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Natural Swimming Pool/Pond in limited space

 
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
17
hugelkultur monies dog chicken sheep
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from my limited understanding of the guest's techniques, the idea is to build two seperate ponds, one for swimming and one for critters, or at least seperate areas for swimming and critters
there is also shallower water in swimming areas to help make for warmer water
from my understanding there is also a fair bit of pumps and pipes involved in the process

but what if you lack the space for two sperate ponds or dont mind swimming where you might see fish if you donned a pair of goggles?
also what if you are not wanting to use pumps and such
how do you ensure clean, clear water and good water circulation?
also i have heard of getting some kind of bacteria for fish tanks to introduce to the sand so that the sand will pretty much eat whatever fish poo that comes into contact with it, if youve heard of this, what are your thoughts on using them in a swimming environment?
i really enjoyed the concepts in your youtube vids, and cant wait to take your ideas and apply them to my situation

for instance, i plan to incorporate a skinny point in the pond (only 6-8 ft wide) in between the main swimming part and the fish part, but i do not personally want any kind of physical barrier to stop anything that swims from going one direction or another
i also plan to make the skinny point the beggining of the main drop off from swimming/wading depth with a max of 10ft to drop down to 20-30ft


i almost wrote down the detailed description of my pond design plans, but i couldnt describe it without getting what seemed to me to be confusing so that all you get for now:)
 
Posts: 1114
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
63
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We have many small ponds. The top ones are water reservoirs. We swim in one of those reservoirs, the one that goes next to the livestock waterers. They then run to the pig pond. Pigs love having a pond to swim in in the hot weather. I don't want to swim with them though so I swim upstream so to speak.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
17
hugelkultur monies dog chicken sheep
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my pond would also likely be the top of the flow, its NEAR the ridge (if you could call it that, its a gentle slope) of the back hill and would have only a few feet above it, the only concern i have with this is that there may not be enough water collection on site, but the premier pond location is the location for the house lol
 
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I am also faced with limited space.

I have 5 acres total about 3 times as long as it is wide. I know that there is a an underground stream of some sort that runs thru my property.

The problem is that where the water is closest to the surface is also on the same line as the 2 mobile homes that are on the property.

So there is the fence, several hundred feet and then a mobile home. The mobile home is set up as storage, so there would be no problem with run off or contamination. But the area is just very narrow and would not support mulitple ponds
 
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Devon Olsen wrote:from my limited understanding of the guest's techniques, the idea is to build two seperate ponds, one for swimming and one for critters, or at least seperate areas for swimming and critters
there is also shallower water in swimming areas to help make for warmer water
from my understanding there is also a fair bit of pumps and pipes involved in the process

but what if you lack the space for two sperate ponds or dont mind swimming where you might see fish if you donned a pair of goggles?
also what if you are not wanting to use pumps and such
how do you ensure clean, clear water and good water circulation?
also i have heard of getting some kind of bacteria for fish tanks to introduce to the sand so that the sand will pretty much eat whatever fish poo that comes into contact with it, if youve heard of this, what are your thoughts on using them in a swimming environment?
i really enjoyed the concepts in your youtube vids, and cant wait to take your ideas and apply them to my situation

for instance, i plan to incorporate a skinny point in the pond (only 6-8 ft wide) in between the main swimming part and the fish part, but i do not personally want any kind of physical barrier to stop anything that swims from going one direction or another
i also plan to make the skinny point the beggining of the main drop off from swimming/wading depth with a max of 10ft to drop down to 20-30ft


i almost wrote down the detailed description of my pond design plans, but i couldnt describe it without getting what seemed to me to be confusing so that all you get for now:)



Hi Devon,
I have built my pools with the planted zone and swimming zone incorporated within the single body of water. I enjoy swimming with any animals that venture into the swimming zone.
I suggested building separate planted and swimming pools only if there was a fear of animals (snakes) in the swimming zone.
If you don't want to pump the water then the pool will have to be large (around 1000 square feet) to rely on natural convection currents.
Fish are not recommended for Natural Swimming Pools. They stir up the sediments and introduce nutrients into the water. Nutrients (usually phosphorous is the limiting nutrient) lead to algae formation.
I wouldn't introduce any "special" bacteria. All the beneficial bacteria the pool needs will find its own way in there.
It sounds like you are planning a very deep pool that may be good for fish but as the water will be cold down there it will not good for safe swimming.
 
David Pagan Butler
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Morana Revel wrote:I am also faced with limited space.

I have 5 acres total about 3 times as long as it is wide. I know that there is a an underground stream of some sort that runs thru my property.

The problem is that where the water is closest to the surface is also on the same line as the 2 mobile homes that are on the property.

So there is the fence, several hundred feet and then a mobile home. The mobile home is set up as storage, so there would be no problem with run off or contamination. But the area is just very narrow and would not support mulitple ponds



Hi Morana,
I have built a very small pool to show how they can work with very limited space.

http://www.organicpools.co.uk/plunge.htm
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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your talk of a skinney part reminds me of my pond. I have two kinda circular parts to my pond, a north and a south one, i have an island between the two with a channel on each side of the island about 6' wide on one side and wider, 8 to 10 or so on the other side..

the north pond area is shallower than the south pond area and much more plant healthy..there are cattails, water lilies, lotus, and other water plants as well as the weeds, etc..the fish LOVE this part of the pond..the south part is deeper, less weedy with only a few water lilies and lotus, the fish dont' really care for this area and the turtles visit it but prefer the weedier end.

you easily could swim without being creeped out by fish in the south side, but the north side isn't really suitable for fishing..i have a bridge over to the island and have a pump and waterfall on the island to filter water between the two pond areas.

you can see this pond on my blog
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
17
hugelkultur monies dog chicken sheep
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thank you for the response David, yes i do plan to have a deep part of the pond, for fish and for water retention to help slow evaporation, this being the lowest portion of the pond would hopefully hold at least a few feet of water during even the toughest drought as well as provide a place for the fish to retreat during our cold winters... or at least thats the idea anyway
but i also want the largest section fo the pond, the uphill and shallowest end of the pond to be mostly shallow water with plenty of darker stones to help the water gather heat in the day time, do you think this will do what i hope to accomplish along the lines of keeping it warm enough for swimming or will the cool water coming up from the depths be a problem and prevent temps from warming up?

and contrary to sepp's recommendation to run the pond parellel to primary winds i am running my along with the suns path to maximize heat capture and minimize evaporation through the desicating winds of the area, mainly because that seems to be the best placement more than anything though...

personally i like swimming with fishies and have not found lake water or stream water to be too nasty or anything by any means, but thats my personal opinion, have you tried to build pools that incorporate fish and if so what have been your experiences with that? did you have "clean" sand at teh bottom or was it just local soil or pond scum built up over time?

brenda i looked at your blog, very pretty but now i have more questions lol, one of which i believe ill have to start a new thread for another day...
but do you pump water out of nessecity or just to supplement things, i just kinda looked at pics and didnt read through much so im not sure what the size of your pond is?
also, i hope this doesnt come across as offensive but the water seemed a touch browner than i would like in mine, this could be cus of when the pics were taken in accordance to digging and perhaps you arent yet done planting the edges? but does the water clear up at certain time of year as compared to other times of year or is always a slight touch of brown? (mind you i grew up swimming in the muddy virgin river in southern ut so murky water doesnt stop me from taking a dip lol)
 
Morana Revel
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What about Animals? Would this small pond design be safe for goats to drink out of? How would you incorporate a drinking area for them?
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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morana, that is an important thing to consider - thank you for bringing it to my attention

thus far i have not planned to have any animal paddocks right next to the pond, but there will likely be a few feet of shallow water before the deep part begins... at least when the pond is full and this would make for a fairly safe location for animals to drink from - the shallow part should not be a problem and when COMPLETELY full, there would also be a shallow swale that would have water in it, this would likely have some animal access to it, and wouldnt likely be deep enough to cause a problem for anything other than the smallest livestock (which would likely be at another location anyway)
 
Morana Revel
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Devon Olsen wrote:morana, that is an important thing to consider - thank you for bringing it to my attention

at least when the pond is full and this would make for a fairly safe location for animals to drink from - the shallow part should not be a problem and when COMPLETELY full, there would also be a shallow swale that would have water in it, this would likely have some animal access to it, and wouldnt likely be deep enough to cause a problem for anything other than the smallest livestock (which would likely be at another location anyway)




Thanks! I have been wanting one for a long time, but I want it to be completely natural. I don't want to have to have multiple areas on my small lot wet and I dont want a large muddy stagnant area like so many of the small ponds in the town. There area I have picked out will be great because it will stay damp most years for about 4 months after the ground thaws.

If I build this, it will give me and the animals a place to drink and cool off.
 
David Pagan Butler
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Devon Olsen wrote:thank you for the response David, yes i do plan to have a deep part of the pond, for fish and for water retention to help slow evaporation, this being the lowest portion of the pond would hopefully hold at least a few feet of water during even the toughest drought as well as provide a place for the fish to retreat during our cold winters... or at least thats the idea anyway
but i also want the largest section fo the pond, the uphill and shallowest end of the pond to be mostly shallow water with plenty of darker stones to help the water gather heat in the day time, do you think this will do what i hope to accomplish along the lines of keeping it warm enough for swimming or will the cool water coming up from the depths be a problem and prevent temps from warming up?

and contrary to sepp's recommendation to run the pond parellel to primary winds i am running my along with the suns path to maximize heat capture and minimize evaporation through the desicating winds of the area, mainly because that seems to be the best placement more than anything though...

personally i like swimming with fishies and have not found lake water or stream water to be too nasty or anything by any means, but thats my personal opinion, have you tried to build pools that incorporate fish and if so what have been your experiences with that? did you have "clean" sand at teh bottom or was it just local soil or pond scum built up over time?

brenda i looked at your blog, very pretty but now i have more questions lol, one of which i believe ill have to start a new thread for another day...
but do you pump water out of nessecity or just to supplement things, i just kinda looked at pics and didnt read through much so im not sure what the size of your pond is?
also, i hope this doesnt come across as offensive but the water seemed a touch browner than i would like in mine, this could be cus of when the pics were taken in accordance to digging and perhaps you arent yet done planting the edges? but does the water clear up at certain time of year as compared to other times of year or is always a slight touch of brown? (mind you i grew up swimming in the muddy virgin river in southern ut so murky water doesnt stop me from taking a dip lol)



Hi Devon,
cold water from depths won't naturally rise as it is more dense than warm water. The water is said to be stratified. So the sun will warm the upper layer of water, unaffected by the lower layers.
I also love swimming with fish. I swim in the sea, in rivers, in lakes, almost anywhere. I would love to have fish in my pools but they will mess it up, due to the increased level of nutrients they introduce.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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ok, well thank you for all the input David, i do appreciate the time and effort to help answer my many questions:)

but ONE more question... i think:p
what do you mean by messing it up?
do they simply affect the balance of nutrients and therby cause more water plants to grow (thereby overtaking your swimming area) or do they turn the water murky or something?
 
David Pagan Butler
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Hi Devon,
thank you for asking such good questions.
by "messing it up" I mean the following:

1) some fish will uproot plants. Plants are needed to condition the water in a Natural Swimming Pool.
2) fish stir up sediments, introducing nutrients contained within them into the water.
3) fish need feeding. This is bringing more and more nutrients into the closed system of the pool.

Nutrients lead to stronger plant growth. The plants most able to react to an influx of nutrients are algae. Single celled suspended algae make the water green and opaque. Filamentous algae form "blankets" over the surface.

In a large body of water, like a lake, with natural levels of fish stocks, the biology can cope with the increased nutrients so fish and swimming can coexist. In a smaller body of water, more of a swimming pool size, fish are not good swimming partners.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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thank you, that makes a lot more sense now:)
 
Morana Revel
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David Pagan Butler wrote:Hi Devon,
Nutrients lead to stronger plant growth. The plants most able to react to an influx of nutrients are algae. Single celled suspended algae make the water green and opaque. Filamentous algae form "blankets" over the surface.



Shoot! I was hoping to have a few fish too.

What about frogs and turtles? Frogs are a given where I live and there are several large ponds somewhat close to where I live and the occasional turtle will travial thru my property.

Roxann
 
David Pagan Butler
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Hi Morana,
Generally most native animals that find their way in to a Natural Swimming Pool are welcome. Frogs are fine, and the occasional turtle may dig around and stir up sediments but shouldn't be a problem.
 
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