Rain Harvesting Then and Now

My wife and I zipped down to the Yucatan Peninsula last week for a friend’s wedding, down Thursday night, back Monday morning. Beautiful wedding, by the way. On Sunday our good friends Lidia Cepeda and Nacho Barroso arranged a very special tour to the ancient Mayan ruins of Uxmal on Sunday. The Director of Archeology of the site, José Huchim Herrera, Don Pepe as he is affectionately called by students and colleagues alike, honored us with a behind-the-scenes tour of the site.

Uxmal was a city of wonders, most of which have been restored under Huchim’s direct supervision. He is personally responsible for the exquisite restoration of the crown jewel of the site, The Palace of the Governor, considered the finest and most beautiful example of pre-Hispanic architecture ever discovered. Don Pepe explained the significance of the marvelous glyphs of the frieze that rings the building as thousands of bats whirled overhead at dusk. Magical!

But I have to admit that what impressed me most were the waterworks that made it possible for tens of thousands to thrive in the dry Puuc region where Uxmal is located, an environment with no rivers, no wells and no rain for nine months of the year.

We tend to think of rain harvesting as green vanity projects that don’t really make much of a difference, but in centuries past nothing could be further from the truth. Rain harvesting was the key to survival, and the Maya of the Puuc were masters of two distinct reservoirs very similar to the systems we employ today. The first was the chultun, a bottle-shaped underground reservoir carved into soft limestone, with plastered walls and a sloped apron around the small opening at the surface to capture water. 

Mayan rain harvesting chultun

Archeologists have demonstrated that these household cisterns could typically support a small group of people year round with as little as 1.2 cubic meters per person, about 317 gallons per person. I was immediately reminded of our own Eco-Blox, which store 31.5 gallons. At ten blocks per person, a forty Eco-Blox reservoir would sustain a Mayan family of four even today! And with an innovative Clean Rain first flush diverter to collect clean water off a roof, today’s system might even reduce reservoir maintenance.  

But Uxmal was a city of tens of thousands, without enough room for all the chultunob that would have been needed. How did the Maya live there with only three months of steady rains to depend on? Huchim discovered evidence of a sophisticated rain harvesting infrastructure just below the hilltop city. A natural depression was ringed with man-made berms and sealed with plaster to collect millions of gallons of rainwater during the short wet season, enough to sustain the city of 35000 people.

Again, we do exactly the same thing today. I pass the Meander Creek Reservoir near Youngstown Ohio when I drive in to the office. It was created in 1932 by building an earthen dam on the Mineral Ridge to impound the water of the Mahoning River. The Maya of Uxmal would have approved. 

Click here for more information on rain harvesting to learn how you can add a rain harvesting system to your landscape!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Tools That Don’t Suck – DMT Diamond Sharpener

Here’s a clever little tool that I don’t like to be without, at home or on the jobsite. I bought the Diamond Mini Sharp at the counter at Bissett, one of my favorite landscape suppliers here on Long Island. I needed something to touch up my Felcos (another Tool That Doesn’t Suck!) The pruners were too dull for the triangular ceramic rod to touch up, and the Mini was small enough to work the blade, so I bought the blue Coarse grit model. I remember it was under $20. I figured it wouldn’t last long but I’d probably get my money’s worth.

That had to be over 20 years ago. Not only does it still work, it hardly shows any wear. Over the years it has migrated from my keychain to my shoulder bag, as the keys have multiplied and my time in the field lessened, but I still keep it close by. 

I wanted to see what DMT said about the Mini, so I checked out the website www.dmtsharp.com. For all you tech geeks who like to know the details, like I do, what makes this little sharpener special are “micronized monocrystalline diamonds, precisely sized for a more uniform diamond surface.” According to DMT, other diamond surfaces typically offer “the lesser grade poly-crystalline diamond. Mono-crystalline is like an ice cube made up of one particle holding its form while poly-crystalline is like a snow-cone made up of many small particles that get sheared off during use.”

Okay, I can believe ice cubes sharpen better than snow cones. DMT also touts its manufacturing process assures the most diamonds per square inch in the industry, providing a more durable sharpening surface.

Well, after all these years, I can attest to its durability.

But what about the polka dots? you ask. Turns out the “Interrupted Diamond Surface” for which DMT is famous has slightly recessed holes that will collect metal fines (swarf) removed during sharpening to prevent loading.

Gotta love those dots. And here’s the kicker – it costs less now than I paid way back then! After all these years, it’s available online for only $8.95 plus shipping. Truly a Tool That Don’t Suck. I think I’m gonna go buy one of the big models for my kitchen knives.

For more Tools That Don’t Suck, check out some more of Demi’s articles! Cordless (Liner) Trimmers, Hypath Bags, Wiss W10TM Scissors, and many more!


About the Author:

DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

Goodbye Mantua, Hello 2020

The waterfall runs still. The trees are bare. A few fall leaves remain. The “For Sale” board stands by the roadway as a timely reminder to us all, that it is finally time to say goodbye to our much-loved home of many years. While it is always sad to leave a place that has been the site of good times, much progress and hard work, we have finally outgrown our Orchard Street location. By January 1st, we will have packed our bags, transported the last pallets of product, turned off the lights and locked the doors one last time.  Goodbye Mantua and thank you for 14 years of happy memories.

But when one door closes, another opens. We move to Aurora with a great sense of pride and anticipation. As Atlantic-OASE finally become one for the USA, we can look forward to great things at our new facility. The building has been fully re-modeled and fitted to allow us to lay down our own stamp of individuality. The massively increased space and opportunities for growth that this new facility affords us can allow us to achieve great things. A powerhouse in the North American Water Gardening industry will now emerge with a new sense of purpose and determination, from Lena Drive, Aurora. 

We are very excited to be able to share these new beginnings with you and would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, suppliers, contractors, employees and associates for their support and to wish everyone very happy and healthy Holidays.

From everyone here at Atlantic-OASE, we wanted to wish you a safe and Happy New Year! Thank you for all your support throughout the years! We can’t wait to dive into the 2020 with you!


About the Authors:

Caitlyn Winkle

Caitlyn is a graduate from the University of Akron and joined the Atlantic-OASE team in August of 2019. Specializing in Communications and Social Media, Caitlyn manages Atlantic-OASE’s social media and online content. Additionally, Caitlyn works on the Marketing Team to create advertising and marketing programs.

Peter Ferber

Peter joined Atlantic-OASE to support the sales and marketing teams and coordinate training programs. He returns to the water gardening industry after 10 years to bring his British idiosyncrasies to this side of the pond.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Alan Koontz

The next Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight for December 2019 is APC Alan Koontz and his wife Sherry Koontz.

Alan & Sherry Koontz – Carolina Pondscapes, Inc., North Carolina

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I personally have been in the industry since 1999, but wife Sherry has been in it for about 25 years.

What you love about what you do: A good pond builder is an “Artist”.  Taking a Blank Canvas in the landscape and being able to create a “Work of Art”!  

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: As a whole, I like all the products and enjoy installing the Colorfalls. These give the customers a multitude of options for seasonal lighting

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: Our latest Koi Viewing Window, in Greensboro, is one of my favorite projects.

New projects I’m working on: We are working on plans now for a large swim pond in another city. This will include bog filtration, large weathered boulders (diving size) and a multitude of different techniques implemented into the feature.  

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: Work Together. Don’t put down anyone else’s work. Be willing to help each other and learn from everyone. As one of the older pond builders / companies in this industry, I have acquired a lot of knowledge and gained valuable experience, but I learn new techniques, new challenges and still ask questions on different construction projects. Certification is great, but don’t use that as a reason to put down other contractors that have not gone through the certification process since there are many pond builders out there that are much more experienced and do better work that many certified ones. Always challenge yourself to become better from the last project you completed. Never settle for “It looks good,” always strive for “It Looks Great!” 

See more from Alan, Sherry and Carolina Pondscapes, Inc. on their social media pages. Facebook – Carolina Pondscapes and Instagram – @carolinapondscapes


Caitlyn Winkle

Caitlyn is a graduate from the University of Akron and joined the Atlantic-OASE team in August of 2019. Specializing in Communications and Social Media, Caitlyn manages Atlantic-OASE’s social media and online content. Additionally, Caitlyn works on the Marketing Team to create advertising and marketing programs.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Shane Hemphill

Join us in recognizing our hardworking Professional Contractors (APC’s) in our new Spotlight interview segment.

Shane Hemphill – Art of the Yard, Colorado

How long you’ve been working in the industry: This is my 26th year in the water feature industry. I started at the Big Tool Box, running the pond department when I was 14 years old.

What you love about what you do: I have had a fascination with water features since I was a young boy. This is the first feature I completed with my father at around 3 years old in 1982. This feature was built out of concrete with a 5 gallon bucket in the bottom that worked as the filter with filter media and housed the pump system.

Water features have been a part of my life ever since. What got me into the water features was my love for koi and pond plants. Thompson’s Aquatic Gardens really brought me into the world of koi, which got me hooked into this industry. I look forward to the merger with Atlantic and OASE to help us take our water feature to new levels.

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: My favorite Atlantic-Oase products are the full line of Atlantic pumps, they are the heartbeat of all our projects.

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: One of my favorite projects from this past year was a very custom water feature project we did in Falcon Hills. 80% of the features we install are natural looking features, but this feature was very contemporary and extremely challenging

Another one of our favorite projects from this season is a pondless feature powered by 3 A31 pumps 78 Ecoblox, , 3 SP3800 fast falls and 3 PV2300 pump vaults with extensions.

New projects I’m working on: We are starting a great pondless project in Franktown! We just broke ground and it will have 16 Ecoblox, PV1800 and a TT9000 pump! Check back in on our social media later for the finished project.

See more from Shane and Art of the Yard on his social media pages. Facebook – Art of the Yard, Instagram – @artoftheyard, and YouTube – Custom Water Features Colorado


Caitlyn Winkle

Caitlyn is a graduate from the University of Akron and joined the Atlantic-OASE team in August of 2019. Specializing in Communications and Social Media, Caitlyn manages Atlantic-OASE’s social media and online content. Additionally, Caitlyn works on the Marketing Team to create advertising and marketing programs.

5 Scares of the Water Feature World Debunked

By: Demi Fortuna & Caitlyn Winkle

Have you been wavering on whether or not to have a water feature installed? We know it’s a big decision and many factors go into making this decision. As Halloween rolls in this week, we wanted to take the fright out of water feature installation and debunk 5 scares of the water feature world!

Leaks

Leaks are an enormous concern for people who are building their first water feature, but they can rest easy. EPDM rubber and PVC liners are super strong, and very easy to work with. A couple of quick guidelines will allay any fears about liner punctures. Always use a protective layer of underlayment to keep the liner from getting punctured. It will guard against tree roots, sharp stuff underneath the liner, and even critters.

The other common way that water features leak are at the edges of waterfalls. These are very easy to detect and correct. First, to be sure water loss is coming from the stream or waterfall area, turn off the pump and see if the water still leaks down in the reservoir. if the water is stable when the pump is off, the leak’s in the waterfall. Looking for a wet spot along the edge after a couple of dry days will usually reveal the problem, which is almost always at the edge of a waterfall. In the vast majority of cases, it’s just the liner has slipped down from the force of the water and can easily be fixed.

Algae

Many people are concerned about the appearance of algae in their water features. Algae is actually a sign that the water feature is healthy. A little green fur on the sides helps keep the water clean. An excess of algae is not healthy but it is easily dealt with. Because algae growth is a sign of high nutrient levels, the easiest way to control algae in a fish pond is to cut back on the amount of food that you’re feeding your fish. In other water features, the installation of an ionizer that puts a tiny amount of ionized copper into the water will completely control algae in your water feature.

Critters

Many folks are concerned about the animals that come to a pond or water feature. Most of the time, this is a great Boon to the natural community in the area. Especially in the wintertime, sources of open water are scarce and animals have a hard time finding enough to drink. A pond or water feature that’s running in the winter is a welcome resource. Some folks worry about mosquitoes in ponds, but in a typical fish pond, mosquitoes can’t survive the hungry fish. Mosquito larvae are much more likely to come from the stagnant rainwater in an old tire than any fish pond.

Accidents

The idea that ponds and water features can be dangerous stems from an older method of constructing ponds in the shape of bowls. Slippery, sloped sides made getting in and out of this style of ponds difficult. It was easy to slip and injure oneself. Modern construction techniques advise building ponds with steps and flat platforms better making them easy to enter and exit safely. For the ultimate and safest option, Pond-free waterfalls and streams have no open water to fall into. All the water is recirculated out of a closed underground basin, limiting maintenance and chance of injury.

Maintenance

Some potential pond owners are deterred by the thought of the maintenance of a water feature. They may have heard about a poorly designed feature that was difficult to keep clean or looking good. A properly designed water feature requires very little maintenance. Fish ponds that have a balance of plants bacteria and animals require minimal maintenance. Hardscape water features with filtered or screened reservoirs require even less. When the feature is properly designed with the right equipment, maintenance takes no more than a few minutes a week, with a clean up no more than once a year.

How A Fountain Can Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Guest Author: Samantha Leon from housetipster.com

After a lengthy commercial break, Alex Trebek slowly strides over to the podium to reveal the Final Jeopardy answer. With a little pomp, he reveals the Final Jeopardy answer to be “The most important thing homeowners have to do.” You immediately scribble down your question and confidently set the marker down.

The question is “What is increasing the value of their homes.”

You did not wager it all, but you got it right. No other obligation a homeowner has to fulfill is more important than increasing the value of his or her home. Now that we know what should matter most for homeowners, how do we go about increasing the value of our homes?

It starts with enhancing the curb appeal of your home.

What is Curb Appeal?

You probably understand the importance of curb appeal as it refers to increasing the value of your home. However, what exactly is curb appeal? It certainly is not a tangible asset that you add or install, such as a pergola or a swimming pool. Yes, you can add or install a tangible asset to improve the curb appeal of your home, but that does not answer the question “What is curb appeal.” Curb appeal represents the first impression someone has as he or she passes by your home. It boils down to how your home appears to someone else who is standing by the curb. Enhancing the curb appeal of your home ensures your home stands out from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood.

Here are a few examples of how to increase your home’s curb appeal:

  • Create a garden
  • Finely manicure the hedges
  • Paint the shutters
  • Add stained glass windows
  • Install a fountain

Why a Fountain Can Enhance the Curb Appeal of Your Home

Whether you add a fountain as a single accessory or place an outdoor water fountain next to a small pond, you can expect to enjoy several benefits that lead to an enhanced curb appeal for your home.

Subtle Elegance

Curb appeal is mostly associated with aesthetic appeal. After all, first impressions make a huge difference for establishing curb appeal. With an outdoor fountain, you create a subtle type of elegance that lets everyone passing by your home that you have refined taste and a sense of how a little bit of elegance can go a long way.

It’s More than a Structure

Why do Buddhist monks mediate around water fountains located next to lush gardens? The answer is the sight and sound of flowing water soothes the soul. When someone passes by your home, the sight and sound of flowing water will produce a meditative like state that alleviates stress. In fact, the sight and sound of water will be a good reason for people to stop in front of your home. This will help you get people to notice other aesthetically appealing features of your house.

Bird Magnet

Another soothing feature of an outdoor water fountain is how the home accessory attracts birds. When someone passes by your home and notices a horde of birds flapping their wings during a bath, you have made your home stand out from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood. Although a bird feeder can have the same effect at a fraction of the cost of installing a water fountain, some species of birds like robins, thrushes, and orioles do not like to congregate around a bird feeder.

Is a Bubbling Rock Fountain Right for Your Home?

With adding a fountain, a slam dunk for increasing your home’s curb appeal, what type of water fountain is the right addition? If your front yard is smaller than the average size of the front yard in your neighborhood, you should consider installing a bubbling rock fountain. With customization of both size and shape an option, you can find the right bubbling rock fountain that gives the look of natural granite to increase your home’s curb appeal. You can add a bubbling rock fountain in a space as small as two feet by two feet.

Maintenance for a bubbling rock fountain involves keeping the water level topped off, a simple step to routinely check. Replenishing the water supply is important, as you can expect to lose a considerable amount of water to evaporation. If you live a region that experiences freezing temperatures at some point during the year, all you have to do is remove the basin pump and store it the garage until the thaw arrives. Bubbling rock fountains cost between $1,000 and $2,000, with size and the type of rock representing the two most influential cost factors.

Healthy Home Accessory

Water fountains increase the humidity level outside of your home to rid the air of dust and other types of allergens. Flowing water produces negative ions, which scientific studies have shown to have a positive effect on mood and overall health. The health benefits of installing an outdoor water fountain are an important part of why a fountain can enhance the curb appeal of your home.

2019 Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference

The Third Annual Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference held last week in Cleveland Ohio was an event not to be missed.

Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water and Jeff Weemhoff, President of Atlantic-OASE

New this year, early arrivers attended 3 hands-on business workshops focusing on Business Strategy, Social Media and Water Feature Maintenance, hosted by experts Yolanda Ortiz of Corazon Business Coaching, Melanie Downes of The Grapevine Pro and our own Sean Bell.

Hands-on business workshops hosted by Yolanda Ortiz, Melanie Downes and Sean Bell

Yolanda Ortiz returned for her second conference, presenting her new workshop Culture, Hiring and Your Bottom Line to an appreciative audience. Melanie brought her 25+ years of experience as an entrepreneur in the family landscape and water feature business to fire up attendees with exciting new takes on Marketing and Social Media. Sean Bell educated attendees on Adding Maintenance Plans to your Business, offering lucrative insights into that bread-and-butter aspect of water gardening.

Welcome dinner at Pine Lake Trout Club
Welcome dinner at Pine Lake Trout Club

Wednesday evening, after rallying at the Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg, our base of operations this year, we set off for the always beloved Pine Lake Trout Club. Jeff Weemhoff warmly welcomed attendees of the ever growing Conference, sharing his plans for the continued and accelerating expansion of Atlantic and OASE and insights into the coming year. Then we partied into the night at the beautiful timbered fishing lodge surrounded by the many streams and waterfalls, good food and drink enhancing the great networking and camaraderie.

Jeff Weemhoff and Thorsten Muck present the future of Atlantic-OASE

Thursday began early with a message from Jeff and Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water, on the bright future of Atlantic and OASE. Presentations on social media, advanced bog construction, product development, water feature estimating and distributor meeting preceded lunch, then we boarded buses and headed over to AWG headquarters.

Demi Fortuna and Brandon Dwyer at the Fountain Nozzles 101 Station

There we split into rotating groups visiting seven Demonstration Stations, showcasing the power of PondoVacs; the new Atlantic InfiColor Lighting System; automatic ScreenMatic2 filtration; tips on multiple Fountain Nozzle installation; the ease of adding FiltoClear Pressure Filters to existing ponds; programming the Easy Garden Control Cloud-based control system and a workshop on Photographing Water Features by last year’s APC of the Year Shane Hemphill.

Frayne McAtee at the Connecting to Your Water Feature Station

With heads still buzzing with all they had seen and heard, attendees were treated to a surprise stop on the ride back to the hotel. The buses pulled up and then into the huge new 170,000 sq. ft. facility, where a champagne toast accompanied the reveal of the new building. What better place to announce the 2019 Atlantic Professional Contractors of the Year?

Jeff Weemhoff welcomes conference attendees to the NEW Atlantic-OASE headquarters

Congratulations to TRAVIS WHITAKER – APC OF THE YEAR! With strong business growth over the past 15 years combined with excellence and creativity in water feature construction and design, Travis and Shannon Whitaker and their team are at the top of their game. A key contractor in his market, Travis has landed multiple large, high profile projects, but has continued to be a team player, helping fellow contractors when called upon in the best spirit of caring and generosity.

Whitaker Waterscapes, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor of the Year recipients Travis & Shannon Whitaker

Atlantic created a whole new award for another standout member of the Community, Matt Boring! Matt earned the Presidential Award in recognition of his constructive and helpful attitude to all in the industry, as well as the excellence of his work. His positive outlook and advice on the APC Facebook page have greatly increased the value of the group for all, while his sharing of his body of work and innovative construction projects has inspired and promoted both the industry and Atlantic. Congratulations Matt!

Texas Ponds and Water Features, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Presidential Award recipients
Matt Boring and Carlos Ordaz

Finally, in recognition of his long-standing dedication to the Water Gardening Industry and his unique standing amongst (and usually a head above) his peers, Atlantic was proud to present the Monster Award to our beloved Lloyd Lightsey. Always there to lend a helping hand, always smiling, Lloyd has always loved to make all around him smile, but he and Karrie have also dedicated their time and energy (even his beard) to the very serious challenge of raising money for cancer research. Lloyd, our Pond Monster, we salute you and Karrie for your good works and your unique standing in the industry! The award, named The Monster Award, will be given out annually moving forward.     

The Pond Monster, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Monster Award recipients Lloyd & Karrie Lightsey

After the surprise visit to the new building concluded, we spent the final evening of our wonderful time together playing and partying at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland. We thank all our attendees for another rewarding and informative Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference, and look forward to seeing you next year!

Dinner and games at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland
Dinner and games at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland

Atlantic and OASE Expand Operations

Atlantic Water Gardens and OASE Living Water are pleased to announce an important milestone in the American water gardening market. Atlantic–OASE will be moving to a much larger location in Aurora, Ohio, seven miles from the current Atlantic headquarters in Mantua. The new 170,000 square foot warehouse provides the ample space needed for the production, storage, organization and shipping of all Atlantic and OASE products, from raw materials to finished goods, to the entire hemisphere.

Our new home!

State-of-the-art SAP integration and inventory tracking will help us improve efficiency and streamline operations, ensuring that goods, materials and products flow effortlessly to our customers. Atlantic and OASE expect to capitalize on the efficiency of having all brands in one warehouse, ready to produce, pack and ship worldwide. We’re also excited about the opportunity to implement up to date, cutting-edge infrastructure and technology right from the start, no retro fitting or compromising required. 

155,000 square foot warehouse.

Over 15,000 square feet of offices, conference rooms and storage spaces, along with showrooms for immediate hands-on access to all products, will optimize day-to-day business. Multiple media rooms and a lecture center will handle small and large group interactions, while a sound room and video studio will accommodate in-house advertising, marketing and video production.  

Aurora will also house the new Training Center, including a 3,750 square foot indoor area with 30-foot ceilings already affectionately nick-named the SandBox. Instructors and contractors will be able to build entire hardscapes, dig and install every type of water feature and demonstrate lighting techniques year-round, immediately adjacent to a fully equipped classroom. Outside, there are multiple berms and hollows perfect for outdoor features training, as well as a large patio for warm weather seating. 

Make sure you follow our social media for updates on our big move!

Bog Filtration Questions Answered

Duck Pond Bog Blog

We recently received two questions on a previous blog: BOG FILTRATION, THE PERFECT COMPLEMENT TO BIOLOGICAL FILTERS. The questions had similar answers so we are sharing them in a new blog. First question:

Have you had (or heard of) much success with using bog filters in small duck ponds? I like the idea of using both bio and bog (would help with the extra muck) but not sure if ducks would tear the bog filter’s plants up. Ideally I would set one up with 4-5 ducks in mind.

Location

Your choices will be determined by what grows best in your area. You will want to get an aggressive grower(s) in there to convert all that stuff into easy-to-prune leaves. You may need to cut the plant matter back hard, maybe more than once a year depending on your location. Figure on a complete removal with new plant material after 5 years. That will reinvigorate and refresh the appearance of the bog.

Because the roots of aggressive growers can sometimes penetrate liner, I’d cover the excavation with underlayment, set the liner then cover that with another layer of underlayment.

Bog Size

You will want a bog that’s at least 30% of the square footage of the water’s surface. That may sound excessive, but 30% is what you need for koi, and ducks are messier. Don’t hesitate to go bigger if you can. For easy maintenance, I keep my bogs shallow, but you’ll need some depth to resist the ducks. I’d probably use 8” of ¾” round gravel, which is the least costly where I live. Make sure water passes through the bed, whatever choice you make.

One last design detail that might help if you can implement it. To start the bog, I’ll set (or bury, if the bog is cut into a natural slope) a line of Eco-blox water matrix blocks 6-12” higher than water level at the head of the bog. The Eco-blox act as a settling chamber. Water entering the blocks from one side dumps all its heavy solids before passing out the top of the blocks through a layer of gravel. The water then works its way through the 8” deep gravel bed where roots remove nutrients every inch of the way back to the pond. A drain on the opposite side of the Eco-blox chamber can be opened to flush out the debris every year or two. See above drawing

The Aviary

Finally, the perimeter bog is keeping the pond in the Butterfly House crystal clear, even after 1 year with no additional filtration. Bbutterflies are easy. The photos of the pond in the Aviary, with the same system, has had issues with the ducks, geese and swans, that trifecta of vicious veggievores, devouring 80% of the bog plants.

The good news is, they only obliterated 8 of the 10 species planted. The other two, a dwarf variegated Schefflera-looking shrub and the native Purple Wandering Jew, Tradescantia pallida, are doing a pretty good job. See the rock 3’ down in the pale green water? Not bad considering there are 200 birds in there.

Consult the “Black List” of banned plants in your state before you decide on the plantings. I entered “blacklisted aquatic plants official NY” and Google returned the list for my state. Then compare that to a search for ‘Plants That Ducks Don’t Eat’ for your state. Good Luck with your duck pond!

Second Question

Hello Demi, thank you for your suggestion and answering back so quickly. Yes, Im certainly going to use 45ml epdm rubber liner. ( That was a typo). I think I got the concept. All though my existing pond had a high 3′ waterfall w/no stream.. Reading your instructions I will incorporate a stream leading into the pond. Would I still install a deep and wide stream bed with 3-5 inches of gravel in the stream or on top of the Eco-blox? (A little confused) My pump is plumbed with a 2″ Sch40 flex pipe.

So would I install a “T” at the pump with the same 2″ flex pipe but one leading up to the bio-falls filter and the other leading (connecting) to the eco-box? Once the 2″ flex pipe is connected to the inlet of the eco-box does water fill the box and passes through the rock, gravel and aquatic plants and then down into the stream? Does the Waterfall filter come out somewhere else into the stream? I get the drawing and the concept but not sure about the waterfall filter? I would still have spring flo media and filter-mat in the waterfall filter but no filter-mat in the skimmer. Correct?

Thought if you can be so kind is to draw another picture with the waterfall and bio-bog. Thanks for giving me such great advise. Can’t wait to get the pond rebuilt. But this time with a better out come. You really made some good points.

Perimeter Bog with Eco-Blox Settling Chamber

Hi again! This response required a sketch, which I’m bad at, so it took longer to reply than just text would have. To answer your questions in order: If you have the biofilter at the edge of the pond with the water flowing down a 3’ waterfall directly in front of it, keep it that way. Put the bog somewhere else along the perimeter, anywhere lush plantings will be appreciated and you can easily get to for pruning. The reason I included a stream is because I thought you had one.

Perimeter Bog

A perimeter bog like the one sketched can be placed anywhere, at any distance from the pond including right next to it, as pictured. It can also sit as high or low as you like, as long as water pumped into it will flow back into the pond. The sketch shows water flowing over the rock, but it could just as well flow around it. The bog works equally well whether you see the water coming back in as a little waterfall, or water seeps back in invisibly.

You won’t need the mat in the Skimmer because you will have effectively doubled your filtration and increased your ammonia and nitrate removal capacity. Don’t forget to add a valve to control the water going in to the bog. Don’t worry about a valve on the biofilter side. Because the bog is so much lower, the water will all go towards that lowest path of least resistance. Shutting the valve to the bog to about ¾ closed will direct a quarter of the volume into the bog, and shunt the rest of the water up to the filter.

AWG University

For more detailed information about bogs in general, check out Atlantic Water Gardens University, Natural Filtration 301: https://www.atlanticwatergardens.com/university/courses/natural-filtration-301