Gartenart garden swimming ponds and natural swimming pools.

Gartenart | Portfolio | Tim and Tina Cowen, Norfolk
Gartenart | Portfolio | Tim and Tina Cowen, Norfolk
Gartenart | Portfolio | Tim and Tina Cowen, Norfolk

Tim and Tina Cowen, Norfolk

Tim and Tina Cowen and their teenage children live between London and a listed property in north Norfolk.  "I had known about swimming ponds for a while, as I used to travel a lot in Austria and Germany," says Tim.  "But what really caught our attention was seeing a friend's swimming pond - we went round there one evening and we said that's fantastic.  There has also been a bunch of stuff in the papers and magazines over the years, plus I grew up in the Lake District so the idea of swimming in ponds was quite natural."

"This area before was a lawn, we didn't use it for anything very much. We had a trampoline on it for a while when the kids were younger.

"We talked to a number of different people who do swimming ponds. It seems at one end of the scale you've got the ultra-natural approach, that it's got to be a copy of nature down to swimming in thick pea soup... that's going a bit too far.

"My idea of this is that yes it's natural and we want that, but it's natural within a boundary, because what you're doing is engineering quite a significant exercise. You're creating what is basically a mountain pool, you don't want a lowland swampy pool.

'''The art itself is nature.'"

This was a part-build project, with local builders carrying out much of the work and with Gartenart installing the specialist elements such as the liner, filtration system, and a jet to swim against.

"We wanted to use local labour, which was less about the financial aspect and more about the personal side of keeping people employed locally who have been great to us.

"So we tried to find a way of doing that whilst also bringing in Gartenart's expertise. That side of things worked well."

"We had a very warm March this year, then it rained a lot. But it's been a great hit with the kids and they go in at any opportunity - basically at any point from May onwards they've been in the pond and you can't keep them out.

"Anybody who says that temperature is a problem - well, I was thinking beforehand about putting heating in but I'm at the point of forgetting about it now. You might possibly be able to extend the use by a month, to the end of October rather than September.

"I went in from the beginning of May, and I'm completely lily-livered and pathetic about it but actually once you're in it doesn't make any difference."

"From May onwards it's been warm, and even though the weather hasn't been great the fact that it's summer anyway makes it warm enough. And when the sun's out the passive solar heating round the edges does make a difference.

"The water is completely clear and we get a lot of wildlife. It's quite therapeutic tendering the plants. It's definitely a water garden and not a pool. We wanted to integrate the design into the rest of the garden and we had gone very much for a grasses garden. So the pond fits in well in that respect.

"We've had a lot of barbeques here and kids will go in the pond whatever the weather. People who come round love it - it is spectacular isn't it."

  • Gartenart swimming ponds and natural garden swimming pools
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