Whereas a swimming pool is used for human activity, a garden pond is more of an ornamental feature and the two need to be treated differently.
For garden ponds, the aim is to make them look as natural as possible so they’re surrounded by plants, possibly overhung by trees and shrubs, and may have marginal plants in shallow water. A swimming pool can have none of these things because the aim is to keep leaves and debris out of the water so it’s as clean and clear as possible. Giving the area around your pool a natural look is, therefore, more of a challenge.
Planning the Pool and its Surrounds
What you need to do is put your pool in a landscape that looks as natural as possible but doesn’t cause any problems in terms of the cleanliness of the water. The starting point is the pool itself, which is often a rectangular shape. Most things in nature don’t follow straight lines, however, and so a free-form pool will look more natural.
Following the theme of not having too many straight lines, you can also create paths leading to the pool that is curved rather than straight. Any tiling or decking surrounding the pool can also be shaped to have natural contours.
As well as contoured lines along the horizontal, you can also create different levels around the pool with steps and terracing leading down to it. If you are developing a new pool, any topsoil and sub-soil dugout during excavations can be used to create slopes and terraced areas, reducing the overall cost of construction by re-using what’s available. Incorporating boulders and large rocks of local stone will also add to the natural effect as well as being dramatic features.
Having areas at different levels means you can create sitting places that take advantage of the surrounding areas. You can have viewing points of the pool, the house or of the local countryside. The banks and terraces will also have the practical advantage of providing shelter from adverse weather for your pool area.
You may also develop waterfalls and small ponds that have the appearance of natural water features while also providing movement, light reflection, sound and life in your garden so they are exceedingly attractive features. Although these must be kept separate from the swimming pool to avoid water contamination, they can give the appearance of being integrated.
Planting around the pool should be restricted to plants that don’t shed their leaves or otherwise do anything that will contaminate the pool. These plants can include bamboo and various ornamental grasses that will provide height in the planting scheme. Make sure you plant all varieties in large drifts rather than single plants since these look much more natural. Also, limit colours to those that co-ordinate well.
Natural, Practical and Fun
The biggest effect on the area will be the pool itself and a free-form shape will help the natural feel. Extensive use of natural stone tiles and slabs in and around the pool will give a more natural look than porcelain or ceramic. The latter types, however, are available in a realistic timber effect and so can be a practical choice for achieving that natural look. We can advise on the ones that are best for your particular aims.
All the tiles and stonework we supply are simple to install, suited to particular purposes, safe in use and have a great appearance. They’re also easy to clean and maintain so your pool is kept hygienic and you have more time to have fun, relax and enjoy the natural look of your pool area.