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.
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!