As Designer and Lead Installer at Garden State Koi, I work on many larger size water garden projects. I was sent to Hawley, Pennsylvania to clean out a pond and redo an old waterfall. This was no ordinary task. I had to meet the homeowners’ expectations for a beautiful natural waterfall that would also hide a huge propane tank in the distance. We began by draining the pond and placing the fish in large holding tanks. Then we started to dismantle the old waterfall.
Project 1: Building a natural waterfall to hide an ugly view
In order to build a waterfall tall enough to hide the tank, we first built to a large mound wide enough to blend into the landscape. We brought in 100 yards of soil to build the 3-foot-high mound. Our next step was to find the perfect rocks to match the mossy rock of the Poconos, which we were able to do. Now we were ready to start building the waterfall. We placed one rock at a time to make multiple cascades that can be seen from different directions. When the waterfalls and plantings were complete, we knew it was a winner! Not only did we turn an old dilapidated waterfall into an awesome mossy mountain stream, we eliminated the view of the propane tank. The clients loved it, but I saw a problem—the new waterfall didn’t match the rest of the water feature.
An honest conversation
Now I had to come up with a way to convince the homeowners to redo the entire pond. We had an honest conversation explaining that the new waterfall didn’t match the old pond. I recommended a full makeover and they agreed. We put it on the calendar for the following spring.
Project 2: A pond to match the waterfall
When the following Spring arrived, we drained the pond, relocated the fish to tanks and removed the old water feature beside the newly built waterfall. We then began to shape the new pond to aesthetically match the waterfall. We made it deeper, brought the water closer to the patio and removed the skimmers to add an intake bay. Once that was completed it was time to build a second waterfall to match the waterfall from last year. It was a little bit of a challenge, but with teamwork, we can overcome anything. The landscape has grown in nicely over the last year and the homeowners are loving it so much, that we are returning this year to add a fountainscape. Stay tuned for an update on Project 3!
The importance of meeting client expectations
Meeting client expectations is very important when building pond projects. You never know what a customer’s future plans are. In this case, a $25,000 waterfall redo/drain and clean project led to more than $100,000 in future work. And that’s not including the residual income from their maintenance package.
Tim Dille is the lead designer and installation foreman at Garden State Koi, a full-service retail, maintenance, installation and wholesale pond store in Warwick, New York. Tim has been installing ponds, streams and waterfalls for more than 15 years, with more than 500 water features in the ground.
To see more of this water feature, check out The Project Showcase on our YouTube channel (below).