1st Pond Install...Where do i start?

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by zinkjo, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. zinkjo

    zinkjo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    I'm close to submitting a proposal to a client for a pond + waterfall install. Attached is the picture I'm working on to sell the job.
    Any suggestions on how to go about pricing out the job and a good place to start on how to do the project?

    thanks for your time.

  2. fishinman22487

    fishinman22487 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    You might want not want to have the pond so straight and formal.
    How big of a pond are thinking of? Where were you thinking of facing the waterfall?
  3. zinkjo

    zinkjo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    The area that we need to landscape out is 27x27. So I was thinking the pond would be at least 20' long and about 12-15' wide. The waterfall will be up towards the house and flow away from the house. Thanks for the comments. I will look into changing the shape a bit. How do I go about pricing this thing out? Kind of looking for a beginners guide that will list out all the stuff i need to install the pond.
  4. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    While It's great to see that you've taken an interest in pond-building, you're going about this in the wrong way. I'd HIGHLY recommend that you put on the brakes here. If you don't know how to price the project and if you don't know how to build a pond, you definitely don't have any business learning how to build one on a customer's dollar. When someone pays you to build a water-feature for them, they're not only paying you to do the job for them. They're paying you to do the job correctly (the first time). If you want to learn how to do this kind of work for hire, learn how to do it by working under someone who does know how to do it, or by taking some classes.

    Would you take your truck to a mechanic that was going to use your truck as a learning experience on how to replace a blown head gasket, or a camshaft for example?

    There's a lot of good info available on how to build what ever kind of pond you'd like to build. Be sure to do your homework before you take on such a job. If you don't, you stand to lose your butt in costly (and embarrassing) mistakes. Nothing would help your company's reputation like building a highly visable pond in someone's front lawn, only to have it turn out to be riddled with design flaws. Word could get around pretty quickly, that you don't know what you're doing and that your company is to be avoided. You know what they say.. Do a good job for a customer and they'll tell a few people, but if you do a bad job for them, they'll tell everyone they know.

    With all of this said. You've come to a great place to start asking questions. There are a lot of knowledgeable pond-builders in this forum. Never be afraid to ask questions here. There are a lot of people here that will be glad to help. I'm one of them. I focus on koi ponds, but there are tons of people on here that specialize in ponds like the kind you want to learn how to build. Good luck and be sure to do your homework and know what you're doing before you take on your first job. You'll be glad you did. If I can help, let me know.

  5. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    I agree completely with victor. While ponds seem simple enough ((1) dig hole, 2) put in liner, rock and water 3) collect money.) they're more complex than that. You can build a simple water feature, but design flaws could lead to substantial problems.

    I would recommend taking a pond building class, they will give you the basics, the know-how, the confidence to build and price a job. I recommend the aquascapes designs inc, courses. they're geared for new-to-ponds installers and they also have advanced courses. I happen to have a local dealer and I have done several classes with him. I have also assisted in teaching the class. Then I would recommend finding an experienced installer and hiring him or her and working along side them. This will be a win-win-win for you, the homeowner and the other contractor.

    I know of a new installer in northern NJ who might be looking for work. I've taken 3 or 4 classes with him, and I know he has worked with other contractors, including myself to gain experience. Let me know if you're interested and I'll see if I can get a hold of him.

    In the mean time I suggest you take a look in this forum and look for pictures of ponds and then read the feedback they got. Most people are pretty clean-cut when it comes to their opinions about something. They either like them or don't. be a little leery of the short-replys that just say "i don't like it" as they may not have too much of a basis for it. Look for the ones that have a reason behind their opinion.
  6. fishinman22487

    fishinman22487 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    zinkjo--I absolutely agree going to a build a pond day seminar!! There are also a few books Aquascape sells, like the Pond Builders Bible a must for the beginning pond installer!!
    I would also look into suggesting the pondless waterfall to your customer. You still get the sound of a waterfall but no pond. Also very low maintenance!!

    Matt- Do you have any more recent pictures of that pondless you did at your house?? It really turned out nice last I saw!!
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I agree with the others. I sub out most water feature stuff because I am just not as good as the others. I still make my money on the refferal. I would consider doing it this way then hanging out on site while its done and pitching in some.

    There is a designer in NJ on here that will come out and guide you thru it for a fee. Even if you paid him. Got it done right but didnt make much but gained knowledge and the experience to do it right the next time your ahead of the game.

    Contact him at www.dreamstodesigns.com. His name is Kirk engle and he is knowledable
  8. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    I don't have any more pictures at the moment, I never got to put in the lighting this fall, so I didn't officially 'complete' it yet. I did put down some mulch to dress it up for the winter since we haven't gotten any snow yet. I've been waiting for snow + cold weather to take a picture with some ice on the falls and snow covered rocks, but it hasn't been cold enough for long enough yet.

    Here are the pictures fishinman is talking about.
  9. dallas05

    dallas05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 82

    that is a great site for a pondless waterfall. great advice these guys are giving sub it out in return to help him or her to construct it. you definetly can lose your butt off on a pond especially with stone quanities.
  10. mudwisr2

    mudwisr2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    Dont jump into something you are not sure of because it could hurt your reputation as well as the other problems listed above

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