Water Feature Repair: What You Need to Know?

Adding a water feature to your garden is one of the most effective ways to revamp it. In addition to increasing the curb appeal of your property, a water feature will help create a relaxing and calming environment.

Outdoor water features take a lot of punishment on a daily basis and are exposed to the outer elements. Wear and tear and extreme weather conditions could damage your water feature. Procrastinating water feature repairs could prove a costly mistake, as things may get from bad to worse, and you may need to replace your water feature. 

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Here are some common issues that could arise with water features.


Leaks in a water feature are usually caused by a hole or tear in the pond liner. If you see a hole in your liner, you must either repair or replace it (if the damage is irreversible). But first, you need to be sure that there is a leak. If your water levels have decreased, do not automatically assume that there is a leak in your water feature. Sometimes, evaporation can cause water levels to decline.

It may be difficult to tell whether your water feature has a leak or the water level has declined due to evaporation, especially in warmer months when the water level in your water feature can go down by 1-2 inches per week due to evaporation. 

Fill up your pond. Measure water level after 24 hours. If your pond loses two inches or more of water overnight, it means there is a leak in your water feature. Once you are sure there is a leak, reach out to a water feature repair expert near you for help.

Dirty Filters

If your pond water is turning brown, you notice a weird odor, or your fish seem sick; it implies that your pond filter could be clogged with debris and mechanical media. To prevent this problem, periodically clean your filter. If your pond filter becomes clogged frequently, you might need a larger filter.

Too Low Pond Edges

Low pond edges are one of the most common causes of leaks. Over time, pond edges start to settle. Lower edges resulting from settling allow water to leak.

Check your waterfall or stream regularly. Wet mulch, small puddles, or muddy areas could mean that water is escaping. To fix a low edge, lift up the liner at the spot and pile some soil under it. 

Atlantis Water Gardens is your go-to team for water feature repair, installation, maintenance, and replacement. We live to transform ordinary backyards into oases. To consult one of our water feature experts, call 973-627-0515. 

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The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Backyard Pond Installer

Installing a backyard pond is a great way to boost your home’s curb appeal and add value to it. A backyard pond will help create a calming, relaxing oasis where you can unwind and de-stress every day.

Pond installation is best left to experts. Trusting an amateur for pond installation could prove to be a costly mistake. If your installer makes an installation mistake, your pond might not fit correctly into your landscape or could develop a leak, and they may have to go back to the drawing table.

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An experienced pond installation contractor in Randolph or elsewhere knows everything there is to know about backyard ponds. They plan every project down to the last detail. Your installer will foresee problems and plan in advance to circumnavigate project roadblocks and tackle challenges.

Here are some benefits of hiring a pond installation contractor.

They Get It Right the First Time

If you take the DIY route, you may have to try various techniques to find the one that works. Experienced contractors know how to manage the complexities of diverse projects. Once your installation expert gains an in-depth understanding of the factors at play, they will develop a customized solution.

The professional will take various steps to steer clear of installation mistakes. Look for a professional with a proven track record of delivering projects on-time and on-budget.

They Use the Right Tools for the Job

If you take the DIY route, you will have to make several trips to your local hardware or pond store to get tools. Many specialized landscaping tools are not available in the market.

Landscape contractors use specialized tools designed to help them accomplish landscaping tasks efficiently and swiftly. Your contractor will have the right tools for your project before they even break ground.

Achieve a Natural Look

Look for an experienced contractor who has perfected the art and science of incorporating water features into landscapes. An aesthetic landscape design incorporates five key elements: line, form, color, texture, and scale.

Your contractor will come up with a plan to balance these design features and bring harmony to your space.

The Pro Will Use Accessories to Enhance the Aesthetics of Your Backyard

Your contractor will help you choose the right plants, rocks, and other accessories for your pond. Once you have chosen the accessories for your pond, your contractor will develop an installation plan.

Whether you want to repair or renovate an existing pond or plan to install a new pond, Atlantis Water Gardens can help. We are a renowned pond builder in Randolph. To make an appointment, call 973-627-0515.

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4 Things to Consider Before Building a Koi Pond

There are various benefits of koi ponds. Adding a koi pond to your backyard is a great way to enhance its aesthetic appeal. Koi ponds are known for their natural beauty and serenity and can increase property value. Koi fish are a low-maintenance pet. Watching koi swim can induce relaxation, helping normalize blood pressure.

Before you start planning a koi pond construction project near you, consider these things.


Your pond’s cost will depend on various factors such as its size, the type of filter, and the size of the fish. Small fish will cost you less than big fish. Another factor that will impact your overall project cost is whether you dig the hole yourself.


We cannot emphasize enough the importance of installing a filter in your koi pond. Fish waste, decaying plants, and leftover fish food eventually turn into nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. These compounds affect water quality.

A filter will keep your water clean. It will remove toxins, bacteria, and harmful particles that can affect the health of your fish. Common types of pond filters include pre-filters, waterfall filters, pressure filters, and UV sterilizers.

Before you buy a pond filter for your koi pond, make sure it is big enough to do the job. Look for a filter that is easy to maintain. While the price is an important consideration, it should not be the only determining factor.


Common koi predators include cats, opossums, raccoons, and beavers. To deter koi predators, keep your koi pond at least four to six feet deep. Install plants and rocks for your fish to hide under when a predator attacks. Keeping the sides of your koi pond steep will make it difficult for predators to reach your fish.

You can also use a water fixture that detects movement to chase away pesky predators. Install a net over your pond at night to discourage predators who are active during the night from attacking your koi.


How large should my pond be? This is one of the most common questions homeowners ask before starting a koi pond construction project. Koi fish need a lot of space. Your koi pond should be at least 1,000 gallons and three feet deep (a 1,000-gallon pond will hold five koi fish).

Whether you want to install a new water feature in your backyard or maintain an existing one, Atlantis Water Gardens has got you covered. We know everything there is to know about water features. Our team will come up with a plan to transform your backyard into an oasis. To discuss your requirement with one of our pros, call 973-240-5833.

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How to Protect Outdoor Water Features During a Freeze?

Winter can be a challenging time for water features. Water features in areas such as Denville that experience snowfall can freeze over in winter. Freezing temperatures can damage the seal and pump of your water feature.

Follow these tips to protect your outdoor water feature during winter.

Backyard Fountains Near Me

Drain Your Water Feature

When water freezes, it expands and can crack and damage your water feature. If this happens, you may end up spending a ton of money on expensive repairs or may have to replace them. To prevent damage to your water feature, drain it. Clean it with a bleach solution (one tsp. bleach and one-gallon water).

If you face difficulty draining your water feature, cover it with a plastic sheet to trap heat. Use bricks or large rocks to secure the borders of the sheet. It will keep the sheet stable in windy conditions.

Remove, Clean, and Store Your Pump

Remove any pumps connected to your water feature. Fill up a bucket with warm water and immerse the pump in it. This will prevent it from drying out.

Debris and algae can clog your pump. To prevent this from happening, clean it thoroughly. To clean your pump, soak it in a mixture of water and vinegar and pump clean water through it.

Once your pump dries, store it in a garage or storage shed.

Turn Off Outdoor Waterfalls

When temperatures decrease, and your waterfall freezes over, ice dams can form. Ice dams can divert water away from the recirculation system. This will trigger a chain reaction, which in turn will encourage more freezing. To prevent ice dams, turn off any outdoor waterfalls.

Care for Plants and Fish

Winter can be a challenging time for the fishes and plants. Cold weather can damage plants. If you have fishes, remember that their metabolism slows as temperatures decrease. If you continue feeding your fish regularly, the excess (uneaten) food will decompose, promoting mold and fungal growth. Excess fish food can also cause a rise in nitrate and phosphate levels in the water.

To maintain good water quality, feed your fish less often. Consider switching to a fish food with low protein. To protect aquatic plants, trim them and move them to the deepest part of the pond.

Looking for a garden water fountain expert near you? Look no further than Atlantis Water Gardens. We will help you choose the right water feature for your garden. Our team will transform your backyard into an oasis of relaxation. To make an appointment, call 973.240.5833.

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Four Water Features That Will Transform Your Backyard

Installing a water feature in your backyard is one of the most effective ways to spruce it up. In addition to enhancing the curb appeal of your home, a water feature will help create a relaxing and calming environment, transforming your backyard into an oasis.

Here are some famous water features worth your consideration.

Backyard Fountains Near Me


If you want to add water to your garden but are short on space, consider garden fountains. You can either opt for a self-contained fountain or add one to your pool or pond. There are several styles from which you can choose a model that best suits your needs and budget.


There are several environmental and health benefits of ponds. Ponds support local wildlife and can help conserve water. A pond can increase the overall value of your property and reduce toxic chemicals in groundwater.

Ponds are incredibly relaxing. Studies show that water’s mere sight and sound can induce burst firing of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that promote mental and physical wellness.

Local wildlife such as newts, insects, toads, frogs, and birds get naturally attracted to ponds. Once your pond is ready, you will get numerous opportunities to enjoy wildlife antics.

You can also add fish to your pond to make your experience even more enjoyable. Many pond owners add rockeries and fountains to make their ponds look more attractive and functional.

If you have pets or kids, install a pond safety guard designed to prevent children from falling in the water.

Pondless Waterfalls

Pondless waterfalls are a perfect solution for people with smaller properties. These are constructed from rocks and pebbles.

A pondless waterfall is a recirculating waterfall. As the name suggests, it does not include a pond. A pondless waterfall works by circulating water contained in a reservoir up and through the spillway.

Because a pondless waterfall does not have a pond, there is no risk of a child or pet drowning. You will need different types of rocks and a heavy-duty pump capable for pumping water to the top of the waterfall.


If you have an extensive garden, consider building a stream. You can use rocks and plants to make your stream look natural.

Need help with choosing the best backyard fountain near you? Look no further than Atlantis Water Gardens. Nothing excites us more than transforming ordinary backyards into relaxing outdoor oases. To discuss your project with our team, call 973-627-0515.

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Four Easy Tips for a Clean and Healthy Pond

Adding a pond to your backyard is one of the most effective ways to enhance the value of your property. In addition to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your property, a pond will help create your personal sanctum.

The sound of flowing water soothes the brain and the soul. You can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of wildlife in your garden to escape the mundane and experience life.

You cannot create a pond and forget it. Ponds, like everything else, require regular cleaning and maintenance. A dirty pond is unsightly and can become an eyesore. Dissolved oxygen concentrations are low in dirty ponds which is detrimental to aquatic life.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out ways to keep your pond clean and healthy. Just follow these simple tips to keep pond water clean.

Fountainscapes in Morris County NJ

Use the Right Pump for Your Pond

Your water feature’s pump plays a critical role in maintaining your pond. A pump circulates the water, helping introduce additional oxygen into the pond. Oxygen in your pond is vital to sustain plants and fish in it.

Proper pump sizing is critical to the health of your water feature. Your pump should circulate the water at least once every hour. If your pond contains 1,000 gallons of water, your pump should be capable of pushing a minimum of 1,000 gallons per hour.

Other important factors to consider when choosing a pump are the height of your waterfall and the length of the pipe that runs from the pump to the water feature.

Remove Debris from Your Pond Before It Decays

If you allow decaying leaves, fish waste, and leftover fish food to accumulate in your pond, ammonia levels in your pond will go up. Elevated ammonia levels in your pond is a recipe for disaster and can stress your fish.

To prevent this from happening, remove debris such as drying leaves and plants and uneaten fish food from your water regularly. Prune the plants near your pond. During the fall season, install a protective pond netting over your pond to prevent leaves from falling into the water. Add beneficial bacteria to keep your pond healthy.

Maintain the Right Balance of Plants

Plants in your pond play a crucial role in maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem. They absorb excess nutrients and help filter the water.

Many plants, such as water lilies, help maintain ideal seasonal temperatures by shading the water. Do not use too many plants as they can cause oxygen deficiencies at night (when they take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide). Use marginal plants, floating plants, and oxygenators.

Maintain a Healthy Fish Population

A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 10” of fish per 100 gallons of water in a pond. If you have more fish in your pond than it can hold, you will have to deal with excessive fish waste.

Are you looking for a pond builder specializing in installing garden fountains near you? Look no further than Atlantis Water Gardens. Over the years, we have helped several homeowners turn their backyard into an oasis. To get more information about our services, call 973-627-0515.

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Koi Pond in Winter: Preparation Tips and Survival Guide

Nature is peaceful in many ways. It helps us calm our minds in chaos. Often, adding little things to our home can make it more peaceful. Many people like to have koi ponds in their houses to maintain positivity around them.

You can search for “koi pond construction near me” to get the pond of your dreams designed and built in your home’s yard. It’s imperative to take essential care of your koi pond during winter. Since winter is just around the corner, you’ll need a survival guide to winterize your koi pond.

Koi Pond Construction Near Me

What is a Koi Pond?

A koi pond is a small water garden that can be built inside the house or in the backyard. The pond is created to preserve the health of koi fish in the pond. Nishiki koi or Japanese ornamental carp are mostly the reason why koi ponds are built.

In Japan, koi fish are unique because they are a form of carp that is very colorful and has a particular lineage. Just like dog breeds, people in Japan take the breeding of koi fish very seriously. Hence, koi fish are to be kept safe and healthy in a protective pond.

The Importance of Water Temperature in the Winter

Koi can be overwintered in the pond successfully by following a few simple rules:

• Stop feeding koi once the water temperature drops below 50 degrees. Water thermometers are relatively inexpensive and are a valuable tool for your koi pond.

• Koi can’t properly digest food in cold water and it can rot in their stomach, leading to sickness/disease. Using a Cold Water Koi Food in the Fall will help prepare koi for overwintering.

• It’s important to keep a hole open in any ice that will form on the surface of the pond for proper gas exchange. Using an aerator, placed approximately 1’ down from the surface, will keep a hole open in the ice and provide aeration to the pond as well. A pond de-icer can be used in conjunction with an aerator to keep a hole open also.

• Keep the pond free of debris and clean going into the winter months. Using a net to cover the pond in the fall will help prevent leaves from collecting in the bottom.

To learn more about preparing your koi pond for the winter, click on this link to watch our Winter Pond Preparation Video: https://youtu.be/63f1FOZ1njg Atlantis Water Gardens also has a popular YouTube Channel that has lots of great information about Koi Ponds, Water Gardens, Backyard Fountains and Waterfalls at https://www.youtube.com/atlantiswatergardens

At Atlantis Water Gardens, we offer services of koi fish ponds and other water gardens. You can contact us at 973-627-0515 to get advice on maintaining a koi pond, and get the preparatory services before winter to make them healthy. We also provide other water garden services that you may want to check out.

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Backyard water features is what we do but delighting customers is why we do it

Backyard water features is what we do; but delighting customers is WHY we do it

Building Water Features, Delighting Customers | Morris County NJ

Atlantis Water Gardens originated from a love of creativity. Building water features, and becoming a nationally recognized design-installer of natural looking ponds and water features.

The Atlantis Water Gardens Story

“We’re not a water feature company, we’re a customer experience company.”

amazing pondless waterfall by atlantis water gardens

Taking raw materials like boulders and rubber liner and turning them into living works of art in people’s backyards is a special feeling, especially once the pumps are plugged in and the cascading water comes to life. That feeling pales in comparison to the elation felt when a new pond owner comes outside to see how their new water feature has added a tremendous sense of tranquility to their backyard environment.

Landscaping with water and stone presents a wealth of design opportunities. A tranquil pond, a cascading disappearing waterfall, a meandering stream, or a bubbling fountain – each of these possibilities offers aesthetic and environmental rewards. The concept of the garden as a peaceful, private sanctuary has inspired new interest in water gardens, although the pleasing accents have been incorporated into home landscapes for centuries.

Our design approach is to incorporate the relaxing properties of water into a new or existing landscape so that it becomes a seamless component of the landscape surround, complementing the desired lifestyle, the Water Garden Lifestyle. Honing our craft over the past 2 decades as water feature artists has given us the opportunity to work on some truly unique, custom projects.

Until now, we haven’t offered a wide variety of smaller, more affordable water feature options. Seeing that we have been neglecting this important segment of our industry for some time, we concentrated on creating several, affordable water garden packages to include ponds, disappearing waterfalls and fountainscapes along with the ability to offer financing to go with them. Making a professionally installed water feature available to anyone who wanted one in their landscape was our focus over the last few years and now it is finally a reality.

Simply utilize our Package Pricing page on our website to find the type and size water feature that will best fit your lifestyle. Being able to see how much a pond, disappearing waterfall or fountainscape might cost at the beginning of the buying process has been a great tool to help people realize their dream of owning a professionally installed water feature of their own.

After you’ve done your homework on our website, the next step would be to visit our Water Feature Garden Walk in Denville, NJ to try one of our water feature packages on for size. Seeing the variety of installed ponds, disappearing waterfalls and fountainscapes for yourself can help you visualize what each might look like in your backyard environment.

At Atlantis Water Gardens, we live the water feature lifestyle ourselves, so we know what a difference having the magic of water at your home can mean for a family that wants to re-connect and relax in their own backyard.

Come Home To Paradise

The atlantis water gardens story, denville nj

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Atlantis Water Gardens Goes to Africa on Humanitarian Aid Mission

Backyard water features is what we do; but delighting customers is WHY we do it

Building Water Features, Delighting Customers | Morris County NJ

Below is a letter reporting the life-saving outcome of our last trip to Ghana, West Africa in 2014 with the Aquascape Foundation and International Needs:

Click here to like our Atlantis Water Gardens facebook page and get the latest info on this life saving project: Atlantis Facebook Link


International Needs Ghana Outcomes Report
Kanuwloe, Ghana, West Africa
September 2016

Kanuwloe is a community located in the North-Tongu District of the Volta Region. It has a total population of approximately 800 people and is about 120 km from Accra; the national capital. Cattle herding and peasant farming are the predominant occupations of the people of Kanuwloe.

In the year 2002, International Needs Ghana (INGH) planted a Church in Kanuwloe. This was INGH’s first intervention in the community of Kanuwloe. Kanuwloe has since benefited from other interventions: a Basic school (Kindergarten to Grade 9), International Needs Child Assistance Program (INCAP), community-wide medical outreaches, water filters, and in the year 2014, a rain water harvesting system.

Prior to March, 2014, the Kanuwloe community did not have access to potable water. INGH had constructed a 6,000 gallon rain water harvesting system at the school but the water was not purified and the community had no access to this water. The main source of water for the community was a marshland; a source they shared with the cattle they herded. The cattle contaminated the water through their fecal matter and urine. The water was therefore far from safe for consumption. The residents were therefore greatly exposed to water-borne diseases. This is reflected in the disease pattern and the cases treated during the periodic medical outreaches to the community. The dominant cases presented for treatment include; bilharziasis, scabies and schistosomiasis. The low access to water also had negative effects on education and the social and economic lives of the people.

In response to these challenges, the Aquascape Foundation in collaboration with International Needs USA constructed a 25,000 gallon rain water harvesting system. The system is comprised of a reservoir and a maintenance room with an ultra violet reverse osmosis and sediment filtration system.

Two years after the project, great outcomes have emerged. The project has contributed immensely to tremendous changes, both at the community and individual levels; physically, socially, etc. This report is supported by statements from community members demonstrating the positive outcomes of the Aquascape water project.

Emerging Outcomes
Access to potable waterThe project has resulted in a tremendous increase in access to potable water in the Kanuwloe community as well as the nearby communities such as Kpoviadzi and other farm hamlets. There are no economic barriers to access as the water is free of charge; neither is distance a barrier, as the system is on the school compound and is close to both the school and the households within the community.

“The water is very close to us now. Even we, the old women are able to walk there for clean water.”
– Ablah Ahuda, a 75+ year old woman from Kanuwloe

As a result of the proximity of potable water to the community members, there is now less fatigue associated with fetching water, as heavy containers do not have be carried over long distances as was the case before the installation of the water system.

“Our struggles are over now; fetching water used to be a very hectic task for us but now it is less tiring.” – Minua Agobo

As a result of the water project, the community now has access to water, all year round, not seasonally any more. The marshlands normally did not provide water for them during the dry season and even if they did the condition was extremely poor; but after the installation of the water system, potable water is easily accessed at any time, throughout the year. Also due to high temperatures, children drink water more frequently in the afternoons. In the past, medical outreaches to the community often found many cases of headaches among children in the afternoons. However, as a result of the availability of water, these frequent headaches were not observed at the medical outreach to Kanuwloe this year.

Educational Outcomes
The access to and proximity of potable water has further contributed to an improvement in school attendance, punctuality and teacher-pupil contact hours in the Community School. Children missed a lot of contact hours as a result of the long distances walked to fetch water in the morning. They got to school late and tired and struggled to concentrate in class. Some even missed school days due to
water-related diseases

“There were times that school had to close early so the children could go out in search of water or allowed to go home to drink water (untreated). Children now stay in school and do not go home just to drink water, as was the case before.” – Erica, Nutrition Officer at the Kanuwloe School

“Children stay in school longer and school attendance has improved.”
– Pastor Justice Wudugah, Kanuwloe

“Now our children are stronger. They stay in school; they do not come home when classes are in session because they have access to water in the school.” – Millicent

“Punctuality has improved since we got this water. Pupils come to school earlier than they used to.” – Erica, Nutrition Officer at the School

Physical Health OutcomesGenerally, there have been improvements in the health of the populace; both young and old. The community members also testified to a reduction in morbidity in their homes after the water project.

The project has over the period contributed to a reduction of the prevalence of water-borne diseases in the community. Some people who suffered from bilharzia and continuously got re-infected after treatment, testified of their freedom. There has not been any re-infection after treatment since they started consuming the potable water.
“I no longer see blood in my urine since I started drinking this water.” – Naviwo Avakpornua
“Our children no longer fall sick frequently …” – Holy
As a result of the project people now drink water more frequently and with joy. This is because the water is pure and has no bad smell or taste like what they used to consume.
“I now drink water with joy and more frequently because the water is pure and has no smell. I drink to my satisfaction. Before, the water had a bad smell. The condition of the water
we drank then was unbelievably bad.” – Comfort Agobo

Access to potable water in the community has positively complemented INGH’s School Food and Health programs. The project made potable water available and accessible right on the compound of the Kanuwloe D/A Global Basic School for the preparation of meals for children once each school day.
“Now, cooking is easy with the access to potable water on the school compound. We no longer
spend time and energy filtering water and waiting for sediments to settle.”
-Erica, Nutrition Officer at the School Kitchen

The School Health Program focuses on effecting positive behavioral changes or preventive health habits in children such as hand washing, the practice of good personal hygiene, and good environmental sanitation. The presence of water has created the enabling environment for the children to practice these positive habits and live healthier lives. The water system has therefore contributed to nutritional growth and positive behavior change for health which the School Food and Health Programs seek to achieve respectively.

Social Outcomes
The project has yielded social outcomes as well. The water project has contributed to community members having higher self-esteem. They are very confident about the state of their water.
“When we serve our visitors from other communities this water, they ask where we got the water from. In fact this water has taken our shame away.” – Daniel Gasoe, community leader in Kanuwloe

In a typical traditional setting like Kanuwloe, social events like funerals and festivals are very symbolic. They are moments of reunion and socialization for families and the community as a whole. The sense of joy, fulfillment and prestige of every community during such periods, among other factors, lies in their ability to provide some basic comforts for their guests, including potable water. The presence of potable water undoubtedly gives the guests a more comfortable stay. Pastor Wudugah, a member of the community had this to say,
“During festivals and funerals, visitors feel comfortable staying in our
community because they are assured of clean drinking water.”

Child Protection Outcome
The project has also played a great complementary role as far as Child Protection is concerned. Prior to the project, pupils had to leave school in search of water. This sometimes resulted in the physical and verbal abuse of some of the pupils by adults from whose homes or areas the children went in search of water. Now with water right on the school grounds, children receive their water in a safe environment.
“Children went to fetch water and were sometimes verbally or physically abused…”
-Erica, Nutrition Officer at the School Kitche

In conclusion, it is worth noting that Kanuwloe has not merely benefited from the project but has also become a ‘center of hope’ for other neighboring communities whose children attend school in the community to come to the Kanuwloe community to fetch water for consumption

“This project has been very beneficial. Even people from neighboring communities
come to fetch the water…” -Torgbui Wudugah

The change that has resulted from the provision of the water system is being felt in Kanuwloe as well as Kpoviadzi and other farm hamlets.

The water system has changed the story of Kanuwloe and provides joy and hope for a community that previously suffered from acute water scarcity.

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Shopping Mall Water Feature Build in Colombia South America

Backyard water features is what we do; but delighting customers is WHY we do it

Building Water Features, Delighting Customers | Morris County NJ

There are days where I just really have to wonder how I got to be so lucky! I mean, one day I’m in Africa building a rainwater harvesting system for a remote village school to have drinking water, next thing you know I’m at the Navy Pier in Chicago collaborating on the signature water feature for the Pond Stars’ Flower & Garden Show with some of my best friends, now I’m in Colombia, South America working on a Multi Million Dollar Water Feature! Nobody pinch me because I’m LOVING this dream!!

As a water feature artist or someone that just loves the beauty of nature, Colombia has some of the most inspiring landscapes you could imagine. Our ride from Bogota Airport to our project base in Villavicencio was about 3 hours, mostly through mountain passes that featured bridges spanning cavernous ravines, coupled with breath-taking, cascading waterfalls that seemed to start all the way up in the stratosphere!

Villaviciencio Colombia Mountains
prima vera shopping mall villaviciencio colombia

I have been invited, along with an extremely talented team of Certified Aquascape Contractors (CAC), to help Aquascape Inc realize the dreams of the Manrique Family from Villavicencio, Colombia at their brand new Primavera Urbana Shopping Center. They are the visionaries that are building this environmentally minded shopping center, where the most important aspect of the experience is the feeling of having the rainforest that surrounds them transported in for the city to enjoy.

The Manrique’s were introduced to Aquascape through the Nat Geo Wild program “Pond Stars”, which featured Greg Wittstock, Ed Beaulieu, Brian Helfrich and Chris Hanson as they traveled the U.S. building inspiring, natural looking water features. After flying to Chicago to meet with Ed about wanting massive, one-of-a-kind water features at their brand new location, like they would find in the foothills of the Andes Mountains that surrounded their city, they decided that Aquascape had the talent and ability necessary to pull off these monumental signature water features.

I have worked with Brian, Ed and Chris on several large projects, so our familiarity with each other will help on a massive undertaking like this. On this trip we also have my good friend, who I have also collaborated with on many occasions, BJ Linger from BJL Aquascapes in Colts Neck, New Jersey. Also joining us are extremely talented guys, Joey Genovese from Genoscape Inc in Canada and John Adams from Modern Design Aquascaping in Tennessee. Conveniently, we have all been recipients of the award “Water Feature Artist of the Year”, so that doesn’t hurt when you have an All-Star team :)​

the water feature construction team
building the waterfalls at prima vera shopping mall

1,500 TONS IN 2 WEEKS!
If there was one thing that stood out to us when we arrived on-site it was the massive boulders that were staged around the job-site as far as the eye could see! We’re talking rocks that weigh up to 12 Tons (24,000 lbs) each! Then there was the steep hillside that went from the sidewalk up to the face of the building. I think my calves grew twice as big walking up and down that hill all day while carrying huge straps and a 45 lb shackle to rig each of the giant boulders we were setting with the excavators!

There is a symbiotic relationship that forms on each of the waterfall crews. The guys setting the rocks and shaping the waterfall would motion hand signals to their counterparts at the rock pile, simulating the size of boulders to be strapped for the excavator to send down. It was a well-choreographed game of charades which netted us 1,500 Tons of boulders set in just a 2 week time frame! Simply Amazing!

People crowded the street and sidewalk directly in front of our work zone and It felt as if we were on display as an elaborate exposition of artists using excavators as a paintbrush and boulders as our paint, molding our earthen canvas into a cascading masterpiece that had been inspired directly by the amazing aquatic treasures that flow down the surrounding mountainsides. They would watch in amazement as we furiously carved and shaped the soil in preparation for each colossal monolith of stone. It was truly inspiring!

This was our first 2 week tour for this multi-month project and I can honestly say that time actually flew by with the pace that we kept for the duration. We were very happy with the progress up to this point and we are dizzy with anticipation for our return in January to continue this incredible journey!

If there’s 1 thing I’ve realized after 41 years, it’s that the universe is not going to stand in the way of anyone getting what they want in life. In fact, it will simply step to the side and say “go ahead kid, I’m not stopping you”. It’s almost like water in that it will just form right around you and keep going. Since nothing is holding me (or anyone for that matter) back from achieving our wildest dreams, I’m not stopping here! Wherever this journey takes me to effuse my craft and change landscapes (and sometimes lives!), I welcome the challenges and experiences with much excitement and promise! I’m truly blessed to be on this adventure and we’ll see you in January!

the waterfall artists behind the waterfeature at primavera shopping mall

Photos from the Water Features in Colombia

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