Old Swimming Pools Revamped
Some fish nibble an anacharis.
What to do with an old pool?
So you have an old swimming pool that you don't want to use for swimming anymore--either you got a new one, or you inherited one when you don't like to swim, or it sprang a leak. Either way, you want to get rid of it. Or do you? Here are some ideas for alternate uses:
A Garden Pond
If your pool still holds water, you may wish to create a garden pond. Many garden centers now sell plants that grow under water, such as water lilies, anacharis, and hornwort. They also sell ornamental fish that do well outdoors, such as koi and large goldfish. Smooth decorative rocks and colorful glass marbles make splendid ornamentation. Allow some algae growth, as it is good for the fish, but do not let it overgrow. Products can be purchased to reduce algae when necessary. Take the fish and plants indoors when temperatures dip below freezing, and maintain the pool as normal as per winter care, i.e. drain the water and cover it up.
If your pool won't hold water, it's still not a total loss. Depending on the size of the pool, smaller pools can make nice sandboxes. Many construction centers sell clean play sand. It will take several bags of sand to fill it up, but you only have to do this once, and it can be used for several seasons in a row.
Keep safety in mind and don't fill the sand too deeply--we don't want the potential for accidental smothering. (As always, children should be supervised.)
Gardening in flower pots and tubs is a pleasant and flexible way to enjoy plants. The soft, loose dirt turns easily with a spade, and the plants become very healthy. Weeds are easy to pull, and...wait a minute. Eye that old pool carefully, and see if you can imagine it full of rich, black dirt. You can? Then you've got an extra large tub garden, all to yourself!*
First you will need to create drainage--if the pool leaks, that's actually a help. If the pool is plastic, you can simply poke some holes in it with a hammer and a nail
At the bottom of the pool you will need to lay down a bed of gravel before you add any dirt. Depending on the size of the pool and the types of plants you want to grow, you will need several inches of drainage gravel beneath your soil.
Next, add several bags of peat moss. Again, the amount necessary depends on the size of your pool. Cover the gravel completely.
Now add topsoil. Topsoil is available for sale at many popular garden centers.
Next and finally, add fertilized soil, such as the various mixtures sold by Miracle Grow®. Other choices include mixing in vegetable compost, decomposed manure, grass clippings, mulched leaves, and Jobe's Plant Food Spikes®.
*Note: Garden tubbing is only recommended for very small pools. Loose dirt at too great a depth presents a smother hazard.
Feed the Ducks
If you live where ducks are allowed...
Well, unfortunately you're going to want to keep this duck pond away from your house, as ducks will quickly foul the water and it will smell fishy. But if you live in the wide open air, and you're done with an old pool that still holds water, consider giving it to your ducks. They are comical to watch, and it keeps them cool during summer's sunlit haze.