Wattisfield, Suffolk

Client Brief

One end of it is devoted to growing fruit and vegetables, but the question they faced was how to make the best use of the remainder.

A visit to the show swimming pond a short time later and their minds were made up.

In Marion’s mind the question was answered while watching the BBC’s “Inside Out” programme which happened to feature swimming ponds and mainly focused on The Swimming Pond Company. A visit to the show swimming pond a short time later and their minds were made up. Marion’s love for wild swimming together with her passion for gardening and wildlife was brought together in this single concept.

The most significant of their aims was to transform the additional land into garden they could enjoy, while linking it to their existing garden and even better connecting it to their home. Peter had already built a pergola in line with the view from the kitchen window in order to connect the existing garden with the newly acquired field. This view was probably the most important and could easily be enhanced. Also, they had previously bought a garden building and felt it could be incorporated into the design. Clearly, the swimming pond was to have a large impact on improving the bio-diversity of the area, but it was also felt that any planting around the pond should also benefit wildlife.

The Design

The view, as well as looking over the field, also encapsulated the beautiful countryside beyond the native hedge which formed the boundary of the plot. The garden building was positioned to the far side of the water, but to one side of the main central axis so that the views across the water would remain far-reaching. A hard-wood jetty with steps down into the water was positioned along this axis on the house side of the swimming pond.

Since the swimming pond was partially overlooked from the northern side a 4m wide mixed border was added as a screen along the length of the pond so that anyone swimming could do so completely unobserved. An area of wildflowers is located beyond the more formal grass that surrounds the swimming pond to improve the bio-diversity if the area. Paths have since been mown through the wild flowers for added interest.

For visual interest (and somewhere to sit on a sunny day) glacial boulders break the surface of the water at random points along the edge of the regeneration zone. Water lilies have been planted into clay along the right hand side of the swimming pond, while the majority of the reeds are located to the left of the swimming zone in the main filtration bed.

One of the particular joys of the first summer was to watch a large flock of swallows, which would swoop down to drink the clear water.

The intention is for the swimmer to be surrounded by aquatic plants that are only held back by the internal swimming zone wall. The swimming zone represents 75m² of a total surface area of 160m².

The garden building is positioned on a large oak deck where there is ample space to sit and be at peace with the world! Water gently flows over an adjacent collection of boulders to add to the sense of tranquility.

One of the particular joys of the first summer, as well as swimming every day was to regularly watch a large flock of swallows numbering around 30, which would swoop down to the water to take a drink.