From Pond to Pondless - Gatling Pointe

Materials: Slate; Stone; Gravel; Stone Dust; Pond Equipment; Landscape Lighting; Pavers; Wall Block; Fire Pit; Built-In Grill; Outdoor Refrigerator; Drainage Parts; Compost; Seed; Plants; and Mulch.

Replacing the Koi Pond

After years of owning and maintaining this backyard koi pond, our client decided it was time for a change. It was a difficult decision. They decided on a pondless waterfall to replace the koi pond. Our client had come to need a lower maintenance landscape, but still wanted to be able to enjoy the sound of running water, and of course the sparkling view.

Wait until you see the final product!

A New Frog Home

We found a new home for our beautiful finned friends (and three bullfrogs) with a client in Toano for whom we’d built a pond several years ago. Even though these big guys settled in and loved their new home, it was a sad goodbye leaving this Gatling Pointe home.

Landscaping Updates

The overall landscape was in good shape, but needed some updating and adjustments. We started with a design to include an Aquascape pondless waterfall, new Eagle Bay outdoor kitchen, epic Eagle Bay fire pit area, several updates to the existing landscaping, minor drainage work, and (of course) landscape lighting

Approved and Pond Fish Moved

Now, with the design approved and the fish re-homed, we were able to get right to work removing the old pond. We separated the large rock from the small stones and sorted the different types of boulders (removing most of the red sandstone). After removing the old equipment and liner, we started backfilling the old hole for the pond, compacting the soil as we went. 

A Glorified Birdbath

We used large boulders to create a wall at the head of the pondless waterfall. We wanted to create an upper pooling area with with two spillway bowls. The idea was to create a glorified birdbath. Once the wall was finished, we constructed our pondless basin from AquaBlox, and installed our pump vault. With the plumbing now laid out and prepped for the installation, we installed the upper bowls. During the pond layout we also started clearing and leveling a space for our fire pit and seating area. However, the clay from the whole area was saturated, and would not dry out! On top of this, it rained a couple times. We managed the best we could, and left the soil alone to dry out for a bit.

In the Meantime...

While waiting, we sculpted our soil and laid out our geotextile and EPDM liner for the waterfall. It didn’t take us long to get the waterfall framed out with the large boulders. With the plumbing finished, we started on the smaller rock placement and grading around the waterfall. We also installed the ION Gen System and Auto-Doser to make sure this new waterfall stayed algae-free and healthy.

Our Rustic Fire Pit Design

We wanted the fire pit area to feel rustic, but also fit with the rest of the landscape. The seating wall along the back half of the fire pit was perfect for additional organic seating. Now, with the soil in the area finally dried out enough, we installed the Eagle Bay Highland Freestanding Seating Wall, the base stone for the area, and then started on the Eagle Bay Highland Stone Fire Pit. We also made sure our landscape wiring was set for all the LED low-voltage lights we had coming. Now, we moved to laying out our flagstone, and then packing the area with stone dust to finish it off. 

A Big Landscaping Checklist

With the waterfall and firepit mostly complete, we moved onto the drainage and landscape. There was a lot of grading that needed to happen. We removed the old pipes coming from the driveway, and cleaned the drainage area. We reinstalled the french drain, and then added new river rock accent. We also removed a medium section of turf under a Magnolia tree and converted this to a flower bed. We used forsythia as the backdrop- we love the way the flowers in late winter call out the coming of spring! 

​The landscape needed to be colorful, with something happening most of the year. We ended up using quite a few different plant varieties to accomplish this diverse scene. Check out this list:

Next Up: The Kitchen!

While the landscape was going in, a couple of us broke off to start on the outdoor kitchen and bar. The hardest part of most outdoor kitchens is laying out and leveling the first course of block. Once the the spaces, gaps, and level are set, the rest of the kitchen goes up pretty quickly. We used Dublin Freestanding block in Chesapeake and a natural thick cut slate with a rock face for the counter top. Because we used a Blaze BLZ compact refrigerator, we need to also install a rear vent to keep the compressor cool. The final bit of bling for this outdoor kitchen and bar was the natural gas Napoleon LEX 485.

The setup was complete! We now had a grill, a place to keep the beer cold, and also the perfect place to eat and relax beside the pondless waterfall. 

The Final 10%

As we touched up the last 10% of the project and installed the dyed brown shredded hardwood mulch, it was also time to wrap up the landscape lighting. The Aquascape uplights in the waterfall were installed when we built the pondless waterfall, but we hadn’t wired them in yet. So, we set the path lights and connected all of the lights to our pre-run wiring, finishing it out with a low-voltage transformer controlled by a photocell. The lights in the waterfall cast the perfect ripple of light on the tree canopy, while adding the perfect amount of light to enjoy the space.

A New Pondless Backyard

Our project was now wrapped up, and we’d made each one of these steps happen exactly as planned – and had a blast in the process!

We finished out this space at just over $41,000.