WaterShapes

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

A Pond in Distress

6-7 triplett video artBy Eric Triplett

Whenever we approach a pond design/installation project, we are mindful of the fact that a big part of our mission is to make the result as trouble-free as possible for our clients.  It is never our intention to mess with their good moods, nor is it our practice, if things need adjusting later on, to avoid digging in as deep as may be necessary and finding a once-and-for-all solution to whatever the problem might be.

The project on display in this set of four brief videos is living proof that

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Living, Breathing Ponds

5-17-17EB0One of the least heralded factors in pond health is also among the most significant:  It's all about oxygen, writes Ed Beaulieu, who reviews the basics while offering some suggestions on how to keep it's level up where it needs to be to make both fish and plants happy.

 

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Meeting Special Needs

Ponds are often valued for being uniquely calming and comforting.  But for a child with autism, these watershapes can also be therapeutic in a number of ways.  That's wonderful news for these kids, Mike Gannon observes -- and great for their families as well.

 

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Urban Renewal

Long neglected, the man-made pond and stream located just a few miles from downtown Philadelphia needed help, big time.  As Scott Christie reports, doing so meant carefully digging into the site's history -- and aligning every detail with the client's childhood memories.
Long neglected, the man-made pond and stream located just a few miles from downtown Philadelphia needed help, big time. As Scott Christie reports, doing so meant carefully digging into the site's history -- and aligning every detail with the client's childhood memories.
By Scott Christie

What we have here is essentially three stories rolled into one.

Partly, it’s about what happens when a well-established company steps beyond its comfort zone with a major renovation project that involves an unusually large set of unknowns.  It’s also about what can happen to a property when an old, large, man-made pond system breaks down, time passes and the space reverts to a wild, natural state.  And it’s about what’s involved in pulling a failed

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Koi Courtyard

Lined with shimmering Travertine, the formal courtyard needed some softening.  What could be better, thought Colleen Holmes, than adding a sonorous waterfall along with a crisp, rectilinear pond -- and then livening it all up with the flashing colors of mood-altering fish?
Lined with shimmering Travertine, the formal courtyard needed some softening. What could be better, thought Colleen Holmes, than adding a sonorous waterfall along with a crisp, rectilinear pond -- and then livening it all up with the flashing colors of mood-altering fish?
By Colleen Holmes

When we think about Koi ponds, the images that most often come to mind are of spaces entirely naturalistic:  irregular shapes, edges offering limited direct access, lots of aquatic and terrestrial plants interacting at the margins and, as a rule, little suggestion of formality in the design.  

That was certainly the case in a project I recently shared through

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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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