The final frontier of ecologically conscious gardens, the eco pool is a major investment in conservation and design. Solar-powered, chemical-free and encouraging of biodiversity, this wild and ‘natural’ reservoir is expert level green living. 

In her new book, Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening, author Jane Griffiths‘ explores the ease with which one can upgrade any sized garden into an eco-friendly wonderland for any urban purpose. The boldest of her own renovations was the conversion of her clinically blue chemical pool into an eco one.

The pool, unused, hyper-chlorinated and far too high maintenance, had been covered up for years. It wasn’t until their new puppy, Tosca, began chewing through the pool covering that she was spurred to remove it.

In this anecdotal excerpt she offers her personal experience with going from blue to green:


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…We had visions of the cover tearing and our Tosca floundering and drowning. We uncovered the pool immediately. Surprisingly, the water was crystal clear. The sides were covered with black growth, but the water itself was lovely and fresh. And so the idea of a natural pool began to germinate.

At first I simply turned the pool into a pond by adding large pots of papyrus, bulrushes and other water plants. Four goldfish quickly multiplied into dozens. The pool became a beautiful reflecting pond, with the natural water attracting birds and other wildlife. But it wasn’t brilliant for swimming. The plants kept the water semi-clear, but in hot weather algae would grow. And with plants and fish, a mucky pond floor began to develop. If I wanted a clean swimming area it needed a bit more work. It needed to change into a natural wetland filtered pool.


As more and more people are realising, harsh pool chemicals are unhealthy for us and for the environment. These chemicals are costly, especially when added to the rising electricity cost of the large pumps needed to maintain a chemical pool. A natural pool requires far less electricity, and all harmful chemicals are eliminated. Providing a pool of fresh drinking water attracts wildlife, bringing nature into our gardens.

Wetland pools work hand-in-hand with nature to create clean, healthy water.

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Water is circulated between the swimming area of the pool and a wetland. The wetland, with plants, animals and substrate, filters and cleans the water, returning it to the swimming pool so clean and pristine that you can drink it. The mass of roots and substrate in the wetland section breaks down complex elements to more simple nutrients. These feed the plants, maintaining a natural cycle and creating a balanced ecosystem.

A natural pool is much more of a gardening exercise than a chemical one – Anthony Philbrick, architect behind wetlandPOOLS.


…A wetland pool is divided into two areas – the swimming area and the wetland, with the water circulating continually between the two. The pool and the wetland can be the same body of water, or they can be partially or entirely separate. This creates wonderful design options as the two areas can be joined by streams or waterfalls on different levels, also aerating the water. The resulting water is so fresh, frogs and fish live happily in it.

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A natural pool can be built from scratch… or an existing swimming pool can be converted. These pools either have a separate wetland area added, keeping the original swimming pool shape and size intact, or the existing pool is divided in two, with the wetland being created within the swimming pool itself.

Extracted from Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening, by Jane Griffiths.

Excerpt and Images courtesy of Sunbird Publishing

See more about eco pools in our #GreenIssue, on shelves now.


Explore Summer Eco Poolside Lounging and Get Down to Rare Earth