Natural Swimming Pool

Located in rural north Cork, the owners of this property are keen swimmers and wanted a landscape that could sustain family activities, ensuring hot summers days could be spent at home and not rushing to the beach. Natural swimming pools are divided into two zones, a swimming zone, with deep water and a shallow regeneration zone. The regeneration zone, with differing shelf depths, acts both as a solar collector which heats up the pond and as a filtration zone. Although this approach to natural swimming pools does contain a filter and a pump, the limited technical installation ensures maintenance is straightforward and costs are reduced.

The site, a historic walled garden is entered via a heavy wrought iron door, with tall stone walls surrounding the pool and giving strong form to the space. The pool itself is inserted within this well defined frame, its geometric form echoing that of the adjacent walls. A tall Cherry Laurel remains from the former planted walled garden, its contorted form contrasting with the austere stone walls. A textural layer of planting softens the built structures and helps knit this modern composition within the historic frame.

Harvested rainwater from the roofs of outbuildings is natural low in nutrients and is the perfect water for swimming. The low nutrient load combined with vegetated regeneration zones limits the nutrient source for algae. This coupled with thin substrates for rooting means plants are forced to seek their nutrients from the water and thereby help clean the pool. The appearance of tiny crustaceans further assists this process.

The addition of water has brought this landscape to life, introducing Swallows, Swifts, Martins, Bats, Dragonflies, Damselflies and Frogs, and numerous crustaceans without additional help