hangnail, and it almost cost me my finger. I cleaned my filter without gloves. Shower thoroughly after entering the pond paying attention to existing sores.
 
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