IMG_4738It’s Mother’s Day weekend and tomorrow I’m going to take the morning off and treat myself! Cup of coffee and a good book, sitting under my canopied gazebo and listening to the relaxing sound of water. That’s what my husband Ron gave me year’s ago as a Mother’s Day gift. Last year I got a 3 person swing with a canopy for shade that our 10 year old son Jason loves to share with mom. This is what we get to look at 8 months out of the year and it’s very therapeutic considering how busy life gets sometimes. Just a few minutes of fresh air enjoying the sound the water makes bubbling over the river rocks, plus there’s always some form of Mother Nature stopping by to visit (birds, butterflies, dragon flies and the occasional hummingbird) that the stress starts to fall off my shoulders for a little while.



small pondless and firepitI’m working on a number of design projects for busy homeowners looking for the same thing this spring. They have a boring backyard with grass (or weeds) and either a deck or concrete patio which has no appeal unless you are out there grilling or sitting on some furniture eating. With the warm weather arriving soon, many are considering the option of putting in a pool but it’s not easy justifying the cost of installation plus yearly cleaning and maintenance fees with the actual amount of time the pool will get used each season. New England weather can be so finicky. Also children don’t stay young forever and as they turn into teenagers and eventual move out, parents are left with an item they are no longer using but still have to upkeep. Several clients have removed the above ground pool and are looking for ideas other than trying to turn it back into lawn again which can be a challenge itself.


1One of my clients already has a large back deck and garden beds that they get plenty of use out of. But now that they are retired and spending more time outdoors, they are looking at other options or add-ons to their existing back yard. They were considering adding another planting bed above an existing retaining wall. After talking with them and asking a few questions about friends coming over, or what they do during during the day and evening with family I had a few ideas and suggestions. They did not think the space was really big enough for a pond (which the husband had thought about for years) or to enjoy a warm fire (which the wife liked) when the evenings get cooler but you don’t want to go indoors yet. They liked my ideas and were both getting excited about the potential project but still could not really envision the space.


detailed planviewAfter I took my photos and measurements, I went back to my office and designed a landscape plan for them to consider including the following:

1. Angle and placement of the waterfall for viewing

2. Where the stream would bubble over the river rocks and gravel, pool up (can dip your feet in when it’s hot) but then disappear and recirculate back up to the top of the waterfall



3.Access to power to run the pump and maybe an outdoor fan

4. Sitting area for either 2 or more if company comes over

5. Shade the sitting area during the day with either a flowering tree (Kousa Dogwood in this case) or can place an umbrella or Glider/ swing with canopy

5. Spot for a portable Fire Bowl, Table, or Chimnea or even a larger more permanent built in fire pit or fire place.

6. Finishing everything up by softening with a few plants and easy to take care of shrubs that appear from May to October. I put it all together and presented them with not only an estimate but different pricing options that they could mix and match depending on their budget. I also sent them a You Tube video link so they could see the proposed project in 3D.

7Proposed landscape plan video: CLICK HERE

Now they can make changes to the size and shape of the different areas and also the choice of plants and placement. This has proved a tremendous benefit to clients trying to envision their back yards potential. If they don’t want waterfall and stream (remote control on/off) but would like a solar fountain or bird bath they can move things around. Maybe the fire pit is the focus with more chairs and maybe a small table or bench instead and the planting can be tweaked as well. The possibilities are endless!







Consider the mom in your life and what the gift of a lasting experience would do to benefit them year round not just on Mother’s Day but everyday. One mom we did a project for a few year’s back had a small waterfall without a stream installed but opted for the large fireplace that could be used year round especially after getting out of the hot tub during the winter


For those of you interested in custom designed fire pit areas and water features both big and small give us a call today. Free estimate and consultation and see your backyard’s potential.

Interested in what is involved with the actual construction and installation of a pondless water feature here’s a great video we use for training our crews:

pondless waterfallAquascape’s “NEW” How To Build a Pondless® Waterfall

Also for those looking for fire pits check out: New England Silica Showroom and  Harken’s Garden Center


Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in our lives!


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