Building a modern pond to make a client’s dream a reality

By Craig McBride

Published on April 5, 2023

modern pond built by All Aquatics
 Entry view through end-to-end windows.  Bridge made from Ironwood stone used as black basalt.
Homeowner's vision of atrium pond.
Conceptual rendering provided by homeowner for inspiration. 

As owner of All Aquatics, I was approached by a home builder looking for a contractor capable of building a modern pond and water feature envisioned by a homeowner. “Could I build what the client envisioned?” he asked. I accepted the challenge, recognizing the difficulties that lie ahead.

Building was underway and the foundation and framing of the home were already in place. The area where the pond was to be located featured a square concrete hole, sunken down to allow for a pond to be installed.

For this project I really needed to think inside the BOX, in the area where the pond was intended. I could not cut any foundation or concrete because it was all supporting the house around it.

Filtration system for a modern pond

Installed filtration system for modern pond
Finished installation of in-line filter is located inside a car garage. 

The first step was to design a pond system that would work with the existing plumbing. I built the system using:

  • 1/3 hp Roughneck Pump
  • Aqua Ultraviolet Ultima 10,000 Filter
  • 114 Watt Aqua Ultraviolet UV
  • Aquascape IonGen Generation 1.5
  • Aquascape Pond Powerheads (2)
  • Cyclonic Pre-Filter Filtration

The system will filter this modern 2,000-gallon pond, allowing for low upkeep of the pond and maintenance of the system.


Next, I determined the best way to waterproof the hole. I felt EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber liner was the best choice for waterproofing. The challenge was creating a lining with limited folds. I needed a flat surface to install veneer stones on the vertical walls. Being a Certified Firestone Installer, I seamed the rubber liner over and around all the different types of corners. After that, veneer stones were applied to the walls, covering the liner. We installed drain tile both under and up the vertical walls of the rubber liner to allow moisture or water to escape.  The drain tiles led to multiple drains preinstalled by the home builder.

Working with existing plumbing

Because this pond was exposed to both direct rainfall and potential roof rain run off, the builders engineer installed redundant drainage piping systems . Two 6-inch main drains and two 4-inch down spout drains ensure all water is easily evacuated during any excess water event. Prior to my involvement, all of the drains and plumbing to the pond were centered in the pond area. This complicated my implementation of all the elements to a proper pond build.

modern pond prior to construction and installation of stone
Left: Exposed pond area prior to construction with bare foundation floor.  Right: Installation of the salt, cap, stone and veneers.   

A wood frame, constructed of pressure treated lumber, serves as the center support for the bridge to rest on. It also hides the pre-installed plumbing. The bridge was built from a solid pre-build powder coated metal frame and anchored to the foundational walls. It is also supported by the wood frame around the plumbing.  A hatch built in the middle of the bridge allows access to the plumbing, including the drains, returns and intake for the filter.

Design changes

Like most pond builds, the project evolved to better fit the space. As we were installing the pond liner and stone veneer walls, the bridge design changed several times. This improved the look and functionality of the space. 

As installers we are often limited by our client’s budget. This project would not be possible if the available budget wasn’t adequate. Luckily, the client understood the complexity of the project and knew it would come at a cost. The client insisted the final design was of high quality. The overall cost of installation, in addition to the bridge and granite wall, totaled approximately $115,000.

The end result speaks for itself. The atrium where the pond is located is the focal point of the entire living space. Every angle showcases the artful water display. That is why building a modern pond is the perfect water feature for a modern home. 

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Designer: Homeowner
Installer: All Aquatics, Craig McBride, Owner
Contact Info:
Project Location: Frisco, Texas
Size: 15 ft x 15ft x 2ft deep
Components: 1/3 hp Roughneck Pump, 10k Ultima Filter, 114 Aqua Ultraviolet UV, Cyclonic Pre-Filter Filtration, Aquascape Ion Gen 1.5 Gen, 2-Aquascape Pond Powerheads, Aquascape Thermometer, Aquascape color changing Lights, Atlantic Color falls
Time to Complete: 336 hours
Crew:3 people
Buyer’s Cost: $115,000



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