No Passport Required

Published on May 1, 2013

A young man enjoys his pond, which also serves as a unique swimming area.
A young man enjoys his pond, which also serves as a unique swimming area.

Imagine, if you will, a one-of-a-kind retreat. Huge boulders form breathtaking waterfalls and rushing streams. A pristine body of water emulates a serene, natural mountain spring. Arched water spouts grace the exterior, and a flat boulder serves as a table with crystal clear water bubbling up through a hole in the center. It is a refreshing and safe bathing experience that must be seen to be believed.

Sound dramatic? The end result certainly was, as you can see in the photos. But achieving this backyard paradise required a great deal of innovation and attention to detail. Follow along as we show you exactly how Liquid Designz turned a regular yard into a scene straight out of a travel magazine.

**The objective**

Our goal with this installation was to create a truly one-of-a-kind, functioning pond ecosystem that also served as a recreational pool. The installation would include a large boulder stream and waterfall, multiple exterior arched water spouts and a vanishing-edge skimmer area (which would double as a small kiddie pool area). A 30-foot by 15-foot sandy beach (which is 15 inches deep) would lead directly into the sandy-bottom pool, giving swimmers a safe, chemical-free bathing experience. Structurally sound and aesthetically beautiful, our design would be ideal for up-close and safe interaction. It would also be low-maintenance — much less so than any gunite or liner pool.

One of the most interesting features of our installation is the fact that it is all-natural. Why would anyone want to swim or let their loved ones go into water where burning eyes and chemical odors prevail? The purpose of the main chemical in most pools, chlorine, is to kill everything in its path. If you have ever enjoyed a crystal-clear lake or a mountain spring, then you can understand the growing trend in the U.S for this distinctive kind of pool.

**The challenge**

As you might imagine, a project of this scope presents significant challenges, and this installation was no different. The greatest of these was space: the location of the project required that it be constructed between a very steep hillside and an existing patio. It was an extremely tight area that included an array of large boulders from one to three tons in weight.

**Filtration and aeration**

With a blend of aquatic plants, assorted substrate and stone and beneficial bacteria, we utilized all-natural, chemical-free filtration the way Mother Nature intended. A natural wetland filtration system (which we call “Mother Nature’s kidneys” but is also often referred to as a “Regeneration Zone”) helps to create and sustain an environmentally balanced ecosystem. The result is a pristine body of water for all-natural and safe bathing that offers astounding savings where operational costs are concerned.

A clean-out port is located within the wetland filter to dispose of any anaerobic waste or debris that may end up there. Along with the wetland filter, we have two designated bog areas that are loaded with nutrient-hungry aquatic plants.

One of the chief concerns when installing a sandy-bottom floor is avoiding anaerobic bacteria buildup, and human interaction is a great help here. As swimmers enter and leave the pool, they assist by stirring up the sandy floor. Additionally, four submerged jets — strategically positioned at floor level, mid-water level and just below the surface — provide extra aeration to keep bacteria levels in check.

Another unique design element is the location of the wetland filter. It is in the center of the main stream and waterfall. Due to the restricted area, we went 42 inches deep. It is filled with two small rain tanks and river rocks of assorted size. The rocks start at 5 to 8 inches around at the bottom and get progressively smaller as they get closer to the surface. At the surface, we used pea gravel and assorted aquatic plants with varying root system depths.

**Multiple pump advantage**

Aquascape’s 4,000 to 8,00 gallon-per- -hour adjustable flow rate pumps were ideal for this particular project. We have one pump which runs to our waterfall box, main wetland filter and the hillside exterior arched water spout. It is ball- valved, so not only can we fluctuate the slow upward flow for the wetland area, we can also vary the strength of the main waterfall area.

Our second Aquascape pump runs the kiddie pool and patio-side arched water spout, along with all the submersible jets. The second pump also pushes water to the Bubbling Sunbather/Beach Table Boulder, which is the first of its kind.

The most practical attribute of this unique, multiple-pump system — along with the capability to adjust the flow (and also energy output) — can be seen when the pool/pond is not being used. In those times, one pump is off and the main waterfall/wetland filter pump is on but set to minimum flow setting, so the water is constantly being filtered very effectively and efficiently. (Plumbing Note: All ball valves are single-union ball valves for easy adaptability and change.)

**The soothing glow of night**

As darkness approaches, an amazing transformation occurs as the water of the pond begins to glow. A beautiful array of vibrant, marine- grade LEDs illuminate, casting cool green light over the sand and plants of the installation and turning the glistening beach paradise into an enchanting dreamscape.

Our principal goal for the night- time features of the installation was, of course, safety. The second was aesthetics. Thus, green LED lights are used in the pond area for safety, as green is one of the colors required for navigation. These lights clearly outline the steps, seating area and entire perimeter of the pool area. We also used a blend of cool and warm white LEDs to illuminate some subtle sections of the aquatic plantings and the detailed, custom hardscape.

At Liquid Designz, our unique, extreme installations are on the cutting edge of recreational pools and ponds. As this installation demonstrates, aesthetics are where Liquid Designz distinguishes itself from the competition, and our premier craftsmanship and artistry are on display in every project. Let the jaw-dropping moments commence as your guests look on in disbelief at the wonderland right in your backyard, and enjoy as your Liquid Designz installation whisks you away to another place.

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