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  • Design Inspiration: Hamilton Pool Preserve

    Thirty seven kilometres outside of Austin, Texas, there’s a very unusual swimming hole. It is known as the Hamilton Pool Preserve, and both local people and tourists love to swim there during the sweltering days of the Texas summer. The Hamilton is a natural pool that was formed thousands of years ago when the rock and soil over an underground river collapsed. The side of the river tunnel now overhangs the swimming area, and the pool is as much as 50 metres below ground level. In fact, when there’s been rain, a waterfall forms over the edge of the rock and people swim behind it.

    Hamilton Pool Preserve Waterfall
    Hamilton Pool Preserve Waterfall

    Why the Hamilton Pool Preserve is so Special

    In Austin, the temperature is most often between 34°C and 36°C during the summer. As you can imagine, people there are always looking for somewhere to cool off, and the Hamilton Pool Preserve is the perfect place to spend a hot day. The water is cool and shaded, and both the pool and the surrounding area are places of stunning natural beauty. Water drips and streams over the high stone lip of the pool and lush, green trees climb up a hill on the opposite shore. The Hamiliton Pool in so popular that Travis County Parks, which maintains the site, limits the crowd to around 250 people, and there are line-ups every day at opening time. It can be very difficult to gain access.

    Waterfall overhang Hamilton Pool Preserve
    Waterfall overhang Hamilton Pool Preserve

    Swimming Pool Design Inspiration From the Hamilton Pool Preserve

    Of course, the waterfall that forms over the lip of the overhang after rainstorms is very beautiful, and that’s one idea that you could take from the Hamilton Pool Preserve: a waterfall from an overhang. However, let’s take it a step back, first. The feature that makes this beautiful natural pool so appealing is really its ability to stay cool in uncomfortably hot weather. It stays cool because the swimming area is depressed into the ground and surrounded and partially shaded by stone. Evaporative cooling also contributes; the waterfall and small streams of water that fall over the lip into the pool mean that water droplets are constantly evaporating into the air, and water absorbs heat when it evaporates.

    Inspiration Hamilton Pool Preserve
    Inspiration Hamilton Pool Preserve

    So, there are three things you could do to recreate the way the Hamilton Pool Preserve beats the summer heat:

    1. Place your pool at a low point on your property, with stairs or terraces leading down to it.
    2. Shade part of the pool with the cantilevered edge of a roof, a canopy or even a deck or walkway at a higher level.
    3. Design a fountain or waterfall into the pool; perhaps water could even flow into the pool from the overhang as it does at the Hamilton Pool.

    So, that’s it: use the earth, shade and splashing water to cool the pool and the area around it. Of course, you could do some landscaping with natural stone and greenery to capture some of the site’s natural beauty, too. The Hamilton Pool Preserve is really a great place to look for pool design inspiration, because it’s nice to look at and full of ideas for natural cooling.

    If you like these pool design ideas and you think that they might work well on your property, then give us a call. We’d love to help you work out the details and make it into a reality! For more natural pool design inspiration, please see our posts on the Wufengchi Waterfall, Aruba’s Natural Pool, Malta’s Blue Lagoon and the Lava Pool in Maderia, Portugal. Our pool gallery is a great source of inspiration, too.

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