Being in the business of installing ponds, we’ve done all types, shapes and sizes over the years. It has been a thriving part of the business for us for a long time. But with more and more landscape contractors installing “ponds,” we’ve got to continue to set ourselves apart from the rest. Thinking outside the box and staying as creative as possible are tasks we embrace on a daily basis.
Designing a pond used to be a simple as spray-painting a layout on the grass and letting the pond crew work their magic. They would build an amazing pond, the homeowner would love it and we’d be on to the next build. With ever-growing competition, we continue to strive for bigger, brighter and more creative things. Designing and building amazing water features is near the top of that list.
We’ve always been known for water features, and that is a big part of our business. But nowadays, every Tom, Dick and Harry are claiming that they install “ponds,” and they will do it for cheaper than you will. Unbeknown to the homeowner, these contractors are installing nightmarish water features, most of which will require twice as the much cost as the original price to fix. While in the end this typically provides our company more work in renovating these disasters, they can still cast a shadow over the water garden industry. Those of us in the know must hold ourselves responsible to educate homeowners on why shopping around based on price should never be an option. By providing proper education, as well as physically showing the homeowner what you can do, this can go a long way.
This is why we like to provide potential customers with the opportunity to come and see what they can have in their own yards — specifically, what we build and how it’s constructed. Our Creative Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is loaded with tons of features on-site for the public to view. We always request that clients visit us first. Seeing videos or pictures online can help, but nothing compares to physical interaction. This is a great selling tool. It shows the homeowner that you know how to build amazing water features, and it shows them the different options available. Showing them the quality of your work in person will justify why your price might be higher than the guy with a pickup truck and a shovel. But it doesn’t end there.
Our Dazzling Display
Feast your eyes on one of our masterpieces! This is one of our newest outdoor living displays. While this display incorporates other parts of our business, such as hardscaping, masonry, outdoor audio and landscape lighting, the water feature is the focus of the display, with many of these features already incorporated. It was constructed during rainy days, slow periods and after-business hours.
For this build we started out with a large ecosystem pond. The pond is approximately 20 feet long by 15 feet wide. One of the most notable features of the pond is a large limestone boulder drilled to incorporate a fountain-style waterfall. Not only does this boulder look awesome and add tons of aesthetics, but the boulder fountain also helps to circulate what would otherwise be a fairly stagnant area of the pond. A zero-edge spillway was installed, flowing into the basin. The skimmer houses the pumps for the boulder fountain and the small waterfall coming from underneath the log next to the boulder.
Weathered limestone boulders were used to construct most of the pond, with a few areas of stacked flagstone included for an added touch. Like in all our water features, we incorporated various logs and driftwood to help naturalize and soften the look of the pond. Never underestimate the added value of a couple of gnarly-looking pieces of driftwood. Not only are they much easier to maneuver, but they also give you that unique look that a boulder sometimes just can’t satisfy.
A fish cave was installed to help protect our fish from predators — specifically a local heron that tends to stop by. In most cases, we do a much more elaborate cave. In this case, we used a large piece of irregular flagstone atop the bottom shelf. Typically, these are constructed to completely blend in with the pond, but they can be as simple as a large stone. The fish will thank you for this. You may not have a heron roaming now, but build a pond, and you soon might.
The final phase of the pond — or beginning phase, depending on how you look at it — flows over a zero-edge spillway into the storage basin. Multiple pumps are housed in the basin for various parts of the water feature; void space was filled with AquaBlox. Atop the basin sit two stacked, slate bubbling urns of various sizes. The larger of the two urns doubles as a fire fountain as well. The third fountain on the basin is a self-contained fire bowl. We customized the bowl to incorporate into the system and added three spillways to it.
From the basin, the water is pumped up through a small bog filter and a spillway-bowl fountain. The spillway pours into the bog filter before entering the falls area. The water then flows down various cascading waterfalls. These falls were constructed out of a different type of weathered limestone to show the variety of options available.
The pond is also equipped with a copper ionizer and automatic dosing system for ease of maintenance.