Contractor’s Corner | Spilling Over

By John Loudon

Published on August 31, 2022

Pond-patio makeover spawns fountainscape project

Louden Pond Makeover
Backyard by day.

What I thought was going to be a rebuild of an 11-by-16-foot pond turned out to be much, much more.

When the client initially contacted me, he sent some photos of his existing pond. It was your typical landscaper-built pond. You know the type — with the 2-by-3-foot, 8-inch-thick Eden slab stair-step waterfall, a mixed bag of all different types of stone and 3-inch gravel. It’s commonly above ground with landscape block walls surrounding it for support.

When I got to the consultation, my clients Tom and Cindy explained that they wanted the pond to be moved off the patio to an area about 30 feet away, the site of a never-used trampoline. This area was lower and sloped away from the existing patio, so I immediately knew what I would be doing with all that Eden stone from the existing pond — building a retaining wall to support the new pond on the opposite side of the patio. It worked out great!

Tom went on to explain the rest of his vision for his pond-patio makeover. They wanted a new firepit installed on the patio and a hot tub installed off the patio and behind the pond. After listening to all their ideas and sharing some of my own, a plan was in order.

I was a little hesitant to get involved with this project at first, because the existing pond was only a couple of years old, and given that there had been an obviously huge expense for the existing pond and patio, I didn’t think the homeowners would be willing to pay for a brand new pond a second time around.

Well, I guess I was wrong there!

We decided to use weathered limestone boulders and outcroppings for the pond, which ended up being about 16 by 30 feet including the waterfall. We would also do a small pondless waterfall on the opposite side of the patio and install large, weathered limestone boulders to create a retaining wall with plantings along the fence, which tied together the two features.

After a little more brainstorming, we thought it would be cool to add a little more fire into the plan. So, we added a second pondless waterfall and incorporated it into the main waterfall berm. We also installed stacked slate urns with the fire feature add-on kits into each of the two pondless basins and added a fire and water spillway bowl at the opposite end of the pond near the hot tub.

We ended up completing the job with all the bells, whistles and upgrades, including color-changing LED lights, an Ion-gen system and an auto-dosing system. Tom and Cindy spared no expense on this project — while all this was going on, their landscaper was also on site, installing the fire pit and replacing a large portion of their paver patio with gorgeous natural stone.

Louden Backyard Pond
Front entry fountainscape.

But that’s not all, folks!

Upon completion of this project, Tom walked me out to the front of the home, pointed to an area next to the driveway and near the front entrance and asked, “So, what can we do with this space?” Although I may have been in somewhat disbelief, I knew he was dead serious.

This was July 2021. And as we all recall, supply-chain issues were having a major effect on all of us, and many of the Aquascape fountains were on backorder and could be for quite some time. My season was pretty much booked as well, so we both agreed that the front entry would be a project for next season. That gave me some time to think about what to do there. And with the help of the great Brian Helfrich, we put together the design for the front of the home. The plan was in place, and all the materials were ordered before the end of 2021.

Fast-forward to spring 2022. Upon commencement of our spring cleanout season, it was time to break ground on Tom and Cindy’s front-entry project. The design consisted of two large stacked-slate walls bolted together in a concave fashion, followed by two small stacked-slate walls bolted together in a convex fashion, followed by two more large stacked-slate walls bolted together in a concave fashion. (Think snake-shaped). The small, convex walls served as the focal point and were used as the spillway for a roughly 55-inch waterfall with a large stacked-slate urn standing above. Three Aquascape SLD Adjustable Flow Rate 5000-9000 gph Pumps were used along with three custom-made manifolds.

Front entry with color changing lights.

Twenty-two color-changing lights were installed into two hubs at this beautiful home in Roselle, Illinois. With the existing white landscape lights illuminating the house, they had red and blue for the 4th of July. Halloween will be next — I’m thinking purple and green (or orange all the way). And, of course, red and green for Christmas!

These were two very unique and fun projects! I give much thanks to Tom and Cindy, who somehow have a knack for bringing the best out of me.

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Designer: John Loudon
Installer: Artistic Design Garden Ponds
Contact Info:
Project Location: Roselle, Illinois
Pond Size: 16’ x 30’
Fountainscape Size: 15’ x 20’
Time to Complete Backyard: 14 days
Time to Complete Fountainscape: 6 days
Crew: John Loudon, Alberto Arrenondo
Buyer’s Cost: $108,000



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