Sustainable Swimming Pools, what are they?

How to get the swimming pool of your dreams without destroying the planet around you.

In your search for sustainability, have you found yourself wondering if being nature- and environmentally friendly can stretch to your pool? We’d hope so, as what’s the point of investing half-heartedly when you can get the whole shebang: a house, garden and pool that add to, rather than detract from, their surroundings. Those are beautiful rather than an eyesore and, get this, go beyond “not destroying” habitats to maybe even helping the local wildlife.


Then let’s dive in.

Today, we’re talking Natural Pools

The first things you need to know about natural pools are that they’re eco-friendly and chemical-free. But we don’t mean a pond, weed-filled tank or a mass of green mulch. No, no, we’re on the same page as you with a crystal-clear-watered, mid-afternoon-dip-worthy swimming experience perfect for cooling off in the Algarve heat – just without dumping a load of chlorine into the very nature you’ve worked so hard to protect.

But how?

Harnessing the power of nature for crystal-clear water

A natural swimming pool is just what it says on the tin – natural – which means no chemicals or harmful additives. You might be wondering, then, how it stays clean and how you stop the undergrowth from taking over. The secret is nature itself – taking tips from natural processes to help filter any harmful bacteria and dirt. The secret’s all in providing a watery section beside the main pool, you see: the regeneration zone, an area filled with all types of plants that feed hydroponically on the water.

This extra section works just like your standard pool filter. However, instead of using sand, a cartridge or whatever else you may use, it both cleans and purifies water, all in one, using aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. In short, this biological filter takes care of all undesirable elements. Water is pushed through the filter, into the zone, then back into the swimming area, clarified and completely clean – just like magic!

swimming pool

Here’s the real secret

Ready to hear it? Movement. That’s it. Because the water in a natural pool is constantly moving, being cleaned and cleared and circulated all the way back around again, it doesn’t get a chance to harbour bacteria. If it does, it’s quickly got rid of by the clever system.

Worried about algae?

Don’t be. But that said, some is necessary in the regeneration zone to keep things ticking over. However, if the plants used in the regeneration zone are chosen correctly, they should suck up all the nutrients the algae would generally need to grow, which means no algae and lots of plants you can control easily, as they are restricted to the separate area and kept away from where you’re actually swimming.

Now for the benefits of Natural Pools

Yes, yes, they’re environmentally friendly, but there’s more to them, and you’re going to want to hear four more of the main benefits:

  1. No chemicals. Again? Yes, but as being good for the environment, a lack of chemicals also much better for you, specifically your skin and hair. Think about it – you’re going from bathing in disinfectant to an all-natural solution; how could that not be beneficial?
  2. Lower energy consumption. Because you’re not running a pump all day and plants are doing all your filtering for you, you shouldn’t see much of a difference in your electricity bill.
  3. Less maintenance. No testing, pH balancing or filtration is required (not to mention replacing parts) saving you both time and energy and meaning your pool is most often ready for use when you want it.
  4. A beautiful water garden. As well as being super useful, natural pool regeneration zones are simply stunning, adding a whole new area to your garden that is both efficient and easy on the eye.

The final touch: Overall look

While you may want to cash in on the idea of making a natural pool look and feel as natural as possible with rocks, water features and an array of aquatic plants, a clean, simple, modern finish with stone tiles and decking (like any other regular pool) are also certainly an option. It all comes down to the overall look you’re going for.

So there you have it. A natural pool wins hands-down every time when compared to a standard pool, whether you’re thinking about your own health or that of your surroundings, so dive into designing that water garden. Sharpish.

Anabela CEO of CORE Architects
Anabela Macieira
Core Architects — CEO and Founder