Contractor's Corner

2012 Artist of the Year Calls on Nature with this Pondless Waterfall Update

The 2012 Aquascape Artist of the Year RE-Creates nature in Missouri

The update of the pondless water feature shows how Nature Re-Creations added many detailed features, such as the ribbon or horsetail fall that was strategically placed to replicate nature.

As a water feature professional, I am often called in to consult on many leaky, tired and outdated water features that have reached the end of their lives. Instead of trying to fix these water features, I prefer to politely convince the client to upgrade and refresh the system in order to breathe life back into the space. Water feature renovations can be challenging due to many unforeseen obstacles, but when properly done they become a calling card for more business.

This recent project in Sunset Hills, Missouri is a prime example of a water feature transformation due to the lack of pond construction experience by previous builders. The original pondless waterfall was built by a retaining wall company and they hired a specialist to do the stone work, whose only accomplishment with work was delivering stone! He disappeared and the retaining wall company did its best to deliver on a complex stone waterfall, but the water feature never reached its original promise, see below.

Previous Water Feature | This is a picture of the previous design with its uniform, stacked wall and use of quarried, non-weathered wall stone. The design didn’t elicit any nature-like features.

Plus, the water feature leaked from day one and the customer was left to deal with the aftermath for close to two decades!

Reflecting Nature

After years of research and patience, this customer was looking to update the water feature and found us — Nature’s Re-Creations — via social media and pond tours. From the pond tours, the customers were able to see firsthand our handiwork.

After Picture: Note all the huge, weathered boulders that frame each set of artistically created falls.

This owner wanted a water feature that reflected nature and imbued character. Being a passionate outdoorsman and an artist at heart, Nature’s Re-Creations mission statement is to produce a nature-filled experience with every installation. We want customers to feel as though they’ve stumbled upon on a woodland hike and their water feature isn’t man made.

Nature’s Re-Creations also designs water features with classic straight lines and right angles. However, we love creating naturally designed water features and execute on detailed stonework.

During the design phase, I joke with customers that rocks talk to me! But a good stone has a top, bottom, face and a back. The only way to make them look right in the feature is to place each boulder back the way it was in nature! If you don’t take the time to study the projects’ needs and pick the appropriate stone to create the desired look you are trying to achieve you will never have the outcome you really want.

I pay special attention to how each stone interacts with the others surrounding it and try to replicate mother nature’ at every turn. For example, Nature’s Re-Creations’ designs focus on water flow and how it will move through every crevice of stone. I like to think each stone is telling me where it needs to go and how it should be placed to maximize the effect of the water’s flowing over each hand selected stone. Practice makes perfect and customers are now reaching out to us due to our own signature rock building style.

pondless waterfall backyard

New Design: An overall shot showing the drastic transformation.

These techniques were key in creating this custom pondless waterfall located in Sunset Hills, MO that was probably one of the most challenging features my team and I have ever done. The build included tight access and the slope was quite extreme but the outcome was unbelievable. The waterfall is approximately 20’ wide and over 28’ long, with a total elevation change of 13’ and the first 10’ of it was over a 1 to 1 slope. It has 2 – Signature 6000 Biofalls filters starting the feature, 3 pumps, 2 pondless vault boxes and over 48 tons of massive Missouri weathered limestone moss rock. It took us a little over 3 weeks to remove the old and install the new waterfalls and sold for around $65,000.

So the next time you are hired to create a natural water feature for your client, take the time to really focus on these details and you may be pleasantly surprised at the results. Get out in nature and study how stones are formed, and how they weather in the woods. Walk by a creek and watch the water as it moves through the forest and then do your best to mimic those wonderful attributes in your next project.

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