Building a Koi Pond Classic

By Mark Pankowski

Published on October 26, 2023

koi pond at two weeks old
With sparkling crystalline water and lush aquatic plants, at just two weeks old, this brand-new koi pond was already looking spectacular. Premier can’t wait to watch this oasis “grow up!” 
 

This brand-new koi pond installation was an instant classic. The homeowner had wanted a backyard water feature for more than 30 years, and when his son found our company, Premier Ponds, on TikTok, he was finally ready to transform his outdoor living experience. 

Day 1: Digging & Layout

Premier Ponds construction team and homeowner
The Premier Ponds’ crew smiles alongside our mid-project progress. Standing with us is the client’s son Hayden, who found the company on social media!

Day 1 was spent laying out the dimensions — about 10 by 20 feet — and digging the layout. We build our features with maintenance in mind, so we use a tiered or leveled approach as you get deeper into the pond. Ridges were used as plant shelves, with a designated deepest point for a pump to be dropped in during cleanings. Additionally, our client sprung for a streambed between the Biofalls and pond below, so we shaped that out as well. By mid-afternoon, we’d installed our Biofalls (waterfall) and skimmer intake system, laid plumbing, and dropped underlayment and subsequent rubber liner. 

Day 2: Beginning Stonework

Day 2 saw the beginning stages of our stonework with our artists rocking out the feature with our signature Pennsylvania mountain stone. We always start with the inner ring of the lowest part of the pond’s basin and strategically work our way up, giving the pond’s walls character and making them appear natural — not the “wallpaper technique.”

With how close this pond was to Chesapeake Bay, we knew heron would be a factor. So, our client made the wise decision to incorporate a fish tunnel into his new pond. Using a tough plastic tube as the framework, we rocked out the tunnel to give his fish a place to retreat and hide. Additionally, every client gets their own personal touch on our projects, and this family once had a massive stone in the center of their lawn. They asked us to somehow incorporate it into the overall feature, so we used it as an interactive step up into the pond. Set almost like a peninsula into the pond, the stone allows our clients to get that much closer to their aquatic paradise. This is frequently a favorite detail in our crystalline final products. 

Day 3: Building with Artistry

 koi pond with outdoor space
Masterfully woven into the existing space, this ecosystem pond truly ties together a luxurious outdoor space.

Day 3 was all about artistry. With infrastructure laid and most of the larger stones in place, we could focus on the key details: “King” Mike Kurylo created a gorgeous stone dry stack in the basin’s wall, while Roger “Hollywood” Pope and Matthew “Prime Time” Marsteller used our rocks to create depth and personality throughout the feature.

Meanwhile, head artist Kevin “Big Country” Lescallett got to work crafting the waterfall. Using larger framing rocks, Lescallett looked to get the headwaters to partially immediately drop, as well as some flow to immediately bounce into the framing rocks. This essentially created a cascade that curved in on itself at the start. We used Delaware River Jack cobble in the stream basin to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and promote crystal-clear water quality, with Lescallett guiding the rapids down to the final “sheet-style” drop into the pond below. 

On our final Day 4, we meshed the pond’s rock exterior with the existing patio it ran along. King Mike handled this delicate detail and harmonized the two concepts perfectly. We performed edge work using small gravel to soften the look between lawn and pond and laid mulch. We potted and placed various aquatic plants onto the various shelves we’d created, which is huge for us. In competing with algae for nutrients, they greatly enhance the overall water clarity. Finally, around 2 p.m., it was time to fire up our waterfall.

Revealing the Koi Pond Classic

The reveal was emotional. Lescallett’s cascades are always stirring, but there was a deeper layer here with how long our beloved clients had waited for the moment. As the cool waters gently filled the Biofalls and slowly began to fall down the rapids, there was a mystical sense of empowerment among the crew. Our clients absolutely loved it, but of course, the work wasn’t finished!

Head artist Lescallett always perfects his cascade, so over the next 20 or so minutes, he took various handheld stones and placed them into the rushing headwaters. With each minute hand motion, the stones would incrementally direct the water in new directions at new speeds. A master of his craft, Lescallett locked in and finalized the ideal backyard waterfall. 

Of course, the water is always murky due to the stones we use and their dust. So, two weeks later, we made the two-hour drive to this bayside community to check up on the new feature.

The result was jaw dropping. The glasslike waterfall produced a magical sound Mark could hear from the front yard, and as he approached, the crystalline paradise seemed to glow in the sun. The aquatic plants were thriving, with the water crystal clear — perhaps a little too clear, because the newly added koi fish cowered in their tunnel during the final shots. But hey, that’s the point of the fish tunnel!

The brand-new fish pond truly brings together this luxury outdoor space perfectly. As mentioned, it tastefully runs along a patio with a fire pit and seating area just steps from the aquatic oasis. Our client’s veranda, where he often works from home), is just to the right of the feature, allowing for relaxing moments by the water while under shade. And of course, we built with viewing angles in mind. The waterfall is viewable from inside the home through the kitchen windows and deck. This build speaks to the cohesive nature of water features and the home, and our clients couldn’t have been happier with the end result. 

Watch the YouTube Video

As one final bonus for our awesome clients, we put this tale into a YouTube video that’s come to be known as one of our best. Our clients were willing to be interviewed, and the transformation itself is truly inspiring. With social media being a massive element of our small firm, we’re excited for potential clients to watch this story transpire until the end of time.

In building with pond maintenance and water clarity at the forefront of our vision, we’re excited to see how this paradise progresses over the next few months. We absolutely love seeing our ponds get even more aesthetic over time. As King Mike put it, this will be a haven for connections, relationships and good times for years to come.

Contractors Corner

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Designer: Head of Construction/co-owner, Mike Kurylo

Installer: Premier Ponds

Contact Info: Andrew Lingan, owner of Premier Ponds LLC- 301-706-3315

Project Location: Chesapeake Beach, Maryland

Size: roughly 10 x 20 feet

Components: Aquascape 2500 Biofalls, skimmer, Aquascape 3PL pump, flex PVC

Time to Complete: 4 days

Crew: Mike Kurylo (owner/Head of Construction), Kevin Lescallett (Head Artist), Roger Pope (crew lead), Matthew Marsteller (crew lead), Jacob Washington (technician), Elliot Swander (technician), Mark Pankowski (marketing/video)

Buyer Cost: Residential home, approx. $35,000

 

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