The BioTop Natural Pools


The swimming zone should be physically separated from the regeneration and should reach a depth of 2 m (6 ft 6 in) in swimming ponds. The regeneration zone and swimming zone must be equal in area for sufficient purification. The swimming portion of the pool can look like a conventional swimming pool or a natural pond. The regeneration zone can be placed adjacent to the swimming area or in a remote location depending on the space available. In modern natural swimming pools there is no minimum depth for the swimming zone and the regeneration zone can now be reduced greatly and in some cases is non existent. Clear Water Revival was the first company to build indoor natural swimming pools in the UK. In these pools a regeneration zone can be used outside the building or a natural filtration chamber can be built without a planted area indoors.

Learn more about natural pools from: Water Gardens & Natural Pools: Design & Construction













How To Make a DIY Natural Swimming Pool

74 Responses to “The BioTop Natural Pools”

  1. Pukh says:

    These are nice pictures of swimming pools but i also think there are to “natural” to swim in it? In some pictures the pools look like smal seas. Bye Pukh

  2. l. mcwilliams says:

    thank you very nice idea, will think how we could use this in the south..we have snakes..frogs..turtles and many living things witch like water I do not read emails

  3. OldDude says:

    If there are snails in the water there is a danger of a very deadly parasite.

    • dixie says:

      I can hardly believe these comments. really, do you think the folks living in these wonderful places did not do their homework? btw, natural is what your body was designed for. the problem of too much is found in the chemical man adds.

      • Tami says:

        Actually, it isn’t that much of a stretch to think that there are people who do NOT do their homework. That said, I have no problem swimming in a lake or stream or river where there are other “critters”. I just could not risk building something that would attract them. Where I live, a gorgeous water oasis like this would bring the rattlers, skunks, bobcats, mountain lions, fox, coyotes, and all sorts of other things that would find my livestock and pets far too delicious to ignore…

      • Dee says:

        Hate to break it to you but your entire body is made up of chemicals. Water itself is a chemical. If you pour a glass of water into it you’re a “man” adding a chemical. Stop using “chemical” like it’s a bad word.

    • Kyle says:

      The root structures of aquatic plants — cattails, water lilies, and duckweed — remove bacteria and other contaminants. Tadpoles or other critters keep to the plant side which is their natural habitat and do not cross the line into the swimming side. Certain plants totally clean the water which you would need in your pool and the ending result is a pool safer, cleaner and healthier than a body of water dumped with extremely harsh chemicals like chlorine.

    • C King says:

      Chlorine, incidentally, is also quite toxic. Choose your poison wisely! Just because the government allows it, doesn’t make it right. The chemical companies have a lot of power.

  4. Trinn says:

    I’d love to know how a system would go in the tropics where we have mosquitoes and also cane toads that love to breed in any kind of still water. Cheers from Australia

    • Brooke says:

      Perfect for Victoria. LOVE the idea. We have lots of ponds around our home and mosquitos are only ever a problem in certain kinds of conditions. Generally not a problem.

    • Csaba says:

      The water in these natural swimming pools are never still, they are bubbled.and are circulated through the regeneration zone. The larvae of the mosquitoes needs warm steady water. And the water needs to have many nutrients, which the plants take away. If there are too much nutrients in the water (like because of the rotting of organic material), that fuels the increase of the mosquitoes. But even some plants can deter mosquitoes too…

      • Nan Sea Love says:

        Good points. I have purchased natural pool guru and Permaculturist David Pagan Butler’s how-to video and downloaded his free how-to booklet, but have only begun to learn. Hole is dug and my intention is a pond for wildlife, here in hot dry California they need it more than humans. Wonder why you didn’t mention mosquito fish? Here in California they are given out free by government vector control agencies. I used them for years, very effective.

  5. Trisha says:

    Yes, like Trinn I live in the tropics of Australia and would love to hear of tropical successes. We live near a stunning public natural pool called Berry Springs NT, which is a weired creek and sadly is closed for many months of the year due to excessive Bacteria levels. Perhaps there is a way to filter the water? Thousands swim there in the warm water which is 14 meters deep at the centre of the largest pool, and rainforest would need to be cleared to build shallow wetlands to filter the water, which unless they were high level with a pump would be flooded in the Wet season. Has this been done with large pools in the tropics?

    At home we have excess bore water and nowhere to swim, so we are thinking of using it to water a natural pool. We would install a pool fence to avoid drownings ( as is the law), and could screen the bottom of it to prevent cane toads. We would add tiny native fish like Pacific Blue Eyes who eat mozzie larvae. But what could we do about bacteria? And would excessive rainfall be a problem? Do some people use the wetland filter area as a garden and plant edible species? like I am thinking of kankong, besides native species like water lilies.

  6. Kev says:

    I think the plants would take care of the bacteria. Isn’t that the whole idea of them?

  7. Sherrie says:

    At a time when the west is in a horrid drought, CA is down to twice a week watering, NASA says the earth is drying up, the last thing people should be doing is digging a big hole and filling it with water. Pool are wonderful. But, they are a huge waste of a natural resource, that because of overpopulation, oil drilling, fracking, you get the picture…… waste.
    If someone is going to go swimming in a natural setting, why don’t they go to a lake or river?Or are they drying up too? Waste that the wealthy feel they are entitled to because they can afford it.

    • Jean says:

      It’s not like people have to build a pool. This is just for those who are going to, or would like to build a pool, to give them a more natural option rather than chlorine and chemicals.

      Besides which, the number of people who build pools are NOT the source of the water problem, and uses up WAY less water than livestock. If people really wanted to conserve water, they’d go vegan.

    • Bebe Rastis says:

      Shut up, hippie.

    • Harvey says:

      The earth is a multitude of interactive systems. The amount of water in, on, and over the earth is constant.

  8. Susan says:

    I live in a part of the country with a large population of poisonous snakes. No way do I want to go swimming with them.

    • Maureen says:

      Have you seen snakes come to you ever in the would…No they go away, hide unless cornered. Dont have any corners in your pool.
      I have had a pond 20 feet by 24 feet with a depth of not more then 3 feet. For more than a decade I used a pump to move water from the lowest point up to a water falls a foot wide and 4 feet higher then the surfaceof the pond. Minimal water moved, not more then a trickle, but this aerated the water.
      The water was pumped to a meter square contained unit of pea gravel with a charcoal base just a few inches deep. That allowed the water to feed up threw that bio filter and flow back down the hill across stone and when it got back to the pond it did it again and again….
      That worked so well I always thought how foolish that I made that pond too small for me! It was clear water all the way to the bottom and my fish and plants thrived with virtually no effort on my part.

      The only effort came when the pump burned out about every other year. No chemicals, no problems. Yes, a few frogs held court there and dragonflies. I once had a giant crane come by to see if he could fish! With cages in the water the fish hide away and he didn’t get any fish. He left.

      Great time for us all. I did not see any snakes and I did have a few deer come by and raccoons but they hurt no one.
      I live in Athens, Georgia USA.

      • Miss April says:

        well I am from the mid west. Around these parts we have water snakes that will creep up on you and will chase you in the water, They are not poisonous but I and a few friends have been bit by them and all got really bad flu like systems. these pools are very cool and beautiful to gaze at. I would not want one for all the other nature critters that go along with it no thank you.

    • TOM says:

      Venomous snakes.

  9. dj says:

    Everything is chemicals.

  10. Viv says:

    I think the pools are lovely and an eco-clever avenue to learn about the environment, while enjoying a delicious dip of relaxation. A perfect opportunity to teach the next generations and maybe a few stuck in the mud city folk. I am so delighted that I grew up with a pond in the back yard and a mom full of love for nature… so that any fears I may have developed from the unknown or unfamiliar became intrigue, curiosity, and keen caution instead. I live by a pond now because of this gift of my youth. Each morning when I overlook the water, I wonder what new birds will be beckoned by the lush plant life of native grasses and plentiful majestic trees. Some days the water is rippled syrup. Yesterday there were thousands of scattered diamonds stretched out from reflecting sun. Mama deer vigilantly escorted her delicate freckled young to the edge for a taste of the springs. A honeybee drops in for a tiny sip…yep, ’tis true that bees perch where they can to take a drink too.
    What a wonderful sight to watch a bee slurping up cool waters. Evening sweeps in with swallows diving and skimming, and the cricket chorus begins over a deeply voiced orchestra of frogs . I keep away from the window, eyes and soul silent with intrigue and still; all of me hovering a visual of heart refresh. I have learned the respect I feel the critter owners of this land are entitled to, as I am but only a steward for this life time here. Truly I tell you that the natural world can soften your fears…ease your long day.. teach us to save the shallow stream that rides us down the river of good dreams. I am born anew to begin each day. Keep relishing in it , and so too will I…on the sill of my window to see what’s out there tomorrow morn . As the song is sung.. “Teach you children well…” while your eyes and minds are opened to what we have left out of doors : )

  11. Annie says:

    Here in MS I too was afraid ioc going in ground because of moccasins.
    As far as the mosquitoes why not plant citronell and I’ve heard of other plants that they dislike.. Burning green pine broughs will smoke em. I think the plants will filter quite well.
    After all there are approved ssweet treatments using plants like calls lilies.

  12. Glenn says:

    Trisha as soon as you add fish you double the filtration requirements. I would also imagine the water attracting birds including ducks. That would double the filtration requirements. You also have to remember you will have bacteria, and it will not be swimming safe.

    You could pump water through a system similar to the end stages of the septic tank systems.

    You could also pump through a actual pond/pool filter, then through a UV lamp which will sterilise the water (no chemicals). But as you increase the size of the pool the filtration requirements, and the difficulty of getting adequate circulation of all the water, make it increasingly hard to do adequately. The septic systems on a large enough scale would work, although not resulting in entirely bacteria free water.

  13. TinaB says:

    I agree with many who question the ability to sustain “clean water” in a natural pool. Mosquitos would be a major problem, as well as snakes and other critters. I would love to build something similar, but with a saltwater filtration system. We have an above-ground pool with the saltwater filtration system, using crystalized salt to naturally chlorinate the pool. The only drawback is the rust that accumulates quickly on any metal surface. Otherwise, the pool is virtually maintenance-free…

  14. Tara says:

    Beautiful! I would love to do this one day. Thankfully I live in New Zealand. Only have to worry about those dreaded humans!

  15. Monica says:

    I’d like to know how these would work in the south, as in southeast Louisiana. We have the mosquitos, cottonmouths, alligators, nutria and more. As some stated earlier, we are not apossed to swimming in lakes rivers and such, but I feel that it would attract unwanted visitors. It’s a lovely idea, as we have had a salt water pool, really hate all the chemicals of regular pools. I would think that it would have to be built with some sort of wall to keep the critters out.

  16. Bridget says:

    I have zero experience with natural pool, but I am familiar with planted tanks. Powerheads are used to circulate water and maintain good flow… They’re a bit like filters, but they don’t actually filter. They just move water.

  17. jacqui says:

    Sooo glad i live in new zealand our deadliest creature is whitetail spider which is only deadly if you are allergic and they get their posion from daddy longlegs which can bite humans we have no snakes or poisonous frogs or nothing you might get the odd mozzie but nothing a few citronella candles or tourches and insect repellant wont fix. I love my country

  18. jacqui says:

    Mee too

  19. Matt says:

    at least to do some investigating before you dismiss the idea. If done right, these pools can be much healthier for you and the environment you live in. The water does not have to come from tap water. You can use storm water collected from roof and yard drainage. The pools utilize a water garden (bog) which filters unwanted nutrients from the pool water. The water is cycled and circulated just like a normal pool with the exception of going through a commercial filter it goes through a gravel bed filled with ornamental water plants. I personally suggest having fish that eat mesquitos, frogs, and other insects in the pool. This will actually help feed the plants.
    If you happen to get one of those deadly parasites, you can always star on “monster inside of me”. Lol.

  20. Shannon says:

    I live in ca, too. I live in the Sierras so I have access to lakes and rivers. So I don’t have a need for a pool. But, I will say this, CA needs to stop the mismanagement of the water we DO have, and stop charging the people over charges, when we could stop growing crops that are shipped directly to china.

    I live not far from the San juaquine valley. Tons of orchards, and farming land laying dead. Because ca has some trade agreement with south America to eat their crappy produce. Why am I eating food harvested from another country, when I have orchards practically in my own back yard?

    This is where my biggest issues with the state of California are. We are so concerned about everything else outside of us, that we can’t even eat an apple from our own state. Sickening.

    Have you ever noticed how mealy the avocados are from south America? I haven’t had an amazing avocado in years. YEARS!!

    Even “farmers” markets don’t even sell local produce anymore.

  21. Paul says:

    There is absolutely no more danger to swimming in one of these pools than swimming in a lake, pond, or any other natural body of water. In fact, because the owner has some control over where the water entering the pool comes from, unlike a lake or pond, there may actually be less danger of biohazards.

    Here in North Florida, I already have frogs in my pool, so there’s no doubt snakes would be part of the picture before long, too. Cool idea, nonetheless.

  22. Dick says:

    Too natural to swim in? Wtf does that mean Einstein?

  23. Candace says:

    Omg, the reason for pools is to have something to swim in that you can see the bottom,if concerned with chemicals go with salt water..If you want a pond then just build a pond.These are just glamour ponds. That yes with plants will help,but add fish you add pool,add poop you add murky water,add murky water you can’t see the bottom.So call it what it is..a glorified swimming hole in your back yard.

  24. Omara says:

    Some of us live where there are no river or lakes or other natural bodies of water.

  25. Frederick says:

    From my understanding mosquitos need standing water. Wouldn’t a solar powered circulation pump illiminate this issue.

  26. Sistah Sunshine says:

    Thank you! This is the best thing i have read on the internet in a long time! <3 This place needs more people like you to express their gratitude!

  27. Bryce says:

    You can’t be serious right now. What in the world do oil drilling and tracking have to do with swimming pools?? I’ll answer my own question… Nothing. Nothing at all. Just another crazy using the opportunity to spread more ignorance. You’re right on one thing… Its a natural resource. But its a natural resource we will NEVER run out of. Never. Never ever ever never. And what business is it if yours as to whether people want to dig a hole in the ground and fill it with water and plants? Is it not just as much of a waste to water your roses? Yep!!! Sure is. MOST flowers serve literally no purpose to our ecosystem. If some flower types were to completely die away, it would do nothing in the larger picture of our world except be a little less pretty. But you aren’t whining and making any kind of pathetic argument about that are you?? No. Why couldn’t someone dig the hole and let it fill with rain water?? Still a waste?? They didn’t “take” that water from anywhere else that “needed” it. Point blank… You’re an idiot. Find a real cause. One that actually effects people. Like the fact that 25,000 children die every day be aise they don’t have food. Not complaining and being a baby because people have swimming pools. You’re a joke and you need to get your priorities straight. Real ones.

  28. lord have mercy says:

    To everyone with the questions. Think of it like a giant aquarium. Yes there is running water and small current because of filtration. It is never still. Yes the plants do a lot of beneficial help. Some people even add types of fish to handle bugs and pests. Fences help with most pests. If you deck or concrete around pond it will drastically reduce pests. If you can keep frogs from making a home there won’t be any snakes. That is there #1 food source by water. Again deck it or concrete around. You have many types of natural filtration google them I prefer types of coral. It is a living gravel that eats bacteria. And great for marine life. Keep your pond groomed and you shouldn’t have nny problems.

  29. Nicole says:

    Yes because no critters can climb fences ever.

  30. Julia says:

    I would like to know how exactly #2 was built inclusive the jumping mat. Greez from Europe.

  31. Scott says:

    Actually, studies show that if grass and other vegetation is removed to put a pool in that spot, you are saving water. The initial fill up is a lot but the amount of water is still less than what’s used in a 1 year span of watering that area. If you do a live pool like these you are actually conserving water and not putting chemicals into the air. Much better idea than grass and shrubs that are in most yards now.

  32. Evan Homesteads says:

    It’s all in design, maintenance and knowledge. For the trending permaculture community, these projects and ideas are both feasible and adaptable to any setting. Whether it be near cattle grazes, tropical settings, or in the sticky southern heat, the design aspect of the project is to naturally integrate the pool into the natural surroundings. Natural solutions can be utilized to address environmental nuisances that concern the human aspect of adaptability. One thing to always remember, nature does what nature should to promote life and healthy

  33. Wendy says:

    Most folks that live in the desert don’t have the option to go to lakes or streams unless they take a very long drive and in CA the rivers and lakes are drying up. As a natural pool, I would think this is an excellent option of preserving the resources while still being usable for swimming and relaxation.

  34. Angela says:

    How would I go about turning my existing pool into a natural pool?

  35. John says:

    Okay so just do your homework on how drinking tap water gets to your faucet. Also look into the chemicals used to purify the water. Take it or leave it. Choose your poison.

  36. Gina says:

    True appreciation of natures bounty. You are blessed to have had such a mother.

  37. Casey says:

    Society has brainwashed them. I take it they have never swam in a creek or pond before.

  38. Angela says:

    I live in the NT many years ago and went swimming at Berry Spring absolutely refreshing. Clean back on the day, the only thing to fear then were leeches. Very clean. Nature doesn’t pollute, man does. Stop being afraid of nature people.

  39. Erin says:

    That would be so scary!!! Lol

  40. Gabrielle says:

    I have read a lot about these pools, and the advantages are so much better, I love swimming in ponds and rivers, this is such a cool idea, also I have reactions t chlorine and bromide

  41. beck says:

    Three words …salt water pools. As everyone has already pointed out, venomous snakes love water. Frogs=e.coli, salmonella. Snails=deadly parasites. You know what fixes this & other issues and is allllll natural. Salt water pools.

  42. Bob says:

    Mozzies only live in stagnant water. That’s why in wet season they always tell you to empty any buckets etc in the hard as mozzies will breed in them.

  43. s says:

    I heard of these years ago and have always wished I could afford to build one. We purchased a home last year in N.E. Oklahoma (considered “the South”) that has a few acres and a small farm pond on it. The pond is less than 100 feet from the house. Originally it was used to water livestock, but we are changing the fences and this pond will now be part of our yard landscape, like a park. No live stock allowed in it.

    I’ve been clearing the over grown brush and weeds from around it all spring and now it’s lovely to sit out there by the water. Its nothing like a swimming-pond, not clean enough – but so many people commented that natural pond-pools wouldn’t work in the south because of bugs and snakes and critters.

    My pond has not been any problem in that regard, haven’t seen one snake, and the only wild animal tracks i find are those of birds, frogs and deer. I keep it mowed all around it and although it isn’t fenced off yet, I walk my dogs out there about every day, so maybe the scent of them keeps nuisance wildlife away. So far no issue with extra mosquitoes either.

    I’d like to save up to buy a Windmill water pump to keep the water circulating and healthier. I think a natural pool would be a wonderful alternative to a regular pool; we swim in lakes and creeks anyway, so the occasional snake or frog wouldn’t be so horrible.

    My only question was what do you do over time to keep the bottom of the pool from filling up with debris, dirt and old plant matter? If you ever had a backyard pool you know the bottom gets covered in dirt the first week unless you vacuum frequently.

  44. Jim says:

    I’ve read articles about natural ponds that use filtration, much like the old under gravel filter, in addition to planted areas. I had the pleasure to swim in one a couple of years ago, built by a local pond company in Ottawa. The water was pumped through a reverse flow gravel bed and returned to the pool via a small waterfall. There was also a larger waterfall which aided aeration. The pond was specifically designed to hold Koi year round. The water was absolutely clear and it was a wonderful experience to swim with the fish.

    I have also read articles of such ponds being filtered with large, multi-chambered filtration units. In one case the filter was housed in the garage. In each case the filters were sized accordingly for swimmers and fish.

    Years ago I read an article about a swimming pond in a pond fish magazine. In this case, only small fish were used, to control the mosquito population without adding measurably to the bioload.

  45. FenceTown says:

    In most states in the U.S, you have to adhere to local pool codes. Most codes require you to have at least 45 inches between the two innermost rails so a child can’t pull themselves over. I’m not sure most of the pools shown on here would make local codes. Interesting idea though.

  46. Rob says:

    Have you ever heard of the brain eating Amoeba that you catch by getting water up your nose?

  47. Terri Gold says:

    These are beautiful. To all the people talking about mosquitoes and snakes, etc., that happens in a chlorinated pool, too. You people just should not have a pool of any kind. Stay in the house. Wait a minute…snakes can get into your house, too. Screwed.

  48. tonyac says:

    Dear Karens,

    No one said you had to buy one, build one yourself or even dare imagine what it would be like to enjoy something this beautiful. After a year and a half of dealing with the plandemic you would like to think that people could find joy in something even if it doesn’t end up on your own property. Enjoy the next lockdown. It’s on its way. As for me, I will be enjoying my overgrown backyard, critters and all.

  49. Nan Sea Love says:

    I have purchased natural pool guru and Permaculturist David Pagan Butler’s how-to video and downloaded his free how-to booklet, but have only begun to learn. Hole is dug and my intention is a pond for wildlife, here in hot dry California they need it more than humans. Wonder why with all the comments about mosquitoes no one mentioned mosquito fish? Here in California they are given out free by government vector control agencies. I used them for years, very effective.

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