Contractor's Corner

Poway Overhaul

Top-tier renovation brings pond back to life!

We received a call from Rob Shannon Concrete Pumping in El Cajon, California about a pond in Poway. The homeowner, Greg, was looking for advice and guidance. We set up a time to meet, and after seeing the canvas we went to work.

“This will be a great project!” we thought. “This has so much potential for many Contractor Corner Winnersreasons.” We sat down and started right away on the design. Greg had already done some research and was familiar with several different systems but was confused as to how to put it all together. But that’s where we came in and brought it all together for him.

As you can see, the site had sat for some time from the day he started his dream to now, but with the help of local students on summer jobs, they made a big change quickly.

The Components

We laid it out on the ground and the boys went to work! Thanks to INmotion Distributors, we provided two four-inch Rhino I Bottom drains, two sequence pumps, an air disc, an Evo 110 UV system, and an EA Air Pump 70. Helix Life Support Systems provided two Helix Moving Bed Waterfalls Large, two Helix Settlement Tanks and also two Savio Skimmers that Greg already had. Greg also had a great selection of rocks and boulders to use on and around the pond.

The Work

After a few shorts weeks the pond basin had been reshaped. Trenches were dug for filtration circuits consisting of two bottom drains, one air dome, four Tangential Pond Returns and two skimmers. Two separate filtration circuits allowed the system to be cleaned one circuit on and one off; that way, if any equipment should fail on a circuit, you will still have flow and filtration from the other circuit.

Sequence Pumps picks up from the Helix Settlement Tank by four-inch pipe feed from the bottom drain, and also from a Savio skimmer on a two-inch feed. Both are controlled by a three-way Jandy valve to balance flow between the Savio skimmer and the Helix Settlement Tank. The return line from one pump runs through an Evo 110 UV system and then is split and sent to Helix Moving Bed Waterfalls Large (5,000 GPH) and two Tangential Pond Returns splitting (1,500 GPH). The other circuit is the same setup, but without a UV.

CC_lawson_2 KODAK Digital Still Camera

The pond basin is ready for build-out, photo right, and the now sprayed pond with polyurea is ready for the waterfall construction.

Paul Parszik of Artisan Aquatics applied the polyurea over dirt using a fiber textile system that he uses just for this type of application. If you’re thinking of having polyurea done, by all means contact Paul. He is the best!

After polyurea was done Greg went back to work and did what I thought was an outstanding job of building his waterfall, considering that he has never built one before! He moved large boulders around the yard the old-fashioned way: “Egyptian style.” With PVC pipe laid out in front of the boulder, he’d push the boulder forward. Then, taking the PVC pipe from behind the boulder, he’d move it to the front and push the boulder again. I saw him move a 700-pound boulder that way with no problem!

After all was said and done, the waterfall was done and we fired the system up and WOW! What a great cascading flow off the waterfall stones. Aeration, hypnotic sound—Greg has it all going on.

Over the following weeks, Greg completed the edging, landscaping and a few boulders around the pond for sitting. He also set the bridge spanning across the whole pond and added four large koi. We also took sustainability into consideration, with water from backwashing and draining settling tanks along with water change-outs to be used in his large garden. Water is pumped up to a 275-gallon tote, where Greg can then gravity-feed the water, thus utilizing the nutrient-rich water by recycling it to garden plants.

This pond will be the center of attention for all the club members when Greg holds a meeting for Koi Club San Diego at his house.

>> VIDEO of the pond buildout

Mark “Koiman” Lawson is the owner of the Koi Depot in San Diego. He has over 25 years of experience and his passion is to provide the best environment for the growth and health of your Koi. Koi Depot is a full service company that offers retro fitting, service, designing, koi health, leaks, resealing and more.


  1. Video | Poway Project via Contractor's Corner - POND Trade Magazine - December 29, 2014

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