Like last year, there were no blowout victories in any of our five categories. If anything, the staff here at POND Trade had to triple-check our math when compiling the final tallies from the judges. We even raised the level of difficulty a bit this year and allowed only one category entry for each project. This required all applicants to be more careful and deliberate about how they approached the contest.
The runners-up in each category are listed on the following pages. If the level of artistry displayed by our finalists is any indication, the 2018 pond season is going to be an even tougher playing field when it comes to showcasing the pond and water-garden industry’s “best of the best.” So, start saving your notes and photos of your most jaw-dropping projects, because we will start accepting entries for the 2018 contest early this fall. Do you have what it takes to be a Water Artisan of the Year?
We’d like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s contest and their financial contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project. We at POND Trade are proud to support such a talented field of professionals.
| Best Under $15k
Max Taylor, Magnolia Ponds & Water Gardens, www.magnoliaponds.com
Believe it or not, this yard was once a relatively flat landscape. When Taylor and his team were called to the scene, they built up the grade before they dug down to create a natural-looking slope. The soothing sounds of flowing water now reverberate throughout the property. Birds love splashing in the stream, providing hours of endless entertainment for the customer.
| Best Large Scale
Tom Dieck, TRD Designs, www.landscape4life.com
Day or night, this iconic backyard monument captures the eye of all passers-by. A huge ecosystem pond and large-scale pondless waterfall share the spotlight, as more than 135 feet of waterfalls and streams culminate into a 5-foot presentation drop to the pool and house.
| Best Pondless
Kelby Reed, Earthscapes Garden Room, www.earthscapesgardenroom.com
His customer envisioned a fountain on the lanai, but when Reed and his team arrived on the scene, they saw so much more. It didn’t take much effort to convince the customer to expand the view of this sitting area, adding multiple water features — including a spillway centerpiece — at varying heights and volumes.
| Best Waterfall
Ryan Bunting, Big Boulder Pond Company, www.bigboulderpondcompany.com
“Bring on the elevation!” begged Bunting, after he and his team of flatlanders worked their creative magic on this rare hill in lower Delaware’s Rehobeth Beach. Laboring through the extreme heat in July, they converted an unsightly mud pit into an elegant crashing waterfall, now the only one of its kind in the nearby region.
| Most Artistic
Jason Heller, Neptune’s Water Gardens, www.neptuneswatergardens.com
A granite-lined backyard pond transforms this home’s outdoor ambience. From a comfortable perch on the flagstone sitting wall, one can admire koi dashing around the boulder bubbler and along the deep, slow-moving stream adorned with whimsical bronze fountains. Weathered limestone ledges mimic the naturally eroded waterfalls found throughout the nearby region.