A-O Pro Tip – Leveling & Placing Control Stones with Art of the Yard

It’s Tip Tuesday again and we’re coming to you with another A-O Pro Tip! For the 5th A-O Pro Tip in our Learn From The A-O Pro’s series, Shane Hemphill, owner of Art of the Yard, gives us some tips on leveling and placing control stones for your waterfall!

Waterfall control stone in use after leveling and placing control stones

This tip comes from the build in the Sandbox at Atlantic-OASE’s headquarters in Aurora, Ohio. Contractors from Art of the YardAlpine Custom Hardscapes and Demi Fortuna, from his own company, August Moon Designs, came to Ohio to dig in the dirt to kick off the start of this new series. After the 5-day building palooza, they created 3 incredible water features including a pond and waterfall feature with a custom copper bowl fire feature, a pond-free waterfall and a formal fountain hardscape.

A-O Pro Tip #5 – Leveling & Placing Control Stones with Art of the Yard

In this 5th A-O Pro Tip, Shane Hemphill shows us how his team at Art of the Yard places their control stones and waterfall stones to help guide the water over the stones to create a great waterfall!

Watch the A-O Pro Tip here!

Shane explains how they make sure their waterfall stones level on all sides to give a good push off of the rock. They then foam in their control stones so that it pushes all of the water over the desired falls to create beautiful waterfalls!

Want to be featured in the next A-O Pro Tip Video?

Do you have some unique and help tips and tricks on installing water features? We’re looking for the next A-O Pro to be featured in our video series and we want to visit you! Tell us what upcoming water feature builds you have planned and what A-O Pro tips you have for us and we’ll send someone from the Atlantic-OASE team out to video you and your work!

Contact your Regional Sales Manager to learn more on the A-O Pro Series. Not sure who your Regional Sales Manager is? Contact us at marketing@atlantic-oase.com

Stay tuned for more A-O Pro Tips here on the blog and don’t forget to follow us on Instagramand subscribe to our YouTube so you don’t miss out on all the Learn From The A-O Pro’s videos!


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Tools That Don’t Suck: Kneeling Pad

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty and sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that makes the job faster, easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time and effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

After years of kneeling there are certain accessories we don’t even think about working without. We take them for granted, but maybe they actually rise to level of a TTDS (Tools That Don’t Suck). For example, these photos show the pocket I’m in – sharp rock, no flat spots, all points and ridges. I’m working down the wall and across the bottom, attaching liner to rock. There’s no way to avoid kneeling, and your knees wouldn’t last a minute unprotected. The solution that we found our way to, maybe you did too? Is double knee pants and kneeling pads.

We like pads with yellow stripes on the back, look for a “23-in x 11.5-in Foam Kneeling Pad”, for just twelve bucks. You can find all kinds and brands of foam kneeling pads out there but if you want to find one easily Lowe’s sells them here. These pads get a workout. Constantly underfoot, so to speak, they get stomped and rolled over by every tool and fool on the property. They hold up to a surprising amount of abuse before they tear, and we keep using the pieces until they shred.

Now sure, I have worn about six different kindsa strap-on knee pads, with long pants and shorts, in winter and summer, and always had trouble with either slippage or irritation to the back of the knee. This makes perfect sense. Either they’re loose enough to be comfortable and they slip, or they’re tight and they rub. Not any more. These days I wear Craftsman double knee cotton duck pants and throw a pad or two down. I know, sounds sweaty, but I’m actually comfortable in 80-degree weather (with a breeze), unless they get wet.

So, I want to hear what you use to kneel on sharp rock. Are you a kneeling pad fan, or do you prefer traditional kneepads with straps? Sound off below in the comments!


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.

Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor Spotlight – Jason & Tony Lenox

Join us in recognizing an Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) pair of brothers for another spotlight section!

Jason Lenox and Tony Lenox, Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Illinois 

Where are you from: Jason was born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and is now residing in Dundee, Illinois. Tony was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and is now residing in South Elgin, Illinois. Ponds Inc. of Illinois is based in Gilberts, Illinois currently.

How long you’ve been working in the industry: I’ve been working in the landscaping industry for 30 years. We’re proud to be two time POND Trade Magazine Water Artisans of the Year Award Winners. 

What you love about what you do: My Brother and I love helping others while helping ourselves through our artistry and passion of creating truly enjoyable outdoor spaces that soothe your soul allowing smiles to flow like the waterfalls we create!

Favorite Atlantic-OASE product: There are so many incredible products to choose from especially with the Atlantic Water Gardens products combined with the OASE North America products! 

I guess I would have to say must have favorite or a useful product for maintaining and servicing water features is: PondVac 5 it’s a very useful tool for us!

For creating incredible elements to any water feature design: the FastFalls Series is also impressive!

One of your favorite projects you’ve done: Key West, Florida was definitely a beautiful place for my Brother and I to build an incredible all Atlantic-OASE product water feature! What’s even more exciting about it is that we were able to build together with the #CrazyHappyIrishPondBuilder known as Gerard Touhey of WaterFeaturesbyGerard.com! How can building a large scale PondFree water feature in paradise with our great friend Gerard Touhey not be a favorite project? Even Lloyd Lightsey, ThePondMonster.com from Florida came down to participate in our shenanigans!

Gerard Touhey, Water Features by Gerard

New projects I’m working on: Ponds Inc. is currently designing a large water wall waterfalls feature in downtown Chicago working with David Montoya of StoneMakers.net utilizing incredible artificial rock work combined with Atlantic-OASE products to create a truly magnificent outdoor dining space at a well known Chicago restaurant! Stay tuned! 

Anything else you’d like to share with your fellow APC’s: Number one, the most important advice I can offer is to get your company’s website listed with the Team at www.p-o-n-d.services so you’re found on page one of search engines like Google! Encourage your distributors, retailers, landscapers and manufacturers to get connected also! The more our industry gets connected, the more beneficial it is to us all!

My next best advice is to learn and soak up as much as you can from other pond contractors throughout our industry. We all can always learn from each other through networking! This includes attending industry events and landscape shows. Get to know others who you can help which in turn helps you all to succeed in this industry that we all love!

Lastly, help each other out by participating in social media by sharing, watching, liking, subscribing and commenting on each others content from Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Houzz, Pinterest, Tik Tok, Twitter and Snap Chat! Give Google reviews, Facebook reviews and reviews on Houzz etc! Help each other succeed and others will help you succeed!

See more of the Lenox brothers on all of their social media! Facebook Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Twitter @PondsInc4you, Houzz Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Pinterest Ponds Inc. of Illinois and Hometalk Ponds Inc. of Illinois, Jason Lenox.


About the Author:

Caitlyn Winkle

After graduating from the University of Akron, Caitlyn joined Atlantic-OASE in the fall of 2019. Caitlyn manages the social media and online content for the company. She also supports the Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor (APC) Program and Marketing Departments in creating marketing and advertising strategies and plans.

Tools That Don’t Suck – The Perfect Hat

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty, sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls, but we also value anything that helps make the work easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

You Can Leave Your Hat On…

I certainly hope that phrase evokes a pleasant visual for all of you out there. It certainly does for me. The first time I saw it I thought, nice – wow that looks good…. The second time I thought it looked even better. The third time I really wanted to get up close and personal. I just had to.

So I asked my buddies about the Hat. You’ve probably seen somebody wearing it. You may know the one – looks like a solid suede brim, with a vented crown, jaunty little leather braid and a chinstrap. Sharp looking hat. But the Kakdu Soaka hat isn’t suede at all, it’s made of an absorbent microfiber. Just dunk it, shake it off and wear it. Water trapped in the microfiber slowly evaporates as air circulates through the vented crown, lowering the temperature of both the hat and the head under it. Sort of a wearable swamp cooler.

Kakadu Soaka Breeze

Lloyd Lightsey of The Pond Monster

Down in sunny Lake Wales my buddy Lloyd swears by his fully vented Soaka Breeze. He says it keeps him going when the temps soar into the 90’s. Another buddy, Sean, up Boston way, thinks so highly of the hat he mail-ordered a bunch of them when they were hard to get a couple of years ago. Nobody had them in stock for quite a while, so he’d order them from another company just to find out they were backordered there too, and so on. Waited almost a year, then everybody shipped at once. Now he’s got’em in every color. Wears’em constantly.

The Kakadu Soaka Breeze is just one of twenty plus styles of Soaka hats, some with more venting, some with solid microfiber crowns, but all share the same cool feature. The one I got the best picture of was Sean’s, a relatively fresh one that hadn’t yet really broken in. (Lloyd’s, on the other hand, was a little too, ah, personalized by wear, shall we say? for close inspection.) I got mine direct from Kakadu’s Washington State distribution center by mail order, but you can find them in plenty of other places too. If you work outside where your brain boils in the sun (and who doesn’t?), these hats are really worth trying. And at around $40 most places, you can cool the burn without frying your wallet.