Winter Pond Construction Creates Something from Nothing

By Frank Fink

Published on January 5, 2017

Here’s the finished product, built during the winter!

For almost 20 years, Living Artscapes has been serving the pond and water feature industry in and around northwest Maryland. Despite being recognized by Aquascape as one of the top 100 pond builders in the country in 2014 and 2016, we are still a small company that leverages meticulous attention to detail for each and every customer in order to exceed their expectations.

Personally, I find inspiration in each project and each customer. I find endless joy in being pushed to create something from nothing. Life is short, and when you value your relationship with your customers to the point that they quickly become your friends, life becomes simpler and sweeter. I hear from many that I should “live, love and laugh” — and I do!

Our last project for 2016 is a perfect example of why I feel the way I do about our industry. I met a family during one of our 2015 home shows who had hired another landscape contractor to build a pond and water feature in their backyard, which was basically a blank slate. We shared some friendly words and I wished them luck with their endeavor.

A view from inside the house, left, before the build out and the sculpture of the pond after the dig, right.

Fast-forward to another home show in 2016, and the family was back. They had a not-so-unique problem. After eight months of dealing with the same architects and lots of pens and paper, their project was going nowhere. They still wanted a large pond built on their property, and I told them we could get things going by actually showing them what was possible. “Something from nothing,” right?

They said they wanted it installed before Christmas, so time was short, and a weather forecast of single-digit temperatures was daunting to say the least. But before they knew it, our three-man team (which included Dustin Strobel, Tyler Woods and myself) was hauling nearly 40 tons of hand-picked, large rock directly from our distributor to the customer’s site.

So now, the real challenge was set: what can I do with a big pile of rocks?

winter pond construction
So now, the real challenge was set: what can I do with a big pile of rocks?

Nine days and frigid conditions made for lots of hard work by our relentless team. But in the end, with some very hard work and a little luck from the pond gods, our finished product was rather impressive. The 16-by-21-foot true surface water pond included a 6,000-gallon biofalls and a 5-by-8-foot wetland bog. Best of all, everything was installed and looking beautiful before Christmas.

The customer’s enthusiasm and appreciation for this project made all the hard work more than worth it. What had started as a nightmare waiting endlessly on landscape architects had become an early Christmas present for a very happy customer and a new friend. In fact, we’re scheduled to meet with them again in the near future about making over their front yard. That’s how I like to run my business — ponds done right and customers served right.

This was a perfect note to end 2016 on, as we gear up for another exciting year here at Living Artscapes. Cheers to the new year!

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Designer: Frank Fink

Installation: Living Artscapes Inc.

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Contact Info:, 240/832-4997

Size: 16 by 21 ft.


  • 6,000-gallon Aquascape Biofalls
  • 40-tons of rock
  • Wetland filtration/bog

Completion time:  9 days

Crew size: 3

Project cost: $38,500



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