Project Spotlight : “The Blend”: A Fishless Pond and Retaining Wall

This project featured beautiful hardscaping and a several tiered waterfall at house in Kinnelon, New Jersey. The front door entry way of this home is extremely unique in that a bridge travels over a fishless pond that appears like a moat in the front yard. Windows with small balconies open up to view the front yard water feature. The customer’s request for this project was to integrate the pre-existing trees into the pond design, incorporate relaxing sounds of running water and keep the pond water clear. In addition, the customer wished to have a waterfall view from multiple angles of the home. Therefore, due to the specifics of this design, Tim Bock, pond construction manager and Judd Mandell, landscape construction manager, collaborated heavily on this project and used a digital software to draft the design and layout for this project.

The main focus of this project was utilizing the hardscaping in order to blend the formal elements of the home’s exterior while working in natural elements that a pond and water feature could provide.  One of the design elements of the home that contributes to its elegance is the detail of the iron railings used on the bridge and balconies. Our team considers these details when designing a landscape and here we focused on the hardscapes as a way to fuse both the formal and the natural style of the space. The retaining wall was built using a natural stone veneer with sporadic boulders as well as irregular flagstone coping. We wanted to be sure the hardscaping work complemented the natural water feature therefore the same boulders that were used in the waterfall were also incorporated in the retaining wall.


The client’s number one request was to make this landscape something they could enjoy from multiple angles. So, every spot we could find to put water, we added water. Although each view from the home allows access to a waterfall view, each viewpoint provides a slightly different experience. The view from the bridge highlights the backside stream while the view from the balcony windows highlights the entire pond and double waterfall feature. The view from the driveway and garages offers an entirely different perspective highlighting the pre-existing trees as well as the front side stream.  Large boulders were used throughout in order to channel the water in-between and create multiple spills connecting both the front side and back side streams. We used the natural elevation of the property to embed streams focusing on the different sounds it would create. The running water highlighted in this feature immediately instills a calming essence to the home giving it a true feeling of retreat.

In order to construct the water features we needed to fiberglass the inside of the pond especially since it is adjacent to the home. We painted the pond with a UV resistant gel coat and connected the new water feature with the pre-existing plumbing and filtration systems.

When filling this fishless pond, the customer requested we use chlorine to ensure no algae would grow so a clean finished look would be maintained at all times.

To finalize the space, grasses, shrubs, perennials, and trees were carefully located to soften rock work and to beautify the surrounding water feature. LED lights were also installed to illuminate spills, rock work and streams so the feature could be enjoyed in the evenings as well.

This project not only blends the natural elements of the environment with the formal entrance of the home, but it also blends the exterior with the interior as the homeowner can enjoy the experience of this water feature throughout the home.

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