Interactive Pond is an Outdoor Classroom

By Bradley Blocksom

Published on April 30, 2023

Interactive pond in North Caorlina
Taking in the sites and sounds of the landscape.

Pond, stream and wetland round out a living, breathing water garden

In the early morning hours, a tractor-trailer load of boulders sat quietly on the side of the road. The rugged truck driver was sleeping in the cab after a long night driving from the Appalachian Mountains to Charlotte, North Carolina.

It was parked outside the house of a family that had a grassy backyard and dreams of transforming their outdoor living space into a living, breathing water garden. Kevin Hoffman, the homeowner, had grown up an avid aquarist with many tanks and fish throughout his years. He envisioned a wonderful pond with large boulders, full of koi and other fish swimming around in unison. He had a vision but needed to find the person with the right skills and knowledge to get it done.

Consultation with the homeowner

Patio pond North Carolina
The paver patio was partially removed and cut around the boulders in order to make it feel like the pond was always there and the patio was built around it at a later date.

Dave Blocksom was the man that could make it happen. He had the team, experience and expertise to complete the project. After some lengthy phone calls and an on-site consultation, Kevin and Dave came up with a design that would change the Hoffman’s backyard. It would tranform from a boring, grassy backyard into a living, breathing water garden. This would be a water feature that could be enjoyed by young and old for years to come.

As the Pondscapes of Charlotte team arrived that morning, the once quiet scene turned into something much different. Without pause or delay, machines were started, more than 24 tons of stone were unloaded, dirt was moved, and the grassy backyard quickly turned into a bustling job site. Pallets of stone were scattered across the yard, and the project was underway.

Construction of the Interactive Pond Begins

Pond Construction boulder placement
The placement of the first stone serves an important purpose of retaining soil and creating the elevation needed to build the wetland filter.

The first stone was placed early in what might have appeared to be a random spot in the yard. However, this was actually a thoroughly calculated location. We needed to build a large retaining wall that would help provide the elevation we needed for our wetland filter, located at the top of the water feature.

One of the important design ideas that we wanted to accomplish was to make the pond as interactive as possible. This is why the pond was located off their existing paver patio at the back of their house. The end pavers were removed and cut to hug the boulders. This made it seem like the pond was there first, with the patio built later. The edge of the pond was topped off by large boulders that one could step up on and feed the fish or dangle their feet in the water. For the Hoffmans to take a shortcut into their backyard, two large boulders were placed on either side of the pond. This created a stepping path that looked like the stones were floating on the water.

We built up the ground so the waterfalls faced inside the house, where the Hoffmans spend the most time. While inside, the Hoffmans can enjoy a view of the water feature from multiple windows. This gives them the opportunity to enjoy their water feature 365 days a year.

Project Completion

The project was completed in two weeks. Many challenges were faced and overcome. The Hoffmans now have two children, a boy and a girl. The pond will provide them with an outdoor classroom, where they can learn and connect with nature. Kevin and his wife are excited to enjoy many nights entertaining family and friends out by the pond.

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3 thoughts on “Interactive Pond is an Outdoor Classroom”

  1. Carroll Puckett

    These guys are awesome pond builders as well as awesome people!! Very easy to work with before, while and after they complete your pond! Not only that they provide yearly maintenance that keeps your pond looking new with crystal clear water 24/7. 5⭐️ all around

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Designer: Dave Blocksom
Installer: Pondscapes of Charlotte
Contact Info: 704/681-2295
Project Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Size: Pond 18’ x 18’ x 3’ deep with 27’ stream & 4’ x 8’ wetland
Components: wetland filtration system, two 4-8K pumps, stepping stones across the pond, negative edge, reservoir, 10 Aquascape underwater lights
Time to Complete: 2 weeks
Crew: Bradley Blocksom, Braeden Branch, Vicente Garcia, Chrissy Rivelli, & Alex Teofilak



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