2023 Water Artisans of the Year Runners-Up

Published on February 29, 2024

Runner-up: Fountains & Formal Features was awarded to Shane Hemphill & Heath Webb of Art of the Yard.

What happens when two projects tie for first place? That’s a tough question we had to answer this year for the first time in the contest’s eight years. We ended up calling on our friend Tim Wood of Aquatic Edge Consulting, a three-time contest winner and past judge, to break the tie. (Yes, the rankings were THAT close!)  

Aqua Ultraviolet

POND Trade magazine is proud to host the independent, unsponsored Water Artisans of the Year contest on an annual basis. This provides a level playing field for all contractors, regardless of company size or affiliation, and recognizes the year’s most impressive projects that set the bar in pond construction. We’d like to send a huge thanks to all our judges who presided over this year’s contest. Thanks to donations from all our applicants, we donated more than $2,000 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital on behalf of the global pond and water garden industry.

Now in its eighth year, the Water Artisans of the Year contest has become a celebration of our industry’s elite construction projects. POND Trade magazine will start accepting entries for this year’s contest later this fall. We’d love to feature your artistry on the pages of this magazine next year!

Runner-up: Fountains & Formal FeaturesShane Hemphill & Heath Webb, Art of the Yard

Shane Hemphill and Heath Web

The contemporary water feature pictured above was a complete rebuild of an outdoor fountain adjacent to a formal swimming pool. All the stones on the house were preexisting, so Art of the Yard had to produce an exact match to make the feature appear as though it was part of the original house construction. With multiple spills and falls, this formal fountain completes and elevates this already luxurious outdoor living space.

Runner-up: Under $20k – April Dugan, American Waterscapes

Runner-Up: Best Under $20K was awarded to April Dugan.
April Dugan

Set amid an English-style garden, this 10-by-15-foot pond adds a subtle grace to the surrounding landscape. A patio bowl was lovingly carved to allow small rivulets of water to spill from its edge and act as a custom biofilter. At 30 inches deep, this wildlife pond hosts small fish, waterlilies and carnivorous plants. An intake bay was added to accommodate the heavy biological load from the crab apple that overhangs the pond. 

Runner-up: Best Pondless – Dan Johanson, Focal Point Features

Pondless - runner up 2023 WATY
Dan Johanson of Focal Point Features was runner-up in the Best Pondless category.
Dan Johanson

This mesmerizing 30-foot stream flows down a hill nestled between two oak trees. A gentle, low-profile spring pools up and cascades over the initial waterfall. A diverse combination of waterfalls and pooling areas concludes with a dramatic drop just steps away from the adjoining patio. Grasses, ivy and terrestrials soften the edges and add texture and color. Underwater lights accentuate the water’s drama, reflecting a captivating dance among the overhead trees.

Runner-up: Most NaturalisticJames Hiestand, DreamScapes Water Features and Landscaping

Most Naturalistic 2023 Water Artisans of the Year Runner-Up
James Hiestand was named runner-up in the Most Naturalistic category.
James Hiestand
James Hiestand

An aura of peace envelops this 6-foot-tall, 70-foot-long new addition to a park in Simi Valley, California. This pondless waterfall appears as though nature created it centuries ago, with concrete-reinforced boulder walls and 75 tons of tan, brown and orange Calico stone harvested from a local quarry. An 8-foot-wide reflection pool at the foot of the falls is the perfect venue to sit and contemplate nature.

Check out the 2023 Water Artisans of the Year winners here.

Learn more about our judges.

Kick Ass Pond Fittings Leaderboard

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