WaterShapes

The web site for all professionals and consumers who've made or want to make water a part of their lives

Winged Wildlife

Pond owners tend to focus on the larger forms of wildlife that enjoy being in or near their watergardens.  But as Ed Beaulieu points out here, there are dozens of diminutive creatures that merit attention -- and also do a remarkable job of bolstering and sustaining the ecosystem.

 

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Ponds and Ice

Ponds can be gorgeous year 'round, even in winter.  But keeping them attractive in truly cold weather involves some preparation, writes Mike Gannon, and a willingness to get active outdoors to keep things on track at a time when being indoors might seem a far better idea!
Ponds can be gorgeous year 'round, even in winter. But keeping them attractive in truly cold weather involves some preparation, writes Mike Gannon, and a willingness to get active outdoors to keep things on track at a time when being indoors might seem a far better idea!
By Mike Gannon

Ponds in winter are uniquely charming.  Where they teem with life and activity through the spring, summer and fall, they slow down when the weather gets cold – but never so much so that they lose their ability to surprise and delight.

It’s the seasonal changes that bring a welcome sense of drama to these settings when the days are cold and short:  Super-clear one morning, snow-covered or crazed with ice the next, in winter these watershapes offer up daily levels of textured, luminous variety that I see as

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Pond Calculations

2-8 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

How do you figure out how much water there is in a pond?  This is a question that frequently reaches my desk – and it’s important enough to know that I devoted this edition of “Ask the Pond Digger” to answering it.

In the video, I approach this as a practical matter of how you figure out how many gallons a pond contains, offering a couple basic ways to

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Working Out Front

There were some positives in the existing front yard, says Colleen Holmes.  But the overall space needed lots of attention to turn the Koi pond and its bland, disjointed surroundings into a warmer, more effective transition from the public sphere to the family's private retreat.
There were some positives in the existing front yard, says Colleen Holmes. But the overall space needed lots of attention to turn the Koi pond and its bland, disjointed surroundings into a warmer, more effective transition from the public sphere to the family's private retreat.
By Colleen Holmes

In my lengthening career as a landscape designer and installer, I have worked on every aspect of a variety of residential and commercial projects – indoors and outdoors; on backyards, sideyards and front yards; on formal gardens, wild meadows and stands of trees; and on pools, spas, fountains, ponds, streams, waterfalls and more.  

I enjoy every part of the projects that come my way, but

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Bamboo Basics

11-2 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

The weight of conventional wisdom opposes me here, but I love using bamboo around many of the ponds we install.  In the right setting with a pond large enough that the vertical plants are appropriately scaled to the horizontal watershape, bamboo looks great, grows rapidly and brings a wonderful architectural look to the composition – not to mention great sound when

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Frog Factors

leopardIf frogs show up in a pond, writes Mike Gannon, it's a sure sign that the water is healthy.  But it also means some extra chores for the pondkeeper -- including a need to massage a few details to persuade these finicky  amphibian guests to stick around for a while.

 

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Pond Decisions

11-2 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

Pond liners are great:  They’re tough, last a long time and endure a great deal of abuse during their service lives – but sometimes people want to do strange things with them, as the first question addressed in this edition of “Ask the Pond Digger” attests.

As you’ll see, I was asked if it was acceptable to place a new liner inside

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Transition Water

Floating islands were a novelty ten years ago, but now they're established, well-researched systems that have proved their value in fixing damaged ponds and lakes.  It's all about restoring food webs, says Bruce Kania -- and learning to grow fish instead of mats of algae.
Floating islands were a novelty ten years ago, but now they're established, well-researched systems that have proved their value in fixing damaged ponds and lakes. It's all about restoring food webs, says Bruce Kania -- and learning to grow fish instead of mats of algae.
By Bruce Kania

I live beside a lake on a property that also includes the headquarters for my business, Floating Island International (Shepherd, Mont.).  The lake serves as our laboratory, and my near-constant proximity to it means that I’ve gotten to watch how the water has changed through the years.  

It’s been an upward spiral:  The water keeps getting clearer, cleaner and

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Natural Revision

Her clients had purchased a property with good potential, writes Colleen Holmes, but it took a lot of effort to turn the rundown jumble she found into the home of their dreams.  It started with a coat of paint and a stabilized slope -- then came the hot tub, waterfall and hitching posts.
Her clients had purchased a property with good potential, writes Colleen Holmes, but it took a lot of effort to turn the rundown jumble she found into the home of their dreams. It started with a coat of paint and a stabilized slope -- then came the hot tub, waterfall and hitching posts.
By Colleen Holmes

This is a story about turning an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

It starts with a couple who had recently purchased their ideal home – one with room for them, for horses and for serenely rustic outdoor living.  But the reality as they found it was somewhat different:  The entry from the street was boring, the house was bland, the backyard space was disorganized and the

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Broader Horizons

Asked to install a 1,200-foot-long steam/waterfall system for the final hole of a high-end golf course, Tim Krzeminski applied his consummate stream-crafting skill -- and what he learned in local hikes -- to produce a gorgeous water hazard any duffer would be happy to avoid.
Asked to install a 1,200-foot-long steam/waterfall system for the final hole of a high-end golf course, Tim Krzeminski applied his consummate stream-crafting skill -- and what he learned in local hikes -- to produce a gorgeous water hazard any duffer would be happy to avoid.
By Tim Krzeminski

When I started my pond company as a teenager in 2002, I had no clear idea how Laughing Waters (Palos Heights, Ill.) would evolve in subsequent years.  At the time my first article appeared in WaterShapes in 2007, I was basically a 22-year-old bundle of energy with more ambition than experience.

In the decade since then, our energy has become more focused, the company has grown to take on a full range of major residential and commercial projects and, with experience, our ambition has

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Pond-Leak Detectives

11-2 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

Where I work in southern California, we’re accustomed to seeing changes in water level in our ponds:  The air is dry and the winds blow briskly, so evaporation is invariably a factor.  Before long, it becomes a familiar pattern, and we know that the pond owner or the auto-fill system will be replacing an inch or so of water every week.

But sometimes it becomes apparent that

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Themes, Anyone?

0He's a longtime believer in using naturalistic approaches in pond design and installation.  But lately, Mike Gannon has also spent some time questioning that foundation -- and wondering out loud if there might be value in looking at his design options in new and divergent ways.

 

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Luxury Liners

8-10 triplett artBy Eric Triplett

Just one question is covered in “Ask the Pond Digger” this time, in response to a gentleman who asked me to compare reinforced polyethylene (RPE) and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) liners for use in ponds.  I get this one all the time, from do-it-yourselfers looking to save some money – and from professionals who

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