Perfect Pool & Gardens

A Pool with a Sustainable Design – with Healthy, Warm Water

When the pool was first filled in mid-February 2020, some guests had swum elsewhere and found the water cold, so they were surprised it was such a comfortable temperature but we knew why. It was part of the energy (and water) saving design.

The sun heats it very effectively because:

  • the tiles are dark coloured (can raise the temperature 4 to 5 degrees centigrade)
  • there is no shade over the pool
  • we have a solar cover 
  • Taroudant is the warmest town in Morocco in the winter, which the local tortoises recognise. They do not hibernate here, although the same species hibernates in other parts of Morocco!
View of snow on the High Atlas from our terrace

The heat is held relatively effectively because:

  • it has a large surface area in contact with the walls and floor, so heat is held in the structure which has huge thermal mass.
  • the heat retained from last summer will be much greater in winter 2020-21 because it has had time to dry more (latent heat of evaporation would have taken away heat out in late 2019 before we filled it in February 2020)
  • the surface area is relatively small (the pool is 3 metres wide by 19 metres long)
  • the insulated cover is only taken off when the pool is in use (it both heats the water and keeps the heat in). The cover also prevents evaporation and debris getting in the pool

We choose tiles for the pool and terrace on account of their sustainability criteria too:

  • the small non-slip tiles on the bottom of the pool are made of 99% recycled glass
  • the encaustic tiles used on the terrace were made by hand in a workshop in Taroudant’s medina.
A Paradise Garden

We have created a “Paradise Garden” of the type described in the Koran.  Such a garden will have shade, be peaceful and be a feast for the senses:

See the beauty of the colours, the shapes and textures.
Smell the lovely fragrance such as roses, citrus blossom, jasmine, herbs… (and lovely cooking smells from the kitchen!).
Feel the textures of the plants and the other elements of the garden (the pots, the tiles etc).
Hear the birds and the trickle of water in the fountains or as it flows into our grey water tank.
Taste the sun ripened fruits, herbs and vegetables: dates, pomegranates, loquats, apricots, grapes & more.

The mild climate in our area, the pool and the shaded areas make it pleasant to spend time in our garden all year round.

Each bedroom has a terrace and 6 metre deep garden.
Colourful periwinkles by room Fig.
A Wise Choice of Plants

Our garden is split into zones linked to watering regimes, soil thickness, position in relation to buildings and more.

The main criteria for choice of plants are to feed people or wildlife, for their scent, their drought resistance and many will be endemic, though we will compromise if they are not invasive for other qualities such as being quick growing.

Luckily many plants thrive in Taroudant because it has the warmest winter of any town in Morocco. For example here are bigger specimens of jacaranda than  you will see anywhere else in the world.

The warmth radiated by the earth walls at night will not only benefit the plants but also our guests!

4 main drought-tolerant trees feature in the Koran and so are symbolically important: olive, date palm, pomegranate & fig (the last 2 having the advantage of being deciduous, so can be used near south facing windows & doors to give shade in summer)

The Issue of Water

Thanks to our gravel filtration system all the grey water from the ecolodge and rainfall is diverted into a 9 cubic metre grey water storage tank so that we can use it when required.

We have used ground cover plants to reduce evaporation, and we use drip irrigation and water when the sun is low or down to reduce evaporation.

Carbon Sinks and more…

Trees and shrubs form the backbone of our plantings because: they act as important carbon sinks; being deep rooting they obtain nutrients and water from a wide area; they provide much wanted shade and a microclimate that allows many other plants to thrive beneath the canopy; compared with annual crops they give a more reliable yield one mature with relatively little maintenance and they are not so susceptible to the vagaries of weather. 

Most of the remaining plants mainly serve as ground cover to reduce evaporative loss and keep the ground cool or are herbs with benefits to humans or wildlife. We have included a diverse range of species for resilience. Plants have been chosen to meet two of more of the following criteria:

  • Provide pollen and nectar for bees throughout the foraging season. Complementary plants will be chosen to “fill the gaps” in the flowering as well as supplementary plants to compensate for fluctuations in main nectar flow.
  • Require bees for pollination.
  • Give higher yields when pollinated by bees.
  • Provide a windbreak.
  • Thrive in local conditions.
  • Benefit the health of the bees (thyme is a good example).
  • Existence a local market for the product.
  • Beneficial to the environment: for example nitrogen fixing to benefit soil fertility (the carob is a good example).
  • Drought tolerant with low water needs once established.

An excellent example of a plant that meets most of these criteria are the endemic cactoid euphorbias which provide a very potent honey well-known as a cure for sore throats.

Interested in knowing more about this subject? 

We offer guided tours of the building and gardens which allow you to learn about the pleasure and permaculture principles of our gardens: the plants; their value; the grey water system; the pool’s environmentally friendly disinfection system etc. 

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