European-inspired natural swimming pools are slowly gaining popularity in the United States. The chemical-free, natural-looking alternative to the rectangular "Windex pool" is appealing to those hoping to create a relaxing, environmentally friendly spot to cool off in the summer -- and, sometimes, a personal skating rink in the winter.
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Building a natural pool requires an abundance of space because there actually needs to be two pools, not just one: one for swimming, and one for filtration. The filtration pool does the work of chemicals and electric filters by using plants or gravel to remove bacteria or other contaminants. All that's required is a way to keep the water moving, easily accomplished with a relatively inexpensive pump. 

Because not every traditional swimming pool construction company is yet offering to build natural pools, many DIYers have decided to build their own, often looking to their European counterparts for instructions and ideas. That's what Imgur user VonBubenberg's father did, and he documented the building process from grassy to gorgeous.

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After marking off the space, an excavator began digging.

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The water hoses seen here lead to the garage, where there is a filter system using four large barrels.

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The hole was lined with landscape fabric then with a large pond liner. "My father ordered all materials in Germany," VonBubenberg writes. "There is actually quite a community around those DIYers."

Finally, the pool walls were created with large concrete blocks; it took five men a full day of work to complete the job.

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Gravel is good for anchoring water plants and for water filtration.

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The water travels along that pipe to be further filtered in the garage.

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When the pond froze in the winter, VonBubenberg's cat ventured onto the ice for a drink!

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In the spring, construction resumed, beginning with the deck.

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The finished product -- a natural pool with a swimming and filtration area, plants, and a wraparound deck. Gorgeous!