water garden pond builders

For a long time now I’ve been a fan of checking out different koi ponds, water gardens, waterfalls, and just about any other type of water shape. I love seeing the many different interpretations of how a pond is built, decorated, filtered, stocked, and managed. I consider myself pretty fortunate to have a job that allows me to do that on pretty much an everyday basis. I might even take it too far because most of the time even my time “off” is centered around being by water in some way or another, and I always find myself seeking out water shapes in the most unusual of places and times. Now with social media I can literally sit at my desk and check out other pond professionals and hobbyists creations from around the world. Now that is convenient, especially when compared to more “difficult days” when I had to fly, drive, or as a kid walk my way into the pursuit of all things aquatic.
Yes, social media has brought me to new places and allowed me to “meet” new people I would never have possibly had the opportunity or pleasure to have met and shared this passion with. I am always following somebody’s project out there in the world and love being able to see how it’s done round the world. So take a trip with me now and check out some of the projects that I have been watching from my desk right here in New Jersey, USA. Let’s take a step up to this shining ball of blue we call our home, give it a spin, and see where it takes us, yes? Yes. Spin baby….
Ok, first stop Malaysia! Nice!!
Located in East and Southeast Asia Malaysia; a multi lingual, multi cultural country of 28 million plus people. Malaysia boasts some of the highest levels of biodiversity on our planet. A tropical and beautiful country, that I’ve never been to, but is deeply involved with pond keeping and water gardening. Here is where we run into Kelvin Koh. Kelvin is a professional pond builder that I have been following. I came across his work by chance and enjoyed checking out the various projects that Kelvin posts. Kelvin’s style is very tropical to my eyes and often times his ponds take a more formal shape than ponds I build. His filtration methods are different, but effective, which is evident by the big happy fish and clear water I have seen in his photos. The project I like the best is his “Home Sweet Home” project that features Kelvin’s personal ponds and water features on Kelvin Koh Facebook page. He has it all! Everything from a lotus pond to a goldfish pond, loaded with ornamental goldfish. Water features of overflowing pitchers and urns to small bubbling fountains. Of course, he has a really cool koi pond too, with a simple and elegant waterfall. This is all set in a great outdoor space you enter into through an awesome gate. His space has beautiful furniture and tropical landscaping mixed with some really nice rock work too. It’s a pleasure to look at, making me wish I could experience it in person for not only the sights but the sounds; it must look amazing at night too. See it for yourself at!/media/set/?set=a.108152975902097.5991.100001221865642&type=1
Kelvin is doing some really cool work there in Malaysia, but now it is time to step up to the globe again; it is looking dizzy with possibilities. Spin baby!
Next stop…Norway! Toto we’re not in the tropics any more! Norway, or actually The Kingdom of Norway, is in the more northern climes of Europe once populated by the famous Vikings. Norway has a population of almost 5 million and some of the most scenic coast lines on the planet. Land of the midnight sun, white nights, and cold temperatures for a good portion of the year. A seemingly unusual place to find koi pond builders but yet this is home to my friend Terje Normann, a passionate do-it-yourself pond builder.
Terje is not your everyday pond builder, and I say that because he actually has a full time job and his pond project is something that he designed and built himself in his free time; and it is an awesome pond! I followed Terje’s pond project from the beginning to completion. This project post is called “The pond 1, 2, and 3” on Terje Normann’s Facebook page, you can see it at!/media/set/?set=a.257830830908232.68116.100000439508311&type=3
This pond is just amazing and certainly rivals any professionally installed pond in everyway. The amazing detail and planning that went into this pond just shows through and through. I came across this project while it was in the excavation phase. I checked back from time to time and watched as the form came together, rebar went in, insulation installed, and concrete was poured and sealed. The filter system with multiple bottom drains, multiple return jets, overflow stand, ultraviolet filters, and a massive biological filter began taking shape. All this while Terje was fighting the elements and the forces of nature in the northern hemisphere. Terje patiently posted pictures of the entire process and still is one of my favorite projects I watched come into being. The final product that Terje created is a nice 10,000 gallon pond with great features. An outdoor covered patio area that overlooks the pond was part of the design giving great views and intimate access to the pond. Lighting was installed to extend the viewing hours. A big clear acrylic viewing widow was put in to give side views into the pond as well as a foot bridge crossing over the pond offering another viewing perspective. Large specimen boulders are “floating” on the pond as well as submerged, and the exterior perimeter of the pond is decorated with meticulous detail. Of course the pond is stocked with some very beautiful koi as well. Another pond I wish I could see in person and spend some time hanging out pond side.
Before I get too jealous let’s head back to the globe and watch as the ball revolves. Spin baby! Picture that bright blue ball just spinning spinning free!
Next stop. Just across the pond lands us in England! Smashing!
We land in the south of the country. Luckily one of the warmest areas of England; Bristol. This part of the world has known human habitation for about 60,000 years! Yet the professional pond builder we visit here is quite a bit younger. Bristol is the home to Yume Koi ( Yume Nishikigoi is owned by Mike and Elisa Snaden. Yume sells only very high quality koi from Japan. Yume has won many awards with their koi among them grand champion, baby champion, mature champion, young champion, and the list goes on. Mike also builds some very high end koi ponds. The latest project I was following is now completed and it is a beauty of a project. This project is called “Our new pond build – July 2011” on the Yume Koi Facebook page. See it here!/media/set/?set=a.2056430043897.2113450.1038974900&type=3
Mike, along with James Carter and Spence Britton, built a state of the art koi pond. The project took place over about 3 weeks and I watched it come together from excavation to completion. The pond came in at approximately 13ft X 24ft (7.3 meters by 4 meters) and when filled has a volume of 8500 gallons. Once excavated 3 bottom drains and other plumbing were installed, the concrete base was poured, and the walls were constructed from concrete block. While the heavy construction was going on the filter room and social room where the pond owners will enjoy some leisure time were also being worked on. Once the block construction was done the interior was rendered, liquid fiberglass was applied to the interior walls, then covered again with gel coating. The filter system is modern and state of the art. The pond is equipped with bakki showers, profidrum filters, skimming system, bottom drains, and precision pumping system. The system can even send a text alert to the owners to communicate how pond conditions are when they are not there!
The finished koi pond project featured a viewing glass installed on the side of the enclosed social area. The filter room is also enclosed and out of view with seamless returns from the filter system back to the pond. The entire project is enclosed and protected from outside elements; this offers year round enjoyment to the customer of Yume Koi. The social area will have couches and tables, cool interior lighting, and a direct side view and overview of this awesome pond. Yume Koi has created not just a state of the art koi pond but also an amazing area for their customers to enjoy for many years.
This pond project too goes on my list of ponds that I must visit in person someday, but until that time comes I will be staying here in New Jersey creating beautiful ponds for my clients and spinning that globe looking for the next best thing in the world of pond projects.
So, one last spin of the globe and we are back in New Jersey, USA. Thanks for taking the long strange trip with me, and I hope you enjoyed meeting some pond builders from around the globe. There are many talented builders out there and I plan on visiting them as well one of these days, and I hope you’ll join me again. Do you know of a project worth checking out? Tell me about it! Till then I will continue appreciating the many talents out there making our hobby and lifestyle what it is. Thanks for taking the ride! Thanks to these pond builders for the inspiration and sharing their work.
All copyrights to this material belong to Mike Gannon

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