Wildlife Oasis in Lake Joyce off Shore Drive

Materials: Stone; Gravel; Pond Equipment; Landscape Lighting; Drainage Parts; and Mulch.

The Water Feature Checklist

Who wouldn’t want to a pond right outside their brand new four-season sunroom?
Our client owned a pond at her previous home, and when she decided to build a four-season room at this home, she knew a water feature needed to be part of this space as well.
Originally we talked about building a raised pond, with the pond and water level close to the height of the inside floor. After considering all the options, including budget, aesthetics and function, the naturalized ground level koi pond was ultimately decided upon.

A Wildlife Oasis Koi Pond Next to Home

I had a list of other factors we needed to make sure we addressed in this feature. Sound needed to project correctly towards the room, and it needed to be friendly to the local wildlife (including frogs, snails, hummingbirds, and other birds). It also needed to be deep enough for water lilies, require minimal maintenance, and include a place for fish to hide from any winged predators.

Nature-Made Modifications

We were able to address or answer all of these concerns with a few modifications to our Tranquility pond package.​
We made two modifications to make the feature wildlife accessible. The first was to extend the stream by 8-9 feet, creating shallow areas and access points for butterflies, insects, and birds. The longer stream also added to the complexity of the waterfall sounds, and projected this beautiful sound directly towards four season room. The second modification was the addition of the Aquascape Scalloped Urn. We added a separate control valve, which allowed us to dial back the flow and create a bird bath in the top. It was also perfect for hummingbirds to access, and was just tall enough to be viewed from our customer’s seat inside the four season room.

The Flow Zone

The depth was easy. Our Tranquility feature already comes 24″ deep, so we just had to make a small pocket for the future lilies to sit in.

We added a few features to make the maintenance a cinch. The first was the Aquascape Auto Doser. This system consistently drips beneficial bacteria, flocullants, detoxifier, and barley extract in the feature to make sure we are growing the correct bacteria cultures for the fish, plants, and water clarity. The second was the auto-fill valve. We added a valve with a bob on it, so that when the water level drops to a certain point, the valve opens up and adds​ more water to the feature.
The third was a overflow zone. Because this feature was right near the house, we wanted to make sure there would be a place for the water to automatically drain away in the event of an extremely heavy rain. Normally this isn’t an issue, but due to how flat the yard was, we needed to create a separate drainage basin to hold the water and allow it to slowly seep into the soil. We call this a drywell. We used a few AquaBlox wrapped in geotextile fabric a few feet below grade to create this void. We plumbed the overflow from the pond into this area, and then completely covered this drywell with soil, effectively hiding it from sight.

Mimicking Nature

Besides these few features, Aquascape Eco-System Ponds are already built with an incredibly easy maintenance routine. Debris is easily removed from the skimmer, and the filters are flushed annually. The maintenance of these systems is mostly in the creation and mimicry of nature. Lakes in the wild stay clean and clear, and we are duplicating these same systems on a smaller level. 

Keep Those Pond Fish Safe!

Finally, to make sure the fish stay safe from predators, we created a few pockets and fish caves through out the pond. These areas allow the fish to duck away and hide if any birds should come near.
The construction of these ponds is done in several steps. Once the shape has been decided upon and we have a good idea where the shelves are going to be, we dig down to the level of the first shelf- typically 12-16″. We then lay out the second shelf and excavate the remaining depth. Typically, the total depth is between 24-26″. Once excavation is complete, we set the Aquascape 1000 Skimmer in place, making sure to level it correctly. Next up is the Aquascape BioFalls 2500, also leveled slightly forward and perfect side to side. Now we place the pump, check valve, and flexible 2″ PVC from the skimmer out to the BioFalls.

A Protective Line

With the equipment set, we made a few adjustments to the excavation and started laying the Aquascape Non-Woven Geo-Textile underlayment fabric in the hole. This fabric protects the EPDM liner from punctures and damage from any sharp objects in the native soil. ​

Fun Begins Here!

​After our skimmer, BioFalls, pump/plumbing, underlayment, & EPDM were in place, the fun began. We started stacking boulders and building the two shelves of the pond. We used stone shims and blocks to lock all the boulders in place. We then moved to the stream/waterfall portion, rocking this area in as well. Once the main rocking was done, we backfilled with round pea gravel to create places for our beneficial bacteria to grow and cultivate.​
We added two Aquascape 3w lights with a 20W transfromer to this koi pond. These are both controlled by a Brilliance Smart Socket, which allows our customer to control the on/off and automatic timer settings straight from her phone. ​

Turnkey Eco-System Setup

With the majority of the feature now complete, we now spent a bit of time on the finishing touches, including the edge work and hiding the wires. We added an outcropping of rock to the berm we built, naturalizing the boulders and stone to the area. We also graded out the area around the feature and mulched the exposed soil.
With our finishing touches done and the stone washed down, we did our final water fill on the feature. We were able to give our client a turnkey eco-system koi pond, with simple maintenance and great aesthetics.

Our Next-Level Koi Pond Installation

Our standard cost for a 7×10 Tranquility koi pond is $12,500. We added a few upgrades to this feature, which also brought the cost up. To support the urn in this pond, we extended the feature by 2′ – making it a 7×12. We also upgraded to a larger pump, from the AquaSurge 2000-4000 to a AquaSurge 4000-8000. With this large pump, our customer is able to adjust the flow from anywhere between 4000-8000 gallons per hour. We added a custom dry well for drainage because the yard was flat. Other extras included the Beneficial Bacteria Auto-Doser, WiFi controlled lights, 8′ of stream/waterfall, autofill valve, and a fish cave to the feature, bringing the total cost right up to $20,000