Tag Archives: pond design

A recent Pond Installation in Chestnut Hill, PA

after
Chestnut Hill, PA Pond Renovation after

Ready for a Chestnut Hill new pond installation ?

The J Family was certainly ready for a new Pond Installation!  After 20 years of living with their broken down pond, Mr. and Mrs. J. were ready to move on!  They reached out to AquaReale after seeing our display pond at Primex Garden Center.  Mr. J called AquaReale to see if we could replace their current non working pond, keeping with the Japanese feel of their garden, which he and his wife lovingly care for themselves.

J before

After meeting Mr. and Mrs. J and seeing their space, we were confident we could give them the water feature they were looking for. They had a very particular aesthetic, which AquaReale was able to respect and work with.

New Pond Installation  Challenge

The pond was located between large trees, making it a challenge to stay within certain spaces and still give Mr. J the natural looking stream he was looking for. According to AquaReale employee Tom, the most challenging part was creating a natural looking waterfall within such tight confines.

New Pond Installation  Solution

“Mr. J. had very particular ideas of what he was looking for and it was an interesting challenge to work with him to make sure he was happy with the look of the stream. “Being able to understand and replicate what Mr. J was looking for was such a great feeling. When things came together and he saw the product being finished, he was so excited,” said Tom.
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stream
Chestnut Hill, PA Pond Renovation after

Tom made sure to ask for photos of pond ideas as well as to keep the customers informed as the process went along. “That way there were no surprises along the way. Mr. J saw things and made comments before we went too far along. This collaboration really helped the entire process, “adds Tom.

The new Pond Installation : End Result

The final product does a great job of creating the Japanese zen feel the Js were looking for and offers a beautiful relaxing pond and stream in this urban backyard. The best part of all? The Js are thrilled. That’s after all, what it’s all about!

 Contact us to see what we can do for you!

Philadelphia pond renovation

Quick breakdown: pond renovation vs. pond repair

Many people question the difference between a pond renovation vs. a pond repair.  Though they sound similar, renovation requires much deeper intervention. Repairing something means fixing or replacing a small part that is broken or malfunctioning – renovation is a complete overhaul and redo, resulting in a practically brand new end product.

A pond is no exception to these terms of home improvement– take a look at the before and after of this pond renovation!

pond repair

When a pond leaks, you have the option to make a pond repair or completely renovate the pond – these options depend heavily on the extent of the problems. If the causes don’t inherently interfere with the structure of the pond or the health of the pond wildlife, you can likely troubleshoot and fix the specific issue. Problems that can be repaired include holes that leak or the liner detaching from the skimmer or biofalls, just to name some things that are more common. The possibilities are endless – without the guaranteed standards of a Certified Aquascape Contractor, there’s no telling what happened during construction. If the leak is caused by a hole in the liner, it can sometimes be patched. A broken pipe means you need to replace the pipe. Repairs are self-explanatory.

The most difficult part of even the simplest pond repair is identifying the problem in the first place. We usually hear,“why is my pond leaking?”  This opens a variety of potential causes, which can be narrowed through a few key tests.
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  1. Walk around pond, checking for visible wet spots for possible leaks. A simple issue could be a low liner, allowing for a water to flow over the edge.
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  2. Fill up the pond and determine the water level
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  3. Turn off the pump and come back 24 hours later to check for a change in water level.
    • If the water level is unchanged, the problem arises somewhere in the pipe or filter.
    • If the water level has decreased, the problem lies somewhere in the pond or skimmer.

If none of these are the causes, your issue lies somewhere in the pond or stream and a renovation is likely the best solution.

pond renovation vs. pond repair

Pond Renovation

Renovation is considered a complete pond replacement. This means we remove the pond and replacing all parts. This is the perfect opportunity to change anything you didn’t like, and address any issues, even minor ones – you could add more tunnels for fish, install lighting, and use more plants to encourage a healthy ecosystem. You could increase or decrease the size of the pond, or add an additional or larger waterfall or other feature.

Many pond renovations we encounter come from homeowners who had a landscaping company come in and build a pond, or new homeowners who don’t know their pond’s history. Renovations can seem daunting, but are a great opportunity to save time and energy that will be spent making temporary repairs on a flawed or dissatisfying pond design.

pond renovation vs. pond repair

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance
Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance

Bright bursts of gold, orange and red in the trees signify an important event for your pond–  It’s time for some Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance.   Preparing your pond for the winter greatly reduces the amount of work you need to do in the spring to get your pond in tip-top shape.

Fall’s lacy, colorful leaves look pretty floating on your pond’s surface, but eventually they’ll sink to the bottom where they’ll decay and wreak havoc with your water quality. As leaf matter decomposes, the balance of your water changes and can become toxic for your fish.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Option: Netting your Pond

Netting your pond is an easy, obvious choice for addressing leaf control. It doesn’t take much time to set the net up over your water garden, and the hours of future work it saves you is priceless. AquaReale can net your pond for you, as part as your Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Options: Checking the Skimmer Basket

If you choose not to net your pond, you’ll need to make sure that you’re checking the pond’s skimmer basket every couple of days to remove the pile-up of leaves. Luckily, this is an easy task and doesn’t take much time. Once you pull the leaves out of the basket, be sure to toss them in your compost pile.

Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance Options: Clean the Debris from Your Pond

Finally, if you failed to net your pond and all those colorful, floating leaves have found their way to the pond’s bottom, you’ll want to remove them before they decay into ugly sludge that has to be cleaned out in the spring. Grab a long-handled pond net and scoop the debris from the floor of your water garden. Or if you don’t mind getting your feet wet, wade on into the pond and fish them out by hand.

Whatever your strategy to combat the onslaught of beautiful fall foliage that floats into your pond, you can rest assured that your efforts to control it now, will be well rewarded come springtime. With some Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance, you will have all the help you need to head into a beautiful spring season with your pond.

For more information on Philadelphia Fall Pond Maintenance, contact AquaReale.

 

Pond Plants in the Fall

Pond Plants in the Fall
Pond Plants in the Fall

What do you with Pond Plants in the Fall?

How do you handle Pond Plants in the Fall?  Here on the east coast, the seasonal change from summer to fall is apparent by the beautiful, multi-colored leaves and the dip toward cooler temperatures. How will that chill you feel in the air affect the plants in your aquatic paradise?

Hardy Marginals

 As with terrestrial, perennial plants, dropping temperatures signal your hardy aquatic plants to prepare for their winter dormancy. At this time, you should stop fertilizing them as you see leaves begin to yellow and brown. It’s OK to leave these plants where they are in your pond to weather the cold of winter, just be sure to trim the dying foliage of your marginal plants down to 2” above the water level.

Tropical Marginals

Treat these plants as they would any garden annual by replacing them each season. A fun alternative to this is to treat them as tropical houseplants and bring them in for the winter. Most tropical marginals will do well potted in heavy garden soil in a sealed clay pot with no drainage holes. When kept wet, the plants do well in a sunny window or sunroom.

Waterlilies

Waterlilies will also begin to show their dislike for the cold with yellowing leaves and fewer flowers. When this happens, the leaf and flower stems of hardy water lilies should be cut back to about 2 to 3” above the base of the plant.

In areas where freezing is likely, plants should be overwintered indoors. This can be a difficult task; therefore many gardeners choose to simply buy a new plant each season.

Lotus

As with the marginals in your pond, the foliage of your lotus plants will need to be trimmed back after they have died back and turned brown. It’s important not to cut the leaves while they are still green because the freshly cut, hollow stems are susceptible to disease which can spread to the plant’s tuber, possibly killing the plant. Lotus tubers will not withstand freezing, so any plants that are growing in the shallow areas of your pond should be moved to the bottom, away from freezing water.

Caring for your Pond Plants in the Falll will mean less work and healthier plants come spring.  Contact us for more information on Pond Plants in the Fall.

Horsham, PA pond installation

Horsham, PA pond installation
Horsham, PA pond installation

 

At AquaReale, all of our clients are special.  We do our best to bring their visions to reality.  In some cases, the client reaches out to us.

When Gary contacted us, he had just bought a house.  He had always had ponds at previous locations, and knew he wanted another pond.  His research on Horsham, PA pond installations led him to AquaReale.

In a word, Gary was thrilled with his Horsham, PA pond installation by AquaReale: “They were so easy to have around.  I think what I liked best about the process was the openness of AquaReale.  They involved me in everything.  Matt told me what he was thinking. I didn’t feel like people descended upon my home and did it TO me.  It had to do with atmosphere.  They kept me abreast every step of the way, and asked questions.  Matt started it and the guys continued.  And let me tell you, they are perfectionists.  I never had to say just leave it.  I mean, they did a WOW!! job.  Absolutely meticulous, the whole job.  I had no doubts or concerns, and there was open discussion about everything.  They had all the answers.“

A true success

Gary W. loves his Horsham, PA pond installation created by AquaReale.  “I love the placement, and I love that I can walk around barefoot.  It just feels like it’s been there forever.  And because it blends into the landscape, it feels like another room.  It has inspired me with so much creativity and serenity.  Another feature I love is the rock work.  It is a work of art.   I also love knowing my fish have caves for protection from the birds!  I think the best part about my Horsham pond by Aquareale is that everyone who comes to visit wants to sit on the back porch just a little while longer.  Friends and family gather to listen to the sound of the water moving over the rocks.

“One amazing thing about my new Horsham, PA pond installation by AquaReale is that it has become a silent memorial to my mom.  I put a memorial to her outside at the pond.  It was almost as if she knew, because on Thanksgiving Day, cardinals began to appear…as though she had sent them.

Thanks to Matt and AquaReale, I am outside more than I have ever been.  My Horsham, PA pond installation brings me closer to nature.  AquaReale is my water feature professional for life.  I couldn’t recommend anyone higher.”

 

Contact AquaReale to see what we can build for you!

clean pond water in six steps!

clean pond water
clean pond water

Six steps to clean pond water

Most pond owners know the importance  of clean pond water.  Not knowing how to get or keep clean pond water can be quite a challenge.  But we can help!  Follow the six tips below to help ensure clean pond water:

1. Maintain a healthy fish population

If you have more than 10” of fish for every 100 gallons of water, your pond is likely over-populated. Excessive fish waste can cause an imbalance in pond water. Consider finding some of them a new home.

2. Don’t over-feed your fish

When you feed fish more than they can eat, the uneaten food is left to decay in the pond. Be careful not to feed your fish more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes. Remove all excess, leftover food

3. Create a proper balance of plants

At season’s peak, you should have no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of your pond either covered or shaded by plants. Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, when the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

4. Choose the right size pump for your pond

You should be circulating the entire pond’s water volume a minimum of once every hour. Make sure your pump’s flow isn’t restricted by debris and be careful not to pump water higher than it was intended. Every pump has its flow limitations. Refer to the chart on the outside of the pump’s box to make sure you’re making the right choice for your pond.

5. Choose proper filtration for your pond 

Your filter should match the size of your pond. Remember, most manufacturers rate their filters based on ideal circumstances, and if you exceed those, your filter becomes less effective. Always up-size your filter so that it can handle more than the capacity of your pond. Also remember to clean your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Keep your clean pond water cool during the dog days of summer 

When clean pond water exceeds 75º Fahrenheit, it has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen. This is why it’s important to have your pond shaded by aquatic plants (see tip #3). Fish need oxygen to survive. If you see them at the pond’s surface gasping for air, add an aerator to help them during times of extreme heat.

 Contact us for more information about keeping your pond water clean.

 

 

Hot Ponds= Big Problems!

Hot Pond
Hot Pond

Cool off that Hot Pond!  

Hot Pond problems are not good problems to have.   Many people are attuned to the problems of snow and freezing temperatures when it comes to their ponds.  There is another problem too, though—heat!

When it gets very hot, your water temperature rises as well. When the water gets above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, changes might occur.  You might notice your plants looking a little worse for the wear, not to mention your fish. Fish may gasp for air close to the water’s surface or appear a little stressed out.  Why is this happening and what can you do?

Hot Pond—Plant Problems

Just like fish (and humans!) pond plants can show the effects of extreme heat.  Water lettuce and water hyacinth can turn yellow and burn.  The pads of your prized hardy waterlily might also begin to turn a brownish color and start to decay. Since the leaves of a waterlily help shade the pond and keep it cooler, maintaining the plant’s health is a priority.

Hot Pond—Fish Concerns

Cooler water can hold much more oxygen than warm water.  With warmer water, your fish become more active, leading to a Catch-22.  Your fish require more oxygen due to their activity than when there is less oxygen available!

Fish aren’t the only pond inhabitants who increase their activity in warmer weather. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites also tend to increase which means diseases can spread quicker. Just like humans, stressed fish are more susceptible to diseases when they’re not feeling up to par.

How to beat the heat

Ponds with a depth of two feet or more have an advantage over shallower ponds, as the bottom of the pond will remain cooler and the fish can hang out at the lower depth.

Aquatic plants help cool a pond provided one-third to one-half of the pond’s surface area is covered. Waterlilies, mosaic plant, and water lettuce are all great options for shading the surface of your pond. Of course, natural overhead shade from trees, bushes, and even your house will help.

One of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. Your biological and mechanical filters should be placed across the pond from each other so that all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water circulated.

Keep in mind that your waterfall or stream plays a huge role in the oxygenation of pond water. Oxygen enters the water when there is air and water interacting. Streams and waterfalls create turbulence which increases oxygen levels.

Cooling Off

You can use a pond thermometer to check the temperature of your pond water. If you find the water nearing 80 degrees, you can increase oxygen with a pond aerator. You can also perform a partial water change and add cooler water.  Just remember to detoxify the pond after adding municipal water – for the safety of your fish.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to take your pond’s temperature every day – especially if you have an ecosystem pond with proper circulation and filtration. Simply watch for tell-tale signs like fish gasping for air at the surface of the water or near a waterfall. That’s typically the first sign that the pond is overheated and needs oxygen.

Summer is a great time to enjoy your pond – and you may have noticed it’s also the coolest spot in your yard! Keep your fish and plants healthy, and you’ll enjoy a low-maintenance pond throughout the season. Contact us for help on cooling your Hot Pond!

A Guide to Fixing a Philadelphia Pond Problem

Philadelphia Pond Problem
Philadelphia Pond Problem

A Guide to Fixing a Philadelphia Pond Problem

Do you have a Philadelphia Pond Problem?   Leaks can be the most frustrating part of owning a pond.  They are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Understanding how leaks work and how to detect them will save you time, money, and headaches.

What is Evaporation? 

First, let’s have a look at what evaporation is and what it isn’t. Evaporation is caused by water turning into a vapor and escaping from your pond. The amount of water loss will vary according to the region of the country and the time of year.

Ponds that are located in areas of the country like Philadelphia, with moderate temperatures and high humidity can expect to see 1 to 1 ½ inches of water loss per week during the spring and summer.

Evaporation is not filling your pond up all the way one evening and waking up the next morning to find the water six inches lower. That’s a leak! If your pond is experiencing a loss of water at a more rapid rate, you either have a leak, or your frogs are drinking the water. Seriously, let’s figure that it’s a leak. What do you do then?

Philadelphia Pond Problem: Low Edges 

Look for any low edges. Settling at the pond’s edge is the most common cause of a leak, especially in a new pond. Typically, the low edges are found around the stream and waterfall where settling may have occurred after a few rainfalls. These areas are usually built up during the construction of the pond using the soil from the excavation and are prone to some settling.

Carefully inspect the edges of not only your stream and waterfall, but also the perimeter of the pond. As the dirt around the stream or waterfall settles, it can create low spots that may cause water to escape over the edge of the liner. Keep your eyes peeled for wet mulch or gravel, or muddy areas around the perimeter of your pond. If you find a spot that’s leaking, all you have to do is lift the liner up and push some soil under it in order to raise the edge. Bingo – leak fixed!

Low edges can be built back up by simply backfilling and compacting soil beneath the liner in order to raise the edge of the liner above the water level.

Obstructions in the Stream and Waterfalls 

In addition to checking for low edges, you should also check your stream and waterfall. Rocks and excessive plant or algae growth in the stream or biofalls  can restrict the flow of water and divert it over the edge of the liner.

Plants and algae should be maintained by trimming them back in order to let the water pass freely. All in all, these leaks are extremely easy to fix.

Still Leaking? 

You’ve spent 15 minutes or so following the suggestions listed above and you still can’t find the leak. What do you do next? It’s time for a little more work, and some drastic measures. You’ll have to shut your pump off for a day. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine the approximate location of the leak.

  • Make sure the pond is filled to the appropriate level.
  • Unplug the pump.
  • Let the pond sit for 24 hours.
  • If the water level drops, then you know the leak is in the pond.

When the Water Drops

  • To find out where the Philadelphia Pond Problem is occurring, allow the water level to continue to drop. The level where the water stops dropping is the level where the leak is located.
  • Concentrate your search around the perimeter of the pond at the level that the water has stopped dropping.

Now the fun begins! At this point, you may want to consider calling in a pond professional, but in order to reveal the exact location of the leak, you’ll need to:

  • Remove any rocks around the entire perimeter at the level where the water stopped. You can then carefully check for some sort of puncture, or hole in the liner.
  • When you find the hole, you simply patch it with a liner patch kit available at pond supply retailers.
  • Now you can replace the rocks, fill the pond back to the top, and enjoy!

Steady and Level 

If the water level remains the same, then it is safe to assume that that the leak is not in the pond. Now you’ll need to check the pipe, the plumbing fittings, and the pump connections for leaks.

Another possible culprit is the faceplate of your skimmer, if you have one. If the water level stopped dropping above the bottom of the faceplate you should investigate the skimmer. It may not have sealed correctly.

If the Leak Is in the Skimmer

  • Investigate the skimmer faceplate without disassembling it.
  • Simply move a few rocks around the front of the skimmer and slide your hand behind the liner, feeling for wet soil around the opening of the skimmer. If the soil is saturated, then the faceplate may have not been installed properly and might be the source of the leak.
  • Remove the faceplate, clean all of the old silicone off the liner, and refer back to the instruction manual on proper procedures for sealing the skimmer faceplate to the skimmer. Hopefully, you’ve solved the leak.

It’s not fun to have a Philadelphia Pond Problem.   It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process to locate the leak. Hopefully with these steps and tips, you can quickly locate the source of the leak and get right back to enjoying your water garden.

If you still have a leak, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help!

 

 

The Top Pond Builders in the Philadelphia area

4 things to consider for your Philadelphia Fish Pond

Philadelphia Fish Pond
Philadelphia Fish Pond

Four things to consider for your Philadelphia Fish Pond

Before you dig your Philadelphia Fish Pond, you need to do a decent amount of planning.  Logistics are just as important as dreams when it comes to your beautiful water feature.

We recommend considering these four things when planning your own Philadelphia Fish Pond:

Terrain

Some water features just aren’t good matches for some land. Digging a pond out of bedrock probably isn’t your best option. And a steep incline might be better suited to a waterfall than a large pond.

Consider what would make the most of the area’s natural beauty by taking an honest look around your property . Many folks start out thinking they want one thing but discover the ideal water feature for their yard is something different. Don’t be afraid to adapt your plan.

Visibility

When planning your Philadelphia Fish Pond,  think about the views from inside the home. Watching cascading water through a large window can be amazing, even when weather conditions are less than terrible.

Also consider where you’ll be viewing your water feature from when you are outside.  You may have a neat hill towards the back of your yard, but the further away from your home, the less likely you’ll use and enjoy your water feature. We suggest finding an area where you regularly spend time that’s close to your house. Areas near a patio, a deck, or even a hammock can be ideal spots.

Filtration

A healthy pond ecosystem strikes a delicate balance, and filtration is an important part of the cycle. Mechanical and biological filtration components remove suspended debris and excess algae that cause toxic gases like ammonia.

Rocks and gravel in the pond provide places for beneficial bacteria to live.  A skimmer will protect the pond pump, which helps keep the water circulating. Beneficial bacteria will cultivate in areas of your filtration like in the media mats. too.

In turn, these bacteria help keep the water clear of fish waste and organic debris. Finally, aquatic plants will absorb nutrients that algae feed on and will release oxygen into the water. This keeps fish happy.

Philadelphia Fish Pond: Sun vs. shade

This can be a tricky one, especially in winter when the trees are bare. But envision your space in summer. How does the sun move across the land? Is the area heavily shaded or in full sun?

A water feature amidst a shade garden can be beautiful, but consider the amount of leaf debris coming down in autumn. Excess leaf buildup in your water feature can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

A water feature in full sun may be less susceptible to leaf debris, but algae can thrive in these conditions even with adequate filtration. Remember, too, that your fish will want a break from the summer sun’s heat. Incorporate aquatic plants to cover some of the surface or install a fish cave to provide respite from the sun. A balance of sun and shade is a good thing, and you probably want to create your feature where it will get at least a little bit of both.

No matter what your Philadelphia Fish Pond plans call for, AquaReale can  help. We can design, build, and maintain the water feature that’s right for you. Call us at 215.880.6811 for more information or contact us online.

 

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

Aquatic plants in the fall
Aquatic plants in the fall

Aquatic Plants in the Fall

The seasonal change from summer to fall is the most beautiful time of the year, but not for Aquatic plants in the fall. The leaves turn beautiful colors and create an array of amazing colors. However, with fall comes cooler temperatures. How will the cool air affect aquatic plants this fall?

Aquatic plants in the fall: Waterlilies

Waterlilies will begin to show their dislike for the cold with yellowing leaves and fewer flowers. When this happens, the leaf and flower stems of hardy water lilies should be cut back to about 2 to 3” above the base of the plant.

In warm climates, tropical waterlilies are happy in the pond year round, as long as the water temperature stays above 60°F. In areas where freezing is likely, plants should be overwintered indoors. This can be a difficult task; therefore many gardeners choose to simply buy a new plant each season.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Hardy Marginals

Dropping temperatures signal your hardy aquatic plants to prepare for their winter dormancy. At this time, you should stop fertilizing them as you see leaves begin to yellow and brown. It’s okay to leave these plants where they are in your pond to weather the cold of winter, just be sure to trim the dying foliage of your marginal plants down to 2” above the water level.

Aquatic plants in the fall: Lotus Aquatic Plants

As with the marginals in your pond, the foliage of your lotus plants will need to be trimmed back after they have died back and turned brown. It’s important not to cut the leaves while they are still green because the freshly cut, hollow stems are susceptible to disease which can spread to the plant’s tuber, possibly killing the plant.

Lotus tubers will not withstand freezing, so any plants that are growing in the shallow areas of your pond should be moved to the bottom, away from freezing water.

Aquatic plants in the fall:Tropical Marginals

In warm climates, tropical marginals will keep growing and will require fertilizer as usual. Water gardeners who live in Zones colder than 8 or 9 will need to treat these plants as they would any garden annual by replacing them each season.

A fun alternative to this is to treat them as tropical houseplants and bring them in for the winter. Most tropical marginals will do well potted in heavy garden soil in a sealed clay pot with no drainage holes. When kept wet, the plants do well in a sunny window or sunroom.

Caring for your aquatic plants in the fall will mean less work and healthier plants come spring. Contact AquaReale for help with your Aquatic plants in the fall.