A Checklist for Hiring a Pond Installer or Landscaping Contractor
So You’ve Decided To Take the Plunge
You've thought it over. You've visualized it. Now you have decided: you want to improve your outdoor space by installing a water feature. You may or may not have decided what type of water feature you want, but there are still some general guidelines to follow in order to ensure your water feature installation is a success. There are basically 2 options for creating your dream backyard or outdoor space: hiring a professional contractor or doing it yourself ("DIY"). Here are some tips as well as pros and cons for both options.
Option #1: Go with a Pro
Going with a professional pond contractor for your installation may mean you don't have to do any of the physical work yourself, but you should be prepared to put forth some effort when it comes to choosing the right pond or water feature professional for your project. A few things to note during this process:
- Is the contractor licensed and insured? No matter what type of water feature you choose, there will be digging, heavy equipment and/or unfamiliar people on your property. All of these things mean there is always potential for something to go wrong or be damaged. While experienced contractors may take every precaution to ensure bad things don't happen, there is no guarantee. Accidents happen. You want to make sure that whoever you hire is properly licensed and insured in case they do.
- What is their experience? How many years have they been in business? Do they have a project portfolio you can look at? Do you like their designs? Are there customer reviews you can read? These are just some of the questions you should be asking. Constructing a pond or water feature is both a science and an art. A good pond installer must be knowledgeable of the science, but do you find their designs appealing? Just like two people may disagree on what piece of art they find appealing, two people may disagree on what water feature design is appealing.
- What is your budget? Make no mistake: hiring a seasoned professional pond installer will require a significant investment. Simply choosing the lowest bidder is not the best way to go about making your decision. Most experienced pond contractors start at around $3,000 even for the smallest water features. Simply put: you get what you pay for. The larger the water feature and higher quality the work is, the more you pay up front. Poor quality workmanship can even end up costing you more in the long run when you have to fix shoddy work in the future!
- Job done right
- No work for you
- Licensed & Insured
- Higher Cost
- All Contractors NOT Created Equal
We at American Aquascapes in Graham, NC, are proud to be Certified Aquascape Contractors ("CAC") supported by Aquascape, Inc. This means that we have been through a rigorous application process that includes references, completed pond project portfolios and general questions about our water gardening philosophy. Once the application process is completed, all CAC's must complete comprehensive training programs and have their work approved by Aquascape, Inc. All CAC's are also expected to complete continuing education as well as provide excellent customer service. Aquascape, Inc., also provides continuing support to CAC's, giving our customers the benefit of a large national network of pond contractors ready to assist other CAC's in any way possible. Follow this link to locate your nearest Certified Aquascape Contractor.
Option #2: DIY - Do It YourselfSo you're the type of person with a "can-do" attitude and want to tackle the pond build yourself? If you are willing to put in some time and hard work, building your own pond is a rewarding project to undertake. If you are here reading this then you are already "testing the waters" of becoming a water feature owner. Here are a few things to think about:
- What type of water feature do you want and where do you want it? There are 4 basic types of water features: ecosystem pond, pondless waterfall, fountainscape and container water garden a.k.a. "patio pond". The type of water feature you want and your desired location for it need to be considered in conjunction with each other. In general, ecosystem ponds and pondless waterfalls will require more space than a fountainscape or patio pond. Make sure you consider things like water runoff and easy visibility. You don't want a pond that is in a low spot or place where it's out of sight.
- Do you have the resources to take the project on yourself? Building a water feature requires tools, skills and labor. If you are building an ecosystem pond or pondless waterfall, digging will be required. Make sure to call a utility location service (e.g. "Dial 811") before you start digging so you don't accidentally damage power, water or other buried utility lines. Power needs to be accessible to your water feature's location to run your pump and/or lights. It is also a common mistake for DIY-ers to underestimate the amount of labor involved. It is not unheard of for us to receive a call from someone wanting our help in completing a partially built pond because the owner underestimated the amount of work involved! If you want to use larger rocks or boulders in your pond build, make sure you will be able to move and properly place them around your water feature. Some plumbing will be needed to install the pump and filtration system, so keep that in mind as well.
- What type of equipment do you need? There is a wide variety of pumps, skimmers, Biofalls, etc. to choose from when building a water feature. This equipment can be bought individually or as kits. American Aquascapes carries kits for ecosystem ponds, pondless waterfalls, fountainscapes and patio ponds. In our nearly 20 years of pond building we have found Aquascape, Inc.'s, pond products to be superior to the competition. Many of our customers come to us because their poor quality and cheap equipment has failed them and they need help replacing one thing or another. The dollars they saved initially are spent fixing problems later, often costing significantly more than buying quality products the first time around!
- Lower Financial Cost
- No Searching for Reliable Contractor
- Work Around Your Own Schedule
- Pond Building Is Hard Work!
- Possible Lack of Necessary Resources
- Something Could Go Wrong!
Whether you choose to hire a contractor or do it yourself, American Aquascapes is here to help! For some more helpful tips on building a water feature, read Aquascape, Inc.'s, "Common Pond Building Blunders". Use the contact form on this page or give us a call at (336) 578-6123 if you want to add beauty to your outdoor living space! We service the central North Carolina area:Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Greensboro, High Point, Burlington, Graham, Mebane, Hillsborough and more!