Sawyer Waterscaping

Did Someone ask if we did Rock Retaining Walls?

Retaining-Walls

Yes, We Do!

With water features being our specialty, prescription we have the proper equipment that is needed for hauling, site moving, and hoisting large boulders. Which gives us the great opportunity to offer natural and extremely solid retaining walls that will last. We also have the unique ability to incorporate water into the retaining wall, which makes for an amazing natural look. Check out the images and video below to see some examples of our work with retaining walls.

If interested, please contact us for a free estimate.

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The Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Pond-less Waterfall!

TOP-5-Pondless_Waterfall

Pond-less waterfalls are simply a re-circulating waterfall/stream without the presence of a pond.  You get a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of running water without the maintenance of a pond.  Pond-less water features are becoming a more common choice among water feature enthusiasts because they are safer, they cost less, they fit into smaller space and they are easy to maintain.  An ideal option for families with small children, you can add the sights and sounds of a natural waterfall without the safety concerns. Waterfalls also take up less space and can be tucked into any corner of a landscape and are an ideal option for adding curb appeal near the front door.

pond-less diagramBefore we get into the top 5 reasons why everyone needs a Pond-less Waterfall, let’s explain how it works. It might be difficult to imagine a waterfall and stream without a pond. Where does the water go? A pond-less waterfall works much like a regular pond. The reservoir is dug and then lined with underlayment and EPDM liner. A vault (holds the pump) is placed at the bottom near an edge. It is surrounded by perforated piping and then covered in cobblestone, river rock and filled with water. The water is then circulated from beneath the rocks and gravel by a submersible pump that sits on the bottom of the vault.  The pipe runs from the vault to the top of the waterfall where it flows into a spillway. The spillway collects and distributes the water into an overflowing waterfall. The waterfall flows back down to the reservoir. Since the water level never pools above the level of rocks, it looks as if the water has disappeared.

1. Much Safer than a Pond

Safety concerns are limited because there is no pool of water.  This is what makes pond-less waterfalls such an appealing option for families with little ones.  As a father of three, having the kids play in our pond-less waterfall is a lot less worrisome compared to them playing near our pond. A pond-less waterfall is a great option if you are concerned about safety issues associated with a traditional pond.  Putting a pond in your front yard can also be a bit worrisome when it comes to neighborhood kids and so forth.  A pond-less removes that worry.

2. Fit into Small Spaces

Pond-less waterfalls can make that small weed patch in the corner of your yard come to life or they can flow and twist around your entire backyard. Space is not an object when it comes to imagining a pond-less water feature in your backyard.  Unlike the traditional pond, typically much more space is needed. Pond-less waterfalls can fit into very small spaces.

3. Cost less than a Pond

Cost can be a big factor when considering the type of water feature you want. In most cases, the price of a pond-less waterfall will be less than a pond because there is less labor involved, as well as less rock and materials. Operating costs are less too, because you are not dealing with a balanced ecosystem. You do not need to use as many pond products or run the pond 24 hours/7 days a week.

4. Low-Maintenance

Do you know the best part of a pond-less waterfall? Yep, you guessed it… the maintenance is super easy. Since there is no aquatic life, it’s okay to be more aggressive in treating it with the proper algaecides when necessary. Since the water in the reservoir is hidden from the sun, there is also less evaporation. Pond-less waterfalls are typically installed with an automatic fill. Since the reservoir is hidden from view, it is hard to know when to add water.  An auto-fill acts much like a toilet float; when the water level is low, it adds the necessary water. The water source can come from your spigot or your existing irrigation system. Once an auto-fill is installed, you can simply sit back and enjoy.

5. Serenity and Relaxation

There is just something special about the sounds of a babbling brook.  Moving water is just so tranquil and relaxing.

“Running water is one of the universal parables, appealing to something primitive and ineradicable in human nature.  Day and night it preaches – sermons without words.”

-Torrey Bradford, The Clerk of the Woods

The pond-less waterfall has made many water enthusiasts who were previously unable to enjoy the sights and sounds of a flowing waterfall, very happy. It’s a great alternative for those who are trying to get their feet wet, or looking to fit a little bit of paradise into their own backyard. When all else fails…go pond-less!

Barnes Residence (FountainFalls)

This 2014 project consists of a FountainFalls Water Feature and a small area of xeriscaping.  Sod was first removed because of poor drainage. We then edged the area and excavated for the small pond-less water feature.  FountainFalls are small water features that we came up with around 2005. They are great in flat, small areas. […]

Creel Residence (Pond-less)

We had a blank canvas with the Creel’s backyard.  They wanted their patio larger while enjoying the peaceful sounds of a small water feature.  In addition, we essentially landscaped their entire backyard..with the excellent work of Danny and his crew from Green Lawn Care, who completed the irrigation lines and the sod. The biggest challenge […]

Crock Residence (Pond-less)

Constructed in 2014, the Crock’s Pond-less Waterfall consists of a 12′ stream and waterfall.  The original design had the waterfall lower in the yard.  So when it was moved up on the higher side, we left the large flagstone steppers essentially in the same location.  By moving the waterfall up, it made it much more […]

Joannides Residence (Pond-less)

The Joannides Pond-less Waterfall was built in the Spring of 2014.  It consists of over a 50′ stream that twists and turns through large moss boulders as it drops more the 15 vertical feet.  The use of over 30 tons of boulders and buff flagstone treads, allows this natural water feature to blend right into the […]

Kincheloe Pond-less & Flagstone Patio

 

Mossey Residence (Pond-less)

Constructed in the Spring of 2016, this backyard hangout has a little bit of everything! Here is the quick list: Water Feature 45’ long stream (2) 26” wide waterfall spillways 15’ x 65’ of liner & underlayment 2300 Pond Vault (2) PAF 75’s – 6,000 GPH (1 year warranty) 50’ roll of 3” flexible PVC […]

Terfehr Pondless (2014)

The Terfehr Pondless waterfall was installed in August 2014. 25’ long stream 26” wide waterfall spillway 15’ x 50’ of liner Mini Pond Vault PAF 75 – 5950 GPH (2 year warranty) TCA20 Check Valve Assembly FP20 – 40’ roll of 2” flexible PVC pipe 18 ton of Moss Boulders 5 ton of Cobble 5 ton […]

What is the Big Deal about a Pond Anyway?

 Pond-image

People love water gardens because they are so soothing, tranquil, and a haven of rest.  In a day and age where you are constantly bothered with computers, cell phones, and electronic devices, it’s very soothing to have a place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

“I enjoy its beauty and tranquility.  It brings a peaceful experience to backyard living.  Our grandchildren love to play in it.  We love the waterfalls and watching the fish play. “

–Kit Long, Cheyenne, WY

Yes, water gardening is a very hot trend right now. It’s so hot that a poll taken by USA Today (July 11, 2013) reported that water features were the number one thing that homeowners wanted to add to their property within the next year.  And, as you can guess, its popularity has only been increasing.

“We enjoy the soothing sound of the water flowing over the rocks.  It’s like a symphony of nature with parts of the waterfall rushing along.”

 –Vicki Million Hughes, Cheyenne, WY

How hard is it to clean and maintain?

Water gardens are clean and very low maintenance.  You can maintain one in as little as 15 minutes once a month.  You don’t even have to feed the fish.  Mother Nature takes care of everything.

“Besides pulling some string algae out in early summer and emptying the skimmer net, there isn’t much to do to maintain these natural balanced ecosystems.”

Greg Robinson, Fort Collins, CO

It all revolves around the filtration system. It starts with the biological filter & Mechanical filter.  The nice thing about this system is that these are completely hidden from view.  The diagram below will give you an idea of how this systems works.

Pond_Diagram

Seasonal maintenance includes Winterizating and Spring Cleanouts.  All ponds in our region need winter preparation.  Debris cleanup from the fall may be inevitable, and should be done after the trees have ceased dropping their leaves in the late fall.  Aquatic plants can be trimmed, and pumps should be removed and placed in a bucket of water.  We use an aerator to provide oxygen for aquatic life. The aerator will also leave an opening in the ice to allow for ammonia and nitrogen to escape, preventing the death of fish. Proper winterizing makes for a much easier and smoother spring cleanout.

We suggest the cleaning out of a pond every spring.  Replenishing the water in a pond is much the same as the normal flushing action that lakes fed by streams and rivers experience during heavy spring run-off.  Spring algae blooms occur because of excess amounts of nutrients and lack of beneficial bacteria.  By performing a cleanout, you’ll replace the nutrient-rich water with clean water that is ready for bacteria to colonize.

The good news is that we offer a winterizing and spring cleanout service, so those who don’t have time or don’t feel like getting wet and messy have the opportunity to let us take care of it.

We’re in a Drought, Can I still have a Pond?

Ponds recirculate water and when compared to the amount used for watering grass, there is no comparison. Take a look at this example below:

First, we must make some assumptions related to pond size, irrigation efficiency, evaporation rates, etc. For the purpose of this example we are using an average 11 ft x 16 ft pond with a 10 ft long stream, an evaporation rate of 1/4” per day, and 50 percent irrigation efficiency (it will take 1” of watering to cover the lawn with 1/2”). When a pond is installed much more turf is removed than just the 11 x 16 pond area. Most homeowners will include a large berm as well as multiple new planting areas which can be drip irrigated much more efficiently than turf. We are assuming the total sod removed will be 3 times the pond area and the pond surface will take up 75% of the 11 x 16 footprint.

Pondvsgrass

As with any example, your results may vary. This example clearly shows that replacing part of your lawn with a pond will increase water conservation. One homeowner reported a 78% decrease in overall water usage after adding a new pond this past summer.

What do Ponds provide for the Environment?

Backyard water features are not only enjoyable for us, but also necessary for the well being and functioning of our environment.  One pond in one backyard may not seem very important, but when you have a thousand similar backyard ecosystems functioning simultaneously, there’s truly a positive impact being made on the environment.  Large amounts of habitat are restored for frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, all of whose numbers have been declining sharply for many years now.  Birds have also been driven from many of their natural wetland habitats, which they need so desperately to survive.  So at a grassroots level, as the pond industry grows, there are additional habitats and diversity being added to our stressed suburban environments.

An ecosystem encompasses all the parts of the environment, including the living (biotic) plants and animals, and the non-living (a-biotic) components, such as water, air, and the sun’s energy.  Ponds are ecosystems, in that they play host to a total interrelationship of all organisms in the environment. Thus, ponds not only create a natural ecosystem in their defined environment, but they also fit into the community or life cycle of not just one homeowner’s back yard, but of the entire ecological region.

An ecological region is made up of thousands of elements, water being the most basic of these.  Each pond is a piece of this puzzle.  As wild habitats are depleted due to commercial development and other factors, these pieces are eliminated.  This is why it is so important to restore and preserve as many of these as possible.  A backyard pond restores one of these pieces back to an ecosystem.  So don’t just see a pond as an independent, unrelated element.  See it instead, as part of the “big picture,” the regional environment.

What happens to the fish in the winter?

As long as the fish are provided with oxygen they will be fine.  They basically hibernate like a bear and stay dormant all winter long.  The three things you must do are:

  1. Provide oxygen (aerator.)
  2. Keep an opening in the ice, which the aerator does (allows harmful gases to escape.)
  3. Do not feed them when the temperature of the water drops below 50 degree.

 

Check out some of our pond projects below:

Long Pond Rebuild (2015 – Cheyenne, WY)