Slide 1: Natural Pool with Lily Pads


What distinguishes a natural swimming pool from a traditional one? The main difference lies in natural pools' independence from artificial filtration. That doesn't mean jumping into a natural pool leaves you with a mouth full of algae. On the contrary, plants and other biological agents maintain the water quality, leaving the swimmer to enjoy a chlorine-free experience. Rather than obstruct the swimming area, the plants are focused in what's known as the regeneration zone, either directly adjacent to—or completely separate from—the swim basin.

Natural Swimming Pools: 10 Green and Gorgeous Designs

It wouldn’t be summer without a trip to the pool—but those harsh chemicals can be a real turnoff. These days, eco-conscious and design-savvy homeowners are increasingly adopting an unorthodox means of pool filtration: plant life. Aquatic plants and naturally occurring bacteria not only filter the water, they also contribute to the landscaping. Yes, natural pools require more planning than the standard-issue variety, but you can—with a little know-how and not an overwhelming amount of trouble—build a fairly self-sufficient swimming pool (or give an earth-friendly upgrade to your existing pool). Besides being less costly to maintain, natural pools come with an additional bonus: They don't have to be shut down come winter. In fact, if temperatures drop low enough, your pool can double as an ice rink. So come take a tour of some of our favorite natural swimming pools, each more inviting than the next.

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