Contractor’s Corner | Let There Be Light!

By Bryan Conklin

Published on January 7, 2020

View of the pond and waterfall.

In our line of work, customer satisfaction and the ability to create a good build are paramount if you want to stay in business long term. More important, though, is the understanding that we can always learn, grow, and become better tomorrow than we were today.

Intake bay.

While 2019 was a transformative year for our company, we are excited to tackle 2020 with new knowledge that will help us create the kind of tranquil, inspiring landscapes that we are proud to showcase out in the community. One of the biggest takeaways we discovered this past year came when some routine troubleshooting led to an unexpected backyard transformation.

Earlier in the year, our team began working on an 11-by-16-foot koi pond that was 4 feet deep with a bog wetland filter, 10-foot stream and an intake bay. We were especially excited to build for the homeowners and see the plans come to fruition.

pond with lily pads
View of the pond 4′ deep, look at that clarity!

One of our favorite things to see in a build is beautiful aquatic plant life that adds to the overall ambiance of the project. However, due to the large koi in the pond, we did not have an abundance of aquatic plantings in the main pond itself. Instead, we put aquatic plantings in the upper shelf of the pond, along the stream and bog, and inside the intake bay.

As with any ecosystem pond like this one, bog and wetland filters work better over time. Even with the large amount of filtration in the pond, we started noticing issues with tannins in the water fairly early after construction. We tried all the normal go-to tactics like barley, activated charcoal, rapid clear pads, flocculant and complete water changes to fix the problem, but we found no permanent resolution. Scratching our heads, we understood that we had to find a resolution to this complicated issue.

shaded pond
Finished product!

After researching the surrounding area, surveying the entire space and running some testing on our end, we noticed that the issue seemed to stem from the lack of sunlight in the homeowner’s yard. The nearby trees appeared to be negatively impacting the health of their new pond. After consulting with the clients, we concluded that the lack of natural light was the culprit that prevented the aquatic plantings from thriving.

The homeowners opted to have a few of their larger trees removed from the property, which not only helped to reduce the number of leaves and acorns that were dropping into the water, but also helped clean up the pond almost immediately. The tree removal also led to a beautiful backyard transformation that the customers can appreciate for years to come.

This project’s difficulties helped our team to gain a better understanding of how sunlight and healthy aquatic life go hand in hand. We’re proud to have been able to troubleshoot and fix the problem. What we’re even more proud of, though, is the end result for the clients. Their space is light and beautiful, providing the ideal backdrop for a tranquil moment reflecting outdoors.

Contractors Corner

Contractors - Tell us Your Story!

Submit a 1,000 to 1,200 word article on a recent pond installation or technology application, along with three photos, and enter to win a spot in Contractor’s Corner spotlight on Our Contractor’s Corner sponsor, Pondliner, will review all case studies submitted for each quarter and will pick the best one to feature on’s home page. The winner will also receive $250 worth of Pondliner products. A few rules apply. You must be a professional pond installer in order to write an article. Please provide the name of your company too.

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Designer:  Just Pondering Inc.

Installers:  Just Pondering Inc.

Location:  Raleigh, North Carolina

Contact Info: Bryan Conklin
(919) 906-3473

Size:  11 by 16 feet (4 feet deep)
10-foot Stream
Bog Filter
Intake Bay


  • Tennessee Fieldstone Boulders
  • Delaware River Rock
  • 45 Mil EPDM Liner
  • Atlantic Water Gardens Underlayment
  • Atlantic Water Gardens 2-Inch Flex Pipe
  • Atlantic Water Gardens Eco-Blox (10)
  • Atlantic Water Gardens TT6000 Pump
  • Atlantic Water Gardens 88-Watt Transformer (2)
  • Atlantic Water Gardens 2-Watt LED Light (2)
  • Atlantic Water Gardens 4-Watt LED Light (5)
  • Aquascape Powerhead (2)
  • Aquascape Two-Disk Aeration

Time to Complete: Two weeks

Crew: Bryan, Steve, Keywon & Tim

Project Price: $25,587



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