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Natural swimming ponds - which company?

18 replies

Solo2 · 12/04/2010 17:24

Almost decided to have a natural swimming pond built in our garden and was wondering which company anyone might recommend? So far, I've seen the website of GartenArt, The Natural Swimming Pond Company (possibly my favourite), Woodhouse Natural Pools.

Has anyone here ever had one built and which company would you recommend? I want something that is the most natural looking design, as if it's a wild lake rather than a bit like a swimming pool. Who does this best?

What are the possible pitfalls? How long does it take to create, from start to finish? Do you need planning permission?

Any experience - good and bad - please share it with me...oh yes...and the costs of course!

OP posts:
Solo2 · 13/04/2010 07:09

No one here with any experience of natural swimming ponds?????

OP posts:
Thediaryofanobody · 13/04/2010 15:28

We've been thinking about this too for when we move, funny how they don't give guide prices.
DH raised the point of maybe needing a landscape gardener too to help finish the natural look.

Solo2 · 13/04/2010 17:24

Hi Thediary.... A reply at last!

Last year, I emailed three companies and they quoted me - for what they call a 'small pool up to 100 sq m' anything from £25K to £50K depending on if you contract your own landscapers I think.

Looking at various websites, it seeme possible to get the same company who install to landscape and plant as well.

I'm waiting to hear back from 2 companies I emailed today. I'd just really like to hear from anyone who's used any of the companies I'm considering, in case there are obvious pitfalls with one of them or advantages with one of them.

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FiveGoMadInDorset · 13/04/2010 17:27

We are having ours done by Woodhouse on a DIY basis, they are have been really good sofar, our original builder let us down but hopefully we have found another.

Alouiseg · 13/04/2010 17:32

We looked into it 6 years ago, at that time natural swimming ponds cost more than twice the amount that a chlorinated pool cost.

They also couldn't be heated over about 24 degrees...............which feels a tad too cold for me, so we have a chlorinated pool kept at a luscious 30 degrees from may to september.

The men who serviced the pools were all a bit frustrated that they were expected to be gardeners aswell but this was a few years ago so hopefully things have progressed and you can have a beautiful natural pool.

Solo2 · 13/04/2010 19:18

FiveGoMad....I've got a few questions for you, if you don't mind answering them?

Can you tell me more about the company and whether you've had any even slight issue with them (as opposed to your builders who let you down)? Did you get quotes from different companies? What made you choose Woodhouse (it's one I'm considering)? By DIY basis, do you mean Woodhouse will just supply specialist materials and do a design but you and your builders actually construct it and do the planting around it?

Was there a big difference between price for DIY pool and getting the whole thing done by the company?

How soon did they respond to your first contact and were you pleased by their response?

Sorry if this reads like some kind of critical analysis. I want to pick the right company I'm always cautious about things like this, as a single mother on her own, because sometimes people think they can exploit a woman in my situation. Of course I'm pretty good at sussing people out and making my own judgements but it helps to have heard from others about their experiences.

Woodhouse haven't responded to the email I sent last Friday and I've emailed again today. Either they're massively successful and therefore extremely busy and don't desperately need business - or they're a little bit remiss in responding to first contact...

By the way, what do you know about the standard of water hygiene, ulitmately, in natural swimming ponds? My DCs and I picked up cryptosporidium from our local health club a couple of years ago and that was with extremely chlorinated and regularly checked water!! What happens if a family pet dog leaps into the pool or a passing bird alights and poos in the water? Having doen a lot of wild swimming in my time, I'm OK with this but one of my sons is v fastidious!

Alouiseleg, which companies did you contact yrs ago when you considered a swimming pond? Hope things HAVE changed since then.

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Alouiseg · 13/04/2010 19:26

We used Caribbean Pools which ceased trading last summer. Sorry not much help there but most of the employees started up another company which i will find out for you asap.

FiveGoMadInDorset · 13/04/2010 20:40

Solo, they are very good. We found email contact was slow but phoned and much better. We have been dealing with Anna and it is me who has been dealing with her not DH so found her very good. It was her aho suggested DIY when we discussed budgets. So far we have bought all the materials and paid for 20% of the labour for £14k. They give you a schdule of what the builder does and what they do, they do the planting and the more specialised works. Anna came down for a site visit, with a book of work they had done.

since then there email contact and phone contact has been excellent.

Not sure about water hygiene you are essentially swimming in a pond albeit one with a pump and filter system. When Anna cam down she did come with information on what you may find in your pond!!

sI think the running costs are apporx £300 per year for the electric, they do offer a gardening service in the fact that they will cone down once or twice a year to cut back the planting but she also said that it was easy enough to do it yourself or get a gardener in to do it.

Solo2 · 14/04/2010 09:09

Thanks Alouise.. and FiveGoMad...Woodhouse sound potentially good and if I don't hera from them in the next few days, I'll phone them. It's reassuring to hear that once communications start, they're pretty good.

Roughly how long are you expecting the whole project to take? Is it something like a 3 to 4 months thing or less...or even longer???

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Solo2 · 15/04/2010 08:45

FiveGoMad...Can I please ask your opinion again? I'm wondering if you - and most people who have a natural swimming pond built, have absolutely massive gardens, where the swimming pond represents only a fraction of the whole area?

I spoke to a different company yesterday and they're saying they may not be able to access the site/ garden as they need to bring in lorries and heavy digging equipment and also exclaimed at how small an area I'd want - 18 metres by 7 metres - telling me you have to add even more around the edges for paving etc.

Our entire back garden is about 27 metres by 21 metres, with one side of the garden adjoining a grassy lane to a farmers field. I thought this'd be wide enough for their vehicles but they sounded hesitant on the phone.

It also sounds as if virtually our entire garden would be mostly pool or pool edging.

I thought smaller pools were possible like the 18m x7m idea I had for ours.

I guess I need to phone Woodhouse too and see what they think. But am I being unrealistic to think about a swimming pond in what is affectively only a largish suburban back garden? Do I really need acres of land in the countryside to make this feasible???

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Solo2 · 18/04/2010 17:44

Woodhouse are visiting us tomorrow and will also do a water test to see what our phosphate level is like. High phosphates will apparently push up the costs. Need to find out more about pool hygiene too.

I've also got a visit from another company the week after but was impressed with the matter-fo-fact approach by Woodhouse, which was less of a sales pitch.

Are there ANY links on the internet to possible problems with natural swimming ponds - eg about poor water quality/ picking up diseases from the water/ stagnating water/ increasing levels of mosquitos, do you know, FiveGo Mad....???

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bronze · 18/04/2010 17:55

dunno if this is any help

can I come and visit when its done? I really want to swim in one

Solo2 · 20/04/2010 10:39

Thanks Bronze

Saw someone from one company yesterday and I'm still left with mixed feelings....

Would it be an eyesore or an asset in a 'smaller' garden?

What about the potential dangers of one of my children falling in and hitting their heads and drowning?....

If anyone else here at all has any experience of these natural swimming ponds, please do share with me. I asked the company if they had people who i could contact directly who'd had one built for them and they were hesitant - understandably - to give out contact names/ numbers until I was v sure I wanted them to build one.

But I'd still like to know what the reality is like as opposed to the lovely pictures in glossy brochures and/ or on the internet.

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Solo2 · 23/04/2010 10:14

Now been visited by Woodhouse and they do seem really good but also awaiting a visit from another co. too and meanwhile have emailed two more - neither of whom replied!

FiveGoMad, are thing still going well with this company? My only hesitation with them is that Anna had done almost a 12 hr day's work when she came to us the other evening and told me one other colleague had recently left the company and the boss had failed to pass on some vital info. to her that day, meaning I couldn't view their showpond when she'd arranged for me to do so.

I wondered if there was anything worrying going on at the top level leading to difficulties further down IYSWIM, that might effect their work?

Still waiting for two quotes from Woodhouse and will then compare this and service with other companies too.

BTW, Anna alerted me to issues about safety for children and I hadn't even thought of that aspect. Are you concerned about DCs falling in and drowning when your back is turned?

Also, are you concerned that future potential buyers of your property might be put off rather than 'turned on' by having a large garden pool/swimming pond?

Anyone else at all on MN have any experience with natural swimming ponds BTW?

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FiveGoMadInDorset · 23/04/2010 10:19

Hi Solo, we are putting up a fence with a locked gate, not only do we have DC's but B&B guests.

We are tenants for life in an old family property so the house will never be sold but will pass down generations.

I didn't know that about Woodhouse, we have found a landscape gardener and he has been in contact with Anna and has been really pleased with their level of commitment.

Where abouts in the country are you?

We also have a large garden and it is going at the bottom where there was once a grass tennis court.

Solo2 · 23/04/2010 10:48

Hi FiveGoMad Thanks for the info. My garden, I think, is a lot smaller than yours - about 27m x 21m and the pool would take up 100sqm. I don't see how I could fence it off, as it'd have to be an integral part of the garden....and I'm also concerned as we plan to get a puppy in the next yr or two and Anna said you mustn't allow dogs in the water, for hygienic reasons...although I've seen various internet images and video clips of dogs swimming in natural swimming ponds...

I'm v interested to hear about how it'll work with employing your own landscapers alongside, thus reducing costs? What will Woodhouse do, as opposed to your landscapers? Will Woodhouse simply fit the pool and system and then your landscapers do everything else, including pool edging/ paving/decking/planting?

I've already got a good gardening firm I use once a months for the garden but they don't do hard landscaping. However, they did once recommend to me a local firm that do do this...So now I'm wondering if that would reduce Woodhouse costs?

We're in the south east/east BTW.

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Solo2 · 27/04/2010 11:27

Bumping my own thread and wondering if you're around, FiveGoMad?

I'm still interested to know what part of the pool building the company do and what you get someone else to do as part of their part-build arrangement?

Also, are you employing builders or landscapers to do part of the works? I'm not sure what kind of people I'd need to employ, nor exactly what they'd do and how do you find someone who has done that kind of thing before, as opposed to the Natural Swim. Pond co. itself, which must be used to it?

If you get the chance, it'd be good to hear from you again and also from anyone else who has a natural swimming pond?????

OP posts:
izzie3 · 12/09/2017 12:45

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