Love wild swimming? People are ditching the time and cost that comes with maintaining a pool and turning them into backyard ponds.

Finding an escape from the concrete jungle is no mean feat. Gathering the crew, packing the car, fighting the traffic – sometimes it’s easier to just stay at home, right? Well in backyards across Australia, nature is being invited in to set up shop and stay. Through the turning of pools into private swimming holes and personal oases, local biodiversity is flourishing and the great outdoors is being brought into people’s homes.

Unsustainable Swimming

Australia has more pools per person than any other country on the planet. And it makes sense. It’s hot. It’s dry. And pools are a bloody good time! But geez, we are spending a mint on keeping them maintained. 

It’s estimated that the average cost of pool maintenance is $1400 per pool per annum. Not to mention the whopping 40,000 litres of water, sometimes more, we’re using to fill them. Pools are a massive drain on money, water and time, making them unsustainable and unviable for many households. And there’s got to be a better use for those thousands of litres of water.

Bringing Nature Into The City

There’s a movement spreading across suburban backyards, encouraged by local councils, to turn under-used and over-maintained backyard pools into natural ponds instead. Ku-ring-gai Council, in Sydney’s northern suburbs, is assisting its residents to transform their pools into more natural backyard swimming holes, by supplying native fish, aquatic plants and the technical advice needed to bring nature to the suburbs.

In our large cities, backyards are important habitats for an assortment of native species who are searching for resources between larger natural areas. The transformation of backyard pools to ponds creates a whole new biodiverse ecosystem for species to thrive. 

These natural ponds closely resemble the type of swimming hole so often scouted out in nature. And they’re existing in people’s backyards. The water may not be as clear as it once was, but it’s certainly still safe to swim in. 

Back To Nature

The process is easier than you might think. Switch off the power. Halt all the chlorine. Let some fish and plants in and nature will do its thing. Change isn’t instant, but it certainly is beautiful. The aquatic plants keep the water clean and bacteria-free while the size of the pond ensures the water is kept oxygenated and is too deep to attract masses of mosquitoes. 

With these simple changes, a space that was once used only in the scorching summer months for a premium price, now has purpose year-round, with very little maintenance and money. Plus they promote biodiversity and they’re bloody beautiful! 


Do you have a backyard pool you hardly ever use? Why not turn it into your very own natural swimming hole? Chat to your local council about how to promote biodiversity in your town or city and the best way to bring nature into your backyard. 


Feature photo thanks to ABC News (Dayvis Heyne)

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