Wetland pool conversion

Unused for almost four years, Jane Griffiths decide to convert her swimming pool into a wetland pool that uses plants to filter and clean the water.

Jane Griffiths, author of Jane's Delicious Urban Gardening and other gardening books, moved into a home with a sparkling pool. It wasn't long, however, before the constant battle to keep the pool clean made her decide to look at converting the swimming pool to a wetlands pool.

The pool was a rectangular shape and Jane wanted a wetlands pool that was more natural and flowing. She also wanted to incorporate a deep splash pool into the design. To assist with the conversion, Jane called in www.wetlandspools.co.za to ensure the job was done properly.

The concept was for a wetland pool with an elliptical shape where water would flow from the splash pool at one end, over a waterfall, and into the wetland area. This design would completely change the outline of the pool and provide an interesting feature.  

After emptying the pool, any existing cracks were filled before sealing the surface. The walls for the elliptical splash pool were constructed with brick, and the seating / steps with concrete before being plastered and sealed. The exterior of the splash pool was clad with stone to give it the impression of a stacked-stone pool, with larger stones laid along the top edge. The seat-height, raised plunge pool is about 1.8m deep and has a circular seat.

A gravel bed was laid in the wetland section of the pool and sand bags filled with gravel create a bank to produce varying levels from one end to the other. This will provide different levels of water and environments for wetland wildlife and plants. Water enters the bottom of the plunge pool and wells up inside the pool to create the effect of a natural waterfall. This water overflows into the wetland below.

Water in the wetland section is provided via pipes under the gravel and a submersible pump. The water is sucked from the wetland and clean water deposited into the splash pool.

Goldfish were added to the wetland pool to ensure the mosquito population was kept under control. Since installation, it is a regular occurrence to see birds splashing in the pool and dragonflies flitting across the surface. Jane said that on the very first evening after completion, a frog made its presence known. 

After completion, the water was murky for a few weeks, but after a month was crystal clear. Very little maintenance is required other than to top up, an occasional vacuuming around the splash pool, and to trim back plants.


This conversion now offers far more than just a place to cool down and swim - wildlife have become a part of the garden and Jane is experimenting with edible water plants. What was once a sterile, chemically treated pool is now at one with nature.

Photos: elle decoration | twitter.com/DeliciousJane | wetlandpools.co.za