How to Make a Swimming Pond

Making a natural swimming pond is a cost effective, creative and greener alternative to concrete, chlorinated outdoor pools. Learn how to make a swimming pond and transform your backyard into a place of adventure and relaxation.

Go Green and Make a Swimming Pond


Make sure to consult an expert before finalizing your plans. See resource section for more information. An ideal location would be one far enough away from trees so that the pond will receive adequate sunlight and there will not be excess leaves falling into the water. See resource sections for tips for turning a traditional pool into a swimming pond.


Before making a swimming pond yourself, you will need to check your city's regulations and building codes. Certain states require that the pool/pond be built by a licensed swimming-pool contractor. This is completely due to liability issues. Also be sure to follow any regulations regarding pool depth and other building codes.

Swimming ponds take us back to childhood memories of exploring creeks and swinging on ropes into the murky waters of the lake. The difference is that swimming ponds are clean, clear and unlike outdoor chlorinated pools have no chemicals. They function through a balanced, self cleaning eco-system and are better for the environment and your family.

Use this article to make a swimming pond which will bring years of entertainment and joy to your family and awe and inspiration to visitors, friends and family.

    Open space
  1. LOCATE THE SPACE FOR YOUR SWIMMING POND - You will need a clear space larger than your intended swimming pond. Some recommend at least 20ft diameter of unused space for your swimming pond.

  2. Make a sketch
  3. ENVISION THE FINISHED PROJECT - Before starting any digging or contracting it is essential that you and your family draw up your ideal swimming pond. Perhaps you want a deck going out on your swimming pond, a waterfall, or giant rocks to sunbathe on. Have a family meeting and discuss your ideal swimming pond. Consider sketching it out together (including foliage). During this time consider the depth and size of your swimming pond and where the filter should go. You will need to make a separate swimming area and similarly sized bog area for your filtering to work appropriately. Done correctly, swimming ponds are much cleaner than chlorinated pools and are even considered drinkable quality!

  4. Start Digging
  5. START DIGGING - Once you have the area and the plan, it is time to start digging. Typically swimming ponds will be shallow around the edges sloping in to a deeper area in the middle. These shallow areas are great for resting or for younger swimmers to play. Make sure to dig out a bog area almost as big as the swimming area for filtration purposes.

  6. Line with Old Newspaper?
  7. LINE THE HOLE - Once you have the hole dug out, it is time to pad and line it. Types of padding to use could be old carpeting, layers of newspapers and of course it is highly recommended that you buy an official underlayment. Lining can be 45ml liner, butyl rubber or EPDM. Line the pool and about 3 feet out from the top.

  8. Clean Swimming Water
  9. PREPARE THE FILTRATION SYSTEM - Swimming ponds include a biological filter system which is balanced and self maintained. To create this area, build a wall separating the swimming area from the filtering area. This can be built out of lumber.

  10. *Make sure the top of the wall will be under the water surface, as it is vital that water flow over it.

  11. Pour in Gravel
  12. POUR IN THE GRAVEL - After building your wall, you will pour as much gravel as can fit on the filtration side of the wall. You will also need to install a filter and submersible pump to keep the water circulating.

  13. Water Plants
  14. VEGETATE AND LANDSCAPE - The next step includes filling and surrounding your pond with realistic vegetation. Large rocks and gravel can cover the liner. Buy submerged vegetation and bog plants to cover the top of the filtration part of the pond. These are essential for a balanced and pure water system.

  15. Swimming At Home
  16. ENJOY YOUR SWIMMING POND - Swimming ponds will bring you joy and relaxation for many years. Enjoy swimming, playing, relaxing, and showing it off for years to come. You have made a positive investment in your future.