In the heart of Georgia, legendary basketball player and philanthropist Shaquille O'Neal found himself in need of major help. After an unsuccessful attempt by Shaq's team to build a second pond on their own, Aquascape answered the call for help. The project, completed in just ten days, required a massive workforce to meet Shaq's tight schedule. The dedicated team of Certified Aquascape Contractors set out to create an epic recreational pond in time to surprise Shaq for Father’s Day, but heavy rains and erosion threatened to ruin all of their hard work...
With a ticking clock and the pressure to impress, this is the story of how we came together with Aquascape to build a monumental pond fit for the big man himself—a Shaq-sized pond.
Note: the dirty water in the new pond is just a part of the process as everything around the edge stabilizes. A massive filtration system has been installed in this pond, and within a week or two this water will be clean and clear.
Shaq, the Man with a Heart of Gold:
Shaq's commitment to helping others and his involvement in the community has earned him the respect and admiration of many. His selfless nature made this project all the more meaningful for everyone involved. It was an honor for our team at Easton Outdoors and the other Certified Aquascape Contractors to give back to Shaq, knowing how much he has done for others without ever seeking anything in return. Failure was not an option—dropping the ball was out of the question (pun intended).
Exploring the Original Pond:
Before delving into the new water feature, let’s take a moment to appreciate the original pond, built three years ago by the Aquascape team. The original pond was strategically designed to be visible from the driveway because they wanted Shaq to see it upon his arrival. The team had to work with the natural landscape, which sloped away from the house. They created a visually stunning water feature at the top with a stacked slate sphere featuring the iconic Superman symbol.
In three short days, Aquascape managed to create a beautiful water feature that starts up near the house with a waterfall and slowly transitions into this meandering stream that goes all the way down to the bottom, leading into the pond. Throughout the space, there are paths and bridges connecting the landscape, and there’s even a small beach area with a cozy fire pit. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the epic treehouse, crafted by the renowned treehouse master, Pete Nelson of Nelson Treehouse.
And Big Foot. We can’t forget about Big Foot.
Aquascape to the Rescue:
As we mentioned before, Shaq wanted to add a second pond to his outdoor space, and his team attempted to do it on their own…big mistake. That’s when Ed, aka The Pond Professor, got the call that they needed Aquascape’s help to transform this sad, dilapidated pond into something incredible for Shaq.
The best pond builders from all over the world flew down to Atlanta, Georgia, and began building a big, monstrous pond - a Shaq-sized pond. They had only 10 days to complete the entire project before Shaq came home from vacation. The team moved roughly one million pounds of rock in just five days, and the results were looking amazing. Until we got this phone call…
"It’s a big mess down here… there was a big rain, and a lot of the soil from the surrounding area that was disturbed flowed right into the pond, and so now there’s a lot of erosion and a lot of messed up soil around the perimeter. Man, it’s a lot of work." - Aquascape Team Member
At the time of this call, we only had 48 hours until Shaq was scheduled to arrive. The crew needed us to come down and help get this pond ready and in shape for Shaq’s Father’s Day present. I immediately sent Jim, our resident water feature guy, and his crew down to Atlanta with a truck filled with erosion matting to help clean up the mess and get this pond ready in time!
First thing Saturday morning, the day Shaq was coming home, Danny and I flew into Atlanta to check out the project and see how clean-up was going. Jim and the team had been down there working on all of the edges for the pond. They put the berm back in and laid erosion matting down. Alongside the rest of the Aquascape team, they were working tirelessly to make sure everything was perfect for the big man’s arrival.
A Grateful Shaq:
The construction of this pond was no easy task, but all of the hard work and dedication certainly paid off. The unwavering dedication of the team of Certified Aquascape Contractors ensured that Shaq’s Father’s Day gift surpassed all expectations. Overwhelmed by the team’s efforts, Shaq expressed his gratitude and admiration for the completed pond:
"I’m not usually the guy that receives gifts. I like taking care of people. Pete came and blessed me with a treehouse, but I think this surpasses Pete. I want to say thank you and thank your team very much. You guys got a friend for life." - Shaq
It was a huge privilege to be a part of this epic project, and of course, it was awesome meeting the one and only Shaquille O’Neal! I even got him to sign an Easton Outdoors t-shirt. Check out our YouTube video below for a chance to win it for yourself!
About Easton Outdoors
We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!