Recently I was hanging out with Fred, our trusty mannequin friend, and we stumbled upon a conversation about Shaq's pond. Now, let me tell you, it was a bit one-sided and honestly a tad boring. But then we had an idea! We thought, maybe you guys haven't seen the full glory of Shaq's pond and its surroundings. So, we decided to take you on a little adventure to show you what went into constructing this magnificent pond and some of the headaches the team faced along the way.
Enter Ed, our guide and the mastermind behind the construction of Shaq’s pond. He shared with us the long list of challenges they encountered during this grand project. First off, they had to deal with a pond that simply didn't function. Take it from me: fixing something after the fact is always more difficult and expensive than doing it right in the first place. They had to go back and redo everything differently from the ground up. Imagine packing clay and maneuvering in wet conditions—definitely not a fun task.
To make matters worse, the crew that built the original pond had moved a ton of soil to the back of the property, and Ed and the rest of the Aquascape Team had to haul all of that soil back. The soil was used to rebuild the pond shelves, shape the peninsula, and make various other changes to the pond’s foundation...and let's not forget about staging. They had to knock down a section of the fence to bring in all the boulders they needed for the project. Luckily, they had a spacious staging area to work with, but it still involved a lot of back and forth.
Working in dry conditions has its perks, but it also comes with its fair share of headaches. The pulverized soil, which resembles talcum powder, would blow everywhere, covering everything in sight with a fine layer of dust. It was a mess, to say the least. And the headaches didn't end there—they had to deal with drainage rerouting, getting stuck in the mud multiple times, machinery mishaps, and reshaping everything. It's easy to talk about these challenges casually, but in reality, they caused massive issues during the construction process.
There were several other challenges and details that had to be worked out, including sourcing all the stone needed for the pond. The team handpicked stone in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and then had to transport it all the way to Georgia. They wanted to coordinate their efforts with Shaq's schedule to surprise him with the final result, which added another layer of complexity to the project. Their workdays stretched from 7:30 AM to 9:30 PM, 14 hours of non-stop dedication.
The original idea for the pond came from a drainage ditch channel on the property that flowed water all year round. Thinking it was the perfect spot, Shaq’s crew dug a big hole, even though Ed had already warned them not to. But alas, they made a mistake—they went ahead and dug out a pond without the proper knowledge and experience, and it was a total failure.
One crucial lesson emerged from the challenges faced during the construction process: just because an area is low-lying and collects water doesn't mean it's suitable for a pond. This is a common misconception in our industry, and it’s so important for homeowners to understand that the lowest part of the property isn’t necessarily the best location for a pond due to potential contamination issues. When groundwater is constantly entering the pond, it’s almost impossible to keep the ecosystem pure.
As we took a stroll around Shaq's Pond, Ed enthusiastically explained the thoughtful design and technical aspects behind it. The path leading to the pond had been strategically aligned, providing a stunning view of the entire area. Ed's approach was centered on creating an interactive space rather than merely focusing on water volume. Twists, turns, coves, and beaches were meticulously crafted to enhance visual interest.
Functionality was key to the success of the pond. To achieve this, they designed pump vaults and used submersible pumps in a cove area to draw water throughout the pond. Two 4000-7000 adjustable pumps were installed, ensuring good water circulation. Multiple pipes were cleverly positioned to distribute water throughout the pond, feeding into a wetland filtration system. By carefully considering factors like water depth, aquatic vegetation, and pump efficiency, Ed had created an ecosystem that could thrive.
We can't forget about the technical details! The pond measures 110 feet from the waterfall to the beach area, excluding the extension beyond the liner. It spans 90 feet at its widest point, and the magnificent 40-foot waterfall steals the show. Additionally, they built a 12- by 15-foot upper pond to aid in the sedimentation process. It acts as a sedimentation chamber, allowing fast-moving water to deposit sediment before cascading down the waterfalls and rejuvenating the water.
Oh, and let's not forget the immense amount of stone they used—500 tons, to be exact. This includes cobble, 57 rounds, and various other types of stone and boulders. That doesn’t even count the sand or stone chips used around the pond. Talk about a substantial construction effort!
One cool fact Ed shared was that the pond's liner was a massive 130 by 110 feet sheet of polypropylene, weighing a whopping 5,000 pounds. Imagine the teamwork required to install that! They also had to tackle groundwater issues by implementing a sub liner drainage system to manage the surplus water.
Shaquille O'Neal's backyard pond project is a testament to the dedication, expertise, and creativity of the team behind its construction. Despite the setbacks and headaches, they persevered and transformed a non-functioning pond into a stunning oasis. It's a reminder that even the best-laid plans can encounter unexpected obstacles.
So, there you have it—the fascinating journey behind the construction of Shaq's pond at his Georgia home. The process from start to finish shows the power of determination, problem-solving, and a shared vision. Be sure to check out the full video below and as always, get outside my friends!
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!