Swimming ponds

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Principles of swimming ponds:

Swim ponds have been featured in many magazines because of the Kings Cross swimming pond development.

Swimming ponds in a garden setting:

  • Use plants to keep the water clear.
  • Have at least 50% of the total water area as a planted zone.
  • Create bacterial conditions in the planting area among the plant roots to help cleanse the water.
  • Encourage micro organisms like water fleas to thrive.
  • Do not use chemicals or chlorine.
  • Brings the swimmer closer to nature.
  • Encourages many species of wildlife creature to colonise this new garden habitat.
  • Exclude fish and ducks from your swimming pond. Both create high levels of nutrient and bring a risk of unhealthy impurities.
  • Allow 'swimming ponds' to fit into the garden. Formal 'swimming pools'  look like a separate, functional part of the garden.
  • Can be a safety hazard for children.
  • Monitor children near deep water as the young are instinctively drawn to water.
  • Enables supervised children to see nature close up.

Constructing a swimming pond:

  • Usually built by specialist swimming pond contractors.
  • Create a deep area for swimming (at least 2.4m = 8ft deep) with one liner.
  • Create a separate area for the plants of a shallower depth that has its own liner - called a regeneration zone.
  • Separate the 2 areas by a barrier that allows the water to flow across the top of the barrier between the 2 areas.
  • This barrier should not allow materials like soil to spill from the planting zone into the swimming zone.
  • Install a circulatory pump system to keep the water moving.
  • Include a biological filter unit.

Planting swimming ponds:

Densely plant with a range of aquatic plants. Use submerged oxygenator plants, waterlilies, floating plants, shallow marginals, deep marginals, bog and waterside species.

  • Use indigenous Native plants that grow vigorously and also include Non-Native ornamental varieties.
  • Non-Natives will increase the range of colour and flower type and extend the season of interest and the period of active nutrient usage in the regeneration zone.
  • Aim for at least 9 plants per m2 of planting area.

The shelf plants favoured for a swimming pond are:

Images of British Native structural plants we suggest:

Non-Native structural plants:

Rafting plants: