Gardens

A POOL WE LOVE: A gorgeous natural granite swimming pool in a backyard setting

Natural Beauty: As the rock heats in the sunshine, the water temperature rises naturally in the pool. A pump ensure the water circulates and is also used when the pool needs to be drained for a full cleaning. Photography by William P. McElligott

MAKING A SPLASH: The joy of swimming in a natural granite pool

This feature appears in the  April 2012 edition.

By Katharine Fletcher

Photography by William P. McElligott

Talk about taking a natural formation and transforming it into a stunning backyard feature! Carole Larose and her husband, Wayne Corneil, did just that after buying a country home in Carp nine years ago.

When the couple purchased the 1.6-acre property in 2003, the central feature in the backyard was a fish pond created from a natural fold in the granite rock that dominated the landscape. The previous owners had dammed one end of the formation with cement to stop any outflow.

“As soon as we saw it, we decided we’d try to transform the pond into a swimming pool,” says Corneil.

The couple first tried a traditional chlorine-based system but found the chemicals too harsh — for them and the dogs they welcome regularly. They then began researching alternatives, finally settling on a saltwater option. Today the fish pond is nowhere to be seen, and in its place is an amazing saltwater swimming pool that gets used from May to September.

Low Maintenance: In spring, the couple cleans the pool with a chlorine-based cleanser, fills it with water, and adds the salt. In autumn, a net is stretched across to catch leaves. In late fall, the net is removed and the water is left to freeze, forming a skating pond. Photography by William P. McElligott

Though the couple rave about how easy it is to maintain, Corneil notes that it does take a whopping four tanker trucks (a standard-sized swimming pool takes one load) — and that doesn’t completely fill the pool. “This pool can hold about 110,000 litres,” he notes, adding that the formation is such that parts of the pool are about three metres deep. That said, the couple seldom have to drain the pool completely, doing so only every two years to allow them to do a thorough cleaning of the rock surface and base. Most Septembers see them leaving about 1.5 metres of water, which freezes to give them their own personal skating rink.

Even Miss Gypsy, their registered Ottawa therapy dog, enjoys swimming. “Salt water is kind to our skin — and to Gypsy’s,” says Larose as she pats the Labrador-German shepherd cross. Come winter, Miss Gypsy slides about on the ice — one happy puppy!

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