Home>Discussions>GREEN HOUSE & HOME>Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?
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RobinC
Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

Hey there, hello from a new poster.
The old fella and I take a break from working on our old house by doing some landscaping in the summer months. We've begun digging a series of ponds, but last night while drinking wine and looking out the attic window we decided we'd like one of those ponds to be a swimming pond.
I've read about swimming ponds before, and seen them in Belgium. I love the idea, and have read a fair chunk about it, but have a few questions that I haven't found answers to anywhere else - so, of course, I came here.
The entire watercourse we want to put in (I've dug lots of it out already, we're in pure sand near the north shore of Lake Erie) will consist of a 4'deep upper pond, a small stream leading to the swimming pond which will be 6'deep and approximately 8x14', with another stream leading to the bottom pond, 5' deep and a much larger oval. The water will be circulated back up to the top pond via a straight run of underground plumbing and electric/solar pump, where it will be pumped up a few feet above the top pond and 'waterfalled' back into circulation.
We've put in small ponds before, but never with the intent to swim in them, and never tackled anything this large. Our oversize lot has a good slope, which allows gravity to do half the work of circulating the water.
I've found some great sources for liners, pumps, water plants, and beneficial bacteria. But, because we're working on an old house, we can't afford to hire this job out or get professional advice (at least, the kind you have to pay for). My big question is - can I make the swimming pond a concrete pond, with a foot-wide gravel ledge on either side to root plants, and use the upper and lower ponds for the biofiltration? I really like the idea of a swimming pond with a super-tough bottom, I'm terrified of ripping the liner while using the pond, and I think it would also be easier to keep a concrete basin clean. The old fella is a construction worker so can deal with rebar and logistics; I just don't know if ecologically this will work.
Anybody who knows anything about swimming ponds, I'd really appreciate hearing about your experience.
Thanks from Robin in Niagara, Ontario

YukSchmuk
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

Hey Carl Spackler.....
You out there.....
you know about swimming in ponds.....:)

misfitter
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

this is going to be one of those rambling posts. some of the information you could use is in there somewhere. but, maybe not.

i worked on a project at the denver zoo for the large cat exhibit and when doing it they needed to create the "realistic rock formations" and such that go into the lion, tiger areas. how they did this was with #1 re bar(the size of a pencil) angle iron "bones" for the re bar the connect too. but the smaller than chicken wire mesh covered the entire thing. the concrete was blown on with the concrete pump truck using more air in the hose. but you could simply splash it on for your curbs and such. this is for also your waterfall effect.

i just read about your project on the green side and then looked up "rainwater reclaimation" on the internet. lots of info. and the pond swimming ponds is unique because of the swimming part. I think a bed of pea gravel would be better than sand though. easier to clean off.

even taking an old water heater and creating a "hot spring" effect would be cool. in a weird way. i think of the monkeys in northern japan for some reason. i don't know if this has helped, but have fun.

Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

I have been in the decorative concrete business and know that we do alot of concrete around pools, and some of the pools we came across were made out of concrete, so I don't see why you can't use the same foundation for a swimming pond.

I am not an expert in the swimming pool/pond business, but know that concrete is a good sturdy surface in and around water. So much so, that they even make kitchen sinks and countertops with it.

Good luck in your project.

NOVA Pros

dafeesh
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

I was looking for info on ponds and bumped into these comments. I think I found a group who designs swimming ponds that look very natural. These guys were biologists too and their work shows it. I am seriously considering them. They are pretty tight lipped about their techniques, but I think their prospective lends them to understand the issues in greater depth.

Debra
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

I think your idea is wonderful and I suggest you do it. I want to add one thing though. Don't just rely on the plants for bio filtration. Get yourself a good cartridge filter, one that you can replace every year.

I have this one:

hayward cartridge filter

This takes out fine particulates you don't want to be swimming in, like frog egg strings and larvae as well as cotton wood fluff and sunscreen.

The first year I installed this system we didn't have to use any chemicals because the system was very clean. Last year I had some start up chemical expenses and I replaced the cartridge but this year we've only emptied and scrubbed the pool then filled and shocked it.

Another bit of advice is get as smooth a bottom as you can because lots of things are going to blow into the pool and sink to the bottom. Then you get a robot or vacuum to suck them up to keep the potential organic growth down. Trying to get that stuff out of a pebbly or sandy bottom would be a nightmare.

Ross Carpenter
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

:)Debbysewn's advise is by far the most practical. Don't forget to keep things SUSTAINABLE! :D

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

Another solution you can employ is to add a sand filter for the water coming out of the bottom pond. This will remove most of the solids the plants don't remove. Properly stocked the bottom pond can clean the discharge from a septic system so it should work well for the pond system. Keeping the water moving is a key, even if you have to install an aerator (floating spray fountain) to keep from being infested with mosquito larvae. Personally I would not want to use shock, but around here we still wade and swim in the creek. Algae build up on the sides and bottom is not harmful but it is a little yucky to some. Personally I would prefer the algae to chlorine or other chemicals.
Jack

Debra
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Another solution you can employ is to add a sand filter for the water coming out of the bottom pond. This will remove most of the solids the plants don't remove. Properly stocked the bottom pond can clean the discharge from a septic system so it should work well for the pond system. Keeping the water moving is a key, even if you have to install an aerator (floating spray fountain) to keep from being infested with mosquito larvae. Personally I would not want to use shock, but around here we still wade and swim in the creek. Algae build up on the sides and bottom is not harmful but it is a little yucky to some. Personally I would prefer the algae to chlorine or other chemicals.
Jack

In this case, I wouldn't use shock or typical swimming pool chemicals either. The filter will help as long as you replace the cartridge every year.

FYI, the cartridges are rated to be used for a few years if the chemicals in the pool are pumped up BUT... since you're not using chemicals just get a new cartridge each year.

gordman
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

Wouldn't it just be easier to build a swimming pool instead of a swimming pond? This is what I would do if I were you, all you have to do it to fill it with water, makes sure you have a water filtration system installed and you could get an above ground pool cover and you can use it the whole summer without having to worry about anything else.

Timothy Miller
Re: Anybody know anything about swimming ponds?

Howdy imagine sitting back soaking in the warmth- as i get older i really enjoy this part- in your spa looking out at the ponds that you do not have to maintain or worry about being fit to swim in. An pausing to remember how much work an $$$ over the years you have not had to endure. Then have another sip of bubbly and think a kind thought, high regard for this post.

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