The Best Of Swimming Pool Options: Part 2

PHOTOS Eddie Wilson / Getty / Gallo Images

There is no better way to cool off in summer than a dip in a pool. Our first instalment included infinity pools and plunge pools. Here are two more options chosen by the experts.

Natural Swimming Pools

These green pools originated in Austria and Germany, but in the last decade they’ve begun to spread to the rest of the world. They have a profound effect on people, says Dr Jerome Davis of EcoPools, the bio-engineer who designed one for Angala Boutique Hotel & Guest House. It is, they say, the best part of their renovation year before last. Swimming in one of these pools is like being in a mountain pool.

The fundamental idea behind an eco-pool is that a natural ecosystem develops so the water regulates itself. All one needs to do is maintain it, says Davis, empty leaf traps and vacuum the bottom of the pool once or twice a month, depending on the season. If the natural aesthetic appeals, one doesn’t even need do that.

The first step is a thorough analysis of the water chemistry so that the correct components, from plants to type of gravel for filtration, can be selected to create and maintain the ecosystem. A shell is needed to contain the water, and this can be made from a variety of materials. EcoPools uses rubber liners as it’s environmentally friendly, lightweight and of a very high quality. A pump is usually needed, but not always, says Davis.

There are some things to consider: the pools are expensive to build, and don’t work if not properly designed, he warns – they can have huge algae blooms when the ecosystem is not in balance. They also take a while to become established, so people have to be patient – it’s similar to building a garden. But the pluses are huge. Long-term, if properly designed, these pools are less expensive and a lot healthier for all concerned – people and the fauna and flora we live in, and that’s certainly something worth considering.

Lap Pools

According to The Telegraph, the lap pool was one of the biggest property trends in the UK last year, for people wanting to exercise. These long skinny pools provide a good length for training. They’re beautiful and dramatic, but they’re technically challenging and very expensive, says Jane Visser of Jane Visser Architects, who has designed a couple for private homes.

The ideal length should be easily divisible by 100 (so one can easily add up to a kilometre or so). The widest it needs to be, says Visser, is 1.8 or two metres, but it’s much more fun for others (think children) if just a little broader – it’s not easy to play Marco Polo in a skinny pool. A pool stretching out vertically from a house is dramatic and lovely for the swimmer, who glides into a view. Running parallel to a house it’s equally impressive, and especially if there’s enough elevation to allow for an infinity edge. However, she points out, one should carefully consider its positioning – such a long, thin pool can be quite awkward because it can be a barrier in a space.

Technically, lap pools are complicated. They don’t behave like other pools and there are many things to consider: the depth, which has an effect on the flow of the water for the swimmer; placement of water outlets and inflows and pumps. Combined with a rim-flow edge, it becomes even more tricky. Specialists should be consulted, says Visser, who collaborates with Pool Designs, also engineers.

Contact Pool Designs on 021 852 2484 for more information.

This article was originally featured in IMAGINE.