Contractor’s Corner | A complete home makeover for 38 large koi

By Roy Dahl

Published on July 3, 2018

retaining rock pond koi
Note the log waterfall and happy koi.

I received a call from a customer, Robert, about a possible waterfall rebuild. After talking to him and seeing the pictures of his pond, I realized he was actually looking for a complete renovation of the 15-year-old pond.

We set up an appointment to meet, and when I arrived at Robert’s house, I was shocked to find that his pond was partially built above ground with retaining wall bricks and a makeshift rebar system trying to hold back the liner. At about 2,000 gallons, the pond was home to 38 large koi!

In addition to the crumbling walls, it had a very small biofalls and two inline pressure filters. There were also two homemade skimmers made out of large Tupperware containers underwater!

Robert said that it had been a nightmare to deal with for a long time. He had a hard time getting good water quality and keeping the algae under control. I suggested that Robert and his wife come see my pond, which has a bog filter. Once Robert walked through my gate, he was convinced and gave me a $25,000 budget.

[box]A homemade, under-water tupperware skimmer, left, and multiple types of retaining wall and rock ready to fall down before installation. [/box]

To support the heavy fish load and the surrounding trees, I specced out a 12-by-19 pond that was 3 feet deep with an intake bay, bog system, fish cave, auto-dosing system and IonGen system. We used a combination of granite and weathered limestone and red flint gravel.

The job took four days for our four-man crew. While we were finishing the project, Robert kept talking about a hollow log that I had at my house. We had the perfect spot for a second waterfall, so I suggested using the log. Robert loved the idea and approved the enhancement.

The project turned out spectacular, and Robert and his koi could not be happier with the new pond’s crystal clear water and ease of maintenance.

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Designer: Roy Dahl

Installers:  Aqua Landscapes, Inc. 

Location: Wood Dale, IL 

Contact Info: Roy Dahl at 

Size: 12 x 19 x 3-ft. pond with a 4-by-6-foot bog


  • Intake Bay 
  • Fish Caves
  • Log Waterfall
  • 3 Pumps
  • 6 LED Lights

Time to Complete: 4 days

Crew Size: 4 w/Juan, Cody, Sam & Roy

Project Price: $28,000

Jan-Feb-2021 issue



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