Building a Natural Swimming Pool in 7 days in Spain
Last week we put together a three person team from Total Habitat (Mick, Kathryn, Joanna) to consult for a Natural Swimming Pond with the a local crew and built it in just seven days. The Spain crew finished the excavation process before Total Habitat's contribution and were able to complete the Natural Swimming Pool in record time thanks to the dedication and efficiency of both crews working together. The Spain crew was amazing to work with and we had a great time getting to know Scott, Helder, Chris, Robbie, Miguel, Mario, and Valdi.
We were able to source materials almost exclusively from the island where the home was located. Having local materials helps the NSP harmonize with the surrounding landscape as well as keeping costs and environmental impacts lower. This particular Natural Swimming Pond is roughly 25,000 gallons (~94,600 liters) with a tall water fall feature nestled into the hillside of the property.
Which would you Prefer?
One of the biggest advantages a Natural Swimming Pool has over a Traditional Pool is that it is beautiful year round. You don't have to drain it or cover in the fall or winter like a traditional pool. For example here in Kansas we will leave our pond running year round. If you live in a cold enough climate your pond and freeze over and you can even ice skate on it!
Its important when building a Natural Swimming Pool to know the requirements for winterizing depending on which climate the NSP is built in. For example you need to bury certain parts of your plumbing underneath the frost line to prevent damage to your pumps or other parts of the mechanical filter system. Every climate has different and specific adjustments that need to be made to ensure it runs smoothly for the years to come.
Using dye in your Natural Swimming Pool/Pond is important because it helps protect the water from harsh direct sunlight. The sunlight doesn't harm the water itself, but is a large factor in algae growth. There are a few key times in the life of your NSP when dye is especially helpful. The first being when your NSP is first built. When you've filled the NSP and your pump system is going you need to introduce the dye to protect the water for the first few weeks when the biological filter is establishing itself. The beneficial bacteria needs time to grow into all the nooks and crannies to prevent an algae bloom. The second key time for dye is when you are most likely to experience an algae bloom in your NSP, which is early spring. Spring is the beautiful time when everything begins to grow back in, sadly this does include algae, which will be one of the first and easiet things to grow in your NSP. The dye helps prevent that spring sunshine from creating an algae party in your pool.
Head over the the Kansas City Zoo to see the Tree Kangaroos and keep an eye out for the Sloth exhibit where you'll see more of our trees coming soon!
We built a Natural Swimming Pool for a wonderful family back in 2017. Their NSP features our wooden swim walls, octagon piers, and black liner which gives the swimming area a stylish reflection pool look. It is complete with a small water fall feature and some rock work around the perimeter of the pool.
The clients were so happy with our team and the work we did to create their very own chlorine & salt-free swimming pool that they asked us back to create an aviary attached to their house for their Blue Macaw. If you check out our Instagram you can see more pictures of our time building the aviary. You'll also see a few candid shots of team members Matt & Evan getting some bonding time with the Macaw. This family graciously let us stay with them in their home during the building process and it was a joy getting to know them.
They have continued to share photos of their NSP with us. Below you can see how beautifully the plant life has grown with their pool. Our Natural Swimming Pools fit seamlessly with the surrounding landscape and just get better with age!
At Camp Prairie Schooner's new Aquatic Center in KCMO, our goal was to create a naturalistic climbing experience that would excite and challenge campers for years to come! The main attraction, an enormous, themed concrete boulder features a carved climb-able face which users can swim up to (one at a time) and free climb, without the use of ropes or harnesses. Once to the top of the wall (or as far up as they can get) users fall or jump back into the water, ensuring a safe yet challenging climbing experience. The camp's new Aquatic Center, which also features a naturalistic splash pad and several other themed concrete edge boulders is open to campers as of Summer 2019!
Hey everyone, we have been working on something brand new to us at our workshop this past week. As many of you know we build exhibits for zoos as well as natural swimming pools. We have been working at the Kansas City Zoo, and our most recent addition was installing a sun shade for Cairo the Hippo.
With this shade we also happened to take on the biggest sewing project in Total Habitat history. Over a hundred pins, 5 broken needles, and hundreds of feet of thread later we came out with a huge, beautiful, completed sun shade! With the added bonus of several of our employees getting to brush up on their sewing skills.
For more photos of this project check out our Instagram or Facebook page.
Matt for scale ^
^ Sophia the lead seamstress
At Wolf Park in Indiana, we are currently building a metal hoop house style structure to serve as the Grey Fox exhibit! The large metal hoop house framework will be covered with a netted grid wire and will feature a wooden vestibule (see the concept rendering above left). The pergola-style entry will have a double door system which will allow visitors to safely enter the enclosure without letting the foxes out.
The featured space, aptly named Grey Haven, will give visitors the opportunity to get up close with the fox ambassadors of the Wolf Park. Wolf Park is an education and research facility located in Battle Ground, Indiana that specializes in the study of wild canid (dog) family species such as wolves, foxes, and coyotes.
The Total Habitat team onsite will, after taking a safety course, get to meet a wolf ambassador (the most socialized & trained of the wolves) up close and will hopefully get a “face greet” -- meaning a wolf will lick your face if they like you!
Check out the Wolf Park website to learn more about their research here
To do your part for the planet this Earth Day check out your local government and parks and recreation department for volunteer clean-up opportunities, or check out the earth day website to find out more what Earth Day means and how you can help with even small efforts. If you are local to the Kansas City area like us, check out Friends of the Kaw or Bridging the Gap for volunteer or donation opportunities!
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!
Check back with us each month for tips, new project pics, news, and more, here on our Total Blog!