Natural & waterfall pools

Complement the natural beauty of your backyard with a natural swimming pool! Read on to learn about all the possibilities.

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Natural swimming pools in Atlanta, GA

Want a refreshing dip but keen to maintain the natural beauty of your backyard? A natural swimming pool design is perfect! As a refreshing departure from the traditional, rectangular swimming pool, these pools are designed to look more like natural bodies of water and blend into the surrounding landscape. In fact, the lush landscapes of Atlanta are suited perfectly for these types of pools; the result is serene and beautiful, but there are many options to take things up a notch—from waterfalls and unique rock formations to beach entries.

We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you design and build a custom natural pool! Read on to explore everything you need to know, from natural pool design options to cost and benefits.

What is a natural pool?

A natural pool has two definitions. There are true natural pools that rely on natural filtration methods and operate more like man-made ponds or lakes. But here we’ll be talking about pools that feature a more natural design. These pools operate like normal swimming pools (with traditional filtration and functions) but are designed to look more like natural bodies of water. In order to achieve this, pool designers choose finishes and designs that lend a more natural look.

For example:

  • Darker pool finishes mimic the dark and deep look of a natural body of water
  • Natural design elements around the pool—such as rocks, boulders, and more natural-looking pool decking like brick or wood
  • Found-in-nature features like waterfalls and beach entries

Read on for more information about the design features of natural pools.

What is a waterfall pool?

A waterfall pool is simply a pool that features one or more waterfalls as a central design element. And just like natural waterfalls, the design possibilities are almost endless! From small, subtle streams over rock features to larger, more dramatic cascades, you can choose a style that suits your style and natural landscape.

The main purpose of a waterfall in a pool is to add to the aesthetic and to create a relaxing soundscape, but they have functional benefits as well. For example, some waterfalls are designed to foster improved water circulation. They help to oxygenate the water, contributing to a healthier swimming environment. Finally, waterfalls can add to the organic look and feel for those looking for a natural pool design.

Design elements of natural swimming pools

Natural swimming pools are characterized by their organic shapes and integration with the surrounding landscape. Beyond that, there are additional design features that can contribute to a more natural-looking swimming pool.

Freeform shapes vs. geometric pools

Natural swimming pools typically feature more freeform shapes that mimic natural ponds and lakes. Unlike geometric pools with straight lines and sharp corners, freeform pools have irregular, flowing shapes that blend seamlessly into the landscape. Some natural-looking pools integrate multiple levels of pools or spas, integrated with waterfalls and other features, to give the effect of multiple natural pools and streams.

Rock features

From large boulders to smaller rock clusters, Incorporating natural rocks adds to the feeling of authenticity of a natural swimming pool. Rocks can be used to essentially disguise the edge of the pool or the synthetic pool decking, making the pool appear more natural-looking. Rocks can even be incorporated as steps and seating areas within the pool. Rocks or rock-like structures can even be used to hide or disguise pool equipment like filtration systems and electronic components.

Waterfalls

Waterfalls are a popular addition to natural swimming pools because they add to the natural feel of a pool while also delivering functional benefits. As mentioned, waterfalls can enhance water circulation and oxygenation, making pools easier to maintain.

Beach entries

A beach entry is what it sounds like (minus the sand!): A sloped entry that mimics the gradual slope of a natural shoreline. Natural pools can have both beach entries and steps, or just a beach entry as the main access to the pool. This not only enables easier access (especially for elderly people, young children, or people with disabilities) but can also contribute to a more natural feeling. For this reason, beach entries are a popular feature in natural swimming pools.

Landscaping

The pool design itself is just the beginning. To achieve a truly natural look, the final landscaping and plants are crucial. Larger, native plants closer to the pool can help obscure the edge of the pool and lend a more natural look. Keep in mind, however, that more plants in closer proximity to the pool can add to the maintenance, as plants will naturally shed leaves, flowers, and other debris that will need to be removed or filtered.

Natural pool finishes

A singular but important element of designing a more natural-looking pool is the pool finishes themselves. Darker blue or light brown to dark brown hues are best for achieving a natural look for your swimming pool. This could entail a darker-hued plaster finish, or an aggregate finish (a blend of plaster with pebbles or glass) which can mimic the look and texture of sand or gravel found in natural bodies of water. Finally, pool decking and other finishes will make or break a natural look. Stone tile accents or decking, or wood decking, are good choices.

Benefits of a natural pool or waterfall pool

Natural and waterfall pools are popular for a variety of reasons—first and foremost, for their aesthetic.

Aesthetic appeal

The natural design elements and organic shapes of these pools create a beautiful and serene outdoor space. Waterfalls add a dynamic and tranquil feature, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

Calm and serene

When pools blend into the natural landscape, homeowners can maintain a more tranquil environment that lends itself to relaxation. Every time you set foot outside or in your natural swimming pool, you’ll feel more in touch with nature!

Eco-friendly

Certain natural swimming pool design elements can lend themselves to a more eco-friendly pool. For example:

  • Waterfall pools can achieve more efficient filtration and water circulation, which can enable the use of fewer chemicals.
  • Darker pool finishes offer natural heat generation and retention to allow homeowners to cut back on their gas consumption.
  • Natural pools are better suited to abundant plant-scapes that leverage native plant species for added benefits to the surrounding ecosystem.

Increased property value

The unique and attractive design of natural and waterfall pools can significantly increase the value of a property. These pools are often seen as more luxurious than more typical, cookie-cutter pools, which can be appealing to potential buyers looking for a more custom, high-end backyard.

What is the difference between a natural pool and a natural-looking pool?

A natural pool and a natural-looking pool may appear similar, but they differ in their construction and functionality. A natural pool is designed with a biological filtration system and typically includes two zones: a swimming area and a regeneration zone. The regeneration zone, filled with aquatic plants and beneficial microorganisms, acts as a natural filter, purifying the water as it circulates between the two zones.

In contrast, a natural-looking pool is a traditional pool designed to mimic the appearance of a natural water body. It may include elements such as rocks, waterfalls, and freeform shapes to create a natural aesthetic, but it uses conventional filtration systems and chemicals to maintain water quality.

Natural-looking pools are often a better choice for most homeowners as the maintenance is easier and more straightforward than true natural swimming pools.

Are natural pools more expensive than regular pools?

The cost of a natural pool can vary depending on several factors, including the size, design complexity, and materials used. Generally, natural pools can be more expensive because they typically include more custom elements and more intensive design to achieve the natural look and feel. For example, waterfalls, beach entries, and specialized rock features can contribute to higher material and labor costs. The final landscaping around the pool to achieve the natural look can also increase the final bottom-line cost of a natural swimming pool.

How much does a natural pool cost?

The cost of a natural pool can range widely based on several factors:

Size and shape

The larger the pool, the higher the labor and material costs. This applies to typical swimming pools as well as natural-looking pools.

Materials and design features

Material costs for natural pools can vary and affect the cost. For example, a darker plaster finish will be cheaper than a natural-looking aggregate finish. Additional features will also add to material costs, some significantly so. A beach entry, for example, takes additional design considerations and labor and can therefore add to the overall cost.

Landscaping

Integrating the pool seamlessly with the surrounding natural landscape often involves additional landscaping costs, including planting native vegetation and installing decorative elements.

Let White’s Pools Build Your Perfect Natural Pool!

After years in the business, we’ve cemented our reputation as Atlanta's trusted pool craftsman. Our journey with every client, from the initial brainstorming to the final reveal, is marked by dedication, passion, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Want to learn more about our natural pool-building process? Contact us today!

Check out what our clients say!

“To start with, after having three other companies come out to the house, Mr. White by far had the most knowledge of all the others. He explained the position of the pool to enhance function, use of sunlight, and appearance … Could not be happier. Highly recommend White’s Pools.”

—   Thomas Dyer

“I've been planning my pool construction for almost 20 years. I met Mr. White while he was building several pools in my neighborhood while I was planning … From his staff at the office to the on-site crews, all were tentative and thorough. Thank you so much for a fantastic experience and my beautiful Private at-Home Oasis.”

—   Clarence Addison

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