Real garden transformation: a family garden with natural swimming pool

Sarah and William Murch have combined a love of gardening, swimming and wildlife to create a garden for all to enjoy

Considering transforming your garden? Sarah and William Murch have transformed a bare plot of land surrounding their Nottinghamshire home into a family-friendly garden with year-round interest – and a natural swimming pool.

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Sarah with daughter Hannah, and her rare-breed Golden Guernsey goats, Daphne, Angelica, Heather and Violet, each named after a flower in the garden

After buying the house in 2008, the couple soon got to work planning the new space, which would have a natural swimming pool at the heart of the design. With 11 acres of land to play with, they allocated five acres to create a to the rear of the house complete with a 300 square metre, 2.75m deep, long pool with angled edges.

Surrounding the pool, a cleverly positioned decking area makes the most of the views and is the ideal place to sit to catch the last of the evening sun, while a small beach area and informal seating areas provide areas for relaxing.


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The owners: Sarah Murch, a garden designer, lives here with her husband William, a  horticulturalist, and their five children, Sam, 26, Hannah, 24, Isabel, 17, Chester, 15, George, 13, and more than 70 animals, including dogs, goats, pigs, sheep, birds, chickens, horses, geese, guinea fowl and cattle.

The property: A seven-bedroom detached farmhouse near Doncaster, North Nottinghamshire

Project cost: £156,000*

A natural swimming pool


The location of the pool was key, as Sarah wanted to be able to see the water when standing in the kitchen, but preferred the deck area to be hidden behind tall grasses


Originally an open field with rough ground and overgrown grass, the garden needed a lot


The pool, designed by specialist company Ensata, is cleverly designed to include a natural regeneration system which uses reeds and waterlilies to filter the water, while a mechanical system also helps keep the pool clean


Beds are thickly planted to offer year-round interest and to help mulch the ground, stopping weeds growing. The rich soil means grasses and perennials, grow tall


The pool is enjoyed by all the family, pets included, during the spring, summer and autumn months


  • Landscaping, pool, materials and construction: Ensata, 01909 485621,

Visit Ellicar Gardens’ website to find out about open days and workshops held in the grounds.

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