As thousands of Aussies get ready for a summer in the pool every year, the one thing they’re not looking forward to is the red eyes, itchy skin and overpowering smell of chlorine that comes with it.

Thankfully there’s a natural alternative and as the demand for chemical-free natural pools continues to grow, we thought we’d answer some of the more common questions we get about natural pools and natural swimming ponds on a regular basis.


Natural pools and natural swimming ponds are bodies of water treated by biological and mechanical processes rather than chemical intervention. Simply put, natural pools are like having a natural lake or stream of healthy living water in your own backyard.


To properly understand the difference between natural pools are conventional chlorine, salt and chemical pools its useful to first understand what the chemical process is achieving.

Essentially, chemical water purification processes work by killing almost everything in the water. The aim of chemical treatment is to create an environment where no good or harmful bacteria can survive.

The unpleasantness of the chemical smell we’ve long associated with swimming is tolerated by the reassurance it provides to swimmers that the water is clean. In reality, that’s not entirely true and there are some common misconceptions about the effectiveness and presence of chlorine in water.

Firstly, although chlorine is highly effective in killing most germs it doesn’t kill everything. There are many harmful pathogens tolerant to chemicals that can survive in chlorine.

There’s also the better known side-effects of skin eye and respiratory irritations many people experience in chlorinated pools. Not so common knowledge is the fact that these irritations are not caused by chlorine itself, but from the chemical reaction between chlorine and urine which produces harmful chemicals (chloramine and dichloramine).

It’s also a common misconception that the noxious ‘chlorine’ smell around the pool is a good thing – indicating there’s plenty of chemicals present in the water keeping it clean. In fact, the odour is a reflection of how hygienic the swimmers in that pool are – the stronger the smell, the worse they are, and its presence means there’s less chlorine in the water available to kill germs.

(Yep. Something to keep in mind next time you take a dip at the local pool…)

Natural pools on the other hand live at the complete opposite of the spectrum. They rely on a balanced ecosystem of healthy living water full of good bacteria and bio-organisms to naturally filter and sanitise the water.

Water in natural pools is continuously cycled through a bio filtration zone (which is separate from the main body of water) and the clean, filtered water is returned to the pool. Bio-filters consist of natural elements and micro-organisms which establish and settle themselves on a base of gravel. As water moves through the filters via low voltage pumps nutrients which feed algae growth are absorbed in the same way as they would be in natural flowing bodies of water such as mountain lakes and streams.

And like in natural lakes and streams, the swimming experience is incredible. Nothing beats a swim in chemical free natural pool.

Depending on preferences and requirements, the filtration zone can consist of a wide-variety of bio-filters and plants which can either be visible as part of the overall aesthetic of the pool or completely hidden from view.

The technology, design and process of building a natural pool are all designed to mimic the ecology in nature and natural environments instead of harmful chemical intervention. The result is a body of water that is an integral part of the surrounding natural environment, rather than a chemically treated pool which is imposed and isolated from it.

For example, natural pools provide great opportunities for integration and provisions for the surrounding landscape. They can harvest rain waters, provide nutrient rich irrigation for edible crops, habitats for native wildlife, and even used to grow and harvest fish such as trout.

All in all, the resulting product can’t really be compared with a conventional pool – the quality, experience and characteristics of a natural pool is far greater in every way.


Absolutely, and it’s not a new idea. Natural pools were developed in Europe over 30 years ago and have performed extremely well in both private and public applications. There are tens of thousands of natural pools across Europe and the US, from backyards to large scale public amenities which can accommodate thousands of swimmers a day.

However, because natural pools rely on establishing their own localised balanced natural ecosystem no two pools are ever exactly the same are there are a variety of ways to construct them. Each individual pool requires its own set of design and functional considerations from natural pool experts – like us!


There have been no reported health risk concerns with natural pool methods world-wide over the past 30 years. Those natural pools include more than 130 public pools, including the largest of its kind in Germany which can accommodate up to 6000 people per day.

There are also no negative environmental effects associated with Natural Pools. Those facts are the greatest achievements and benefits of a natural pool technology.

As bio-pool technology requires no chemicals at all, there is no evaporation of any chemicals into the air and therefore no chemical odours or irritations.


People often ask us about whether their design choices are restricted to accommodate a natural pool, but the reality is natural pools can be designed as natural or as modern and contemporary as you like. In fact, natural pools open up far more design opportunities with the possibility of integration with the landscape (as mentioned above).

Over the past decade Landforms has built, installed and designed over 50 natural pools in Australia of all varying shapes, sizes and design aesthetics. You can see some of our latest natural pool projects here as a few examples of how it can be done, but the possibilities are almost endless.


Natural pools are generally more expensive than conventional pools mostly due to the additional construction required, but up-front costs are offset by low maintenance and chemical costs over time (average chemical costs quickly add up to thousands per year, as well as the environmental cost and impact of chemical pools).

Like conventional pools, natural pools can be heated so can be used year-round. In all other respects, natural pools are highly efficient, require very little energy and if set up properly can be run totally off-grid.


1. Energy cost are approximately 1/3 to 1/4 of the costs of conventional pools
2. There are no chemical costs which usually account for up to 50% of ongoing costs for chlorinated pools
3. There are no chemicals to handle! Better for you, better for the environment!
4. Discharge water from our natural pools is risk free for the environment and can provide welcome nourishment for soil, gardens or pot plants
5. The swimming experience is so much better in every way. Once you’ve experienced a natural pool you’ll never look back!

Still have questions? Contact us.

Landforms is a member of the International Organisation for Natural Bathing Waters, which is the governing body of swimming pond experts.