Third Time’s the Charm: Complete Pond Overhaul in Hampton, VA

When we got the call about working on this job, we found out that this homeowner already had a pond installed not once, but TWICE in his backyard. We would be the third contractor to try and get this pond moved and situated, and we wanted to make sure that we would be the last!

Pond Placement

On the first try, a pond was installed right in the middle of the yard. However, this placement really didn’t suit the homeowners long-term desires, and he felt limited in what he could do with his yard, so he decided the location needed to change. 
For the second try he hired another contractor to come in, pull that pond out, and build a new one over on the side of the backyard. While the new location of the pond really opened up his outdoor space, the infrastructure and rock placement were not done properly. You might be wondering: what does that even mean? What makes a “bad” pond? Well, there are a few things that really make a big difference when it comes to enjoying your backyard pond. Three of the top things we wanted to improve for our homeowner were:
      1. Construction & Infrastructure 
      2. Filtration
      3. Maintenance 

Pond Construction and Infrastructure

As I mentioned, the existing pond was just not built very well. The homeowner was unhappy with the rock placement, the pond was leaking, and there were overall concerns about the integrity of the construction and infrastructure. So before we could get started on building a new pond, we had to completely get rid of the old one. The team removed all of the boulders, liner, pond equipment, and everything else that was attached to the existing pond. Then we had to re-excavate the hole and reshape the soil for the pond shelves, the waterfalls, and the berm around it.
Once the pond was properly excavated it was time to install the underlayment (a protective layer) and liner. We used Aquascape’s Non-Woven Geotextile Underlayment which protects the EPDM Liner from sharp objects like rocks and roots that may cause damage. ​

The new pond is about 15 x 20 feet and features two waterfalls. On one side we have a small 4-foot tall waterfall, and on the other side we created a 15-foot stream. The idea was to have two waterfalls coming from different directions, with a stacked slate urn set up in the shallow area of the pool. Not only do these features look beautiful, they actually contribute to the proper functioning of the pond ecosystem.

Pond Filtration

When we build a pond, we do everything with the pond ecosystem in mind. Part of that is ensuring that the pond has proper filtration. The previous pump and filtration system required a ton of work, and even with all of that work things still did not function properly. There was actually a pool pump set up with an intake unit on the very bottom of the pond, and it was covered with dirt, algae, and things growing on it, so the suction was pretty bad. The filtration system simply was not doing a good job, and the homeowner was basically just trying to keep things running as best as he could. 

With the new pond came the installation of a new filtration system, and really a new way of life for this pond owner. There are three main components to this ponds new and improved filtration system: a mechanical filter (the skimmers), a biological filter, and the waterfalls. 

The job of the skimmer is to grab and remove debris from the pond before it sinks to the bottom. Large debris is captured in the skimmer basket, and any smaller pieces will get caught as the water passes through the horizontal mat. This pond sits right beneath a very large, very beautiful Magnolia tree, so there is a decent amount of debris that’s going to fall! These skimmers are going to make keeping the pond clean so much easier. They even have a natural-looking faux rock lid which helps to protect the pump and internal components without sacrificing the natural beauty of the pond!

After the debris has been collected in the skimmer, the water continues to circulate through underground plumbing, up to the biological filter. As the water travels up through the BioFalls filter, any fine particles that the skimmer missed will be filtered out. The BioFalls also help to colonize beneficial bacteria, and allow a place for any excess nutrients in the water to be digested. 

As the BioFalls filter fills up from the bottom, water cascades over the lip, and this actually creates the beginning of our waterfall. Once again, the function of the filter does not diminish the beauty, but actually enhances the beauty of the pond. As that water tumbles through the waterfall, over rocks and aquatic plants, it continues to get polished, keeping this pond healthy and clean. Not only is this filtration system better for the health of the pond, it’s also a significant upgrade for the homeowner in terms of maintenance.

Pond Maintenance

By upgrading the pond infrastructure and creating a naturally-balanced pond through this seamless filtration system, we were able to really change the way our client lives in his own backyard. Now instead of spending all of his time just trying to keep the pond functioning, he is able to take in the sights and sounds of this gorgeous water feature, and we also created a much better home for all of his fish!

Enjoying a Beautiful Backyard

This space already had some naturally stunning features like the 400-year-old Magnolia tree and an amazing view of the James River. Now that this homeowner finally​ has his structurally sound and easy-to-maintain pond, he is able to sit back and truly enjoy his beautiful backyard. 

Check out our video below to see more details about the re-making of this pond!