On my book shelf, I have a book called Wild Swimming. Inside, is a guide to all the natural beauty spots and remote locations in the UK where you can swim, dive or bathe? Swimming in natural ponds, lakes, rivers and man-made dykes and canals is nothing new and has been going on for generations. Not surprising now that a new trend is sweeping across the planet and since the year 2000, swimming ponds have taken off in a big way. This fast growing leisure activity, which is very popular in Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, has in recent years also become popular in the UK.
The concept is a simple idea, a chance to swim with nature. You too can recreate a wild swimming area in your back garden by means of a very large pond liner (pond meets swimming pool). Imagine yourself on a hot summers day swimming in natural, clean filtered water without any chemicals, amongst aquatic plants such as Water Lilies, with the ambience all around you of the birds singing, bees buzzing and Dragonflies and Damselflies darting back and forth whilst you enjoy the coolness of the water around you. Fortunately, design ideas are endless and swimming ponds can take on any shape and size incorporating islands, decking, diving platforms, jetty’s and natural stone steps as a entrance and exit into the swimming area.
So How Does It Work
Natural planted filter beds have been used for decades. This process is simple and is known as (Phyto-Filtration). Water that contains organic waste is filtered naturally by flowing through gravel beds that contain essential micro-organisms and bacteria that breakdown the waste. Any leftover nutrients are sucked up by the roots of nutrient hungry aquatic plants. Swimming ponds ideally should be located in full sun and house two different areas of the same size for swimming and for your plants. The swimming area should be around 8ft deep and the Re-Generation area or areas, should be about 1 to 2ft deep. These shallow, gravel filled areas should be planted up with deep and shallow marginal plants, oxygenating plants, submerged plants with floating leaves and free floating plants, all of which, will give diversity in height, flowering times and colour and will ultimately create an all spring and summer display of colour which will invite you into their water world.
The water will be pumped from the deep swimming area to the Re-Generation zones. Bboth areas should be separated by a wall that usually sits 6-10 inches below the water surface. The walls function is to prevent gravel from the beds washing down into the swimming area. The same water therefore, is returned naturally back into the swimming area in not just a clean and purified state, but also slightly warmer by the fact that half the surface area of a swimming pond is only 1 to 2ft in depth which is less water to be warmed up by the suns rays.
1.) Add as many features into your design. It’s the combination of natural planting amongst the stonework, decking and other wooden features that will bring your swimming pond to life.
2.) Avoid the following plants as they produce strong, sharp rhizomes and tubers that can often puncture pond liners – Sparganium Erectum, Phragmites Australis (Norfolk Rush) and Cyperus Longus.
3.) When choosing the ideal designer to build your bespoke swimming pond, remember there are lots of professional swimming pond designers to choose from. When making enquiries or getting quotes, always ask to see a portfolio of previous designed gardens. Most designers will have photos of previous projects available to see on their website. All designers have their own unique way of working so by seeing photos of their past work, you will be able to decide if you like their work and style.