5 ideas to make your water garden great

5 ideas to make your water garden great

Great and amazing ideas for your water garden | Morris County NJ

What is it that makes one water garden really great and another just…ordinary? Well there are a lot of things, but we’ve chosen a few to inspire you to personalize your water garden. We visit water gardens everyday and the ones that stand out all have one thing in common: their people spend time enjoying them! Whether you enjoy a beverage by the pond, yoga, frog catching, or a family gathering we hope these ideas will inspire you to spend more time relaxing in your outdoor space.

patio bowls - an ornamental look for a water garden

PATIO BOWLS

Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference. Patio bowls add an architectural element to your pond or waterfall. Striking ribbon falls fall elegantly from the bowls edge spilling into one another and back into the pond. The bowls themselves provide the perfect environment for aquatic plants. Plant marginal varieties that you want people to take notice of. Add just one, a pair or a trio to your pond.

Click play below to watch us add spillway bowls and an new stream to a 14 year old pond

beautiful koi pond

Stepping Stones

Stepping stones make a great way to interact with your pond.  Stepping stones bring you into the middle of your pond allowing you to stroll through your water garden, feed your fish, practice yoga,  or… the possibilities are endless.  If your pond is small consider a threshold stone.  A threshold stone is simply a large flat stepping stone that sits on the edge of the pond–like the threshold in a doorway it is the divider between two worlds– the terrestrial and aquatic and invites you to step closer to the pond.

FOUNTAINS & SPITTERS

Fountains add a focal point to your water garden, whether you choose a simple spitter or a more elaborate setup like the stacked slate spheres.  Fountains can be added an existing pond or waterfall or can be installed on their own basin.  Spitters work well on their own, larger fountains work best in odd numbers (1,3,5) of varying sizes.  Fountains can also be added directly in the pond.  Fountains in the pondscape have the added benefit providing more aeration for your pond.

scalloped-urn-aquascape

​LIGHTING

Lighting changes everything!!!  If you work a 9-5 you may not get to enjoy your water feature for many hours before the evening darkness settles in.  Adding energy efficient LED lighting to your yard creates a candlelit ambiance and extends the hours you can enjoy your outdoor space.

SEATING

Seating invites you into the water garden to stay and relax a while… does it really get any better than that??? 

relaxing by the backyard pond

So what does a water feature cost? Good question. Check out all our water features and their prices on our Project Planner. Yeah, What Does A Water Feature Cost?

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Backyard fish pond planning meetings & the key to a successful project

5 ideas to make your water garden great

Great and amazing ideas for your water garden | Morris County NJ

The Transfer of Trust

Often when a contractor comes to your home and gives a presentation about a backyard fish pond service/installation they are offering it elicits feelings of excitement and anticipation of what this water feature enhancement that is being added to your home will provide to you and your family. Beautiful pictures or videos of completed projects can have you dreaming of spending time out by the water, enjoying your new aquatic paradise. Typically, the sales process is a pleasant experience for the homeowner and when the water feature project is completed the customer is usually not disappointed, but issues would continually arise during construction that would require last minute adjustments and this can be frustrating for the homeowner, construction team, neighbors or any one else involved.

designing a backyard pond

Common Problem
This issue is not unique to water feature companies, or for that matter any firm that attempts to sell and install anything. One of the most difficult challenges to overcome with any construction project is creating a system that allows for a smooth transition between the sale of the commodity and its construction. When this breakdown occurs on a Water Feature project the problem manifests itself in several of the following ways:

From the Client’s perspective:
-Last-minute surprise expenses like retaining walls, hauling dirt in/out, etc.
-Loss of confidence in the builder
-Frustration
-Unnecessary Delays


From the Contractor’s Perspective:
-Unforeseen material/labor cost
-Last minute layout changes
-Double work
-Last minute rush orders that result in extra shipping charges
-Strained relationship between construction and office staff
-Strained relationship with subcontractors
-Concessions to the client resulting from embarrassment


Typically, if I have a friend in the industry that is dealing with a scenario like mentioned above, I’ll ask

“Are you having a construction planning meeting with the client?”

“Well, kind of” they’ll say, “one of the guys goes out to the job the morning we start.”

I immediately identified the problem and explained the system we employ at Atlantis Water Gardens and how well it has worked for us.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of a thorough planning meeting between whoever is ultimately responsible for the construction of the project and the client. Sounds like common sense right? Well, we all know that common sense is not always common practice.

This is not a difficult thing to do! In fact it’s a lot easier and less stressful than the alternative. When conducted properly, the construction planning meeting will eliminate most, if not all of the stressors mentioned above.

I understand that last minute changes occur on any project. Buried stumps, large rocks, utility lines and other underground obstacles inherently pop up when excavating and are not usually able to be anticipated beforehand (unless the homeowner has detailed knowledge of the site). These things always pop up and this won’t change regardless of how many meetings you have. But this isn’t about change orders, it’s about preparation.

So whether you are a potential pond buyer or pond contractor here are several tips to ensure this critical planning meeting is effective:

Tips for scheduling the Planning Meeting:
-Have it as soon after the sale as possible
-Never rush the meeting. My average meetings last 1-2 hours
-Make sure there’s good weather. Uncomfortable conditions will lead to a rushed meeting and/or lack of focus
-Make sure all decision makers are present

Ok, now we’re there on site…..builder and client. What do we need to discuss to insure this project runs smoothly? Basically, we need to discuss two things. First we need to set expectations: what exactly is going to happen in your yard over the course of the project; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Second, we need to discuss what I call the nuts and bolts of the project; more of the technical/logistical side of things. Let’s break each of these down into some specifics.

Setting expectations:
-The impact the project will have on the yard/landscaping
-The impact the project will have on any neighbors
-Thorough discussion of the construction process including rough timelines
-Review payment process
-Review potential unforeseen expenses (groundwater, rock, etc.)
-Overview of materials used
-Communication process employed by builder

Nuts and Bolts:
-Site access (how we’re getting in/out)
-Dirt hauled away/staying, put where?
-Where any trucks & equipment will be parked during construction
-Review water feature layout and paint on ground for final review
-Location of utilities, septic system, well, irrigation, etc.
-Determine who will be fixing any lawn/landscape/driveway areas upon project completion
-Discuss elevation of pond and patio (if applicable)


This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but it gives you a concept of what we do. At Atlantis Water Gardens we have 100’s of clients on our reference list. A lot of good things have to happen on a regular basis to consistently provide that level of top notch service. It takes the best people, systems, and frankly the best customers. But I’m here to tell you that without an effective construction planning meeting none of that would be possible. So builders, please consider doing this if you’re not already; and potential water feature customers, make sure your water feature contractor does this. It will save you both a lot of stress, time, and possibly money.

Thanks for visiting our learning hub. As always, we hope you found this helpful. Please feel free to comment below.

The atlantis water gardens story, denville nj

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The single best way to choose a pond contractor without getting hosed

5 ideas to make your water garden great

Great and amazing ideas for your water garden | Morris County NJ

It seems we never have a shortage of emails from people with stories about bad experiences with contractors they hired to install their backyard fish pond, disappearing waterfall, fountainscape or water feature.

Whether it’s a concrete pond, a liner pond with rock and gravel, or even a plastic tub pond– having only one chance to pick the right contractor to install your water feature should be well thought out and researched

Yet, sometimes we still make the wrong decision.

Previously, I wrote some pieces about how to properly choose your pond contractor, but this article is geared toward one particular recommendation that will make all the difference for pond shoppers if followed.​

beautiful pondless waterfall

REFERENCES.

I know, it seems simple but many of us still fail to ask for references or simply don’t know how to go about asking for them. Want to know the easy way to do this?

How to Properly Ask Your Pond Contractor for References of Previous Work
Say you have a pond contractor in your home who is giving you a quote on your water feature project. Instead of asking for a reference list, ask this simple question first

How many ponds did you install last year?
It’s really an easy question, but you will probably be met with a very quick answer from the pond contractor, possibly even embellishing the number of ponds installed to seem more qualified.
Once the answer is given, your next question is going to be

May I see your reference list from last year then?
If you were given a statement saying there were 25 ponds installed last year and you only receive 12 references, that probably means one thing

Only half of their clients were satisfied?
Do you feel good that only half of the customers that had their pond installed by the contractor were willing to endorse them or give honest feedback on their experience?
Speaking with customers about their experience with pond shopping, it surprises me how many times I’ve heard people say, “The contractor said they’re not allowed to share the referrels because of privacy issues.”

Sounds like Shenanigans…
Atlantis Water Gardens has been building ponds & water features for almost 2 decades and over that time we’ve only had a handful of people ask us not to share their names because of privacy. That’s literally only a couple out of hundreds and hundreds of clients

Trust your instincts and go with your gut.
Please, if you will be choosing someone to build your backyard oasis that may include a fish pond, disappearing waterfall, fountainscape or some other form of water feature, use the suggestions I have provided here to make sure you are picking the pond contractor that is right for you. If it doesn’t smell right and they are unwilling to provide you with the references you’ve requested, don’t ignore the red flags because you know what you have to do – WALK AWAY

Do your research, follow these steps, and choose that pond contractor that is right for you and your home. Surely there is someone in your area that is willing to be honest and transparent with their business.

This should be an enjoyable experience and it’s up to you to protect your investment and make the right buying decisions.

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Who are the best pond builders in northern New Jersey

5 ideas to make your water garden great

Great and amazing ideas for your water garden | Morris County NJ

Each year, we at Atlantis Water Gardens, meet with well over 100 households in the Northern New Jersey (NJ) / Morris County area with respect to their backyard fish pond or water feature installation. And because so many folks know our thoughts and feelings (from this website) on all things “pond construction,” they often ask us who are some of the other builders and competitors we have in the area.

We’re never ones to shy away from being blatantly honest with respect to competition, and we want our customers to be as informed as possible. Here is a list of some of the companies that have a pond building history in the Northern New Jersey (NJ) / Morris County area.


1. A Frog’s Dream
A Frog’s Dream Aquatic Services is located in the Long Valley area, and is a full service Pond contractor & Pond Maintenance landscape company specializing in naturalistic water features. A Frog’s Dream was founded to fill a need for a full service water feature company that truly cares about the details of every project and service.

2. Auburn Sky Landscaping
Located in Augusta, Auburn Sky Landscaping, LLC. is a complete property maintenance company that has been creating beautiful, affordable, and easy to maintain landscapes across Sussex County and Northern New Jersey since 2000. They also build ecosystem water features and fountainscapes.

3. Full Service Aquatics
FSA designs, installs, maintains, and consults on koi ponds, water gardens, natural ponds, waterfalls, and all types of water features. FSA is recognized in the pond industry as a leading designer of unique water features that will compliment and add value to your real estate and your lifestyle.

4. Premium Aquascapes
Premium Aquascapes, located in Bergenfield NJ, provides Pond & Water Feature Installation, Maintenance & Repair services to Northern New Jersey and surrounding areas.
They specialize in the Design and Construction & maintenance of Eco System Ponds, Pondless Waterfalls and Streams, Fountain Scapes and RainXchange Systems.

5. Mountain Landscape Contractors
Since 1989 Mountain Landscape Contractors, Inc. has been servicing northern New Jersey with all encompassing commercial and residential landscape services. Mountain Landscape Contractors, Inc. offers a full complement of landscape services, including water features, providing everything you need to improve and maintain your property with one professional relationship.

So, there are 5 companies to consider if you’re getting quotes for your Northern New Jersey (NJ) / Morris County backyard fish pond installation project.

You may like to take a look at some of these great resources:

How to find a fish pond leak
Our Pond Packages
Our Water Feature Learning Center
Our Water Feature Youtube Channel

Also, here are some resources to help you select a reputable contractor:
The Ultimate Pond Builder Vetting Checklist
The Single Best Way To Prevent Getting Hosed By A Pond Contractor

CHECK OUT PRICING

Finally, we thought you’d like to know about our Water Feature Experience Park located at 3017 Route 10 – Morris Plains, NJ… A place where you can actually see several finished ponds and water features, experiencing it for yourself instead of basing this huge decision on a piece of paper or computer screen.

It’s only a little over a 15 minute drive from the Morristown area and most everyone finds it worth the trip

Or check out our Project Planner below to find pricing from the comfort of your couch.

Take The Plunge!

Schedule a phone call and get to pick the brain of one of our experienced designers about your project Schedule My Call Now

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We got em. 🙂 Here’s some pretty photos you can look at to destress.