How much does it cost to build a natural pool?

By | November 27, 2022
natural pool excavation

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how much it costs to build a natural pool. Let’s start by saying that this is a too general question and the answer should be assessed according to your specific needs, because there is not a standard model of a natural pool, but everything can be customised.

For example, would you like a simple puddle to soak in or would you like a beautiful crystal-clear water pool with a well-maintained finish, waterfalls or other water features?

There are many factors that affect the final cost.

For example, the water clarity you want to achieve depends on the surface area dedicated to aquatic plants and the technology (biological filters, skimmers, pumps), which can be as small as necessary or oversized.

The presence of water features, waterfalls or water blades make the appearance of the natural pool much more original and create a pleasant environment with the sound of flowing water. Of course, these things also increase the cost of the natural pool.

Another factor that varies the cost of a natural pool is the structure, both in terms of the construction model and the materials used for it.

With regard to the construction model, there is the integrated pool system, i.e. where there is a single pool in which there is both a swimming area and a phyto-purification area with plants. We actually call this model swimming pond, which is the system that was usually used in the first experiments many years ago.

The other model of construction, which we call a real natural pool, has two separate pools, one for bathing and one for aquatic plants, with a continuous recirculation of water between the two pools. The cost of this construction model may be higher than that of a swimming pond, but the result will certainly be better.

Regarding the construction materials, a natural pool is normally built by shaping the ground with sloping sides and covering it with a liner, which can be made of PVC or EPDM (plastic or rubber).

The best way to build a natural pool is with a liner both to simplify its construction and to make it more similar to a pond (also for bureaucratic reasons, to avoid having to apply for a permit and to incur in higher taxes on the house: read the article on the differences between a natural pool and a conventional pool).

However, some people prefer to build a concrete structure, which is then covered with a pool-style liner. This makes it possible to create a natural pool that looks much more like a conventional pool, with an higher level of finishes and no creases in the liner.

Of course, making a reinforced concrete structure and then having the cover made by a company that builds pools means a much higher final cost.

There are also variables related to the context that change the cost of construction, such as whether the land is flat or hilly, and whether the site is easily accessible by an excavator or there are access difficulties.

Other factors that determine the cost of the natural pool are the final finishes.

For example, how would you like to cover the edges of the pool and of the plant pool? With a wooden edge (which type of wood?) or with stone (which type of stone?).

Would you like to create a wooden terrace to be used as a solarium at the edge of the natural pool? Or would you like to build a wooden bridge somewhere?

How should the natural pool be connected to the rest of the garden? A green lawn with a stone pathway, or would you like to create a paved area all around it or place it in a simple gravel courtyard?

Would you like to build an access staircase to your natural pool?

Would you like to create a night lighting with several spotlights around the natural pool and maybe some special effects such as lighting a waterfall?

At this point, as you can guess, there is no standard cost for building a natural pool, but it depends on each specific case.

So I can only tell you about the cost of the demonstration pool made in our aquatic plant nursery, which you can see in the following video.

Our natural pool has a total area of 170 sqm and was built entirely by me and with the (non-continuous) help of one of the nursery employees.

If you were to build a natural pool identical to ours, you would spend approximately 15,000 euros on materials, including liner, building materials, sumps, pumps, filters, skimmers, water features, pipes, valves, electrical equipment, lighting, substrate for the plants, and then plants and related baskets.

In addition to the cost of the materials there is the cost of the excavation, which in our case was around 1000 euros. However, this cost is very variable because it can depend on whether the ground is flat or sloping, whether it is easily or hardly accessible by an excavator, and whether the soil has to be taken away or reused on site.

If you want to have a natural pool you have two options: either contact a company that will build it for you on a turnkey basis, with a probable cost of between 500 and 1000 euros per square meter, for a natural pool made with liner , and without having the certainty of obtaining something that works well and that it is done properly, or think about it and follow its realisation step by step or build it yourself in a do-it-yourself mode, taking inspiration from a model of a natural pool in operation already.

In the latter case, the DIY Natural Pool course, which I made available after we built our demonstration natural pool in our aquatic plant nursery, may be suitable for you.

You should also know that in addition to building a real working pool with an excellent result in terms of water quality, with the DIY Natural Pool course you will also save a huge amount of money, because you will be able to build the natural pool by yourself or with the help of workers not specialised in natural pools.

The DIY Natural Pool course includes our advice and assistance and a video course that we have made by filming all the stages of construction of our natural pool.

In the video course there are dozens of videos showing how to build a natural pool step by step. You will see everything that has been done to build our natural pool, with related explanations, without hiding any secrets.

In this way you will be able to make a smaller or larger natural pool, either alone or with the help of a friend, gardener or builder who will follow the video course.

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Currently only the Italian version is available. We are working on making it available in other languages soon.