Frequently Asked Questions about Waterscapes

How does Waterscapes Inc. formulate a plan to build the perfect water feature?

Having been been trained as landscape architects we have special expertise in designing a project or compiling a team to fit our customers needs. We have worked in tandem with all of the major water engineering, hydrology, golf and landscape architecture companies throughout the area.

The typical scenario (depending on the complications of the project) is that the licensed professionals initiate a basic plan and leave the operation details, Field design and the aesthetics to our very capable installation crew.

What about freezing? How does Waterscape Inc. build water features that are designed to work throughout the harsh Colorado winters?

As winter can consist of nearly a third of the year, to maximize our clients’ investment all of our water features are specially built to work throughout the seasons. The moving water creates surreal ice sculptures and moving water is typically the only part of the landscaping that remains “alive” and therefore remains vibrant when other areas of the landscape seem dreary and lifeless. Some of these techniques include installation of all of our mechanical systems (pumps, valves etc) several feet below water level and thus are protected and insulated by subsequent layers of ice.

We also employ a complete drain-back system eliminating unnecessary check valves on all of our main lines and plumbing. This failsafe system protects the plumbing and mechanical system in the event of power interruption or allowing for it to be shut off at night by a timer even in the dead of winter because all of the water flows by gravity back to the main lake clearing the lines so there is never any stationary water in the plumbing to freeze.

What are the differences and relative advantage/disadvantages between submersible and centrifugal pumps?

Waterscapes Inc. employs several types of pumping systems based on the application. Centrifugal pumps (typically swimming pool or spa pumps contained outside the system) are able to pump larger quantities (GPM) of water in proportion to electricity consumption. The pumps are usually contained in a pump house or underground vault and thus are sometimes easier to service. However heating, cooling, and noise/vibration usually require special and sometimes expensive considerations. We will typically use centrifugal pumps when water feature is to be used for swimming or when the required water volume would require too many submersible pumps.

Submersible pumps (as the name implies) are submerged in a wet well or sump that is hidden along the far side of the lake. The pumps are thus protected from the winter freeze and the water muffles any sound or vibration. Although being submerged in water can make maintenance slightly more difficult we have developed ingenious ways to unfasten the pump from above that make them easier to remove or service.

What is the logic behind using a multiple pump system for a water feature?

Waterscapes Inc. usually designs multiple pumps to allow for various speeds and water volumes. This allows the system to operate at a low volume and speed throughout the night conserving electricity and allows a simple vehicle to multiply the “wow factor” during high visibility use. It also provides a way to do pump service/maintenance, keeping the system operating in case of a pump failure, and eliminates the need to drain and replenish the water during any extended downtime.

Why do some water features develop algae? How do Waterscapes Inc. water features avoid this?

Water quality depends on three major factors: oxygenation (amount of oxygen carried in the water), water temperature, and particles in suspension. Our system balances the amount of pools that slow the water down to allow particulates to drop to the bottom combined with then speeding the water up over multiple falls to adds large amounts of oxygen that we see as bubbles.

We typically build dozens of separate cascades that operate on a single pump employing the same principle (but at a fraction of the energy consumption) as the aerators commonly used on golf course ponds. Our technique of drawing the water from the cooler depths and far end of the lake to insure total circulation and replace the warmer water at the top prevents aquatic weeds and algae from proliferating by disrupting the naturally occurring stratification and water temperature inversions.

Does Waterscapes Inc. use subcontractors?

In the design-build hardscape and waterscape process, Waterscapes Inc. completes a turn-key project with only our experienced crew. We don’t use subcontractors to ensure the highest quality work. Our company takes 100% responsibility for the success or failure of the project. Only the electrical connections are done by others: usually an owner-supplied, licensed electrician.

Why is Waterscapes Inc. not affiliated with any franchises or “expert” pond builders syndicates?

At Waterscapes Inc., we believe that water features are truly one-of-a-kind works of art that incorporate both the site and client requirements. Compared to the franchises, after 40 years in this industry we still refuse to call ourselves “experts” as the term implies a resistance to learning. We have been involved in nearly all of the most complicated waterscape projects in the Rocky Mountain West and in each of them we have learned a new trick, a way different way of doing something, or a better installation method.

A quick glance at the leading franchise website tells one everything they should need to know about the franchises’ true intent and motivation.

“By becoming an Aquascape certified technician you must adhere to AquaScape construction methodology at all times , must use exclusively Aquascape provided products, use no bottom drains or standard drain pipe as pond vaults, or wetland filters….all photos to show only Aquascape products and Aquascape will track purchases to insure compliance.”

To become this type of “expert” it only requires three customer reviews, proof of purchase history (from only them), three photos that only show Aquascape products (these kits here), to complete an on-line training course, and an agreement to not post photos of competitive products! (Don’t believe us? Check out their checklist for Master Certification.)

For $375 they then provide their members with an operation manual, “a $3 million value” promotional materials and then teach you to “BUILD A POND IN A DAY!!!”… sounds like a pretty good deal… for everybody but the client.

Does Waterscape Inc. do any other general landscaping?

Waterscapes Inc. believe that the pinnacle of a landscape project is the water feature. To be fully capable, for nearly 40 years our crews only do water features and adjacent hardscape.

Expecting our crew members to be proficient in mulch, turf, and planting installation dilutes both tasks and distracts from our core competency and true passion.

Does waterscape Inc. do smaller water feature projects, maintenance or residential backyard installations?

Sprinkled in between our larger projects, the foreman and crew at Waterscapes are occasionally available to directly contract with individual homeowners. Contact us to discuss your project.