Nothing is more elegant and peaceful than the sight and sound of falling water. Pittsburgh Stone and Waterscapes has been constructing waterfalls and ponds for over twenty years for residential clients. From large dumping backyard waterfalls, to simple bubbling urns, we understand every home has a use for a water feature. These can be found in front courtyards for curb appeal, to koi ponds for exotic fish enthusiasts, waterfalls that serpentine through landscape beds that you would see in nature, waterfalls dumping into pools for recreation or formal water features built from brick or concrete with simple fanning spillways. Our waterfall designers can create the perfect concept to satisfy our customers needs and bring a space to life with moving water.
Waterfalls & Pond Installation
Ponds & Waterscapes
Whoever thought that an outdoor paradise could be affordably established in your own yard? Everybody has that piece of land that is either unsightly, has poor drainage, or is just a pain to mow.
How nice would it be to be greeted at the end of a long day by the sound of a cascading waterscape with the beautiful appearance of multi-colored plants and active fish in your own yard?
No room for a pond? We have many design options for the sound or appearance of a cascading waterscape. These designs range in size from 4′ x 6′ to no set limit. They can also be constructed with a variety of products to best suit your needs and lifestyle.
Excavation figures 1 and 2 show the excavation of a typical waterscape. We excavate our water features by using a shelving method. Using this technique gives the homeowner many benefits:
– It gives the homeowner a sturdy foot hold anywhere in the pond while doing plant maintenance or otherwise.
– It allows room for plant pockets which give plants a natural appearance.
– Having shelves breaks up the elevation difference. This makes rock stacking to hide vertical walls minimal.
– Gives rocks a sturdy foundation to sit on without fear of movement.
We use a 45 mil EPDM rubber liner in all of our waterscapes. This material conforms perfectly to our excavated ponds, provides better durability than concrete (due to cracking), and is tested safe for fish and other aquatic wildlife.
The pond shelves vertical walls are a maximum of 8″ high. If the walls are too high, they become too difficult to cover. Rock stacking should be kept to a minimum to prevent movement. We use 6″ – 60″ boulders to cover the ponds vertical walls.
The pond’s shelves level surfaces are a minimum of 8″. This allows aquatic plants room to grow and also gives the pond a neat, clutter-free appearance. Those level surfaces are covered with 1″ river gravel, and some occasional random rocks.
The average pond depth must be at least 18″ in order to give fish a livable environment. If you’re more interested in having just a water garden, then you could get away with a 12″ depth.
We install all aquatic plants directly into the pond shelves by using plant pockets. These plant pockets are holes dug during excavation to give plant roots room to grow. The bare rooted plant is put into the pocket, buried into a little soil, and covered with pea gravel for a natural appearance.
Biological Filtration System
People are often hesitant to buy a waterscape due to the fact that they believe the maintenance is overwhelming. Most homemade ponds are usually full of leaves, twigs, and that smelly black muck. Pond owners are also bothered with a pump that sits on the bottom of their pond, and is constantly clogged with muck and debris. With the help of a few key components and a professional installation, your water feature will become virtually maintenance free.
Figure 3 shows a diagram of a fully functional biological filtration system factors to clear, healthy water; the mechanical skimmer, the biological filter, and 1″ river gravel that lines the stream and pond floor. The paragraphs below will take you through the process of filtration and explain what the components do.
The Mechanical Skimmer is found at the end of the pond, opposite of the waterfall. The water travels into the skimmer and any surface debris gets instantly caught in a mesh debris net. As the water continues, anything smaller such as dirt and sediment gets caught in the filter mat. behind both of these sits the pump, making debris clog up impossible. The pump then sends the filtered water through 2″ flexible piping to the filter.
The Biological Filter sits at the beginingg of the stream area. The filtered water enters through the bottom of the filter and begins rising to the top. As the water rises, it passes through two more filter mats collecting any sediment the skimmer may have missed. Next, the water travels through mesh bags of media rock before cascading out of the filter and entering the stream area.
River gravel, which lays on the bottom of the stream and pond area, is the home for colonies of beneficial bacteria. This bacteria breaks down and eliminates harmful toxins in the water that are visible – toxins such as ammonia, that is released from fish waste and dead plants, or other organisms. After the water travels through the stream and pond area, it is pulled back into the skimmer and repeats the cycle.
These are great for customers who do not want a pond… just a waterfall and stream.
– Perfect for public settings where child safety or the liabilities of a pond may be a concern
– Virtually maintenance free! Simply refill the reservoir every few weeks or add a water fill valve in the vault to compensate for water loss due to evaporation.
– Great alternative for a front yard pond
– No ecological need to run the system continuously
This alternative allows for the creation of a waterfall and stream without a pond. Instead, a basin is excavated, lined with an EPDM liner, and filled with layers of stone. Once the basin is filled with water, the water flows through the Module and is circulated by a pump that sits at the bottom of the vault. A notch at the top of the Vault accommodates the flexible PVC pipe that carries the water up to the bio-filter. The bio-filter then returns the water to the reservoir via a waterfall. Since the water level remains below the rock and gravel fill, it gives the appearance of a “pondless” waterfall and stream yet provides plenty of water to run the waterfalls!
There is no true certification offered in the waterscape industry, only certifications through manufacturers who will only certify you if you only install their product. References and visits to a contractor’s past projects are a must. Waterscape construction is one of the most tedious specialties of the landscape industry. Many projects operate flawlessly for periods of time, but due to harsh freeze thaw cycles in our region, your once backyard paradise can transform to a nightmare! Always speak with multiple past customers of the contractor, because if they don’t offer the right products or have the experience, you’ll be paying a qualified contractor to come and replace the project for a handsome fee.
Portfolio -View Some Of Our Completed Projects
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What Do Our Clients Have to Say? - THEY LOVE US & SO WILL YOU!
I have hired Pghsw to do multiple projects at two different homes we owned. Jeff and his team are great to work with, do high quality work at a fair price, and are true professionals! Jeff came up with great hard scape design that complemented our home and landscape! We absolutely love our patio! It still looks as beautiful as it did the day it was finished. I highly recommend this company! Thank you Jeff and Bob!
Excellent Quality Of Work!
I have hired Pittsburgh Stone & Waterscapes for multiple projects over the years. At the end of each project I could confidently say the quality of work I received exceeded the price I paid. In addition to the quality of work, this companies professionalism, responsibility and accountability was second to none. Jeff Blunkosky’s ability to develop recommendations and implement plans of action, allows for a seamless transition for completion of any project. Quite simply Jeff and his company provide service beyond any expectations. I would recommend Jeff and his company to anyone.
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“Throughout our 30 years of landscape service for the Greater Pittsburgh area, we have faced many challenges: from running a professional company, to staying on the cutting edge of the newest landscape trends, and most important of all, exceeding our customers’ expectations. Without our loyal customers, we would not survive as a landscape company.”
-Jeff Blunkosky Owner/President