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Front yard water features: Boost Your Curb Appeal

Why a Front yard water feature?

Why should the backyard get all the fun?   Ponds bring such beauty and joy, customers have been enhancing their living spaces to include beautiful front yard water features.  In addition, a Front yard water feature can boost your curb appeal at the same time!

 

Front yard water feature--ecosystem pond
Front yard water feature–ecosystem pond

An ecosystem pond…

takes center stage at the entrance to this suburban Colonial home. Adirondack chairs provide comfy seating for watching the fish and enjoying nature.

 

Front yard water feature-steam
Front yard water feature-stream

On the other side of the door, the water feature continues…

along the sidewalk with a gentle waterfall. The perfect landscape enhancement for greeting visitors to your home.

Front yard water feature--tipping bowls

To really amp up your curb appeal…

consider bowls spilling one into another. You could even make a chain of bowls that extend the length of your sidewalk

Front yard water feature- basalt columns
Front yard water feature- basalt columns

Flowers can be challenging to grow in shady areas…

but a fountain is the perfect spot for such a location! This home already has a stunning backyard pond, but the owner wanted a splash of water out front, too.

Front yard water feature-- stone bridge
Front yard water feature–stone bridge

You’ll be the envy of the neighborhood …

with a waterfall and pond that requires a stone bridge to traverse it to reach the front door. Waterlilies play on the surface of the water when the breezes blow.

 

front yard water feature-- waterfall
front yard water feature– waterfall
Front Yard Waterfall

A small waterfall

nestles in the ivy and hostas next to the front steps of this Chicago suburban home.  Imagine walking in and out of your house to the sounds of water and nature every day.

 
All pond shown are Certified Aquascape Contractor ponds.
Contact us to see how we can spruce up your front yard today!

 

Beautiful Koi Fish Pond in Phila, PA

 

Koi Fish pond After
Koi Fish pond After
Koi Fish Pond During
Koi Fish Pond During
Koi Fish Pond-- Before
Koi Fish Pond– Before

Koi Fish Pond : A New Beginning…

Al  and Joan T were moving and were very anxious about what to do with their fish and needed a Koi Fish Pond as soon as possible

They found us during a google search. and reached out to see if AquaReale could help.  Al is a firefighter and he saved his money for quite a while to get a bigger pond at his new house.  HE had a very small pond at his current house.  Al and his wife were concerned about their fish and the move.  We assured them we would build the new pond first and then get them safely to their new home.

Koi  Fish Pond Construction

AquaReale built Al and Joan an 11 x 16 natural eco-system pond  in three days.  We used Pennsylvania field stone boulders for a natural look and situated the pond in a prime spot in the back yard viewable from multiple windows in Al and Joan’s  pond.

We put in plant shelves as well as fish caves, hiding spots for the fish if predators are near.  The pond will soon be filled in with beautiful natural greenery

Koi Fish Pond Praise

Al and Joan were very pleased with the results. “We got so much more than expected.” said Al.  “This is the first pond i didn’t build myself and I am thrilled with the results.”    “We are so happy with how this turned out,” added Joan.  Our grandchildren are going to love this!”

We are happy to report that we delivered all of Al’s fish safely to their new home with no casualties.   The family is enjoying the new pond and their grandchildren have already found a new frog.

To see how we can build you a koi fish pond, contact us!  We look forward to helping you fulfill your pond dreams too.

6 Tips for Pond Plants

pond plants
pond plants

Pond Plants: 6 Tips for the Perfect  Plants

When it comes to planting in ponds,  you can apply many of the same tips and guidelines you use to create your terrestrial flower beds.  Things like color, height, and planting conditions are things you’ll want to consider when it comes to naturalizing your pond with plants.

It’s the amazing pond plants that truly put the “garden:” in water garden.

 

(1) Create Interest with Pond Plant Variety

Random placement of plants with varying textures and colors will create more interest than using plants that have all the same growth habit or leaf shape.

(2) Water Plant Colors

Choose colors you like best and consider the type of lighting your pond receives. Yellow, orange, and white help brighten shady areas, while cool blue and violet tone down the intensity of the sun’s rays.

(3) Go Green

A soft, calming space is created by using different textures and shades of green foliage.  You can also play with color based on leaf selection alone, since you’ll find aquatic foliage in a range of colors such as red, purple, yellow, and several variegated combinations.

(4) Pond Plant Size

. One of the biggest mistakes novice water gardeners make is failing to realize how big their pond plants might grow. Be sure to take height and width of the mature plant into consideration and allow enough space for future growth.

(5) Group  Pond Plants Together

Interior decorators tell you to group like objects together when decorating your home, to create visual impact. Use this same principle when planting your pond. Plant a row of marsh marigolds along a stretch of the ponds edge, as opposed to dotting them all around the pond in single locations.

(6) Consider Each  Water Plant’s Needs

Be mindful of how much sun your aquatic plants require, along with their planting depth. If a plant requires full sun, that’s a minimum of 6 hours of unobstructed (ie not dappled shade) sun per day.  If you’re not sure what your plant needs, ask the pro at your local garden center or search online for information.

Final thoughts

You’ll want to ensure an interesting mix of aquatic plant types for your water garden. Plant a few marginal at the pond’s edge, include colorful water lilies or even a lotus, add floating plants like water lettuce, and include submerged plants to help add oxygen to your pond.

Variety is the spice of gardening life, so don’t be afraid to experiment   For more information about pond planting and what we can do for you, contact us.

Small Pond: Plant Placement Ideas

pond plant diagram
pond plant diagram

 

Large Pond: Plant Placement Ideas

pond plant diagram-- large pond
pond plant diagram– large pond

How to clean a koi pond

Sometimes it’s best to hire a professional, other times it’s fun to try something yourself.  Want to try cleaning your pond for spring?  Here’s what you need and some basic steps.

 Materials for Your  Koi Pond Clean-out

 

If you’re planning to get your hands dirty with a Backyard Pond Clean-out, here is a list of materials that may be helpful . Being prepared ahead of time will prevent the need to run to the store in the middle of your clean-out project. Here’s a handy list of things you may need:

  • Kiddie pool (or similar, large container to hold fish and frogs)
  • Net to cover fish container to prevent them from jumping out
  • Fish net to catch the fish before the clean-out
  • Lily tabs – might as well fertilize those lilies while you’re in there!
  • Two-five gallon buckets for collecting leaves and debris
  • Wading boots or old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • Rubber gloves 25 feet of 1.5 to 2-inch discharge piping
  • A high-pressure nozzle for your garden hose or a power washer
  • Garden shears for trimming plants
  • Bacteria
  • Dechlorinator if you’re filling your pond with city water
  • Extra rocks/pebbles to cover exposed liner
  • Expanding foam to fill in any necessarily spots
  • New filter mats, if needed
Now that you have all your materials, you are ready to start your cleaning.   Don’t  worry – it’s really not as complicated – just a little dirty.

 

How to clean a koi pond
Koi Pond Cleaning

How to Clean a Backyard Koi Pond

 

  1. Start Draining the Pond – An inexpensive pump or a sump pump is sufficient. Be sure you use some of the pond water to fill a container with pond water for the fish.
  2. Disconnect the Circulation System – This will allow the water in the plumbing to drain out.
  3. Catch the Fish – Drain the pond down to the lowest shelf in order to catch fish easily and safely.
  4. Remove Debris – Once the pond is drained, remove the large debris like leaves and twigs.
  5. Wash the Pond – A 1,500 psi pressure washer or a high-pressure nozzle on a garden hose is recommended for pond cleaning.
  6. Rinse the Pond – Rinse the pond from top to bottom with a garden hose without the high-pressure nozzle. This will help wash any remaining pond debris from under the rocks. As the dirty water accumulates on the bottom, continuing to pump it out.
  7. Clean the Filters – Spray the filtration media until relatively clean and rinse down the inside of the filter units.
  8. Refill the Pond – Pull the clean-out pump out and begin re-filling the pond.
  9. De-chlorinate the Water – Most city water contains chlorine and chloramines and should be treated with a de-chlorinator before fish are introduced.
  10. Acclimate the Fish – A spring clean-out can be stressful to fish, so proper acclimation is suggested to decrease stress and avoid future health problems. In order to properly acclimate your fish, you’ll want to slowly introduce it to the water by floating them in the pond fish and adding pond water little by little before letting them in.

Still need help?  Contact us— we’d love to help!

How to choose the best stone for your pond

There are three main types of rocks or stones that AquaReale uses on our pond installations. One isn’t better than the other– they just offer different styles and looks. Here’s a quick look a the three types of stone we use for our projects: mica, field stone, and river rocks.

How to choose the best stone for your pond: Mica Stone

How to choose the best stone for your pond: Mica Stone
How to choose the best stone for your pond: Mica Stone

Mica stone is a regional stone, common throughout Philadelphia and Southeaster PA. This stone tends to blend well with older homes in our area. The deep blue gray color of the stone is very visually appealing. It also has a slight silver reflection that is lovely at night.

Mica is a natural occurring mineral that is based on a collection of silicate minerals and composed of varying amounts of potassium, iron, aluminum, magnesium and water . Mica forms flat six-sided monoclinic crystals along with an extraordinary split in the direction of larger surfaces. High in silica, this stone has the extensive capacity to remain elastic and tough even at high temperatures.

How to choose the best stone for your pond: Field Stone

How to choose the best stone for your pond: Field Stone
How to choose the best stone for your pond: Field Stone

Field stones come in different shapes and sizes, offering a lot of variety from one rock type. Pennsylvania Field Stone is very popular i this area. Some of these stones come with lichens. Lichens look like moss on the stones— giving it an aged look right away. The stones tend to come in muted earthen stones.

How to choose the best stone for your pond: River Rocks

How to choose the best stone for your pond: River Rocks
How to choose the best stone for your pond: River Rocks

River rocks are just like they sound– rocks that come out of rivers, not quarries. They run in size from the size of a pea to two ton boulders and bigger. They are rounded, and are what many people would expect and like to see in a pond setting. River rocks work very well in Asian-inspired pond settings.

River rock can be blue, green, red, pink, orange, coral, slate gray, or any combination of these colors. It can have stripes, spots and striations, or it can be solid colored.

But there is one thing that all landscaping river rocks have in common. They all have a softly rounded shape and a smooth finish. This is what makes them so popular in pond world

Which type rock is best for your pond? Contact us to see what’s best for you!

 

How to clean out your pond

Looking to do your own pond cleanout or want to see how we do ours? Check out the Aquascape video below. We are a proud Pro Certified Aquascape Contractor company!

A Philadelphia Area Pond Senior Center Respite…

AquaReale had the recent pleasure of building a Philadelphia area pond as part of the landscaping at a new Philadelphia area retirement facility.

Here Eric guides us through the project…

A Swim Pond Story

 

 

Swim Pond After
Swim Pond After

Swim Pond Story

Alice H. has had a  Swim Pond in Haverford, PA for the past 15 years.  Alice’s husband had turned their pool into a pond himself .   He cut the filters, added an aerator and added plants to change the pool to a pond. They did not do much to keep up the Swim Pond and over the years it became very dirty.

Alice’s husband passed away about two years ago and she decided to fix up the pond in his honor. She knew how much the pond had meant to him and she wanted it restored to glory.

The Swim Pond was pretty much falling apart by the time AquaReale visited in October, 2015. The water was green, and the pool coping crumbled and broke every time it was touched. The swim pond had become a safety hazard.

We quickly determined that the pond needed a thorough cleaning, a wetland filter, new lights and new coping.

Swim Pond Process

It was important to both AquaReale and Alice that the pond look as it did before. Anything new we added or changed had to completely match the aesthetic of the swim pond as it had been before.

We used cut red argillite for both the wetland filter area and the coping, matching what was already there. AquaReale also redid the waterfall, creating an updated waterfall that turned on and off as wanted by Alice. This gives her control on the pond ambiance, allowing her to kick it up while outside or entertaining.

Swim Pond Challenge

Our biggest challenge was the access. The pond was in a challenging location, up a hill in the backyard. Everything had to be hand-wheeled up hills. The access also made it challenging to work on two parts of the project at one time– everything had to be completely done before the next step was started.

Swim Pond Results

AquaReale employee Tom  had talked to Alice about the swim pond and her husband. He knew how much a certain frog statue had meant to her. Hers was in bad shape. As a surprise, he ordered her a new statue and placed it in its place of honor. The dedication to her husband was now there for her.

Alice cried and thanked Tom and all of AquaReale. She loves her updated swim pond and feels that she has done her husband’s memory justice with this beautiful swim pond.

Want to see what we can do for you? Contact us today!

Swim Pond Before
Swim Pond Before

 

Swim Pond During
Swim Pond During

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Pond Ecosystem: Working with Nature

Pond Ecosystem
Pond Ecosystem

What is a Pond Ecosystem? A Pond Ecosystem is a pond that works with and for nature.   A Pond Ecosystem  works with the natural environment to provide food, shelter and protection to the wildlife around it.

HOW DOES A POND ECOSYSTEM WORK?

 

  • The fish nibble on the plant life (and everything else), including the algae.
  • In turn, the fish produce waste that, along with other forms of natural debris, fall to the pond’s bottom.
  • Debris is broken down by the aerobic bacteria and the other microorganisms colonized on the rocks and gravel all over the pond bottom.
  • Once broken down, these substances are absorbed as nutrition by the plants.
  • The plants grow and are once again nibbled on by the fish … ’round and ’round it goes, infinitely.

It’s important to have certain elements, however, and to use them together so that the system won’t become unbalanced.   There are five main elements needed by the pond for a low maintenance ecosystem.

Here are the five elements considered necessary for a low maintenance pond ecosystem:

1. Pond Ecosystem Filtration System

AquaReale installs a two part filtration system: biological filter and a mechanical filter.

  • A BioFalls® (biological filter) provides surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize and remove excess nutrients from the water.
  • A Skimmer (mechanical filter) will not only pre-filter the water and house the pump; it will also skim debris from the water’s surface to prevent the accumulation of organic materials on the pond floor.

2. Pond Ecosystem Rocks and Gravel

Rocks and gravel protect pond liners from UV light degradation. They also provide a large surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolved organic debris on the pond floor. This is a important step in an ecosystem pond.

3.Pond Ecosystem Recirculation System

This is just another term for what we call the pumps and plumbing

The proper size pump and pipe diameter are extremely important for the aesthetics of a water feature. More importantly, an efficient circulation system will keep the water moving and provide the necessary oxygen levels for healthy fish and plants.

 4. Pond Ecosystem Fish

Fish are a huge part of any natural pond ecosystem. They eat algae and other items on the pond floor, helping ponds stay healthy and clean.   Fish are also very fun; Koi fish can even be trained to take food from your hand! Fish are exciting for children and can be a great introduction for kids and nature.

5. Pond Ecosystem Aquatic Plants

Plants act as nature’s true filter, doing many services to your pond. They add character, color and dimensions to a pond, as well as help with filtering. Plants are crucial to an ecosystem pond. They thrive on excess nutrients, naturally filtering the water to help keep algae to a minimum.

 

So, in a naturally balanced water garden, you have this never-ending aquatic circle of life where all parts complement the others, and play critical roles in the pond’s natural born harmony.

Contact us for more information and to see how we can help you create your own natural pond ecosystem.

Get to know us here at AquaReale: Our team unmasked!

ABOUT US

AquaReale was founded by Matthew and Laura Reale. They first started Reale Landscape and Design in 1999, the year they got married. They changed the name and direction of the company in 2010 to AquaReale. The new name reflected the emphasis on all things water.

Laura and Matt live with their two kids and three cats in Jenkintown, PA. They enjoy their pond and pondless water feature, which their son likes to use as a car  wash for his toy cars.

AquaReale co-owner Laura Reale
AquaReale President Laura Reale

Laura Lapinsohn Reale

President

Laura handles all customer service, scheduling, marketing and financial responsibilities for the company. She utilizes her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University while managing social media and all company branding initiatives.

Laura prefers everything indoors and has an aversion to the sun and nice weather.

Matthew Reale

Matt
Matt

Vice President

Matt handles all operational details of the company, from estimating and bidding on jobs to managing his crews on projects, offering his expertise and experience as needed.

Matt has his degree in landscape design from the Temple University Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture and enjoys sharing nature and his love of the outdoors with his kids.

Eric
Eric

Eric Naylor

Company Foreman

Eric and Matt went to Central High School together many years ago. Eric shares Laura and Matt’s vision of a full service water features company, leading with calmness and dedication to each customer and job. Eric is a great communicator and company representative.

Eric lives with his wife Meagan and his dog Belle, and he enjoys fostering dogs and playing disc golf.

Eric’s favorite part of his job is finding nature and life in each pond. He likes going back to ponds to see how they have changed throughout the year.

 

Tom

Tom Simpson

Project Manager

Tom is our new young guy. He graduated from St Joe’s University in May 2015 with a degree in environmental science and quickly began a valuable part of AquaReale.

Tom was the Laboratory Coordinator for the Saint Joseph University Biodiversity lab, handling everything from fish illness to building the proper pumps and filtration systems for the tanks and the fish. Tom’s knowledge of fish and aquariums is incredible and an integral part of the service AquaReale provides.

 

What can AquaReale do for you? Contact us and find out!