How to Turn a Backyard Pond into a Natural Swimming Pool

Small pond in garden

Having a swimming pool in your backyard is a fun and calming way to relax and spend time with your family. Nowadays, backyard ponds are often converted into natural swimming pools, which are more natural-looking and convenient for families. The turning of neglected ponds started decades ago and began in Europe. But, can you turn your backyard pond into a natural swimming pool?

Yes, you can turn a backyard pond into a natural swimming pool, although the process requires hard work and is expensive. Turning your pond into a natural pool involves the preparation of the area, acquiring the materials, cleaning and draining the pond, installing a pump and filtration system, installing a pond liner, filling your pool with gravel and water, and lastly, adding plants.

In this article, we will discuss how to turn your backyard pond into a natural swimming pool. We will also give you some care and maintenance tips to keep your natural pool clean and safe to swim in.


Can You Turn a Backyard Pond into a Natural Swimming Pool?

Yes, you can turn a backyard pond into a natural swimming pool, although the process requires hard work and is expensive. Some homeowners think that converting a pond is more cost-efficient than building a natural swimming pool from scratch. But, there is also a difference between a farm pond and a natural swimming pool.

A farm pond is built to collect water from the drained sites or the one that has welled up from the ground. Meanwhile, a natural swimming pool is built with a controlled water source and is designed to filter the same water over and over again.

Having a freshwater pool in your backyard produces less water pollution and gives a natural swimming and bathing environment. Also, maintaining a natural swimming pool can be challenging but doesn’t require the use of toxic chemicals that could harm you, your children, pets, and plants.


A pond is a great water feature to add to your backyard. It can provide fresh air, beautiful scenery, and a calming natural sound. But the thing is, ponds are expensive to build and difficult to maintain. If you are still not sure whether you want a pond in your backyard or not, here are 5 benefits of having a backyard pond that may help you make a decision. 


8 Steps to Turn Your Pond into a Swimming Pool

Converting your existing pond into a natural swimming pool is exciting but requires hard work. However, once the natural pool is finished, it will pay off with the serene and calming atmosphere it offers, aside from the water relaxation.

Transforming a pond into a recreational swimming pool makes it more natural-looking, chemical-free, and easy to maintain. Here is how to proceed.


Step 1: Prepare the area and materials

Before starting to convert your pond into a swimming pool, prepare the materials and site first. Ensure that all the tools, equipment, and materials that you’ll be needing are available. Also, secure a permit or check with your local community office whether you will be needing one to construct a natural swimming pool.

This will serve as your safety card in case you run into trouble while performing the work. It is also important to line up the pool liner, pumps, plants, rocks, and other landscaping materials before starting the work.


Step 2: Clear and drain the pond

The next step consists of clearing the pond and surrounding area. Make sure to remove the plants, rocks, and other materials in it. Also, make sure to disconnect the electrical wires and ground hazards if your pond is surrounded by them.

Clearing the area prevents accidents and injuries from happening. Then, drain the water out of the pond, whether through a hose or manually, using a bucket. When the pond is fully drained, let it dry for a while.


Step 3: Reserve an area for plants

Plants are the second step to achieve a natural and clean swimming pool. They are essential for they keep the natural pool healthy and clean. Thus, after draining and clearing your pond, secure an area where all the plants you need will be placed. Ideally, plants should be located on the sides of the natural swimming pool. These specific locations keep the plants secured and allow them to perform their job safely.


Step 4: Restructure the pond

Once you’re done clearing and draining your pond, visualize the structure of the swimming pool you want. If you are happy with its current size and shape, digging and reforming isn’t necessary. However, if you want a larger or different structure, dig and reform the soon-to-be swimming pool so that it fits your preferences.

Also, dig some holes for the pump, piping, and landscape features that will be incorporated in the natural pool. Digging the whole pool might be a lot of work, so consider asking or hiring manpower to do it.


Step 5: Install the pump and filtration system

Next, install the pump and filtration system in the natural pool. Ideally, you should place those at the farthest end of the pool to keep them away from the plants. Then, run the piping line underground so that it feeds the water passing through the plant areas. This will ensure that the water passes through the plant filter before filling the natural pool.

We also advise you to use high standards and proper wires and electric systems to avoid any accidents in the future. Before installing the pump and filtration system, make sure to read the instructions carefully to avoid repeating the process. Don’t forget to wire the pumps into your home’s electric network.


Step 6: Install the natural pool liner

Once you’ve installed the pump and filtration system, lay the pool liner into the restructured pond. Make sure it exceeds the edges of the pool, and use large rocks to hold it in place. Then, seal the seams of the liner and pack the edges and corners down.


Step 7: Fill the pool with gravel and water

Once you’ve properly laid down the pool liner and secured the edges, fill the pool with gravel. One of the best options as a filler is pea gravel. Make sure you have enough gravel to cover the whole pool. Avoid using large rocks or placing them in the middle of the pool.

Once you’ve filled and evenly laid the gravel into the pool, it is time for the most exciting part: filling the pool with water. Slowly fill it with fresh water and let it sit for a couple of days. Inspect and check the pool for any leakage, and if there’s one, immediately fix it.


Step 8: Add plants to the pool

To complete your new natural pool, add some aquatic plants to it and on its sides. If putting a plant into the pool, make sure to anchor it with rocks to prevent it from moving away. You can also add ornamental plants to the side of the pond depending on your preferences, as well as other features like a waterfall, seat, or anything else that would complement your natural pool.


Aquatic plants create a welcoming and lively ambiance around backyard ponds. They provide color and vibrancy that add life and aesthetics to our garden setups. But, how many water plants can we have in a backyard pond? Read our article to find out. 


Natural Swimming Pool Care and Maintenance

Maintaining a natural swimming pool can be quite a challenge, but it can be an easier task than maintaining a chlorinated pool. Caring for and maintaining your natural swimming pool is like gardening. Different types of natural pools require different maintenance. The only thing they have in common is the preparation for the winter.

Here are the care and maintenance you must conduct to keep your natural pool clean and safe to swim in throughout the seasons:

  1. Keep the natural pool free of debris, objects, and specks of dirt as much as possible.
  2. Inspect and check the pool for fallen leaves, litter, pollen, and small insects and animals that took a dip in it. Remove them immediately whenever possible. If left unattended, the sunken materials could risk pollution, algae production, and an increase in molds.
  3. Clean the pool liner and underwater surface regularly. To avoid dirt and other pollutants from accumulating, squishy brush the liners, stairs, steps, and squeaky clean the bottom of your natural pool.
  4. Prune and cut the dead plants and use a skimmer net to remove the fallen debris and organic materials from the surface of the pool. You can use a net to cover the pool’s surface to prevent leaves, branches, and other materials from getting into your natural pool.
  5. Dismantle and drain the pump and filtration system regularly.
  6. Keep the circulation of water in your natural pool. The continuous flow of clean freshwater provides clean and fresh water that drives dirty water to your filtration system.
  7. To fight algae and bacteria in your pool, use floating sphagnum moss.
  8. Check your pool water with pH strips to monitor the acidity of the water. The ideal pH level for water is 7. If your pool becomes more acidic than this, it can damage your skin and cause eyes and ears irritation.
  9. To prevent bacterial growth and an unattractive color in your pool, use an ionizing pool cleaning device that pulsates the electricity that alters the electrical structure of the water in your pool.


If the moss and ionization systems didn’t work, you can use chemicals. Remember, before applying it, to read the instructions carefully. A freshwater pool might not be as clean as a chlorinated one, but with proper maintenance and care, it is way better and healthier for your skin. If the maintenance seems to be too much for you, you can hire a professional that could clean and maintain your natural pool, especially when draining and dredging.



Creating a natural swimming pool out of a neglected backyard pond can be wholesome and a lot of work, but with patience and dedication, the outcome can be rewarding. You could enjoy your water feature in a new, natural way without having to use harmful chemicals to keep the water safe and clean.

Also, since it is a natural pool, consider checking and cleaning it regularly to ensure its cleanliness and safety. In the long run, a natural pool doesn’t require high maintenance costs since once the balance is achieved, the water will be naturally clear, like lakes in the mountains.

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