We are so excited to have one of our favorite projects featured in DesignKC Magazine, which showcases the best in Kansas City architecture and outdoor living! We designed and built this contemporary Natural Swimming Pool in 2019. Visit our Projects page for more info about this natural pool. For more articles and media mentions of Total Habitat, see our In the News page.
Though the writer didn't quite get everything right, including the price per square foot for natural pools (which in our experience is typically more like $20 - $80 per square foot, though it varies widely as explained in more depth on our Pricing page here), it is still nice to see Natural Swimming Pools getting some much deserved media attention! In fact, the natural pool shown at the top of the article was actually built by Total Habitat for Heather and Mike Dooley at their home in Napa, California. The Wall Street Journal article, Natural Pool Owners Are Kissing Chlorine And Other Chemicals Goodbye, also features a quote from Mick Hilleary, founder of Total Habitat, as well as from Meredith Stallcup (also of Total Habitat). Check out the full article here.
1. Better Views
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.
2. Easier Access
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.
3. Better Site Drainage
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!
4. Creates a Central Gathering Space
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!
5. Easier to Supervise Kids & Pets
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.
6. Better Utility Access
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.
7. Less Maintenance Than A Lawn
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.
8. Provides Rainwater Harvesting Opportunities
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!
9. More Value For Your Money
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!
10. Easier to Fence
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!
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.
Check back with us each month for tips, new project pics, news, and more, here on our Total Blog!