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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