View Full Version : Anbody Out There Doing Quality Work???????

01-05-2004, 12:29 AM
Does anybody here do natural looking waterfalls..no offense guys but all these things look ploped the middle of yards randomly and look as unnatural as possible. I want something i can sell to high end customers who dont want (no offense) junk in their yards. Im interested in getting some tips if ur out there.

01-05-2004, 09:17 PM
I agree with you! I have used the aquascape biofalls, and found there is no way to make it look natural. I just don't care for the 'pile of rocks' effect that is the finished look. I have used their skimmers in combination with filters that can be buried. This makes it easier and more natural looking when creating a waterfall or cascade. I hate seeing the filter!

I am also NOT sold on placing gravel in the pond, on the liner. It looks nice the first year, but is a pain to clean and holds all kinds of debris.

Water gardening is still evolving, and I think we'll see new products soon. Aquascapes recently started marketing the bog filter concept, which I think is a great idea.

Green Gopher
01-06-2004, 01:18 PM
I agree with you both also.

I think part of the problem is some clients are asking for waterfalls in a flat backyard, and this can never look natural. Also the industry is trying to put a pre-fab product out that a guy can "snap" in place in a weekend. Aqua-scape has come close and their are quality grade products if your client is willing to do the maintenance. It takes time and money to do things right. If you want a five hundred dollar pond it is going to look like a five hundred dollar, hardware store pond. I use a completely different design with under-gravel filtration and the only pond products I use are liners and pumps. The rest I build from scratch. works great and has been the standard for Koi hobbyists for more than twenty years. Low maintenance for client and natural filtration for the fish. I have some digital photos of one I finished this fall, but I don't know how to post them. (can anyone help?)

as for gravel and sediment, this is a concern, but I use a swimming pool venturi siphon and you can't beat the natural look of gravel and rock.


01-08-2004, 10:15 AM

01-08-2004, 10:19 AM
I do both natural pods and formal ponds the one below is a mix of natural and formal. The problem with making the pond look completely natural is most homes now have a plain flat yard and a customer laying 6 grand down for the pond will not lay another 6 grand down for landscaping to make it look natural

01-08-2004, 10:22 AM
The walk to the pond:D

01-08-2004, 10:27 AM
stxkyboy so comon lets see some of your work. I guessing you went through the forums and saw everybodys ponds then made your comment "Anbody Out There Doing Quality Work???????"

Now I would like to see some of your quality work!!

01-08-2004, 10:57 AM
I think he already showed us his quality :rolleyes: work.

01-08-2004, 11:09 AM
Im asking for advice on this subject.....I am in the middle of one install and will be doing another this summer. Im looking for this advice so my work will look better and i think maybe u guys should consider doing the same.

01-08-2004, 11:12 AM
Here is my work http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=50961

Let me know when u guys do a job this size...oh did i mention im 18.

01-08-2004, 12:00 PM
Are we talking size now. I thought you said quality.


01-08-2004, 02:33 PM
Well first you are talking about ponds in this thread and you show me landscaping, by the way you did a great Job for being only 18 I wish half my employees would work like you. but you ask about ponds and I think Insulted other pond builders with your opening statement. So Show me a pic of a pond you installed. Oh ya what part of town is that house, and what part of town do you work?

01-08-2004, 06:27 PM
A lot of the ponds on here are great looking ponds. I've seen a lot of high quality ponds on here young man. Since I know you're gonna ask. My pics are under the post titled "Pics of my backyard pond".


01-08-2004, 07:08 PM
You tell him victor.
You put a lot of heart and soul in that pond and it looks great

01-08-2004, 09:17 PM
I just think he's showing his age. He obviously doesn't know anything about ponds, and probably never will. I really enjoyed looking at your pond, and all of the other ponds on here. I think it's really neat to look at all of these ponds, and try to figure out how they were made. I love all of the different designs. I can't wait to see more. He doesn't think your pond looks like a quality install? What in the world is he looking for then?


01-09-2004, 01:19 AM
Weatherman I am located in Ft mitchell KY. I think you guys should take this criticism a little better. I am looking at ur pics and these ponds look UNNATURAL. I want to learn how to create something that is high quality and i could sell to my clients. They have seen work like those in the pics on this website and not been thrilled. It doesnt matter what age u are to see what these ponds and especially waterfalls look like

01-09-2004, 11:34 AM
I think you're a little confused young man. You're confusing formal, and informal, with the presence of quality work, and work that has a lack of quality. The waterfalls on here don't look exactly like waterfalls you'd find nature, that's true. Almost all of them have a certain degree of formality to them. Just because they have a certain degree of formality, doesn't mean they are not quality installs. Take Weatherman's pond. Even though he used natural looking stone, instead of finished pavers, his pond still has a certain degree of formality to it, due to the way the rocks have been placed. Does that mean he didn't do a quality job? Absolutely not. Does that mean that it doesn't look good? Of course not. It really comes down to taste. Different people have differing tastes when it comes to ponds. Ponds are normally rated by their degree of formality. For example. My pond is about 80% formal, and 20 informal. I'd say Weatherman's pond is about 25% formal, and 75% informal.

Start spending some time on pond forums, and you'll learn things like this, and more. Believe me, when I tell you. If you're going to be building a pond for customers that are that particular. You'd better learn a whole lot more, than you currently know about ponds. There really is a lot to this pond building business. Building a pond for yourself, is a lot different than building one for a customer. If you don't design it just right, and they wind up having pea-soup algae blooms, or water quality issues all the time. Their not going to be happy about it. You're gonna be a lot more forgiving on yourself, than a customer would be.

There are several important considerations that go into building a pond, that will prevent this from being a chronic problem. If the customer wants to put fish in their pond. You need to know how to design the pond, so that it will be able to handle the fish load (WHEN ALL THE FISH IN THE POND ARE GROWN). If they wind up putting koi in their pond for example. Depending on the quality of koi they buy. They could have 10's of thousands of dollars worth of fish in there. Imagine how upset they're gonna be if you design a pond for them that "looks natural", but doesn't have the proper design components to allow proper water quality, and consequently all the fish die. That happens all of the time. When you're building this pond. You need to be able to instill confidence in your customers. That's what they're going to want. Here they are throwing a lot of their money at you to build something for them, that they probably don't know a whole heck of a lot about. Somewhere along the construction process. They will normally start asking you some serious questions. If they asked you what kind of design tactics you are using to help keep the maintenance needs of their prized new pond low. What are you going to tell them? When they ask you. What makes a pond stay pea-soup green all the time? What causes algae blooms? Are you going to know what to say? How about when they ask you. How many fish can I throw in there? What will I need to do on a regular basis to keep my water quality high? How often will I have to clean my pond? What will I need to do to my pond for winter time? Am I supposed to feed the fish in the wintertime too? Get the point? If a problem should happen to arise after the pond is up, and running, and they wind up calling you for help on a resolution. Are you going to know what to tell them? Imagine them calling you at 7PM on a Sunday night in a panic. ALL MY FISH ARE ON THE SURFACE, WITH THEIR MOUTHS OUT OF THE WATER! WHY ARE THEY ACTING SO STRANGE? ARE THEY GONNA BE ALRIGHT?

There is so much more that goes into designing a viable, healthy pond, that won't be an absolute pain in the butt to keep clean, than how informal, or how "natural it looks". Just because the water is clear, doesn't mean it's clean, and healthy. Just because the water isn't clear, doesn't mean it's not clean, and healthy. A swimming pool for example doesn't have to support creatures that are going to eat, breath, and relieve themselves in it. A fish pond does.
That's why a fish pond has to be more complicated than a swimming pool.

I hope this long post helped you to realize that you have a lot of homework to do. I'd worry much more about the REAL quality of it, and start educating yourself on how to do it.

My pond is 5,0103 gallons, is just over 6, and a half feet deep at the bottom drains. You can always easily see the bottom, because of the super clear water, and nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia levels are virtually non existant.

My name is Victor Cundiff, and if I can help you in any way. Let me know.


01-09-2004, 02:30 PM
Well Said Victor. how many ponds do you build a year. This year we did 5 biggest being a little over 7k gallons. The pond in the pics above is my pond that I built this summer, and I thought it was more than 25% Formal Every stone is level and set in place with cement. The pond it self is 12 Long 9 Wide 5.5 feet deep.
I have Koi in the pond and it's so clear you can see the bottom drain. Both of you guys if you need pond supplys I wholesale just about everything you may need for the pond including the fish.

01-09-2004, 03:17 PM

Newly installed waterscapes usually do not look all that natural. But like all landscape installs, in 3-5 years, when plants begin to reach maturity and rock and stone show some weathering, a more natural look occurs. It is a form of art. Don't forget to make sure it is functional. Because the most natural looking waterscape isn't worth a darn if it doesn't function properly.

Where, exactly, is the location of the big install of yours? I am familiar with the Northern Kentucky area.

01-09-2004, 03:21 PM
Nice work Weathman. The entire property looks great and natural!!

01-09-2004, 03:51 PM
Thanks Johnny

01-09-2004, 04:15 PM
Ft mitchell ky, actually the same house as in that link

01-09-2004, 04:21 PM
Stxkyboy Can u post a pic of the pond you are doing?

01-09-2004, 04:24 PM
stxkyboy do you have a website?

01-09-2004, 04:38 PM
A business associate of mine builds ponds among other things, and when he has a design question, I either help him over the phone, or go to the jobsite, and help him in person. Over the years, I'm not sure how many I've made. It hasn't been that many though. I get too anal on the fine details to want to do that anymore. I have a vendor that I go through for my fish already. I've had great luck with him. He imports show quality koi from Ogata, Japan. Thanks for the offer though. I spent so much time writing my last post, that I had a different memory of the exact layout, than when I looked at it again. That's why I remembered it incorrectly as being more informal than it really is. Normally irregular shaped stones attribute to more of an informal look. Thanks for the nice offer though. :)



01-11-2004, 02:44 AM
Hey my did the first two post express agreement with me..and these criticism are straight from a clients mouth???? just wondering

01-13-2004, 04:33 PM
Are these natural enough for you? The first one is a picture of a test run I did. A large boulder is missing on the right side due to a small leak we encountered.

01-13-2004, 04:35 PM
front view

01-13-2004, 04:37 PM
other waterfall

01-13-2004, 06:32 PM
I love it! Tell me all about it. :)


01-13-2004, 09:00 PM
Thanks. Which one do you want to know more about?

01-13-2004, 09:03 PM
Here is a picture of the backyard before we built the waterfall and the pool

01-13-2004, 09:04 PM
sorry, forgot the picture

01-13-2004, 09:06 PM
same view/angle after it was built

01-14-2004, 12:00 AM
That Looks Great

01-14-2004, 12:03 AM
Thanks, I just wish I used a larger pump for the waterfall to create more of a "cove" effect but the homeowner wanted more of a trickle

Green Gopher
01-14-2004, 01:45 PM

I think you should take a minute and listen to what Vic and Weatherman are saying to you. I agreed with your first post that as an industry we need to hold these manufactures and each other to a higher standard, But I didn't agree that the pic posts on this site were not quality work. I think maybe because of your age your choice of words was poor, and lost some of there intended meaning, and there is no doubt you offended some people. Vic showed great maturity in constructively giving you advise and not being offensive. I think if you had installed vary many ponds you wouldn't have missed the craftsmanship in Weatherman and Vic's ponds. As Vic pointed out there are a far too many contractors that will install a pond for a large some of money, do a crappy job, and split. For example on any pond install I provide lifetime service (not Maintenance) on everything. That means if they need help winterizing, they forget how to re-prime a pump, or even one time when a client's neighbor was painting their home I came and covered the entire pond from over-spray for them, even though I felt there was never a risk of paint getting in the pond. This web-site is about each of us helping each other. So listen to those who know and apply what you feel you can.

Sorry this is so long, just my two cents.


Green Gopher
01-14-2004, 01:51 PM
Looks amazing,
Do you have to do anything extra to ensure the weight of the rock doesn't damage your tile work or settle below it?

01-14-2004, 01:59 PM

Where in Ft. Mitchell? I am very familiar with the area.

01-14-2004, 05:02 PM
Green Gopher,

Yes. We had to create a concrete shoulder around the pool 18"-24" wide by 2' thick to ensure that it didn't damage the pool. The way the boulders are set, most of the weight is on the shoulder instead of the pool itself.

01-15-2004, 03:01 AM
Ck your PM stxky

looks like a ring of rocks around a pool of water, right? Sure I'm happy with it, I made a small fortune and it made the customer happy. But could I have made it look more natural?

What if I took the bio falls further up and to the right, and then sunk it into the ground to eliminate the small volcano. I've never saw water fall spuing water out the top of a hill, have you?

The edging on this pond looks ridiculous. The boulders are way to big for this size pond.

I guess if you want a natural looking pond, focus on the natural contour of the ground, where the landscape meets the pond(edging), the view of the pond(don't let the viewer see where it comes from or where it's going), and of coarse plants. A row of topiary hedges probable isn't your style. You'd probably like a lot of grasses, cottoneaster's, pines, and others a long that line.

01-15-2004, 07:07 PM
Jonny you have a Pm from me Please read it!!!!

01-15-2004, 09:18 PM
I really like your pond Phish!. How did you go about building it? Tell me something about the construction methods you used. :)


01-15-2004, 10:21 PM
Waterfalls like pishhooks are exactly what i am talking about here. Maybe this is high quality work( i guess that means its well built) but in terms of looks...i mean come on. Its boulders set in gravel. What is attractive about that. Im sure that this type of falls might serve some market, but lets face it this isnt going to cut it for high end clients. And i already know that your going to say well the landscape budget wasnt there( i have heard people we considered subcontracting say this) But even if ten thousand dollars worth of plants were installed this falls wouldnt look anymore natural.

That job is in waterford estates, off of buttermilk

01-15-2004, 10:30 PM
Oh I disagree with 10K in plants I can make that look more natural then if it was

01-17-2004, 12:34 AM
Phishook's design is great and it will look more natural with time once the stone set in and the gravel buries itself and the stream gets a proper coat of various lifeforms
see this whole subject's problem is your not looking into the future your looking at photos of new installs not ponds you've done in the last couple years when there well established and more natural i've seen ponds and waterfalls that i never thought looked good turn out to be really nice
after a few years most informal ponds become "natural"

01-18-2004, 02:00 PM
Please show me a picturre of a "natural" waterfall that has a 3ft border of medium size gravel around it......whats something like that go for pish

01-18-2004, 02:39 PM
heres mine

01-18-2004, 03:10 PM
Never mind stx, when you find your answer let me know.

01-18-2004, 05:31 PM
Ponds are just starting to catch on here... we did 4 last year. There is some great looking shots in this thread alone. Someone mentioned and I agree that it takes time for plant material to mature before the true beauty of the pond is seen.

D Felix
01-22-2004, 12:41 AM
Is this what you mean by "quality"?:D

I've got 4 pics that I'll post of the same pond. Was installed by a company I used to work for right before I went to work for them. I did some work on it while I was there though. All totaled, the final cost was over $100k. They had to use a crane to get the boulders in place, got the biggest one they could, and it was still maxxxxxed out!

If this isn't quality to you, then get out of the business. This is the best there is. Granted, the site played a major part in the success- it lent itself well to the way the pond was installed- and money (at the time) wasn't an issue.

I agree with you on a lot of the pics posted so far. I'm no expert, but I hate seeing volcanoes and ponds surrounded by gravel.

BTW, these pics do not do the pond justice!


D Felix
01-22-2004, 12:43 AM
This shows the top of the waterfall. The Location of the previous picture is towards the top right on this one...


D Felix
01-22-2004, 12:49 AM
This is a picture looking down on the pond/waterfall/stream from above.

I think the total run on this one was near 40', total elevation was between 15-20', as best as I can remember. Bottom pond was in the area of 20'x25'. It's been more than a year since I've been there, so my recollection is probably off, but I think I'm close. It had two pumps, I'm thinking one was around 10-14k gph, the other was 6-9k gph.

One reason to NOT use koi though, the homeowner bought a dozen at a total price of around $1800. They were gone in a matter of 2 months. Nothing could be done to stop the persistant blue heron!!!


D Felix
01-22-2004, 12:52 AM
Last one. This is the view from bottom. The driveway came in behind where the camera is, about 200' back. Imagine driving in and seeing this everyday.

Couldn't have asked for a better site to stick a pond into, though access was a bit of a problem from what I understand!


01-22-2004, 04:45 PM
That is quality!!!

01-22-2004, 06:05 PM
But it definitely is not the best there is. Travis Trit's pond makes that thing look sick in my opinion. I've seen a lot of ponds that stars built, that put that one to shame in scale, beauty, and expense. It's all relative. I'm glad you're so proud of it though. It all comes down to how much money you have to spend. They obviously have huge budgets to build ponds like they have. I think you did a great job though! :)


D Felix
01-23-2004, 12:19 AM
Well, I've got to give credit where credit is due, without actually giving credit. (See if that makes you go, "HUH??")

That pond was installed right before I went to work for that company. I actually had no part in the installation of that one. Though I did end up doing some work on it. The homeowner (at the time) was doing very well in the stock market, and had renovated his house to the tune of 27,000 square feet when it was done. I can't say any more than that though!;)

From what I understand, the landscaping budget at that residence has gone to h*ll since I left that company. The pond is a fraction of it's former glory- I was told it's now almost full of mud since the homeowner doesn't have the budget for maintenance.:(


01-23-2004, 02:12 AM
Originally posted by stxkyboy
That is quality!!!

but is it Natural?

Did you find your answer yet?

01-23-2004, 10:33 AM
The company that installed that pond, impresses me as one of those that is more caught up in whether they COULD.... build that pond, rather than whether they SHOULD... have built that pond. That pond is pretty, no doubt about it. I do have to say though, that a reputable pond builder, never would have made that pond. A reputable pond builder for one, would have told the owners of that property about the problems they'd face, having to maintain that pond under the heavy tree canopy that's above it. They would have told the owners to imagine how many leaves would be falling in that pond in the fall. The owners obviously planned on using that pond as a fish pond, until the heron convinced them otherwise. If they planned on using it for a fish pond, the leaves would have to be either removed from the pond, on a regular basis, or totally kept out if they expected their fish to be healthy (if they survived at all). With the size of the pond, it would be a major chore, to wade in, and net out all of the leaves. It doesn't take many leaves in a large pond to turn the water a murky tea color (due to the tannins leaves release when submerged). This definitely doesn't look like the kind of pond that would have a surface skimmer, and even if it did, due to the layout. I don't believe that a skimmer would be able to create enough draw to be effective. On top of that. This pond appears to have a rocky bottom. That's pretty, and everything, but would make it almost impossible to get all of the leaves out without one whole heck of a lot of work. The resulting sludge that would build up, would be jam packed full of anaerobic bacteria. Not something you want in a pond that you don't want to stink to high heaven, let alone plan on keeping fish in.

The first year of operation, the owners might pay to have this cleaning done, but the next year (when the novelty of the whole thing has had a chance to wear off) it would be doubtful that this would get done.

To try, and totally keep the leaves out, they could net the pond. It would take one heck of a lot of netting to cover the whole pond, the stream, and the waterfall up the hill (but on their inflated budget, it could be done). But as we all know. Nets aren't always that effective depending on the type of trees they're placed under. Not to mention in the springtime when the trees start dropping helicopters. Netting doesn't do much good stopping those nasty little buggers from getting through. Can you imagine the mess they'd have on their hands by May?

So...in closing. I have a sneaking suspicion that you Stxkyboy aren't going to heed my advice about educating yourself on how to design a pond properly. You're probably going to focus soley on how "natural" the pond looks, and wind up making a pond like this one. That's ok, because it's your reputation on the line when you find some trusting fool that winds up giving you a whole heck of a lot of money, to build them a pond that they're going to wind up hating you because of. It's you, and your company's name that those customers are going to be bashing when they tell their friends about how they spent all this money to have you build this extravagnt pond that they learned over time, has so many design flaws. These pictures that Dan sent are about the best possible example of how a pond's design, is so much more important than a pond's construction (or how natural it looks). How a pond functions, where it's located (under a ton of trees like this one for example), and how it's laid out all fall under the category of pond design. The way it looks. Such as the types of rocks they used, did they put mulch, or gravel around it. How formal, or informal is the thing. Does the pond "look natural". Those things all have to do with the construction. As you can hopefully see, the design is so much more important than the construction. Your customers at first will be hung up on the construction, and not be nearly as concerned with the design (in most cases because they simply wouldn't know a good design if it came up, and bit them in the butt). Therefore, it is your responsibility as a competent, responsible pond builder to protect them from this pitfall. All of these things I'm telling you here, are exactly what you'll see if you start reading what the true pond experts say on the various forums I mentioned in one of my last posts.

So Dan, and Stxyboy. You can bash the ponds that the guys on here made all you want, but I'd much rather have their ponds in my yard, than the one in these last pictures. So I'll say it again. How natural a pond looks, is not the most important thing when it comes to building them.

Good luck on building your first pond Stxyboy.


01-23-2004, 11:00 AM
Well said Victor. When I saw the pond that dan posted I could not belive someone set a pond in those conditions it would take hours everyweek to kept that pond maintained.

Green Gopher
01-23-2004, 11:51 AM
Nicely said Victor,
to operate any other way would irresponsible business.

D Felix
01-23-2004, 12:26 PM
Ok, now you've got me pissed off! I don't normally try to re-post someone's entire post, so I've tried to trim it down some.
Originally posted by Victor
I do have to say though, that a reputable pond builder, never would have made that pond.
That's complete BS! I'll explain why here in a minute, and you started to explain why in your next sentences.
A reputable pond builder for one, would have told the owners of that property about the problems they'd face, having to maintain that pond under the heavy tree canopy that's above it. [snip]
I'm VERY sure that this was explained! A reputable pond builder/landscaper/home builder/anybody in the service industry will explain possible problems with ANYTHING before installation. They will also give the benefits too, and let the customer wiegh them against each other. If you are saying a "reputable" pond builder would NOT have built on that site, no matter what, then I guess I don't know any reputable pond builders. As I said, that job turned out be $100k+. Are you saying you would walk away from that, even after all of the potential problems were explained? You're nuts if you do...

Oh, BTW, the pond WAS netted. And I can't speak for the homeowners on what the intent for use was, I simply do not know, and you and I can only speculate, but we will never know for sure, now will we?

This definitely doesn't look like the kind of pond that would have a surface skimmer, and even if it did, due to the layout. I don't believe that a skimmer would be able to create enough draw to be effective.
Actually, it had TWO skimmers. Both pumps were housed in them. You would be surprised how much draw they had...

On top of that. This pond appears to have a rocky bottom. That's pretty, and everything, but would make it almost impossible to get all of the leaves out without one whole heck of a lot of work.
If I agree with you on any one point, this is it. I'm not too fond of rocky bottomed ponds either, and I did have to clean it out one spring. It was a b*tch, and I doubt if I ever build one with a gravel bottom. It really didn't have even a noticeable smell when full of water, though drained, it did have the typical pond/fish smell.

The first year of operation, the owners might pay to have this cleaning done, but the next year (when the novelty of the whole thing has had a chance to wear off) it would be doubtful that this would get done.
Actually, it was closer to the third year before that happened. And it wasn't exactly because the novelty wore off. He was hit pretty hard by the stock market, I have a feeling he was invested in a fair number of tech stocks. And he got married. The whole budget for the grounds (not just the pond) was cut to next to nothing. Had this not happened, I'm sure the pond would be fine.

So Dan, and Stxyboy. You can bash the ponds that the guys on here made all you want, but I'd much rather have their ponds in my yard, than the one in these last pictures. So I'll say it again. How natural a pond looks, is not the most important thing when it comes to building them.
What it boils down to is a matter of preference. I'd rather have the pond that I posted the pics of than the pond at the top of the 3rd page of this thread (was that Phish's pond?). Actually, I'd rather have the money that went into the pond that I posted, but that's a different story.:D

I guess what pisses me off the most is you guys are sitting there "armchair quarterbacking" everything. I know I'm guilty of it too, but you guys seem to be doing it slightly more severely than I am. You don't know the whole story of my pond, I don't know the whole story about yours. If I've pissed you off, I'm sorry, but to attack the integrity of the company that built this pond is WAY off base. I take it personally, even though I no longer work for them. See where I'm coming from?

We all have different ways of doing things, that's a given. Are they all wrong? No. Are they all right? Who's to say? What works for you may not work for me. But that's why we are here, is to learn from each other, not attack.

I've ranted/rambled long enough. I'm done.


01-23-2004, 01:15 PM
Wow you all have kept me entertained:D This thread started out with stxkyboy bashing our ponds:angry: That made some of us upset as we should be:blob2: Now every pond you put in is a learning experience:blush: You learned from the first to build the second then the from th second you build the third, and so on and so on.
As far as the pond your old company did Dan, personally I would have never put the pond in that spot I would have found another spot on the property with less trees or left the job to some one else and yes it would be hard but I would give up a 100k job because I think my name and reputation of my work is worth a whole lot more then 100K.

Dan do have any pics of ponds you built yourself?

I have ask stxkyboy several times to show pics.

01-23-2004, 08:17 PM
I stand firmly behind everything I said Dan. Nothing about it is BS. The statement that I made, about a reputable pond builder not making that pond, is right on the money. It might make you mad Dan, but that's a fact. A reputable pond builder would have explained the problems associated with building that pond, where they built it, and refused to build it there. A company out for a buck, would have done exactly what the company that you're trying to stand up for did. Just because I wouldn't have built the pond there, doesn't mean I couldn't have found another location on their property that I deemed suitable for a pond (like Weatherman said). If the customer told me the pond had to be built at that location, you'd better believe I would have walked. Like Weatherman said. The name, and reputation of my company is worth more to me than that. As far as me being nuts. Well...each company owner has to decide where they are going to draw the line on making ethical decisions. For some people, money is more important than ethics, and integrity.

To address the next comment you made about the intended use of the pond. I do know what the owners intended to use the pond for, because of what the heron took out of the pond to the tune of $1800. That answers the intent question.

I said that the pond didn't look like it had a skimmer. I never made any definitive statement that claimed I knew as a fact that the pond had no skimmer, or skimmers incorporated into it's design.

The pond might not have developed a bad smell yet, but if the owners didn't stay on top of cleaning that thing. It wouldn't be long before it did start to smell really bad. The smell I'm talking about is the smell of the anaerobic bacteria going to work.

One of the qualities of a well DESIGNED pond, is a pond that is easy to maintain. If a homeowner has to throw tons of effort, and money into maintaining the pond a company installed for them. They don't have a well designed pond...PERIOD.

The only thing we agree upon Dan, is the fact that it all comes down to a matter of preference. Responsible, knowledgeable pond builders PREFER to not build ponds like that, and pond builders that are just out to make a buck, PREFER to take money from people, and could care less about ethics, let alone how many headaches the homowner's pond will cause them.

I'd much rather have the pond that Phish built, than the pond you posted pics of. The amount of work I'd have to put into the upkeep of that thing would make me hate to think about that thing when I came home every day. Ponds are to be looked at, and enjoyed. Not to be slaved over when their construction is completed.

As far as armchair quarterbacking. I'm doing nothing of the sort. When I don't know something, I don't make a definitive statement. I simply state that "I don't think that something is so", or that "it doesn't look like your pond has this feature". By doing so I'm not overstepping my knowledge of the subject.

I'll come right out, and tell you as a fact though Dan. I do question the integrity of the company that built that pond. I'll never know for sure, but I personally have no doubts that the company in question knew all about the problems that pop up when a pond like that one is built. There is nothing off base about my saying this about the ethics of that company.

We may all have different ways of doing things Dan, but some things are the same no matter how you slice it. There are certain places a pond should not be built, and that's a fact. That's a fact no matter how you look at it. Everyone does have different ways of building ponds. That's why I love seeing new ponds on here. I love to look at them, and try to figure out how the builder made the thing. I also like to look at them, and figure out how I would have made the thing.

I'm not attacking you Dan. You really didn't have anything to do with that pond. You merely stated that you started working for that company after the pond was finished, so I'm not talking about you. I'm talking to you, about that company. Not about you.

In closing. I thought it was hillarious when you asked if that pond was a quality pond. Like there was no doubt that it was of impeccable quality. Furthermore.....I almost fell out of my chair when Stxyboy chimed in, and said, "now that is a quality pond". His statement just confirms my earlier comment about not being able to identify something if it came up and bit someone in the butt.

I hoped you enjoyed this one Weatherman. :D
Please keep the pics coming of the true quality ponds guys!

Over, and out.


01-24-2004, 09:51 AM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with building a pond in the woods, provided the customer is completely aware of the maintenance issues. Dan- the pond pictures you posted look great.

Aquascapes VolcanoFalls have contributed to some of the most ridiculous looking ponds I have ever seen. I have used the Volcanofalls, and find it difficult to naturally blend in when building a waterfall. I have yet to try a bog filter- now this shows promise for building 'natural' looking ponds.

Before I get criticized for not knowing anything about anything...
I have installed some ugly looking ponds in my lifetime. Great mountains of topsoil, Volcanos, and rings of riverstone all help to create un-natural looking ponds. Granted, plants and time will soften the volcano-effect.

Now the pond building industry is still fairly young- I expect we will see great advances in products over the next several years. I would love to try Aquascapes bog filter concept. Anybody out there using this?

01-24-2004, 10:47 AM
I have to agree with Victor and Weatherman on this and would have walked away if there was not another suitable spot on the property for it. Even though it was 100k does not mean it is worth it. It takes along time to build an outstanding reputation and only an instant to destroy it. In the long run, it is very possible that you would lose alot more than you made on that job. Think about that before you see the dollar figures in your mind and you might also walk away

P.S. It is a beautiful setup though. I was just saying it is in a less than ideal area

01-24-2004, 08:30 PM
Victor: well what can I sey I'm still entertained LOL and I agree with you.

01-26-2004, 01:15 AM
You're certainly entitled to your opinion. That's what makes the world go round buddy.

Lol Weatherman. :D


02-28-2004, 02:29 AM
Hi pond builders. This post seems to have some knowledgeable people posting on it so I would like to ask a question. I know it's been a month but, I do not do ponds now but would like to in the future. I have a lawn service now so I don't think I could go to work for someone to learn how to build -design- plan -maintain a pond. I want to be educated about it before I do it for customers so can I read (which books) - go to training(where)- take a course, or go to school for this. Is this something I could learn over the winter. I have seen Aquascape info, is this any good and what else, if anything, can I do to learn. I know that you learn by doing and from your mistakes but don't want to be saluted every time I drive through the neighborhood because I destroyed poeples yards. Seems like there is a lot to learn and a lot to consider so I'm a little sceptical about build a pond in a day and your in business. ( not that the info would be bad, Just think there is a lot to learn to be conveyed in one day) Thank you for any help.

02-28-2004, 02:36 PM
There are 3 basic types of ponds that you're likely to find customers wanting you to build for them. Each of the 3 have different qualities that need to be addressed during their design processes.

Type 1
Watergarden: A watergarden is just that (an aquatic garden). This kind of pond is made, and designed to house plants, and flora. The owner might decide to put a few small fish in to complement the ecosystem they had you create for them. This type of pond doesn't normally have much of a bioload. A bioload is created by the fish breathing, and creating waste in the water. The plants in the water usually keep the nitrates created by the fish to minimum, if not non-existant levels. Because of this, filtration is not nearly as important as it would be in a ornamental fish, or a goldfish pond. In this kind of pond, the plants and flora are the focal point. Because this kind of pond is designed to have lots of plants, it is common to design shelves into the walls of this pond (depending on the depth).

Type 2
Goldfish or ornamental fish pond: A goldfish or ornamental fish pond has the fish as the main focal point. This type of pond requires more in the way of filtration than a watergarden would. This kind of pond has more waste being produced by the larger number of fish. A device that increaes the amount of disolved oxygen in the water is a good idea in this kind of pond. There might be plants in this type of pond, but the percentage of plants to fish leans more towards the side of the fish. This kind of pond should have at least one skimmer under a lot of situations, and a bottom drain is a good idea too depending on the size of this kind of pond.

Type 3
Koi pond: A koi pond should be designed with sufficient volume to accomodate fish that can grow to lengths of 3 feet, or more (under certain circumstances and conditions). It is recommended that a koi pond should be at least 4 to 5 feet deep, and a depth of 6 to 7 feet would be better. Due to the large amounts of waste these fish produce, it is necessary to design plenty of filtration into this kind of pond. A water moving device, or devices are highly recommended for this kind of pond due to the increased demand for disolved oxygen in it's water. A koi pond should have at least 1 bottom drain, and at least 1 surface skimmer. Depending on the size, more would be better. This kind of pond normally will not have shelves built into it's walls because koi and plants normally mix like oil and water. Koi tend to destroy plants by either feeding on them, or uprooting them. If the 2 must be kept in the same pond, it is recommended that you provide some kind of barrier to keep the plants safe.

To learn about how to build a watergarden, or an ornamental fish pond, you'd probably do best by hanging out in one of the many forums online that address these types of ponds. To learn about koi pond construction, go to this website. Go to http://www.koicymru.co.uk/constq&a.htm, and read all you can. My koi pond uses tons of priciples that you'll find on there. Good luck, and if I can help you. Let me know.


02-28-2004, 02:51 PM
Victor Thank you for the info and site.

02-28-2004, 04:09 PM
You're quite welcome.


03-19-2004, 01:17 AM
I have exactly what you are looking for. I am an artificial rock manufacturer and in two weeks I will have available complete resort quality modular cover and spill rock sets that will blow your mind. Even the corners of the snout are 100% hidden with awesome realism. Initially I will have: Moss rock, Penn. Wall Stone, Granite, Sandstone and custom color matching. My stuff is a dead on fit for Aquascape models and has built in flexibility to "Stretch for other manufacturers. On one set my spill rock reverses , one side clean sheet, the other awesome broken edge. The realism and quality is unmatched by any artificial rock on the market today. your bio-filter will actually look like a rock spring. Water lapping onto edges of rocks ect. As a true source of water should look! I was originally a landscaper by trade, specializing in Water-features and artificial rock. All the 5- 20k and more jobs I see that start with a plastic box as the focal point simply kills me. One last thing . I'm in the north east . My concrete mixture has been tested as able to withstand the equivelent of 100 North East winters. The product will have a 10 year warranty. When you see this product, you will have no doubt that this is step 21.

03-19-2004, 04:11 PM
Place a pic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

03-19-2004, 05:39 PM
Two things. One, I have finished product but am not taking brochure and website photos till next week, we just got our second snowstorm of the week. I could give you a shot of the wallstone on my testbed if you'd like. How do I post it? I'm new to the message board areana. I could even give you a shot of my natural water feature work so that you understand the level of quality I find acceptable and make sure it fits your needs.

03-19-2004, 06:13 PM
I have two shots that are about 875K each and even individually I can't get them onto the board. It keeps saying they are too large.I could direct e-mail if you wanted???

03-20-2004, 11:24 AM
make them smaller

03-20-2004, 03:35 PM
Alright, I must be an idiot and that's fine but even shrunk down I can't get them to take. Can you send me a normal e-mail address and I'll send them to you.

03-22-2004, 08:36 PM
Originally posted by Phishook
but is it Natural?

Did you find your answer yet?

It aint natural unless you can pull a 6lb largemouth out of it. :D

But you pond guys do some really nice work.

03-22-2004, 09:24 PM

03-23-2004, 09:39 AM
OK...let's see if this photo is small enough. I found including a bass would complicate shipping too much but it definately improved realism even more! I hav a closeup that shows the dead on real detail but it is too big for this site. The mossrock blows this wallstone away.

03-23-2004, 10:05 AM
Of course,true to form I still can't get the mossrock to post. On this setup, this is an early prototype. On the production models the front right rock extends into the box complimenting the left front , the left rear rock is extended on the bottom hiding the corner and the spillrock has a new back edge that allows it to reverse for a sheet spill. The mossrock is even nicer.

Critical Care
03-27-2004, 02:43 PM
I live in the forest and installed a pond right behind my house and under the ponderosa pine trees. It's probably as natural as you can get with all the lava rock I dug up myself. You be the judge.

And, by the way, there is no problem with maintenance. I just planned on problems and then went with overkill.

Pics were posted here:


03-30-2004, 07:14 PM
Weatherman, I saw a pic of your pond with lights on either side of the walkway. What type of lighting are you using here? I have used 12 V outdoor lights before that look remarkably like those, but say not to use within 10 feet of a pond, pool, or spa. I'm not slamming ya here, just curious if you used a light rated for use near water or not... Otherwise it looks good.


03-30-2004, 08:05 PM
Andy I have never had a problem with 12 volt lights that are made for out door use. Outdoor lights are made to get wet when it rains, So I dont know why some one told you to keep them back 10 feet from a water source. Now I would not place them in the water unless you have a death wish.

04-01-2004, 02:18 AM
I would say the quality of the pond depends on the individuals taste...the individual being the client. You cant always do what you picture in your mind. After all the customers always right...haha....Some people want you to make it as natural as a babbling mountain spring. Others just want a pile of rocks in the front yard with a basic waterfall so they can watch their goldfish. It also depends on the rock material you use. Some just doesnt look natural no matter how you do it.........placed 3 ton of granite in a large pile......used some dynamite........flooded the area.....let the sun and wind chip away it for 50 years.....then filled the area with water.........mebbe then "all naturale".....haha.....

Critical Care
04-02-2004, 02:44 PM
WeatherMan, what Work4green said about the 12 volt lighting system is true. Some manufactures do state not to use them within 10 feet of a pond, or water source. Some of the Malibu lights I believe may state this.

I figure that the lights would work fine as long as they didn't get submerged, but what I think is happening is a simple liability issue. If you owned a landscape lighting company you too would probably have a lawyer telling you to print those same words if the lights weren't capable of submerged use. After all, this day and age you can get sued for serving coffee that's too hot, or making french fries too fattening.

04-02-2004, 04:46 PM
Thats the truth been sued several times and never lost yet Thank god

04-02-2004, 06:54 PM
As a non-tradesman (showed up looking for lawn hints) I have to say this is the most interesting website I've found to date. I wonder if my wife will let me quit the mortgage business to do landscaping / design.

As an admitted fool, but potential customer, Sticky you place too much ideal in your "natural" look. Placing a waterfall in a residential yard is by definition an unnatural act. I place more value in a design that incorporates into the landscape and feels like it belongs.

Victor, I'd hire you in a heartbeat. Hope someday I can, to support quality workmanship.

Thanks for the read folks.