Second-Chance Success with a Pondless Waterfall

By Lee and Lynn Frisbee

Published on November 2, 2016

Pondless waterfall
Aqua Blocks were used to capture the water that recirculated from the basin to the waterfall.

2015 started off with a bang for Frisbees Landscaping, but by June 1, we were dead in the water. When we spoke to other contractors in our area, it seemed that we were not the only ones having difficulty. Our phones stayed quiet for much of the year. Then in December, when the weather in upstate New York was uncharacteristically mild, we received a message on our answering machine. It was the week before Christmas, and a gentleman wanted his current pond setup completely torn out and add a pondless waterfall by Christmas Day.

Feeling a bit stressed out because we’d had to lay off much of our crew due to the difficult year, I choked and did not call him back after considering his project.

Coincidentally in April 2016, the same gentleman called back and wanted his ponds cleaned. When we went to his house for the consultation, I asked him if he remembered calling us at Christmas. He did not, but he wondered if we would be interested in cleaning and sealing his patios and walkways. I told him that we would absolutely be interested, realizing that I’d been given an unexpected second chance.

pondless waterfall
A happy frog, and two of the three waterfalls.

It was at that point that I knew that 2016 was going to be a good year. We set the date and successfully completed cleaning and sealing the patios and walkways and cleaning the ponds and stream bed. Everything looked beautiful, and he was very pleased.

In early August, our phone rang again and it was the same gentlemen once again. He had decided that he wanted the two ponds and the stream bed torn out and rebuilt as one pondless waterfall with a 40-foot stream bed by Sept. 9, his first grand child’s first birthday. There was that formidable deadline again, but this time, there was no choking. We called in the troops and got to it.

After five days of overcoming obstacles, including very carefully disassembling stone after stone, placing them all on pallets, and battling yellow jackets that had decided to make a home beneath the liner, we could finally begin rebuilding. We adopted the fish that were no longer needed, giving them a newfound home in our own pond. The stream bed was refined, and a liner was placed. The waterfall was created along with the basin at the end of the stream.


Aqua Blocks were used to capture the water that recirculated from the basin to the waterfall. The stone chosen for this product was a weathered limestone. We also incorporated some of the stone that we had pulled from the original structure to give it a very natural look. We extended a dry stream bed from the base of the pondless under a bridge and to the edge of the garden. Grasses were placed in the garden above the waterfall to naturalize the look against the house, and the entire project was mulched. Success! Before we left on the final day, frogs had already made a home in the new water feature, which is a sure sign of a happy, healthy ecosystem. By the following day, the water was crystal clear and flowing beautifully. The homeowner absolutely loved the result.

With a sigh of relief, we realized that holding onto the dream of creating beautiful water features had proven worth it, despite a very difficult year. We believe that every person should have his or her own personal paradise — a place to let go of the everyday stress that we all live with. We started our business six years ago with a lawn mower and a dream. By chance, we encountered a man who told us that we should build water features. He later became our mentor. Our passion is living and sharing the water garden lifestyle, and we did it with one day to spare.

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Designer: Lee Frisbee

Installation: Frisbee Landscaping, Pond & Patios

Location: Penfield, NY

Contact Info:  585/698-4605;

Size: 40-ft. pondless waterfall


  • Aquascape products were used throughout;
  • Aquabox
  • A 9PL Tsurumi pump
  • 5-tons of weathered limestone.

Completion time:  92 man hours

Crew size: 5-person crew

Project cost: N/A



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