The story of Total Habitat is an unusual one. Though widely known for pioneering the chemical-free natural swimming pool/ponds system used throughout North America today, they began as a zoo exhibit design and fabrication company in the late 1990s.
Founded by Mick Hilleary, former Curator of Exhibits at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, Total Habitat works with homeowners, contractors, architects, and engineers providing a wide variety of design, construction, and consultation services.
Using a built-in biological filtration system engineered to handle a wide range of climates, their natural pool system is key in the development of spaces, products, and experiences worthy of nature herself. Hilleary explains: “Guided by scientific principles, we developed formulas for calculating our biological filter size for pools and ponds—in any given area of the country—based on factors like temperature zone, wind and sun exposure, fish population, and the number of gallons we need to turn over through the system each day.”
Zoos from around the globe have turned to Total Habitat for their design/build expertise. The exhibits they create feature natural swimming pools, ponds, and habitats that enhance both the animal and visitor experiences.
After years of designing pools and ponds for animals, Hilleary recalls the moment when it was decided to move in another direction. “After building an otter habitat and watching them joyfully swim about in the crystal-clear water of their exhibit, we thought, ‘We need to do this for humans!’”
Today, homeowners can reap the benefits of Total Habitat’s dedication to building site-specific, low-maintenance, all-natural pools and ponds that add an experiential layer to the landscape.