Tag Archives: meadowbrook

Rydal Natural Pond Renovation

Check out this video of AquaReale co-owner Matthew Reale explaining how we are handling a Rydal Natural Pond Renovation.  “The hard part of doing a Natural Pond Renovation is figuring out what to do with the muck,” says Matt.

“There is no room on the property to store the muck so we need to take it by trashcan back to our workshop where we will wait for it to dry out.”  Once it dries out, it becomes a great soil enhancer to use as fill as or blended with soil to create a nutrient- rich type of mulch.

Pond Predators: How to win the battle

Pond Predators: How to win the battle

There are many Pond Predators that love to hunt fish. And when we give them shiny gold targets to go for, it makes their jobs even easier. Two of the usual suspects in the missing fish line-up are the raccoon and the heron. There are others, but these are the two most prevalent in the hobby.

For the raccoon, you have to first remember he doesn’t mind getting his hands wet, but will probably not purposely go for a swim to catch a fish. He can be held at bay by the way the pond is designed. A plant shelf that is too shallow will help him snag a fish every time.

Pond Predators
Pond Predators

Keeping Them Safe

For the heron, things get a little more challenging. They are very crafty and smart birds and you should not underestimate them. There are many methods available to keep them or scare them away from your pond – from plastic heron statue replicas to floating alligator decoys and motion-activated sprinkler. These options to ward him off all offer varying levels of success for every water garden hobbyist.

In early spring, these birds return to your area and look for feeding grounds. As they fly overhead to see where the fish are, your colorful fish stand out like a fast food restaurant. Your first defense is to use a decoy of some sort, whether it is heron or alligator decoy. They work better if you keep moving them around the pond to fool the heron into thinking they are real. Herons would rather not feed in the same water as an alligator, and if they see that another bird has staked out your backyard already, they are more likely to move on to the next available spot.

As we move into summer, just like us, Pond Predators develop a routine and may even forget about your pond. So the trick is to move the decoy about every three days in the spring and every couple of weeks in the summer.

Another decoy on the market is a motion-activated sprinkler called a Scarecrow. When the predator gets close enough the motion sensor will activate, and the visitor will get a quick blast of water.

Pond Predators: Alligator decoy
Pond Predators: Alligator decoy

Life Without Fish? Never!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to have fun with your fish, and to remember that all of these occurrences are case specific. You may never see a Pond Predators such as a heron or raccoon in your backyard, your fish may be disinterested in your plants, and there may be no bullying in the pond.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky and avoid all three. After a season or two, you will remember what your life was like before fish. You’ll undoubtedly realize that the pleasure of pond fish far outweighs a life without finned friends.

 

Contact us to see how we can help create your personal pond predator solution!

Garden and Pond Lighting

Do you have Garden and Pond Lighting?

The days are shortening in anticipation of the fall season and now is the perfect time to install your own Garden and Pond Lighting.

Check out this video to see how Garden and Pond Lighting can work for you….

 

Contact us for more information on how AquaReale can create beautiful Garden and Pond lighting for you!

Stormwater Management issues?

Stormwater Management-- before
Stormwater Management– before

Do you have Stormwater Management problems?

We have seen lots, but nothing quite like we saw at the J’s house back in the spring.  We met the J family after they saw our lawn sign at another large Stormwater Management job.  Five different companies had been out to look at the job and not one had come back or offered a price.

The job is certainly a challenge…

Stormwater Management Challenge

The J Family’s big problems began 15 years ago when an additional house was built in front of theirs, as the top of a hill.  The J Family was on the bottom of the hill, right next to a golf course.  When the new house was built. the lost their buffer, which allowed more surface runoff to gush down the hill.

A hurricane a few years ago took care of the rest of the problem, eroding away a fair portion of the hill and created a giant 6 foot gulley.  The bottom of their property had a retention pond which  retained the run off.  Every time is rained more sediment went down and filled up the retention pond,

The water also left destruction in its wake. The water displaced many rocks until it looked like the backyard was strewn with loose rocks.

Stormwater Management Solution

AquaReale worked with an engineering firm to come up with a Stormwater Management solution to slow the water flow from the upper portion of the yard to the lower.  This solution was to stop the water at the top of the hill and redirect it into a pipe which goes directly to the bottom of the hill, avoiding an more erosion.

The retention pond will also be cleaned out, leveled out and seeded with a grass meadow mix.  The grasses will create deep roots and stabilize the soil so water can be absorbed quicker. This will allow for the water coming through the pipe to be better absorbed.
Stay tuned as we complete the project and post some great after shots.  Here’s some before shots in the meantime…

 

Need stormwater assistance of your own?  Here’s some additional information on Stormwater Management.

Contact us to see how we can help you with your stormwater issues

What kinds of pond fish should I choose?

What kinds of pond fish should I choose?

Watch Tom as he explains his pond fish recommendations..

Montgomery County Pondless Waterfall

Oreland water feature
Oreland water feature

 

Oreland flagstone patio
Oreland flagstone patio

 

Jenkintown water feature
Jenkintown water feature

What to do with your yard?  Get inspired with our latest Montgomery County Pondless Waterfall and flagstone patio!

We worked with Fill A Bagel in Jenkintown to create  a small water feature outside their Jenkintown, PA store, but with the new Oreland store came a lot more opportunity.

Vicky and Charlie Ard are the owners of both locations and they own the physical building location in Oreland, located at 100 East Pennsylvania Ave,  AND there was plenty of green space there!

Vicki wanted a patio for her customers to sit and relax and enjoy their breakfast and lunch sandwiches and bagels.

When we talked about doing a water feature at the store, we decided we could do the patio for the Ards as well, creating a flawless space that is soothing and relaxing.  Customers can sit on the large sitting wall or on the patio chairs as they listen to the soothing sounds of water via  bubbling rocks and streams. The Montgomery County Pondless Waterfall adds visual and auditory delight

The patio is 16 x 14, made with Pennsylvania bluestone, irregular cut.  “We tried to match the aesthetic of the building,” says Matt Reale, co-owner of AquaReale.

The results…

Hundreds of people go through the stores  each weekend and Vicky and Charlie wanted them to have a pleasant place to sit and enjoy their food

“The patio turned out great, ” said Matt.  “It’s a cool and laid back place to hang out and eat your food.  Since the patio is enclosed on three sides, it’s easier for moms and dads to keep track of their little ones.  The Montgomery County Pondless Waterfalls  have no standing bodies of water, just recirculating bubbling rocks and streams.”

The reason for a dry laid stone wall instead of mortar?  “Concrete is needed for mortar on wet walls, and this can lead to more structural problems down the road,” explains Matt.  “Dry laid stone won’t weather like a man made product will.  Dry laid stone is more structural sound, as there is nothing to break apart or crumble.”

See what AquaReale can build in YOUR space!  Contact us for more information.

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.

Pond renovation in mind? Our top 3 suggestions

pond renovation
pond renovation

Is your pond a good candidate for a pond renovation?

Renovating a pond allows you to optimize an existing pond. It is cheaper than rebuilding the whole pond. On average, if the existing pond is ten years or younger it can be renovated easily. Ponds that are more than ten years old usually need to be rebuilt from scratch due to the older liner and parts and structural issues.

Other items we look at before renovating a pond is if the liner was completely covered with rock.  If so, the liner is in better shape then if parts have been exposed to the elements.

If a liner is unusable, we recommend basically building a new pond.   Since we are adding a new liner, that is the time to change the shape of the pond, adding or moving sections as you’d like.

THREE POPULAR POND RENOVATIONS

1. Redo the water fall box and skimmer

Adding a new waterfall box can give an old pond new life. Moving a waterfall alone can make it look like a pond renovation.  The eye is drawn to the waterfall, so putting it in a different place can make a big difference on how the pond looks. The price to redo a waterfall box and skimmer starts at $3500.

2. Add plant ledges

A plant ledge is simply a rock wall under water that holds planters of plants. Many older ponds do not have plant ledges. By adding or changing plants, you can really change the overall look of the pond. This can also help provide shade for the fish and slow algae growth. Adding plant ledges starts at $1500.

3. Add or revise lights

Adding or changing lights can change your pond’s complete look in the evening. Light up your water fall or adjust the lights to highlight certain plants– all ways to change the look of your pond. Pond renovation is possible by something as simple as redirecting your lights.  Lighting packages start at $1500.

 

Which renovation is right for you? Contact us to find out!