My wife and I both enjoy swimming. The part I hate is the harshness of the chlorine and expensive upkeep. She, on the other hand, hates swimming in ponds where there is who-knows-what under foot. It was a sticking point between us. I didn’t want an ugly, expensive and chemical laden pool. She didn’t want a slimy pond.
I kept thinking the situation over for a while and several years ago happened across an article about natural pools. Instead of using chemicals, they rely on the natural filtration systems provided by nature. Water is pumped from the main pool over a shallow bed of plants that filter out unwanted matter and keep the water clean. Depending on how you choose to design them, they can look practically identical to a normal pool or something much more naturalistic.
After looking over what feels like a few hundred variations of the idea, we both agree that they look amazing and meet both of our requirements for a pool. They aren’t entirely without maintenance, but they are somewhat self sustaining. Hooking the pump up to a solar generator means that you can put one just about anywhere without having to worry about running electric out to it as well.
There are companies like Living Pool who specialize in natural pools. It is possible to design and build one entirely yourself, but if you can afford the cost you would probably be more satisfied with the finished product having a company with experience installing it for you. They are more likely to know how many of which plants would be best for a pool of the size you desire.
On the other hand, if prefer to create one as a DIY project, there was an article a while back in Mother Earth News that focused on creating your own natural pool. If you are interested, there is a lot of good information out there. Natural swimming pools open up a whole lot of options for people like ourselves who have very differing things we want out of our swimming areas. I’m sometimes surprised that more people don’t know about these!