Dream Pond Renovation for POND Trade Publisher

By George Janowiak

Published on July 6, 2024

Team from Gem Ponds
From left to right: Omar Aguilar, Edi Aguilar, George Janowiak, Pablo Gonzales and Allen Aguilar of GEM Ponds proudly pose by Lora Lee’s newly completed pondless waterfall — a testament to their hard work and dedication.

In the tranquil south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, lies Orland Park, where a homeowner named Lora Lee dreamt of a complete renovation for her small pond. She envisioned transforming her 10-by-8-foot pond with a waterfall into a low-maintenance, worry-free haven. (She also happens to be the publisher of POND Trade magazine!)

Given her passion for travel, which keeps her away from home frequently, Lora Lee sought a pond that required minimal upkeep and eliminated the need for someone to take care of her goldfish. To achieve this, she decided to give her goldfish away, ensuring that they would be well cared for. George Janowiak took on the responsibility of finding new homes for the goldfish, ensuring they would be in good hands.

Collaborating closely with Lora Lee, George and the team at Gem Ponds embarked on a mission to bring her dream water feature to life. The installation took place at the end of Sept. 2023 and was completed in just one full day.

Pond Renovation Details

Lora Lee’s newly transformed pondless waterfall, designed and installed by George Janowiak of GEM Ponds, showcases a medium spillway bowl and natural stone outcroppings, offering a low-maintenance and visually stunning water feature.

The first step in this ambitious project was to dismantle the existing pond. The team began by pumping out the water, carefully removing the fish, and transferring Lora Lee’s waterlilies into a holding tank filled with the pond water to keep them healthy. To maintain cost efficiency, George’s team decided to reuse the existing granite boulders, power-washing them for the new feature. They meticulously removed the boulders by hand and set them aside for later use. Gravel was also shoveled out to make space for new gravel. The old liner, biofalls and skimmer box were removed.

The new pondless waterfall was meticulously mapped out and shaped. One of Lora Lee’s primary requirements was minimal maintenance. Instead of installing a traditional skimmer box and biofalls, George and his team opted for a pondless waterfall featuring a medium spillway bowl. This setup not only reduced maintenance but also included a pondless waterfall vault leading to the water basin, equipped with large Aquablox covered by gravel. This system functions as a natural filtration system, enhancing water quality as it flows through the blocks and gravel.

The water from the spillway bowl cascaded into a beautiful stream, culminating in a small fall into the basin. Weathered limestone boulders were strategically placed to create a natural outcropping, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the water feature. To accommodate Lora Lee’s second requirement — standing water for her lilies — the team ensured that the basin retained enough water to support the plants, trimming them back to promote regrowth in the spring.

Lora Lee’s pond renovation is a testament to GEM Ponds’ expertise and dedication, turning a simple dream into a breathtaking reality.

before and after photos of Lora Lee's pond renovation
(left) Edi Aguilar and Omar Aguilar from GEM Ponds remove the existing rocks and lilies from Lora Lee’s pond during the demolition phase of the renovation project.(right) Lora Lee’s newly transformed pondless waterfall as pictured the following Spring.

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Specifications

Designer: George Janowiak
Installer: GEM Ponds
Contact: Phone: 630/539.3713  Email: george@gemponds.com
Project Location: Orland Park, Illinois
Size: 10 x 8 ft.
Components:
 Medium Spillway Bowl
 Pondless Waterfall Vault
 Large Aquablox
Time to Complete: 1 day
Crew: George Janowiak,
Allen Aguilar, Edi Aguilar,
Omar Aguilar, Pablo Gonzalez
Buyer’s Cost: $10,000

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