Utilizing Your Experience and Confidence for Resolving Water Feature Problems

By Alan Koontz

Published on September 5, 2017

nozzle heads on large poles
Using lift to access 415 individual nozzle heads.

In the pond and water garden industry, most contractors gain knowledge and experience based on the amount of years they spend installing projects, working with others, attending seminars and many other events. As with any job or project, the more you do and learn, the more confident you become in taking on more challenging tasks. The experience sets you apart from others when your client or company wants to use you for their next project. At times, contractors accept more challenging projects that are sometimes out of their league or abilities, and end up with more problems than they originally began with which can be frustrating for all who are involved in the project, but if you have set a good foundation and have done your research on the project at hand, the project can potentially come out as one of the best.

That was a concern that our company had when accepting a project where it involved large components that were artistically sculptured and were in a large public venue and we had never been given the opportunity to work in this industry. This project was a large formal water feature built by another company at a commercial property that was having issues and it hadn’t run properly for a long period of time, due to lack of maintenance or faulty components.

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Misters, ABB Control Panels, Fog Systems, and many more devices that we had never dealt with or had any experience repairing. With no prior knowledge of the programming of these features, but based on our confidence and experience of over 18 years working with water features, we rolled up our sleeves and tackled it anyway.

We were told of the problems that the fountains were having and after some research jumped in and got busy. We first had to figure out why the misters were not spraying properly. These misters, 415 of them, were designed to spray a mist of water 30 to 50 feet in the air which gave the illusion of smoke coming out of smoke stacks. Many were clogged and shooting out streams of water. Each spray head had to be removed and cleaned due to hard water deposits and other issues causing problems. During the winter time, this feature was shut down and the lines had to be blown out by air and using antifreeze to keep the hoses from being damaged. Unfortunately, that was part of the problem where the lines had burst due to water expanding inside the line causing a loss in pressure.

This was one of three sections in the pipe where it cracked during freezing temperatures, which caused loss of water pressure to the nozzle heads.

Reprograming the CPU’s, resetting parameters, contacting all the former Sub-Contractors who were involved in the construction of the feature were part of process. We had to order the new parts and repair or replace parts as necessary. This feature is in a city that is known for tobacco and this massive feature is a popular community gathering place. The mist of water offers a refreshing respite underneath on a hot summer day to relax. As we found out many years ago, water draws people in.

After investigating all the existing problems, we set out with our plan, and within several days we had this water feature back up and running after a year of sitting unused.

The city had invested over 2 million dollars in this community space and people were waiting anxiously on its repair. Now, hearing how the visitors in the park are enjoying the feature is awesome knowing we took part in making that happen.

Our confidence, ability, and experience provided us the tools and capabilities to go in and tackle this project knowing that we may have run into things that we weren’t familiar with. A combined knowledge by our team of this industry enabled us to collaborate and bring this feature back to life! It is gratifying to know that the time and effort invested in learning this industry pay off daily.

With over 18 years of experience in the water feature industry, we had attained a huge amount of experience and knowledge just by doing, and not sitting on the sidelines and watching others do it. As in life, you become successful by what you put into life and how you go about doing it. If you say it can’t be done, then sit back, and you will soon find out very quickly, how someone else will take it and get it done for you.

By feeling confident in our experience and telling them we could take care of it, they were able to step back and let us do our thing. As the owner of this company I constantly fall back on the knowledge I gained in my younger days, I learned a whole lot about a whole lot of things. My experience in the Army of 8 years comes from Power Generation, where I obtained years of experience in Electrical and Mechanical devices, including Control Systems which provided me with experience to light up a small city with the knowledge that I received.

As a former Drill Sergeant, I learned about leadership, and how to lead. After my tenor in the military, I landed a job a Field Service Engineer which dealt with Mechanical, Electrical and Computer Technology. Programming computers, using the same type of technology as the ABB controller referenced above. Ten years of gaining valuable experience with that company propelled me in having more confidence in accepting water feature projects like this one and building my company to where larger opportunities have presented themselves.

Many don’t even realize that they can and should utilize the experience and knowledge that they acquired through a different company they worked for before, such as college, military or just life experience. When tackling these challenging projects, it also opens other future opportunities for you to pursue. If you don’t challenge yourself and have the confidence to do so, you will not move forward.

water feature nozzles
This feature stands over 50 feet tall and is not our normal water feature.

As contractors, some will go into a project and not do any research and then end up with a failed project and disappointed customers. By not seeking advice from someone who has already been there, afraid to swallow their pride, those will be the ones struggling and probably not succeed in business or at life.

Carolina Pondscapes has accepted many projects that were somewhat out of our league at times but based on our confidence and experience in the industry, we were able to accept the challenge, move forward and finish with a successful project.

We always encourage our employees to stand back and look at the big picture on every project, and always be willing to think outside the box. Seek experience and knowledge by reading books, by watching YouTube or any other resources that are out there. Taking the time to do so, will allow you to become the Expert in your field and many will soon seek your advice and experience and in turn, will give you the confidence to take on that next project.

Carolina Pondscapes, Inc. is a Professional Watergarden and Pond Construction company in Thomasville, NC who has been in business for over 18 years..over 40 years combined experience. Our specialty is natural water features but other services include Outdoor Living Spaces, Stormwater Control Measures (Certified Stormwater BMP Maintenance and Inspection, North Carolina), Certified Savio and Atlantic Water Gardens Contractor. Alan & Sherry Koontz are Army Veterans who take pride in the way our water features appear and has exceptional knowledge in the industry.

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Designer: AFAS Group

Installers:  Georgia Fountain Company

Location: Tucker, Georgia

Contact Info:  www.georgiafountain.com


  • Universal Fog Misting Systems, 
  • Universal Fog Misting Systems
  • 2- 5hp 208 V pumps
  • Water Filters

Time to Complete: 35 hours

Crew: 3

Cost:  N/A



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