Natural Pool



Case Study

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As Seen on Gardener's World - Friday 15 September 2023

We were asked to create a natural swimming pool and naturalistic garden for our clients to relax and enjoy spending time at home with their family.

Garden before
Southwell Garden before

The three way 1:4 sloping site was a blank canvas with spectacular views of the rolling Nottinghamshire countryside a design challenge!

Visula concept design
Visual concept design

We designed the garden around a small natural pool, with a swim zone 3m wide and 10m long. A beach at the shallow end is perfect for small children to access the pool and for stepping slowly into the water in the depths of winter.

Pool construction
Pool construction

We incorporated our clients’ cabin at the far end of the pool. It opens onto a deck with the side patio creating a generous living space for sun loungers, BBQs and outdoor living adjacent to the water.

Deck and Cabin construction
Cabin and deck construction

The deck faces Southwest, enjoying sunshine all day and the pool’s Biotop filters are accessed under the deck via deck hatches.

We carved out these level spaces using reclaimed railway sleepers on end to retain the ground. The sleepers flow around the garden in keeping with the naturalistic feel.

Sleepers construction
Sleepers being constructed and finished

The borders are full and brightly coloured, with plants reminiscent of our client’s childhood in Kenya mingled with grasses for a looser feel. Flowering perennials attract pollinators and are left standing through winter for seedheads for the wild birds.

Planting around pool
Planting around waters edge

We planted 25000 bulbs for spring colour and a framework of 35 trees with a native coppice and small orchard.

To the side of the garden is a botanical medicinal border- our clients are both practitioners- this was great fun to research and plant. 

One of our favourite features is the tiny stream.

Stream construction
Stream construction
Garden stream
Garden stream

Designed to look like a Scottish burn, it sparkles down the hillside, through a scree garden of Scottish cobbles planted with aromatics and creeping thyme and disappears under the deck walkway into a hidden balance tank. The stream is filtered biologically and topped up with a reverse osmosis filter. 

Finally at the top of the garden we created a small vegetable garden with green house, raised beds, cold frame, fruit cage and a chicken pen. The electrical housing unit was clad beautifully with stone by Lydia and Cuthbert Noble. 

Stone pathway
Stone pathway
Vegetable Garden
Vegetable garden

Within its first year the garden was transformed into a place for wildlife and people. It gives us great joy to see how much our clients enjoy their natural pool and garden and to discover the wildlife that lives here now.

Garden birds eye view

See the garden appear on BBC Gardener’s World 2023 - Episode 25


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