View Full Version : Ponds

03-28-2000, 05:25 AM
Here is my situation. I am mainly a maintenance contractor. I will do an occasional new install for an existing customer/referral, but stick to turf, mulch, trimming... <p>I was at a party over the winter at a friends house. I didn't know many there, but heard a conversation across the room about landscaping. Apparantly, some folks there were discussing their dissatisfaction with a local landscaping company that had done some work for them this past summer. This is one of our areas largest landscaping companies. I have heard many similar stories about them. I was staying out of the conversation, and no one in the room knew that I was in the trade. I was just sitting back, enjoying hearing them bash my competition. At mid conversation, the host of the party walked past, and heard landscaping being discussed, and pointed to me, and said&quot; he's the one you want to talk to about landscaping&quot;. Well, I really wanted to hear un-biased comments about my competitor. Now the stories really started to fly. I heard many disturbing stories about my competitors and their experiences with these folks. I passed out one business card to a guy that asked for it. I didn't want to come off as a slesman. <p>I got a call from the guy a few weeks ago, and quoted him on a few projects around his house. We mulched there last week, and have scheduled a lawn renovation for later this month. <p>So what does this have to do with ponds???<p>The day we went over to mulch, we were given instructions by the mans daughter not to mulch one area, as they were planning some changes to the area. No big deal, maybe about 1 yard. <p>I called the guy that evening after we had finished the mulch work, to follow up with him. He had told me that he was putting a pond in, and that I could do it. I flat out told him that I have never done anything like this beofre, and didn't know much about them either. He didn't seem too worried. <p>I stopped over this past weekend, to look around, and talk a little further with him about his expectatioins. <p>He bought a kit, hard plastic liner, pump, fountain... It is 150 gallon capicity. The box is maybe 5'x5'x2'. I again told him that I didn't know anything about them, nor did I have any idea of the time involved, or costs involved to do such a job. He said that he knew that I would be fair. <p>So, here is my question, (finally) Are there any tips, tricks, gotcha's, do's, dont's... that I need to be aware of? They are planning to do the plantings around the area themselves. I know that a hole will need to be dug, but am wondering if it needs to be a bit larger than the pond kit, and lined with sand? <p>What happens if water gets under the plastic of the pond, can it float the liner? What needs to be done in the winter? How long should this project take? <p>The area is right off the driveway, so access for hauling out the dirt is excellent. Would it be worth renting a small backhoe to do the digging? I think that they go for about $200 per day. Would the cost of rental exceed the man hours required to dig by hand? <p>As you can tell, I have absolutely no experience in this area. I am looking foreword to this project, for nothing more than a learning experience. <p>Hoping to hear some of your thoughts on this situation.

03-28-2000, 06:51 AM
Whoa big fella. Here's what you do ASAP. Get in touch with Aquascape Designs @ 1800-306-6227 or the web site www.aquascapedesigns.com. These are great people to work with and are very helpful. Get one of the videos and let your customer have it for a few days. If you don't sell them on it I'd be real surprised<br>Most of all, stay away from that plastic tub you're getting ready to put in the ground. Hope this helps and GOOD LUCK!

03-28-2000, 08:30 AM
I agree, go with aquascapes. They make it almaost too easy to do.

03-28-2000, 11:22 AM
I have seen the aquascape literature, but have not seen the video, but was impressed with the brochure. I agree that that would be the way to go, however, the guy has already purchased the kit, and is sold on it. <p>I think that I may simply act as a ditch digger, and do the excivation. I really don't want to get in over my head, but the guy seems to think that I can do it.

03-28-2000, 11:38 AM
You can still buy the video from Aquascapes - there will be more similarities than dissimilarities between what they sell and whatever kit you're putting in. One thing that Aquascapes doesn't make much mention of is getting electricity out to the pond to run the pump. I went to one of the seminars hosted by the president, and he tells stories of customers wrapping extension cords in cellophane and burying them under 2&quot; of mulch, and other wild stuff. My advice for electrical - don't do it yourself. You could get into real trouble with this. Get the customer to hire an electrician to run a GFI outlet to where the pond will be. You'll need to camouflage the outlet with landscaping.

03-29-2000, 12:13 AM
Definitely check out Aquascapes. I have a pond and waterfalls that we put in using their components and system of installation. You'll look like a pro, first time out, if you follow their instructions. Also, if the customer has room, go for a bigger pond so that its easier to keep clean. Mine takes very little time to maintain, which is a big selling point.<p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

03-29-2000, 06:34 PM
I would definitly rent a machine for the excavation. Go to Barnes and Noble and check out all the books on pond building you can find. Since this is your first install try and work on a cost plus basis, this should protect you and still give you a profit. Read all you can, keep notes, it's not brain surgery.

03-29-2000, 06:35 PM
I would definitly rent a machine for the excavation. Go to Barnes and Noble and check out all the books on pond building you can find. Since this is your first install try and work on a cost plus basis, this should protect you and still give you a profit. Read all you can, keep notes, it's not brain surgery.

04-03-2000, 05:30 PM
Just to add a little credibility to the ext cord under mulch thing - I interviewed a potential employee a few days ago, who worked for a competitor, whose main business is ponds. I asked how they do their electrical out to the pump - sure enough, they bury ext cords under mulch.<p>I can't say enough about how improper this is. It is certainly not up to code, whatever state you live in, and unless you've got an electrician's card (journeyman's card, I think it's called), even an up-to-code installation would be against the law, unless it's at your own house. One person digging to plant a hosta in the wrong place and you've bought yourself a lawsuit that will take everything your business has, and unless you're a corp, will probably take your home and cars as well.<p>It's not worth the risk. Hire an electrician.

04-08-2000, 05:56 PM
I was told by a pond expert at a local dealer that the idea of lining the ponds bottom and side is the worst thing you can do for the fish in the pond. He said that alge builds up in the stones and you can't clean it out. He said that UV lights were the only way to go for keeping ponds clean, along with a good filter. I priced out all of their materials and saved approx. 500.00 over aquascapes cost.<br>Chris<br>

04-08-2000, 10:06 PM
Hmm, lets see, the fish eat algea, so we don't want algea in the pond? Nothing wrong with a little growth, it's the excess that is bad. I've had ponds with fish and rocks with no problems but must admit I've never used UV system, just too expensive. The filters of today are way better than those of five years ago. More on the UV systems?

04-08-2000, 10:17 PM
Kermit, I could be wrong, these guys could have meant something else instead of algea. I know these people know fish and water gardens though , they are master water gardeners and specialize in the stuff. Anyway, About the UV. I have only installed 2 ponds both approx 16X12 same filters. The 1 with the UV was clear all summer from top to bottom. I had to do very little cleaning. The pond without the UV was a big green cloud. You run the water 1/2 thru the UV on the way to the water fall and when the algea goes thru it is killed instantly. This leaves the pond clear. <br>Chris

04-08-2000, 10:21 PM
Chris, what happens to the dead algea, does it get caught in the filter? If ytou have a filter anyway why bother to have the UV? Just wondering.