A Natural Swimming Pool/Pond is a joy to see throughout the year... as long as it is visible! One of the best things about NSP's is that you don't need to cover or drain them over the winter. In fact, in all but the coldest places, you can run your pool/pond all year long, providing you with spectacular views of the waterfall(s), fish, plants, wildlife and crystal-clear water, even when you're not swimming! When designing a NSP onsite, we always consider the views from major gathering spaces, such as the kitchen or dining room window or a back deck or patio, often positioning waterfalls and other special elements so they are as visible as possible from these points.
Imagine it's a hot summer day and you are just dying to take a dip in your crystal-clear swimming pond! If your NSP is right next to your house, it is really easy to simply jump in and enjoy! Now, imagine you've built your pool/pond 50 feet or more away, in a back field or somewhere downhill from your house; enjoying your NSP becomes more of a day trip than a passing activity. Picture having to haul all your towels, water toys, refreshments, snacks, and sunscreen out to the pond every time you want to use it, corralling kids and pets along the way. Then, (inevitably) oops, you forgot something up at the house or you need to use the bathroom... time to hike again! Trust me, as someone who grew up at a lake and always had to endure at least 20 minutes of planning and organization before we could finally get to swimming, it is definitely worth it to put your NSP as close to your house as possible! Plus, if you have any family members or guests who are elderly or otherwise may have trouble getting around, it is much easier to include them in the fun if your NSP is near the house.
Many people see a depression or a low spot in their yard and automatically think "that's the place for the swimming pond". This is a common misconception and couldn't be more wrong! A Natural Swimming Pool/Pond is not like any old murky, muddy farm pond; it is a closed system, meaning we filter the same water over and over again and we don't want any runoff from the yard to drain into the NSP. So, your pool/pond is actually best off if it is placed at the highest point in your yard, which is typically right next to your house. It is also best to place your NSP in a relatively flat spot, which is also usually next to your house, where the site has already been graded. Locating your NSP near your home can save you a lot of money raising/grading a new spot in your yard and/or having to create additional site drainage to keep dirty water from constantly running down into your nice, new swimming pond!
A NSP is not just a swimming pool; it is also a focal point in your yard -- something you can design other elements around, like a patio, pergola, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, vegetable garden, treehouse, etc. Next to the pool/pond is where you will drink your morning coffee, host parties, read a good book, curl up with a glass of wine at sunset, where you will dangle your feet in the water after a long day and watch the kids discover frogs, turtles and dragonflies. Every well designed space needs a central focus, a main fixed element that everything else revolves around; that is what a Natural Swimming Pool/Pond can be in your yard!
With your Natural Swimming Pool/Pond right next to your house, you can better keep track of kids, pets and guests around your pool/pond. Instead of having to trek down to a pond every time your kiddos want to take a dip, you have the option of supervising from your back deck, patio or kitchen window.
The pump(s) for a Natural Swimming Pool/Pond will need to hook up to your existing electrical system (usually your house panel) and you will need access to water for the initial fill and for the occasional top-off. Typically, these utilities are easiest to access and cheapest to run when the NSP is closer to the house.
If you dread the arrival of warmer weather because it means you have to start mowing your grass every single Saturday morning when all you want to do is relax after a long week at work, then ditch that boring expanse of lawn and install a NSP! A Natural Swimming Pool/Pond is much less maintenance than a manicured yard and is a whole lot more fun! Plus, a pool/pond placed close to your house allows you to create spaces around the NSP or between the pool/pond and the house for low maintenance landscaping, decorative rocks and/or mulched beds. You can also hardscape between the NSP and the house with a deck or patio, so that you don't end up with an annoying strip of grass that you have to constantly maintain between the house and the pond.
When your Natural Swimming Pool/Pond is right next to a building with a large square footage of roof (aka your house), you can collect the rain water that drains off of your roof and use it to top off your pool/pond! This is called rainwater harvesting and can be done with relatively inexpensive collection barrels that are connected to your downspouts (some are even made to look like decorative pots) or with an underground rainwater harvesting tank. Adding a system like this is a really easy way to save some money and some water!
Because placing your Natural Swimming Pool/Pond by your house provides you with easier, quicker access to it and better views of it, you will automatically get more use out of it. That means you get more value for your money and more return on your investment! Plus, it keeps you from needing to spend money building additional site features near a distant pool/pond that you probably already have at your house, like shade on a hot summer day or access to a bathroom. If you build a NSP far away from your house, you will inevitably find in time that you now need to build an additional pergola, patio or pool house near it in order to give you some place to store water toys or simply some place to sit and relax when you're not in the water. You will get much more value for your money if you instead build that pergola next to your home, where it can be used for any number of activities outside of just enjoying the pool/pond; visions of summer barbecues, starlit family dining and a gently swinging hammock spring to mind! Rather than spending twice the money to create two separate destination spaces in your yard, you can direct your hard-earned money towards one multi-use space that will also enhance your biggest investment, the space you spend the most of your time in already; your home!
Depending on where you live, you may be required to install a fence around any pool or pond you have built on your property. It is much easier and less expensive to fence a NSP if you can use your house as part of the barrier. Plus, it doesn't spoil any views of your beautiful new swimming pond!
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!
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!
This spectacular, new Natural Swimming Pond was designed by Total Habitat and built by Country Landscapes Inc, near Nevada, Iowa! Thank you Michelle for the photos!
New photos of our Natural Swimming Pond (NSP) in Connecticut!
Made with locally-sourced rounded boulders, native water plants, and reclaimed wood for the pier, this gorgeous NSP is the centerpiece of this urban oasis!
Designed by Total Habitat and built in partnership with Dietter's Water Gardens in North Haven, CT.
Our Natural Swimming Pools & Ponds are in all of the states shaded blue above! Ready to join the map? Ask us about our "Pioneer Discount" available if you are the first NSP owner in your area!
Now introducing a brand new Total Habitat Natural Swimming Pool/Pond near Lawrence, KS! This stunning, custom NSP features a stamped concrete patio, a pebble beach, several waterfalls, a paved floor with built-in fiber optic lighting, a custom outdoor shower, and an 18 foot infinity edge with views of the Kansas countryside beyond. In this NSP, we built our biological filtration system right into the walls and floor, hidden behind our stacked rock walls and under our "paved" floor treatment. This enormous filter, along with our jet system, edge waterfalls, and large infinity fall work together to constantly move water up to atmosphere and down through our biological filters, eliminating the need for chlorine or other chemicals!
View of the pebble beach, infinity edge, contemporary ladder and handrail, and wooden outdoor shower screen (far right).
Stamped patio jumping/sunning ledge (on right) and planted "wild" area (center) with infinity edge beyond.
View of the pond and patio from the infinity edge (beach entry with hand rail on left and "wild" edge with waterfall on right).
Check back with us each month for tips, new project pics, news, and more, here on our Total Blog!