When we originally built the waterfall and pond in our backyard almost ten years ago, little did my wife and I know how much we would come to enjoy it. The relaxing sounds of running water can be very soothing as it blocks out all surrounding neighbor noise, and the beauty of the fish swimming around can erase some of the strains of the day. However, each year we've watched the pond literally fall apart as the smaller rocks around the perimeter seemed to disappear into the pond, and the larger rocks imploded as the foam that held them in place aged and disintegrated. We've enjoyed it so much, we decided to start over and rebuild. However, this time we were a little more knowledgeable in approaching the process. We knew about the hassles of filter box cleaning & maintenance, the disadvantages of the skimmer type pump vs alternatives, and that while it may be cheaper to simply stack the rocks and use foam, it's not the same as a masonry setting of mortar. The first step was to distinguish between a landscaping company (LSC) that will build a waterfall and pond, vs. a company that only builds waterfalls and ponds. The setup we're replacing was built by a LSC, and while it was very nice on day one, it was held together by spray foam, the rocks were too small, and the top skimmer fed box created variety of issues including not being able to have smaller fish. We discussed the project with several LSC's, and after getting several quotes, we realized it appeared we were simply getting another version of what we already had, and most likely a repeat of the same exact problems. Then we had Steve from Aquatic Effects come out and offer a quote and opinion on how it could be improved upon. It immediately became apparent that Steve was literally an expert in the area of ponds, waterfalls, fish, and associated plants and landscaping of water features. What he outlined was not simply a liner and pond kit that many LSC utilize, but rather, a custom package that was extremely comprehensive and much in depth project than we originally anticipated. However, as we really thought it through the differences became crystal clear, from his knowledge of filtering systems for e-z once-a-week maintenance, to his understanding of the construction aspects, to the mortar setting of stones vs foam and stacking, the choice was obvious who we wanted to handle the undertaking. It started on Day 1 with setup, and removal of our fish from pond and the placement of them into tanks where they would reside throughout the several weeks of construction (happy to report all survived the ordeal). Next the dismantling of the current pond and waterfall with careful laying out of how all the large stones were positioned in another area of the yard. As they got done to the old liner and we could really see what was there, Steve discussed several options and recommendations as to how he thought it could even be enhanced to another level with some minor tweaks. We left it in his hands, as the ideas he shared sounded really interesting. Throughout the project, Steve and his team were professional, punctual, and most important of all, Steve really knew his stuff! As he changed the pitch of the waterfall levels, power-washed area's for aging visual, and chiseled rocks to alter the water flow to get the most dramatic effect, we could really see the artistic side of the pond building trade. It's way more then a liner, filter, and a few rocks. When the job was complete, my wife and I were blown away. It looks so natural and rustic you would think it's been there for years and was created by nature. The mortar setting it is so solid there's no doubt it will far more durable and will look almost the same tens years from now. The more attractive visual of plumbing all be embedded into mortar, out of site, and beautiful lighting making it dramatic in the evening. The new filtration makes maintenance nothing by comparison to what we used to do, and it so realistic it literally looks like something you might see at a zoo as a display with wild animals. We couldn't be happier, and the fish appear to feel the same way! Suggest anyone looking to either build a pond for the first time, or if you've become a pond lover and are rebuilding, contact Steve, and simply have him out to discuss your project. We're pretty confident you will see the same difference my wife and I did.