One of our primary missions at Total Habitat is to inspire the next generation of nature lovers by creating authentically natural experiences that educate and challenge. We provide design, construction and consultation services to camps and retreats nationwide. We will work tirelessly to create that memorable, challenging and authentically natural experience for your campers; inspiring continued patronage and countless social media shares!
Inspired By Nature
As a Total Habitat designer, I get asked all the time, "what exactly do you do?" It seems like a simple question, but sometimes it can be surprisingly difficult to answer. I have thought about this a lot and have realized that though every new project we take on is completely unique and full of its own special challenges and opportunities, the one constant connecting everything we do, is nature.
Every space and experience we create, whether its a Natural Swimming Pool/Pond, an animal habitat, a public water feature, a climbing wall or artificial boulder, is in some way inspired by nature: In our projects, we often use natural materials (like wood, stone and plants), we mimic nature's own processes (especially when it comes to water cleaning and filtration), or we create things that just look natural (like waterfalls or our artificial boulders and climbing walls). No matter what new and exciting project we take on next, we will continue to take our cues from nature, and create memorable, authentically natural spaces and experiences.
We're so excited to find out what's next: Contact us today to get started with your project!
If you are looking to create an experience like none other for your retreat, camp or home, look no further than Total Habitat for chemical-free Natural Swimming Pool/Ponds and custom artificial rockwork! This epic jumping boulder features a stairway and waterslide, carved directly into the artificial rock: The play (and photo) opportunities are endless!
Reminiscent of a nautilus shell, this pool design features an underwater pebble pathway which spirals down into the circular swimming area. This pebble beach path (shown on the left below) is bordered by a mossy sandstone rock bubbler and a trio of "floating" stepping boulders.
This circular, 25,000 gallon Natural Swimming Pool is approximately 30ft overall with a 25ft x 20ft swimming area. Constructed of dry-stacked sandstone, this pool features a built-in biological filtration system, which keeps the water clean and clear without chemicals. This nautilus inspired pool can be built in 3-4 weeks for $70-75,000!
Ever stroll around a zoo and wonder who makes all this stuff?: The answer is we do! The goal of zoo exhibit design is to immerse visitors in the animal's natural habitat while still catering to the needs of the animal and its keeper. Each animal has special requirements, which can include major exhibit features like caves, streams or pools, dens, hollow logs, jungle gyms, etc., as well as things like special lighting or temperature regulators. For example, these small reptile enclosures, which we created for geckos at the Micke Grove Zoo, include integrated lighting and hidden keeper access doors. These museum-quality, hand-sculpted enclosures were themed (masterfully carved and painted by Allan) to look just like the geckos' natural habitat! Below is a glimpse into our process from concept drawing to finished product:
Top Left: Initial enclosure concept rendering Bottom Left: During construction Right: Finished gecko enclosure
Left: Enclosure in progress Right: Finished gecko enclosure
Total Habitat is proud to share this spectacular backyard transformation! We designed and built this space for a very special client who grew up swimming in a Total Habitat Natural Swimming Pool/Pond and is now ready for one of her own! This custom backyard oasis features three terraces, 200 linear feet of stacked stone retaining walls, steps made from local limestone slabs, an upper origin pool with waterfall and 80-foot long stream! The centerpiece of the space is a 95,000 gallon chemical-free swimming pond, featuring our signature crystal-clear clean water and built-in biological filtration system.
Check out the full video HERE
Designed and built by Total Habitat, this 12 foot deep, spring-fed Natural Swimming Pool/Pond is nestled in the heart of the rolling Tennessee hills. Completed this summer (2017), this swimming hole offers unlimited fun with an 18 foot waterslide, gentle-entry pebble beach, and waterfall with hidden grotto!
2012-2013 Total Habitat Natural Swimming Pond at meditation & healing retreat in Georgia! The Elohee Center, in the mountains of North Georgia, provides a beautiful retreat space in Nature to allow for self-exploration, individual growth, and mind/body healing. Like the retreat's Fire Ring, lush forest, and spectacular mountaintop views, the Swimming Pond has become an integral part of the natural healing experience. Click here for more information about the Elohee Center as well as upcoming programs and retreats.
This gorgeous new Natural Swimming Pond, tucked deep in the forest near Seattle, Washington, is both a peaceful retreat for its owners and a never-ending source of fun for their Australian Shepherd, Indie! Constructed of big, beautiful, locally-sourced boulders, this NSP also features a weather-proof TimberTech and cedar jumping pier. As always, this NSP is completely chlorine (and salt) free, cleaned instead with our powerful built-in biological filtration system (tucked behind the boulder walls and under the river rock floor)!
Indie, surveying his new chemical-free Natural Swimming Pond!
We are excited to announce that after many hours of hard work by our dedicated NSP design & build team, Total Habitat is now offering downloadable Natural Swimming Pool/Pond construction plans!
The Essential NSP Plans are a guide to our most basic, most affordable style of natural pool. If you are looking for a simple yet fully functional and beautiful NSP for your family, then these plans are for you! This 50FT NSP features a powerful built-in biological filter, jumping pier with ladder, low profile waterfall, zero-entry pebble beach and 700 square feet of swimming space!
What size is the Essential NSP? The pool is about 50FT overall with a roughly 30FT (approx. 630 square ft) swimming area surrounded by a powerful built-in biological filter. The Essential NSP holds about 50,000 gallons, is 7FT-8FT deep in the center and is spacious enough for most families to enjoy.
What shape is the Essential NSP? You can choose between an oval shaped pool (50FT x 40FT overall) and a round shaped pool (45FT x 45FT overall). Both shapes work out to be about 50,000 gallons.
How much does the Essential NSP cost to build? Most of the time, our Essential NSP model is built for around $50,000 - $55,000. The plans include instructions for the optional addition of a waterfall and large edge boulders (aka the "Essential PLUS"). The Essential PLUS is typically built for $60,000 - $65,000 given the extra 20T load of boulders needed to create that design.
Note: These costs are turn-key which means they include all the material, equipment rental, and labor costs needed to build the Essential NSP. For a DIY build: The materials alone typically cost $24,000 - $29,000 and equipment rental is often $5,000 - $10,000.
How long does it take to build an Essential NSP? Our experienced NSP construction team (we travel often all over the US) can typically build an Essential NSP in just 2-3 weeks! We have over 15 years experience building NSP's, so we've had a lot of practice with things like plumbing the biological filter, timing material deliveries just right, transforming a pile of boulders into a perfectly natural-looking waterfall and working with local tradespersons like excavators and electricians.
What is included with the Essential NSP Plans? The Essential NSP Plans are a comprehensive set of construction plans that include detailed dimensional drawings and instructions for everything from the dig itself to the biological filter plumbing, laying of the pond liner, underwater wall construction, and pier and ladder assembly.
Included with the plans is a copy of our well known how-to guide eBook, Natural Swimming Pools & Ponds: THE TOTAL GUIDE, 2nd Edition. Throughout the plan pages, you will see references to the included eBook for more information about a particular construction step or system concept.
With the Essential NSP Plans, you also get an itemized Materials List & Estimate Worksheet, complete with quantities, to help you get an idea of where your money is going and what materials and equipment you will need to source locally (if a DIY build).
Who can build my Essential NSP? Some handy folks with construction experience and/or access to heavy equipment, can DIY an Essential NSP. Many local pond or water garden building teams are well equipped to take on the construction of an Essential NSP (this NSP is more similar to a pond in construction than a traditional concrete pool). To save on construction time and for added peace of mind, many folks still choose to bring our experienced building team out to their site -- we work all over the US! We typically build an Essential NSP in just 2-3 weeks by a team of 3, which saves you a ton on travel and lodging costs for our crew!
If you've already found a local building team or have decided to take on the construction of an Essential NSP yourself, we can also send one of our experienced Project Managers to your site for the entire build or just for a few crucial steps (like excavation, liner-laying, and plumbing of the biological filter). We are here to help!
Check back with us each month for tips, new project pics, news, and more, here on our Total Blog!