What Are Natural Pools And Why Might You Want One?

Hanna KielarAugust 09, 2019

If you’ve always wanted a summertime sanctuary in your backyard but have been wary to install a pool because of the negative effects chemicals could have on yourself and the environment, you can finally bring your outdoor oasis to life.

Natural swimming pools don’t use chemicals or salt water to function. They’re an eco-friendly alternative to traditional swimming pools and they create a peaceful, serene sight that’s pleasing to the eye and neighboring wildlife. If you’re looking to escape the sun this summer, read on to learn more about natural swimming pools and why you should get one.

What Exactly Is A Natural Swimming Pool?

You’ve heard about chlorine and saltwater pools, but what exactly is a natural swimming pool?

A natural swimming pool is a pool that uses nature to filter out harmful microorganisms. Because it’s chemical-free, natural pools use bacteria to remove unwanted elements out of the swimming area.

These were created in the 1980s by Austrian researchers to replicate the experience of swimming in mountain lakes while adding a domestic feel. Natural swimming pools were popular because they left out damaging chemicals.

Chlorinated swimming pools were replaced by natural swimming pools in Germany and across Europe before the trend slowly moved to North America.

Nowadays natural pools are seen more regularly in places from backyards to eco-resorts.

How Do They Differ From Regular Pools?

Natural swimming pools differ from conventional pools because they use plants and bacteria as filters instead of chemicals.

How Do Natural Swimming Pools Work?

Natural pools have two parts: the swimming area and the regeneration zone. The regeneration zone has plants which feed hydroponically on the water. It also has aerobic and anaerobic bacteria inside of a biological filter which cleanses the water of unwanted elements. The purification process begins when water passes through the filter into the regeneration zone and ends when clean water enters the swimming area.

How Does The Water Remain Safe Without Chemicals?

You might think that the pool’s water isn’t safe to swim in because it’s not treated or sterilized by chemicals or salt, but the water does remain clean because it passes through a filter in the water’s regeneration zone where plants and bacteria remove harmful contaminants.

Why Should I Get A Natural Pool?

The obvious benefit of a natural pool is there are no chemicals in the water, but why else should you consider installing one in your backyard?

  • Less Mosquitos:Because mosquitos like to breed in still water, they won’t infest in the natural pool since the water is constantly flowing.
  • Saves Money and Time:You can save money because you won’t need to purchase any chemicals, and you can save time since it’s a self-cleaning pool.
  • Eco-Friendly:Not only is a natural pool safe on the environment, but the energy consumption of a natural pool is much lower compared to traditional pools.
  • Beautiful Scenery:Your pool will double as a peaceful water garden that uses wildlife to elevate its look and create a habitat for flora and fauna.

How Much Does A Natural Pool Cost?

As is the case with the cost of a conventional inground pool, the cost of your natural pool can vary depending on its design and complexity. Some people will say that a natural pool costs more than a chlorinated pool, but some will say it costs less. Typically, natural pools can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $70,000  depending on the size and plan.

One advantage of a natural pool is that even though it may cost more money up front, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run because maintenance costs are very low.

What Should I Think About Before Installing A Natural Pool?

Before you decide to install a natural pool, there are many factors you should consider besides cost.


Maintenance of a natural pool can be compared to gardening. Rather than the traditional upkeep of a chlorinated pool, you’ll need to trim plants and use a net to remove leaves and debris from the water’s surface. You might also need to drain and take apart the filtration system. Different natural pools will require a varying level of maintenance.


Like any swimming pool, a natural pool might be subject to municipal regulations. Read up on local laws and regulations before installing a natural pool, as it may require safety fencing depending on its depth.


If you want your swimming pool to be crystal clear, you might not want to get a natural pool. Sometimes organic water can have a brownish tint depending on the amount of algae in it. While the water is safe to swim in, it might not have the chemically created blue look you’re hoping for.

Can I Make My Chemical Pool Into A Natural Pool?

Yes, it’s possible to turn your chemical pool into a natural pool. But before you switch over, make sure there’s enough space for the regeneration zone which should be about equal size to the swimming area. You’ll also need to modify the pool’s plumbing to handle the water’s movement from zone to zone.

Can I Build A Natural Pool Without Professional Help?

A do-it-yourself (DIY) natural pool is a cost-saver, but it’s a tremendous feat. If you want to try to tackle it by yourself it’ll require plenty of research, time and effort. However, it’s recommended that an experienced landscape architect or pool builder plans and builds the natural pool and garden.

Either way, good luck with getting your own natural pool!

Already have a natural pool? Let us know what you think about it on social media!

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.