A swimming pond at sunsetA natural swimming pond (also called a wild swimming hole, water garden, or recreational swim pond) is a beautiful addition to any home. Not only will it provide hours of enjoyment for you and your family, but it could also increase the value of your property. But how long does it typically take to build a swimming pond?

How Long Does It Take To Build A Natural Swimming Pond?

A natural swimming pool is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise at the same time. If you’re considering installing a natural swimming pond on your property, you’re probably wondering how long the process will take.

Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved in building a natural swimming pond, along with an estimate of how long each step will take.


The first step is to sit down and plan out your natural swimming pool. You’ll need to decide on the size, shape, and location of your pond, as well as what type of plants and koi fish you might want to include.

Unless you are a DIYer who wants to build a swimming pond yourself, this is the stage of the process when you should consult with a professional pond contractor. They will help you bring your swimming pond vision to life by designing a swimming pond with all your favorite water features, such as a waterfall, diving rock, or lazy winding river.

This step will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on how much time you want to spend planning as well as how complex your pond design is. A professional pond installer may also take additional time to produce detailed design drawings of your swimming pond design, so everyone is on the same page.


Once you have your plans all set, it’s time to start digging! Again, the time it takes to excavate will also depend on whether you are doing it by hand or hiring a professional pond contractor with heavy digging equipment.

So depending on the size and shape of your pond, this step could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. If you have a lot of rocks or other obstacles in your yard, it might take longer.


After you (or the pond contractor) have finished digging, it’s time to start construction. This step involves installing the liner, adding rocks or gravel, and adding features like waterfalls or fountains. Construction will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the complexity of your design.

If you are using a professional pond contractor, it’s a good idea to establish clear lines of communication regarding the timeline for construction. This includes ensuring you plan for any potential delays caused by inclement weather, material delivery delays, or other unforeseen issues.

Zoning Your Swimming Pond

A swimming pond with a zone for biological filtration

Part of the natural swimming pool building process is creating separate zones for swimming and biological filtration. Approximately 50 percent of your swimming pond’s surface area should be dedicated to shallow plants for filtration purposes.

These plants can be concentrated near one end of the pond or planted around the swimming area’s perimeter. The roots of the plants in the shallow areas will function as biological filters, removing pollutants and excess nutrients from the water.

This step typically takes a few days to a week to plan the zones and order the appropriate plants. A professional pond contractor can help you select the right mix of submerged, emergent, and floating pond plants to provide the correct amount of natural filtration for your swimming pool.

Natural Swimming Pond Filtration

Filtration is an essential part of any natural swimming pool. One of the main benefits of natural swimming pools is enjoying a swimming experience without the harsh chemicals that you typically find in conventional pools.

There are several different materials used for natural filtration in swimming ponds, so you’ll need to do some research to decide which approach is suitable for your pond. You can also consult a swim pond expert who can advise you on the appropriate mix of plants, rocks, and gravel to maintain safe water quality. This step will take anywhere from a day to several weeks.

Sealing Your Swimming Pond

Another important step in building a natural pool is sealing the pond. This helps prevent leaks and keeps contaminants out of your pond. Sealing can take anywhere from a day to several weeks.

If you installed a waterproof pond liner, you may not need to worry about this step–although some swim pond installers like to use both artificial liners and clay to seal their ponds. However, if you opted not to use a synthetic liner, you will need to ensure that you either have a soil type that is impermeable to water or apply a type of clay that seals the soil at the bottom of your pond.

Bentonite Clay

Many natural swimming pools use bentonite clay, which is composed of weathered volcanic ash and has a high negative ionic charge. When the clay is wet, it expands and becomes gel-like. This property makes it ideal for use in swimming ponds, as it helps to bind together sediment and prevent it from swirling around in the water.

The amount of bentonite clay you will need to properly seal a swimming pond will depend on several factors, including the size of the pond, the soil type, and the angle of the slope in the pond. That being said, the application rate of bentonite clay for ponds typically ranges between 2 to 6 pounds per square foot.


Concrete is another option that can be used to seal a swim pond. When concrete is mixed with water, it forms a highly impermeable material. This means that it will not allow water to seep through, keeping your swimming pond clean and free of sediment. Another advantage of concrete is that it can be tinted or dyed to match the surrounding landscape for a more natural look.

Concrete can also be used to create slopes and other features that will help control the water flow in your pond. Concrete is also very durable, so by sealing your swimming pond with concrete, you can enjoy a clean and healthy pool that will last for years to come. Concrete may be the perfect solution if you are looking for an attractive and durable way to seal your swimming pool.

Adding Plants

Plants in a natural swimming pond.

After the pond has been filled with water and sealed, it’s time to add the plants you previously selected to complete the natural filtration system. Besides helping keep your pond clean, the plants also help to create a healthy ecosystem.

Plants will attract wildlife and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria that helps to break down toxins in the water. Planting can take anywhere from a day to several weeks, depending on how long the plants take to establish themselves.

Decking, Hardscaping, And Other Extra Features

While not a natural swimming pool requirement, many homeowners also choose to get decking or other types of hardscaping around the swimming area. Another popular addition to natural swimming ponds is hardscaping that is submerged (or partly submerged) into the swimming pool itself. This includes features such as stone steps or even paver pond flooring.

Fountains, lighting, and additional decorative rocks are just a few of the outdoor space features that some homeowners choose to get as part of their natural swimming pond installation. The time it takes to install these various features depends mainly on the size and scope of the project. However, on average, this stage of the swimming pond process will take several days to several weeks.

Gradex Can Help Bring Your Natural Swimming Pond To Life

A natural swimming pond is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise at the same time. But before you begin building your swimming pond, it’s important to understand the time and effort involved.

In general, planning and digging may take several weeks, while construction can take several weeks or even months. You also need to consider filtration requirements for your swimming pond and carefully select the right plants and materials to ensure that your swimming pond is both functional and beautiful.

The average project will take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months from start to finish. Of course, the exact time frame will vary depending on the size and complexity of your project. But one thing’s for sure—you’ll be enjoying your new backyard oasis for many years to come! If you’re ready to start planning your natural swimming pool project, fill out our contact form today!