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    Inground Pool Design: The Swimming Hole

    July 22, 2013


    Swimming pool design runs the gamut - you can build your own pool in any theme that you want, from Hello Kitty to Western. Today's blog post centers on creating a pool that resembles the 'ol swimming hole, using natural materials surrounding the pool.

    Natural pools have caught on in recent years - these are pools that do not use traditional filters and sanitation methods, but use natural rock bed filters and plants to filter and purify the water, with pumps creating heavy circulation volume.

    The swimming hole pool can use natural filtration and be nearly chemical free, or it can use traditional pool filters and sanitizers.

    Designing a Swimming Hole Pool

    Most swimming hole pools will use a round or rectangular pool shape, although you can certainly go with something that has curves to it. Instead of a standard concrete pool deck around the edge of the pool, think natural - boulders, stacked rock, wood "docks" and planter areas.rock-waterfall-and-grotto

    A swimming hole may not need a path all the way around, but considering the needs for servicing the pool - cleaning and maintenance, stone paths or rugged wood decking can be used to allow you to gain access to all areas around a natural pool.

    Many 'swimming hole' style pools are constructed of concrete and steel, but a vinyl pool kit is much easier to use. For a round swimming hole pool, you can use our Radiance or EZ Panel pools, which are designed for complete or partial burial. Construction of a swimming hole pool is done the same way as a traditional pool, with the exception of what goes on top and what surrounds your pool.

    For a natural pool look, you'll want to order your inground pool kit with flat mount style coping, which allows you to use overhanging rocks (real or faux) as your pool coping. In some spots, you may want to use very large boulders, or create waterfalls, grottos or small bubbler fountains.

    For the pool deck, you can use gravel, pavers, stone, or wood deck planking - irregular and rustic looking. At several spots around the pool edge, planter areas can be carved out, to allow for tropical, desert or mountain flora to flourish. Plantings are a very important part of your natural swimming hole look. Consult with your local garden center to find plants that will thrive in your temperate zone, with the least amount of litter and required maintenance. stone-coping-stampcrete-deck

    Stampcrete can be used for deck areas, to simulate rock or wood decking, for a small increase in the cost over regular concrete. Colored concrete is used, and as a final step, a pattern is 'stamped' into the concrete. It can be finished with staining or sealing, as shown right.

    Lighting can be used to accentuate the feeling of being in a secluded swimming hole during long summer nights, both outside of the pool and underneath the water.

    Liner patterns can be chosen in dark colors, a neutral buff tone, or a soft green color, to give the impression of a natural swimming hole in your backyard.

    Having stones around the edge that dip into the water, by cutting them with a reverse bullnose, or purchasing faux stones specifically molded for this purpose, really gives an impression of a natural swimming hole pool.


    All of this will add to the cost of your inground pool project, but it may be less than you think. To talk about how you can build your own inground pool, and make it look like natural, like an 'ol swimming hole, give us a call. Any of the SPP Pool Experts can help, and we may fight over it - to work with you on something so fun and interesting!  

    Chris Low
    SPP Pool Expert  

    Blog Author
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