Our Natural Swimming Pond Build: Snakes and Ladders

Last Updated on March 9, 2017 by teamobn

This is Part 3 of Rebecca’s project. If you missed the beginning, you’ll find it here.

The Intended
The Intended


Yes, this is kind of what I had in mind. Well sure… bigger and finished but I’m sure you get the idea.


The Actual
The Actual


Read on, fellow travellers.  There is a sound logic behind all this.  Just ask my husband…

The adventure continues –
So, with three little kids involved, we’ve decided to build a natural swimming pond – primarily for them.  We’ve traipsed around the yard, being constantly asked “what are you doing” and “when can we swim”.

With a fairly good idea of where we are going to locate our swimming pond, I embark on my next mission – how to line the pond.

I do the research.  It’s simple and cost effective to use pond liner.  Pond liner allows you to dig a hole the shape, depth and size you want.  Perfect!  I have a beautiful vision in my head of a gradual sloped entry (like at the beach) into a swimming area of about 6m x 4m with a depth of 1.2m – Deep enough to swim in, but shallow enough that you can stand at any point in the water.

Enter problem number one.  Hubby doesn’t like that it is black.

No, he isn’t racist.  He’s worried about snakes!

If you haven’t read the earlier posts, we live in rural/regional Australia.  We have pretty much every form of wildlife on our doorstep.  Depending on the time of year, we warn our city dwelling friends and family about the ticks; or the leeches; or the snakes.  There are frogs, spiders, micro bats, flying foxes, goannas, lizards, birds (big and small), blue and yellow centipedes etc etc etc.  They are part of our life and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

There are snakes.  Just ask our vet.  We have had three dogs requiring anti-venom and we lost one of our staffies on the way to the vet, from another snake bite.  Apparently staffies are notorious snake chasers and catchers.  And ours are obviously a bit slow when it comes to staying out of the way of the bitey end.

So, we have a heated discussion about why I don’t believe snakes will be a problem. Yes – snakes will go in search of water, but why would they come to a swimming pond where there are dogs on guard for wriggling things, when they could just go to one of the dams, water courses or creeks.  Have we ever seen a live snake close to the house? No – only the dead ones the dogs drag back.  And so it goes until I give up, and return to the internet with a very open mind about what else we can use on a very limited budget.

I know our soil is clay based, so I suggest to hubby that we just dig a hole and use a product for sealing leaking dams, to make the hole water tight.  Another foolish suggestion.  Round two of the snake debate ensues.

Second hand concrete blocks?  Too expensive to transport.

Old railway sleepers?  Can’t get enough of them to do the job.  Probably would have ended with another snake debate anyway.

Second hand fibreglass pool?  Hubby is happy with the idea.

So, trawling the internet begins in earnest.  Ebay, Gumtree, Trading Post – anywhere I think someone might list one.  If you want a second hand above ground pool there are thousands.  Fibreglass pools are few and far between.  Some people want you to pay to lift it out of their yard; other people will give it to you for free, if you can get it out.  Others are hundreds of kilometres away.  Weeks go by without any real hope.

Then I see it!  Sitting on top of a sky scraper in Sydney is an above ground fibreglass pool.  The price is right.  I ring and leave a message.  Then I ring and leave another message.  Then I get hubby to ring.  It is a sad day.  There is an apology that they didn’t ring me back and they have just sold it to someone else.

The upside to this though is that it spurs hubby into action.  He starts making calls, and then more calls, and more calls.  And we find it!  A factory second.  It is bigger than I wanted and has a deep end.  Same warranty as a new one, but the repair “may not” be the same colour as the rest of the pool.  Care factor for us – Zero.  Hubby can see the snakes in a blue pond.  He is happy!  The price is right (and includes delivery) and it will be here in a couple of weeks.

I think I’m happy.  It isn’t what I planned but it will work and a bit of research lets me get my head around how to incorporate the pond and pool shell into what I want as the final design.

Now we just need a hole…

Have you embarked on this kind of project? Did you use a lining or rely on natural clay to retain your water? If you haven’t started yet (but plan to), what have you decided to use?

Part 4:   The (W)hole Disaster





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