Swimming pond in Canada - advice please?

  • Hello,

    Thank you for all the amazing advice on this forum so far. It is a wealth of information.

    My partner and I are planning to build a swimming pond on our property in a remote part of British Columbia, Canada. We are trying to do most of the work ourselves and keep costs down to a minimum as we both worked in the tourism industry and lost our jobs in 2020.

    But our knowledge is limited .... So I was wondering if I could ask some questions? We already have a big hole in the ground in the spot where the previous owner had a regular pond - the ground is very sandy. (photos attached)

    Our basic plan is to use recycled old carpet underlay, then an EPDM liner, then a fleece pond overlay and then a few rows of polypropylene sandbags before building the main walls above with a wooden frame.

    What woods can you use underwater? - We have easy access to Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar, which wood would be better? Are there issues with cedar being toxic for the filter plants? Can we build a deck with cedar too?

    Can you use polypropylene sandbags for the base of the retaining walls? - Is it better to use sand or gravel as the medium inside the sandbags? How long will polypropylene sandbags last? I have seen some photos of projects done this way but it looked like the sandbags were covered with the same fleece pond liner overlay?

    We have yet to decide on the best mechanical, biofilter combination.

    We would like to cover the liner at the base of the pool with some kind of patio-stones / flagstones? If they are made of concrete, are they issues with leaching? We would also use some for the steps and entrance.

    Thank you in advance,

  • Hi Pjaw,

    i used Douglasie as well as white fir under water. Works fine. But I think Ceder should also be no problem, as it is also used in wooden decks over swinging ponds.

    if you use concrete stones on the ground, I think algae will settle very well as concrete is quite rough on the surface? So I think that will not be easy to clean. Just a question. I covered the epdm on the bottom just with another light gray pvc layer to have a lighter color of the water and put the woodden construction directly on the epdm. My covers are like this: concrete floor (10 cm with iron), 300g/m2 liner, 1.5mm epdm, pvc light gray.

    Why do you want to use polypropylene backs on the floor? I think that would also not be easy to clean. Cant you just use the wooden construction? See my pictures how I did that. Maybe that would be an idea for you.

  • Hi Wipwap,

    That's great to know. We will use douglas fir for the underwater walls and probably cedar for the deck. We have lots of douglas fir growing on the property :)

    I hadn't thought of the PVC layer but that's a great idea - I assumed some people just had brighter liners but I like the effect of the light gray. And definitely easier to clean, I think the algae would be difficult to clean on the joins between the patio stones.

    We have looked and been very impressed by your project and photos. We also found nonni12, MightyBo, mooere, have provided excellent inspiration with their photos and wooden frame projects.

    We had seen sandbags getting used by companies in the UK and thought that would help with a sloping floor but yes now we are now reconsidering and will probably build the walls entirely from wood and have 2 levels of floor with a step (no slope). I think the sharper lines and natural look of the wood will be nicer.

    Thank you so much for your feedback.

  • Welcome, Just one question: You will need a pool roboter to clean the floor. At least I am so happy about mine. It broke this year in summer. So I had to clean manually. That took me hours. The roboter needs just 1 min attention per week or so. Maybe twice a week.

    Now the question: If you make a step you will have wrinkles in the edges of the step - if you just lay down the epdm and pvc. This cannot be cleaned by a robot. Also I wonder if the robot will be able to climb up the step.

    If you want a shallow area for the kids or so: Why not build a wooden "floating" deck under water? Screwed to the wall so the robot can clean under?

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