Contractor’s Corner | Just Admiring the View

By Charlie Ross

Published on October 5, 2019

oak bridge pond
A beautiful Ratchford Oak Bridge.

It was mid-September 2018 when we received a call from one of the kindest gentlemen you will ever meet. His wife had recently passed away, and he and his stepdaughter wanted to do something to honor her life. And that’s exactly what we set out to help them do.
He got called into work the day we were supposed to meet, so at first, I was skeptical.

Adding 63 Aquabloxs. 

But I reminded myself that I had pre-qualified his project and budget over the phone. He was to meet with another contractor for a quote on Monday afternoon, so I arranged to meet with him Monday morning at our outdoor showroom.

He and his stepdaughter liked what they saw, so later that day, we went to their home and started laying out the design for their pond and patio. (Apparently the other contractor never called back.)

We had a blank slate to work with. A new view from his kitchen window and a peaceful place to relax comprised our client’s goal. As the project moved forward, our client’s trust in Virginia Water Gardens grew — so the design grew as well. Not only did his backyard become an oasis, complete with a sunroom, five separate patios, a beautiful self-sustaining pond, swim spa, sauna and a complete well lit landscape, but the front of the home also underwent a complete landscape renovation. New plants, a small patio, two water features consisting of a medium Aquascape stacked-slate urn and three Aquascape Basalt fountains were installed.

We were hired for this project initially because we were the pond experts. During the first phase of the project, we gained our customer’s trust and basically became the general contractor for many aspects of the project.

One of the biggest challenges of this project was the fact that it grew. Remember, it started out as one pond and one patio. Virginia Water Gardens installed two ponds, two fountainscapes, five patios, a beautiful oak slab bridge, two walkways and all new plants in the front and back of the home. We also supervised the sauna, swim spa and deck installations and worked around the construction of a new sunroom.

A beautiful basalt fountain.

The project started in late October, and all aspects of the project were complete in late spring 2019. The pond and front water features were the easy part of the project. The challenges were weather and working around other contractor’s work and schedule.

The perseverance and hard work paid off. Our customer has a beautiful oasis to relax and entertain in. I just spoke with him this week, and he said it is almost always late in the evening before he goes inside the house. He swims in his swim spa and then relaxes by the pond while he feeds his fish. Even before work in the mornings, he enjoys a cup of coffee at 5:00 a.m. by the pond! Mission complete! We change the way people live life in their backyard.

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Designer: Charlie Ross, Amilcar Morales & Armando Amay

Installers:  Amilcar Morales, Armando Amaya, Moises Aparicio & Keith Blankenbaker

Location: Dumfries, Virginia

Size: 28 x 12 feet with a 15-foot stream. The turtle pond added during the project was 8 x 10 feet.


  • Approx. 2,250 square feet of 45 mil EPDM liner
  • 1- 6,000 Aquascape biofalls
  • 1- 2,500 Aquascape biofalls
  • 63 Aquablox
  • 1- 2,000 to 4,000 Aquasurge pump
  • 1- 4,000 to 8,000 Aquasurge pump
  • Vault with five extensions
  • 2 Aquascape dosing systems
  • 1 Iongen algae control system
  • 3 basalt fountains
  • 1 large Aquascape basin
  • 1 medium stacked-slate urn

Project Price:$190,000



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