Despite tough economic times, some water garden enthusiasts are loathe to sacrifice their hobby.
“A pond is a tranquil place in your yard where you can rejuvenate and regenerate,” explained Allen Andersen, owner of The Pond Place. “You might cut back on things you don’t need, but for many people the value of a water garden is well worth the expense.”
More than ever, people are saving money by doing the work themselves – something Andersen believes is within the abilities of most homeowners. To this end, he offers a wealth of free advice to customers, which can range from water feature design to troubleshooting problems.
“We will talk you through the whole process from planning to construction to maintenance,” he noted.
For a fee, The Pond Place staff can go to a customer’s home to handle pond maintenance and cleaning, leak detection, troubleshooting, equipment update, or consultation on pond design.
The Pond Place staff also works with general contractors and landscapers. Anderson, who was previously a general contractor himself, recommends that homeowners select the mechanical components of the pond before requesting bids for a project.
“That way, once bids come in, you’re comparing apples to apples,” he said.
In addition to pond supplies, The Pond Place sells statuary and garden art and has recently expanded its inventory of water plants. Its selection of fish includes Japanese koi, domestic butterfly koi, turtles, and albino catfish.When Andersen opened The Pond Place in 2007, he wanted it to be a “destination,” rather than simply a pond supply shop. Behind the store are several display gardens with water features that range from compact raised fountains to elaborate stepped waterfalls that emulate a woodland stream.
Integrated into the gardens are features like decks, patios, garden art and seating areas. In this natural oasis, ginger and bird of paradise flourish, Koi fish flash under lily pads and turtles sun themselves on rocks. It’s a family-friendly area that encourages leisurely exploration and allows guests to gather ideas at their own pace.
A recent addition to The Pond Place is a selection of small pets including snakes, turtles, chameleons, and frogs. The staff can provide advice on selecting and caring for these animals.
Also new are free classes. Topics this spring and summer include Building Small Water Features and Starter Ponds, Creating and Growing Bonsai, General Pond Maintenance, Paver Installation, Waterfalls for Ponds, and How to Make Faux Rock. A full class listing is posted on its website, http://www.pondplaceslo.com. Although classes are free of charge, reservations are requested.