Can you turn a pool into a swimming pond?

 Turn a pool into a swimming pond

The answer to the question of whether a pool can be turned into a swimming pond is a clear yes. If your garden pool has aged and needs renovation, you can transform it into a swimming pond. Although this involves some effort and cost, it is worthwhile. You contribute to climate protection and biodiversity since many organisms can settle in. A swimming pond is a piece of a natural lake at your doorstep, but also a real biotope. Just make sure to create a regeneration area large enough. Since the swimming pond is a system of water plants and microorganisms, you benefit from excellent water quality.

Arguments in favor of a swimming pond

There are many arguments in favor of converting a pool into a swimming pond:

  • Excellent water quality through a system of plants, minerals, and microorganisms
  • Natural swimming pleasure reminiscent of a natural lake
  • Contribution to environmental and climate protection
  • Relatively low maintenance effort, as the pond largely regenerates itself
  • Lower operating costs, as you do not need to change the water frequently, and a large swimming pond requires little technology
  • Shape that suits your preferences and looks natural.
    If all these arguments are convincing for you, you should start planning your swimming pond.

Plan the conversion to a swimming pond

If you no longer want your pool and want to convert it into a swimming pond, you should plan everything carefully. Consider the suitable size for your swimming pond. In most cases, you may need to enlarge the area. For a swimming pond, experts recommend a size of at least 50 to 60 square meters. The swimming pond can be smaller, but the ecosystem works better the larger the swimming pond. An area of ​​100 square meters ensures good ecological stability.
When planning, also consider the depth of your swimming pond. A minimum depth of 2.00 meters is recommended, but a depth of 2.50 meters is even better. The swimming area does not have to be uniformly deep. If you build it gradually sloping, your swimming pond is also suitable for non-swimmers. However, you must then separate a non-swimmer area. Perhaps you need to excavate the earth a bit deeper if you are converting your pool into a garden pond.
When planning, consider whether the existing space is sufficient for a regeneration area or whether you need more space. The regeneration area should occupy 50 to 60 percent of the total area and be at least one meter, but preferably 1.50 meters deep. Place the regeneration area preferably so that it occupies about half of the pond. Also, make sure not to place the regeneration area under trees.
Once you have made all these considerations, create a checklist and include various other important points:

  • Size of the pond, possibly enlarge
  • Depth of the swimming pond, possibly excavate deeper
  • Size and location of the regeneration area
  • Shape of the pond
  • Plants for the regeneration area
  • Required technology
  • Design of the outdoor area
  • Obtain any necessary permits
  • Consider financing the conversion.

Sketch for your swimming pond

Once you have made all the considerations for planning the swimming pond, move on to the sketch. Draw the desired shape as accurately as possible and enter the dimensions in the sketch. Draw the existing pool into the sketch to know how to design your swimming pond. Also, draw the various depths and the regeneration area into the sketch. Consider a ladder or a jetty as an entry aid for your swimming pond and the space for the necessary technology.
Alternatively to your hand-drawn sketch, you can also use computer software. There are even some free computer programs with which you can plan your pond in 3D and then print out the plans.

Permits for the conversion

If you want to convert your pool into a swimming pond, you do not always need a permit. If your pool is smaller and you want to turn it into a swimming pond with an area of ​​at least 100 square meters, you need a building permit. It is also required if you build the swimming pond deep, as it involves protecting groundwater. To apply for a building permit, you should submit the design planning and the floor plan to the responsible building authority. Whether you need a permit also depends on your federal state. Clarify before converting your pool into a garden pond which specific permits you need.

Technology for the swimming pond

Even if your swimming pond largely regenerates itself, it does not do without technology entirely. You need a technical filtration system, especially if you want to use your swimming pond frequently. Various substances in the water do not convert into toxins if you use a filter. The filter absorbs nutrients, reduces germs, and counteracts algae formation.
A surface skimmer is also useful, which removes organic material such as leaves, flower pollen, and other impurities from the water surface. To further counteract algae formation, you should not do without a pump. For the pump, you need to create a pit in the shallow water area. This pit is where the water is pumped from by the pump.
In addition to technology, you can create a stream with natural stones, which has an additional cleaning function. A pump ensures that the water flows through the stream. It is then additionally enriched with oxygen, which has a positive effect on water quality.
If you are turning your pool into a swimming pond, you should also consider buying a pond sludge vacuum cleaner. This way, you can clean your swimming pond more easily and vacuum the sludge that forms over time.

Now it’s time for the transformation

Once you have planned your conversion and perhaps obtained approval, it’s time for the transformation. Buy the appropriate technology and also the pond liner, which should be as strong as possible so that you can enjoy your swimming pond for a long time. A PVC liner with a thickness of 1.5 millimeters is suitable. Such a pond liner is durable and ensures that the water in the swimming pond does not seep away.
First, remove the old pool landscape. The actual pool can remain in the ground for the time being. After removing the pool landscape, draw the desired shape with the correct dimensions. Integrate the pool into it. Once you have marked the area for your swimming pond, also remove the actual pool. This can be difficult, so you should hire a professional demolition or earthmoving company or a specialized pond company. A pond company also takes care of the excavation and creates the pond for you. When creating the pond, consider the different depths. Create a stable base and install the pond liner. You can then move on to the design and also install the technology.

Substrate and Fixation

After installing the pond liner, you still need to apply substrate. It is important for the plants in the regeneration area. With its minerals, the substrate contributes to better pond cleaning. The substrate should have a thickness of up to 70 centimeters in the shallow water area. It provides support for your plants and contributes to cleaning. Useful bacteria settle in the substrate, which keeps the nutrient content of the water under control. You still need to secure the shore area. This can be done with soil and stones. Once you have done all of this, move on to the design.

Designing your swimming pond

After completing your duty, it’s time for the optional part, which consists of designing your swimming pond. No plants should be placed in the swimming area. However, you must plant the regeneration area, as aquatic plants make an important contribution to water clarification. You need to plant the shoreline, shallow water zone, and deep water zone, and preferably choose native plants. They have the advantage of being robust and surviving a cold winter well. Choose plants that produce as much oxygen as possible and counteract algae formation.
Various types of pond plants are suitable for clean pond water:

  • Fountain moss
  • Water iris
  • Elodea
  • Water lentil
  • Rushes
  • Cat-tail
  • Bog forget-me-not
    Ensure a good mix of plants and that the plants harmonize well with each other. Reed is only partially suitable as it multiplies strongly and always needs to be pruned. Once you have planted the interior of the swimming pond, fill it with water.
    You can design the area around your swimming pond with grass, perennials, shrubs, but also various design elements such as sculptures or amphorae.

Maintenance of your swimming pond

Your swimming pond requires little maintenance. You should clean it in spring and autumn and also remove the mud with the pond sludge vacuum cleaner. Trim and divide your plants if they multiply too much. Remove also the dead plant parts to counteract algae formation. You should occasionally check the filter and pump. Remove algae and various impurities from the pond daily in the summer months, even if you use a skimmer. Regularly check and empty the skimmer. In summer, you should also check the water values ​​daily to intervene if necessary and prevent the water from tipping.


You can convert your pool into a swimming pond. You may need to build the swimming pond larger, as a regeneration area is required. A minimum size of 50 to 60 square meters is recommended for the swimming pond, but the ecosystem works better the larger the pond. Also, consider the depth of your pond. Take the planning and then proceed with the conversion. A swimming pond cannot do without technology, but you do not need much technology. Plants in the regeneration area that contribute to the cleaning of pond water are important.

Florian Egert

I am Florian Egert, the owner of I live with my wife and two children in Germany in a small village in the countryside.

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