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  • Mark McNabb

The natural pool/pond alternative

Updated: May 19, 2020

We'd had a chlorine pool at our previous home. I knew this time around it was time to do something different.

Evening reflection on our natural pool

I'd never even heard of a natural pool until about 2015, when I discovered a Pinterest post. Mostly a European trend, they seemed to be slowly making their way stateside, but far it seemed, from Arkansas. No traditional pool builders would touch one around here. Every now and again, it'd pop back up in my mind and I'd do a little more searching. Finally, a year or so later, I discovered Total Habitat, a Missouri (close!) designer and builder of all pools natural, for zoos and backyards. Even better, they'd literally written the book on the process.

“...most of what I've learned...and the on-going lessons of zigging to Mother Nature's zagging in an effort to control a little bio-eco system in my backyard.”

With this information in hand, I reached out to a local contractor about seeing a project like this through. Initially, not interested. I guess these pools take time to slosh around in your head, because just like me, as a bit of time passed, he couldn't quite get it out of his head. He already had a chlorine pool, was close to retiring, wanted to travel and hated the thought of the constant upkeep. He called me up and said...'remember that pool/pond you wanted me to build?'

The water-based Guinea pig

He made me a deal, he'd do all the calculations (a considerable amount that determines water turnover, volume and more from the book) and construction, within a budget I felt comfortable with. He'd use a pool company for the more traditional pool component (concrete and plaster construction) out of Memphis that had done some work for his construction clients and run interference. I'd be his test dummy, a water-based Guinea pig.

The posts that follow show the build process, most of what I've learned about natural pools (good and bad) so far, and the on-going lessons of zigging to Mother Nature's zagging in an effort to control this little bio-eco system in my backyard.

Panoramic view of our natural pool in August 2018, just after the plants had been added.,

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