Brownsburg business teaches DIYers with a hands-on pond-building experience

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in Blog, Business stories, Community & Relationships | 0 comments

It’s a family joke that I love rocks and water. I don’t want to necessarily be IN the water, just near enough to see and hear it. I could spend hours on a beach – at the ocean, river, sea, stream or waterfall. Having a water feature at my house is about as close to bliss and serenity as I can hope for.

So when I learned Nature’s Choice Landscape & Supply in Brownsburg was hosting a Build-A-Pond Day on April 21, my husband and I braved the cloudy, cold day to attend. (At one point, you could actually SEE your breath!) The class provided professional instruction on how to build a pond – complete with waterfall and filtration- for your backyard- and it was completely done by 4 p.m.!

Landscape designer Jon Landis

We had a general idea of what was needed, however we learned a lot- including that a pond is not what we want at all. What we want is a pond-less waterfall and now we know the difference and feel much more confident about making that decision.

That knowledge does not take away at all from the experience. There were several pond professionals on hand to answer questions. Landscape designer, Jon Landis led the adventure, joined by Trent Caldwell of Aquascape (pond kit manufacturer), Andy Anderson of Automatic Irrigation Supply and Jonathan Dooley of Premium Aquatics (the pond, fish and aquatic plant guru).

They were willing to offer advice and examples of experiences that taught them what NOT to do. I always find those lessons are as valuable, if not more valuable than step-by-step building and installation instructions.

Planning is the first step.

Contrary to what you might think, the participants do not build the pond for the benefit of Nature’s Choice. After the event, the pond is taken apart and removed. They say on their postcard, “Don’t use your backyard to experiment … use ours!” and I like that idea.

If you have ever undertaken project like this, you know that the first time around always takes longer. If you were doing a second, you’d have a much better idea how to do it but how many people have more than one pond on their property?

Working side-by-side and watching means that we can now essentially bypass that first learning experience and dive into the project with some experience under our belts. Like most projects of this sort, pre-planning is the first, and probably the most important step.

Pond lining

These ponds are closed systems

My husband takes care of the mechanics and technical side of these homeowner projects while I am more involved with the aesthetic and design side. Landis and entourage addressed both. He explained and demonstrated how the entire system worked and gave everyone the opportunity for hands-on practice, which appealed to my husband. He learned how all the pieces worked and the best way to install them – and, most importantly, the reasoning behind the how-to.

It’s not just the mechanical elements like the pump, filter, waterfall and hoses, you have to think of the liner and under layment as well. Plus, the walls of the pond have to be angled and yes, there’s a reason for that, too!


Stone placement

Large boulder by the waterfall

With my love of rocks and water, especially together in a pond, ocean or waterfall, making an area of my yard look like a spring just naturally erupted appeals to me. But making it look like Mother Nature just passed through is not easily accomplished. Landis talked about how to select and place rocks and what sorts of rock to use to create that natural look. Then he let the group participate and get feedback on their choices. That helped immensely and I won’t forget those lessons.

The sizes of stones, the colors, the shapes- everything is considered in order for the stones to fit together. Landis said that pond-lovers tinker with the stone placement for weeks, months and years as they enjoy the sounds and sights it brings to their backyards.

Every waterfall has a different sound.

Every pond is unique because of the stones and the way the water moves around them. That’s part of the fun in building a pond – and making all the adjustments afterward. Changing the flow changes the look, but it also changes the sound of the water falling and moving.

Rolling and tucking is part of the finishing process

Finishing touches include how to cut and secure the extra liner around the pond and Landis’s team demonstrated a couple of techniques. Not cutting the liner means it is accessible if needed in the future.

Finishing around the pond includes the use of more rock, plants and even mulch. It depends on the look you want. Pond plants- marginals- can be used with other perennials like hostas and flowering annuals to create an area that fits right in with everything else in the yard. Like all gardens, it will mature and change through the years.

A pond with waterfall - in 1 day!

I love that I got to see the whole process at Nature’s Choice. I really appreciate that they took the time to educate DIYers like me. Sometimes I feel like product suppliers who do installations keep the information to themselves like industry secrets. We enjoy being DIYers and the feeling of accomplishment when we are able to create something unique and remarkable in our home.

At the end, Landis mentioned they plan to offer more of these sorts of classes (some will probably be shorter classes) for people in the area. I would suggest that anyone interested sign up and go – chances are you’ll learn what you wanted to learn – and more!

It’s a great opportunity for DIYers in the area and a great value-added service for a business to offer.


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