When newsworthy DIY projects get their 15 minutes of fame, a common response is, “I could build something like that if I had the time.” It’s a thought that occurred to Jon Edwards when his kids all left the nest, and he had some time on his hands; Edwards had watched a DVD on natural pools, and the idea of building one stuck around in his head. Now he had the time to follow through.
For a place like Gloucestershire, a county in England known for its cathedrals, the pool is a bit unusual. It’s this reason that Edwards and his wife/co-builder Caroline continue to receive so many compliments on their backyard — there’s not much else like it.
Upon getting started, the couple wanted affordability to be the primary theme throughout the project. Lucky for them, a major appeal of a natural pool is its low maintenance cost. Once the proper plants are thriving in the water, they’re able to clean the pool organically. Although this precludes the need for chemicals, Mrs. Edwards assures that regular cleaning is key to the vitality of the pool. If too many dead plants aren’t taken care of, algae will start to build around the sides — though managing them is a task that she states can hardly be seen as an inconvenience. “Just think of it like doing a bit of gardening,” she says.
After spending two years on the project, the total price clocked in at around £18,000, or just under $23,000, and is cheaper than a traditional inground pool with relatively no cost on upkeep. And still, most of that money was spent on the necessary plants to maintain the pool’s cleanliness. Water lilies, potamogeton and duckweed are particularly effective due to their high oxygen output, but a lot are needed in order to do the job right — about 1,500 plants are at work in this pool. For the Edwards family, it’s a small cost for a big reward.
“There are lots of people interested in building natural swimming pools now, which is amazing,” says Mrs. Edwards. “The minute you jump in, you feel revitalized.”
The couple’s love for building shows through more than just the natural pool. To accommodate for the days when the water leans toward the colder side, they also built a wood-fired sauna next to it. It’s the perfect piece in their DIY puzzle that is sure to make homeowners say, “I’d build something like that if I had the time.”