Walking in and out of the pond through a random part of the pond bank may work if you only plan to swim a few times over the course of the summer. If you and your family will be in and out of the water multiple times a day, you may want to add specific entrances and exits to keep the heavy levels of foot traffic from eroding the banks. You have a number of options for natural looking entrance materials that won’t wear away from the wear and tear of daily use. Mix and match multiple materials for an eclectic look around the edges of your natural swimming pond.
Freestanding wooden docks are a classic option for adding dedicated entrances and exits to any kind of pond. A small amount of wood planks and pilings extend from the bank into the water, then a ladder allows for easy access. Floating docks are the easiest option for creating access to the water, but fixed docks are more durable and stay closer to the edge of the pond. Metal pre-made docks are also available at a higher cost. Metal docks won’t rot, but they do eventually rust or corrode after 10 to 20 years. All docks need eventual replacement but will provide a few decades of reliable access.
Adding geogrids and reinforcement mesh to the banks around the edges of the pond allow you to build reinforced beaches that can endure high levels of foot traffic. It’s not enough to simply add sand or river stone over raw soil lining the pond’s banks. You should start with a layer of multi-layer RPE liner to reinforce the ground and protect it from erosion and foot traffic. Then add some kind of reinforcement grid to hold the material in place. Finally, finish off the beach with your preferred pebbles or sand. This construction method should build a beach that you can use year after year with minimal wear and tear.
Digging into the bank sides of the pond and shaping steps creates the ideal space for setting down solid slabs of stone. Shaping a custom set of steps leading in and out of the pond is the most formal option for building an entrance for your swimming pond. The stone won’t move thanks to the weight of each slab and erosion isn’t an issue when you’ve covered the ground with a combination of flexible liner and stone. Granite, marble, sandstone, and even limestone all work well for building natural stone steps that blend into your natural pond design.
Pre-Cast Concrete Steps
The fastest option for designing a specific entrance and exit for your pond is to invest in a set of pre-cast pond steps made from concrete. You don’t need to cast the rest of the pond in concrete just to use a set of pre-cast stairs. These solid steps tend to settle with time and may sink so much after a few years that they’re hard to use. Look for concrete steps cast with hollow construction to minimize sinking due to weight. Some steps even come with handrails to keep you from slipping after algae begins to grow on the surface.
All of these entrance and exit options work best when installed over a flexible liner to keep the material from sinking into the mud at the bottom of the pond. BTL Liners has plenty of options, including durable multi-layered RPE materials.