Trends in Water Features

Over the years the trend of building ponds and waterfalls have been the industry mainstay, however recently the outdoor living trend has expanded the market. Block and paver manufacturers have been making it easier to grow the outdoor living market with enhanced products, from landscaping to patios, fire pits to outdoor kitchens, the options are virtually limitless!

Water feature manufacturers have seen these changes and are now creating more unique options that are easy to add to any outdoor space. Formal spillways can be added to retaining walls, pools, or even spas.

You can now buy wall spouts, stainless and copper scupper spillways and  very cool acrylic spillways that change in a variety of colors. With multiple spillway options it has added a whole new dimension to what you can do as a contractor and what you can dream about as a homeowner.

It doesn’t just stop with Formal Spillways either. The addition of lighting to your outdoor space drastically changes it’s appearance at night. Just by adding a few lights to the landscape,  steps, pillars and walls, you can beautifully accent any area to create a dramatic effect!

Although spillways are grouped into a more formal category, and mostly used in block walls do not limit your creative thoughts. Experiment with stone, wood, tile, even wine bottles! Let your imagination run free and create new and outstanding works of art.

Check out all the Formal Spillway options that Atlantic has to offer.

 

About the Author:
Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens.
JIM CHUBB

Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens. With 26 years of sales experience and 16 years in the water garden industry, Jim is your go-to guy for selling water features.

Tools That Don’t Suck – Cordless (Liner) Trimmer

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty, sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls, but we also value anything that helps make the work easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

Cordless (Liner) Trimmer

TrimmerThis first tool makes the nasty job of trimming liner and underlayment easier and much safer. Most of us have had to trim wet, bunched up, sand- and mud-laden underlayment and liners. It’s a dangerous chore. Razor knives that so easily cut clean fabric in the shop dull in minutes in the field, requiring new blades constantly (until you run out). There’s always the risk of cutting too close or through a hidden fold (or yourself) while hacking away. (And let’s not even mention where the dull-but-dangerous-used-blades-that-should-always-be-safely-disposed-of turn up.)

My wife Susan, who is always looking out for me and her boys, saw this little trimmer advertised for scrapbookers. She actually thought it might work for us! I laughed at the “toy” when it arrived. I don’t laugh at this tool anymore. I have since apologized to Susan. Many times. (She likes that.)

Skil TrimmerThe original trimmer shown is 4 years old and has gone through hell. It ain’t fast, but it still chews through muddy, sandy liner and underlayment for hours on a charge, though I’m not sure exactly how many. In the field, trimming in 10 minute bursts every hour or two, it doesn’t run out for a couple of days, very forgiving for when we forget to charge it overnight. The octagonal blade with its 8 corners almost self-feeds through a single layer of liner up to 60 mil or 8oz fabric with minimal effort, and it continually sharpens as it spins. One last thing, for anyone with employees (or sons, or an aversion to seeing their own blood) – it’s almost impossible to cut
yourself.

Skil discontinued the model shown, but there are a number of similar trimmers out there, many around $45. At that price, we can afford to test them for the day that Old Red finally dies. Give these cordless trimmers a try; I think you’ll find this is one Tool That Don’t Suck. Thanks, Sue!

 


 About the Author:
Demi is the Direct of Product Information for Atlantic Water GardensDEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

What Happens to My Fish in the Winter?

Probably the number one question a prospective pond owner will ask is “what happens to to my fish in the winter? The quick answer is “not much”, but there is a little more to it than that. Truth is they really just slow down, some will say they hibernate, others will say that they go dormant, but it is more of a torpid state. Their body temperature is regulated by their surroundings, so as temperatures drop, so does their activity. On the coldest of days you will see them sitting on the bottom of the pond with their fins tucked in. If they could talk they would simply say they are waiting on spring.

“Should I do anything for my fish?”,absolutely, but it’s probably not what you are thinking. Your fish are tough and can handle the elements on their own very well. But they do need you to help out in a minimal way.

Feeding FishFirst thing is to feed them a good quality high fiber fall/spring fish food. Your fish do not handle food the way we do. They continually graze and eat to fill the pipeline. When temperatures drop, that food is stuck there to decay and cause issues in your fish. They can not empty their digestive tract after temperatures have dropped. Feeding should be stopped when water temperatures reach 55 degrees. Keep an eye on the weather, quit feeding at the 60 degree mark to be safe. If you live areas of the country that get big swings in temperature as fall approches, use your best judgement erroring on the side of caution.

Next thing to consider is your fish really need is consistency. They can handle the lower temps but they really need it to be consistent. Make sure your pond is at the very least 2 feet deep. This will give them a safe zone to be in for the winter. The warmest water is the deepest and should not be disturbed. If you have a waterfall make sure that where it enters the pond is somewhat shallow. If the waterfall drops into the deepest section of the pond it will “mix” cooler water into the “safe” zone your fish are living in. Leaving your waterfall running in winter is fine to do as long as that cooler water is being pulled from the surface zone (using a pond skimmer) and being returned to the surface zone. Big temperature swings in your pond will stress your fish and lead to health issues.

Hole In IceLastly, is to make sure there is an open hole in the surface of the pond. If you live in the colder climates, your ponds surface may freeze over completely. Even though our finned friends are not breathing as much as they normally do, they are still breathing. If the surface is completely covered in ice, harmful gasses can not escape and the pond can not re oxygenate as it normally does. Use a small pump or and air system to keep a hole open in the ice. Place the small pump on the upper shelf of the pond pointed to the surface. It should “bubble” above the surface. If you elect to use an air system (preferred), Place the air stones on the upper shelf of the pond. Both ways will help in keeping a hole in the ice. But do not put either the airstone or pump down in the safe zone. That would mix the warm water your fish are enjoying with the rest of the pond, thus leading to health issues.

If you follow these simple ideas this winter your fish will do great and be ready for spring. As mentioned before, no feeding at 55 degrees and below. As spring starts to show, be sure temperatures are consistent before you start feeding again.

Enjoy your pond this winter!


About the Author:
Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.SEAN BELL

Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. When it comes to water features, Sean is your guy!

Social Media Tips & Tricks

Social Media these days is rapidly changing, and sometimes let’s be honest, it’s really hard to keep up! There are so many channels and there is always an update to be downloaded, or learned and let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to share this information with each other than it is for each of us to research it on our own.

So here are a few things that I’ve recently found to be helpful in my daily social media activities.

Facebook – Creating a Pixel:

facebookNow, I haven’t yet used this little gem, but my expectations of it are quite high. From what I’ve read, once you install the pixel code in the header of your website, you can track multiple things when a user clicks on your ad like what device they are using, where they are from, the average age of the user clicking on your ad, etc.

Here is a link to a page all about the Facebook pixel if you’d like to learn more.

Twitter – Tweeting Full Videos:

Now from what I’ve heard, not very many people know about tweeting full videos, only 30 second clips. Through one of the many Twitter webinars I’ve listened to or one of the many articles I’ve read, I came across a hack on how to tweet FULL videos. Hopefully if your company uses Twitter, you can use this to your advantage.

So here are the steps:

First visit your Twitter page and click on your profile icon in the top righthand corner and select “Twitter Ads”.Select Media

Next select “Creatives” and in the dropdown menu select “Media”.

On the left side of the page under “Library”, select “Videos”.

Select VideosSelect “Upload Media” and locate the video file you want to upload.

Unfortunately there is no capability as of now to schedule full video tweets in advance . You will have to follow these same steps to tweet full videos as needed.

Upload VideoInstagram – Use the Business Page to your advantage:

Instagram recently came out with Business pages, which is helpful if you use Instagram to push your brand recognition and get your name out in the open. It provides companies with the ability to add their contact information in their profile without being very limited to the content. Of course there still is some character limitations for this Information section, but at least now you don’t have to stuff that section with your contact information, website and about info.

Another great thing that they’ve introduced for business pages is the analytics side. You can now see your post impressions, reach and engagement on each photo or video that you post.

Not only do you get to see insights on posts, but your profile also offers insights on the percentage of which gender is following and interacting with you, the age range, locations, and the average time your followers are using Instagram each day. Pretty cool!Instagram for Business

If you haven’t already switched your profile over to a business profile, I highly encourage you to do so and start looking at your insights.

Pinterest – The Pinterest Tag:

pinterestAnother great trick that I have not yet implemented but plan to in 2017 is the Pinterest Tag. Similar to the Facebook Pixel, the Pinterest Tag allows your to track actions that users take even after they’ve clicked on your pin. Track things like actions taken or events that users have encountered like if they’ve added something to their cart, made a purchase, searched for something specific on your website, the list goes on with what this tag can do.

Here is a link if you’d like to learn more about the Pinterest Tag and step by step instructions on how to implement it.

If you know of anymore tips or tricks when it comes to these social media channels, or any others that you’d like to add, please add them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered.

 


 About the Author:
Meet Shelby, AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media ExtraordinaireSHELBY SCUDERI

Atlantic Water Gardens Graphic Designer and Social Media Extraordinaire, Shelby has been with Atlantic since 2011. In addition to keeping up with social media trends and ensuring that the website and all social networks are running smoothly, Shelby also manages Atlantic’s advertising and marketing programs.

The CICY Project – From Orchids to Cenotes

It all started at the IWGS Symposium, in an orchidarium in a salt mine one hundred feet below 20150813_110344-1Kansas City. I was chatting with a lovely couple, Porfi and Beatriz, long time members of the International Waterlily and Water Garden Society, IWGS or I-Dub for short. We chatted as we ogled the 10,000 or so magnificent orchids at Bird’s Botanicals that flourished in the controlled temperature and humidity of the vast underground caverns. (If orchids in salt mines sound pretty cool to you, consider joining – the IWGS and its members are very interesting indeed.)

The subject was the artificial ponds and lakes of the Yucatán Peninsula. I’ve been traveling to Mexico for number of years, trying to help our distributors in Yucatán maintain the many large water features that are built using swimming pool technology. Unfortunately, lakes are not large swimming pools, as my friends Lydia and Nacho Barroso can attest.

As the owners of a very successful pool and spa distributorship that has expanded into every facet of water technology, the Barrosos have found through years of experience that chlorine and sand filters cannot adequately deal with the sun and heat of southeastern Mexico. The large shallow artificial lakes at every golf course, country club, condo complex and resort on the Peninsula require a different strategy. Years of trial and error have proven phytofiltration, cleaning and clearing water with plants, the best course of action. While we strolled through the cavern, I asked Porfi, who lives near the Barrosos, if he could help, and he knew just where to find aquatic plants.

Then he asked if we knew about a pond project coming up at a local botanical garden. That’s CICYhow we found out about the Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, or CICY (pronounced SEE-see). I Googled it as soon as we got back from the tour. According to the webpage, CICY is “a public research institution (whose) mission is to generate scientific and technological knowledge in the areas of plant biochemistry and molecular biology, agricultural biotechnology, natural resources, materials science, water sciences, and renewable energy in order to contribute to sustainable development.” What could we do for el CICY, I wondered?

My next trip down to Merida my friends and I stopped by for a look around. They have some really cool stuff there, including a cloning lab and a huge collection of native plants, and they were about to put in a new Sensory Garden. Porfi knew the architect and the botanist in charge of the gardens, and had heard that the centerpiece of the new 20150713_092457Sensory Garden was to be a pond – would we be interested building it?

Would we ever! This was a golden opportunity to show off just what active bog filtration could do, in a public garden that would receive 150,000 visitors a year. Now to make it happen…To Be Continued.

Subscribe to receive updates on new blog posts, including Demi Fortuna’s next post on the construction of the bog pond.

 


 About the Author:
Demi is the Direct of Product Information for Atlantic Water GardensDEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

 

My Pond Looks Great, Now What?

A few months ago we started with the question that I hear more than most. That was, how does my pond work anyway? In that blog I gave the basics of the biology in your pond and even compared it to a goldfish bowl. Basically they work the same way. We can do so much more with a pond because of biological filtration and plants.

Clear pond Well, Atlantic Water Gardens National Sales Manager, Jim Chubb and Director of Product Information, Demi Fortuna, both followed that blog post with articles on biological filtration and how bogs work (plant filtration). By now you should feel pretty good about how your pond works and how to keep it looking clean, clear, and natural. Some might be even getting ready to ask the follow up question of, “I have done all this, but I still have to do a pond clean out every year, why?” That is not only a good question, but the answer is the next step in the solution to keeping your pond clean and clear as possible.

Let me explain, you have set Spring time, pond with Algae. Atlantic Water Gardensup everything you could to put the water feature on the right path. All the biology is working for you and it is simple to see that the plants growing and out competing the algae for nutrients. You end the summer season happy, coast along until winter and wait for spring. Then what happens? You guessed it, there are algae blooms of every kind and your frustration level is through the roof. You thought you had this covered. What Happened?

You probably forgot the last step, harvesting. Huh? Harvesting, what am I a farmer? Indeed you are, or at least you need to be. You see, all that time and attention that you gave led to great plant growth. Those plants are full of nutrients and need to be cut and removed from the water feature before they start to die off and decay in the water. By trimming plants back and covering the pond with a net at the end of the season each year, we are removing nutrients, preventing leaves and other organics from getting into the pond. We are simply getting it ready for the next season. By doing this you complete the cycle and prevent all the nutrients from reentering the pond all at once in the spring.

So many water feature owners over look this last step. Yes, they will cut back ugly plants that the cold weather has taken its toll on. But by then the damage has been done. Look at your floating plants, in season they are bright green and beautiful. If you pick one up it has long roots that stretch way out from the bottom to the plant. What is difficult to see though, is that as soon as we see night time temps start to drop, the plant starts to change. First it is the growth rate, then it’s the root system. In a floating plant there are a ton of nutrients in the root system. As it gets colder it starts to drop its roots. When the weather maintains the cold temperature the floater finally starts to turn brown and is usually removed. But it was the root system that did the damage. All those nutrient loaded roots are now at the bottom of the pond decaying and getting ready to spring into action next spring. Your marginal plant do something similar and need to be trimmed as well.

So, make a note and be sure to trim plants back before the weather turns cooler, cover with a net to keep leaves and falling debris from getting in there as the season changes. And you will be one step ahead for next spring.


About the Author:


Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.SEAN BELL

Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. When it comes to water features, Sean is your guy!

 

 

Tips & Tricks for Photographing Water Features

As summer is about to wrap up for us here shortly in Northeastern Ohio, I thought this would be a perfect time to get some great photos of our water features before there is two feet of snow on the ground. Taking photos of water features can sometimes be frustrating, it may look amazing in person but on the screen of your camera it may not look as appealing. Whether you are taking pictures of water features on your phone or have a digital SLR camera, I’ve put together my best tips on photographing water features to help you.

Tip #1: Change your view
Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground or up high in the air. A unique view, usually makes for a more interesting photo. Don’t forget to rotate the camera, too. When shooting, turn the camera to take both landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical) photos.

Tip #2: Getting blurry photos on your phone?
Are you getting blurry or out of focus images on your phone? Try tapping the screen where you want to focus and that area will stay in focus when snapping the photo. Try to stay as still as possible and the phone will do the rest of the work!

Tip #3: Shooting on your iPhone?Original Photo vs. HDR Photo
iPhones have a little hidden feature called HDR in their camera app. This feature will compile three images, one underexposed, one at the correct exposure and one overexposed. With all three of those exposures it will create one image that has the perfect combination of shadows and highlights. This is not a cure-all for most photos, but should give you a little boost when shooting landscapes. This side-by-side comparison, shows subtle but dramatic changes in the color and definition of the rock and purple flowers. Keep in mind not all photos are better as HDR so I would advise you to enable the phone to keep the original photo as well as the HDR version to compare and pick your favorite.

How to enable HDR:
-Open the Camera app > click HDR on top of the screen > Select On

How to Enable HDR on iPhones

How to keep your original photo:
Settings > Photos & Camera > under “High Dynamic Range” toggle “Keep Normal Photo”

How to keep your original photo

Tip #4: Try close ups75-feet of waterfall vs. 5-feet of waterfall
Whether you have a large or small water feature, get up closeand personal! You may think that photographing the whole water feature is best, but pick out your favorite parts and focus on them. We have a large 75-foot waterfall here at Atlantic HQ and taking photos of the entire thing is not only cumbersome, but everything in the photo is small and all looks the same. Sometimes its best to focus on just one thing at a time and get a more interesting result.

Tip #5: Nighttime photos
When it comes to daytime shots theres a golden hour in the morning and late afternoon, but for nighttime shots there’s a golden couple of minutes. Nighttime photos are best right before the sun sets. Those few minutes when the sky is just starting to darken, is the perfect time to get a nighttime photo. Along with the help of a tripod you are on your way to getting an amazing shot. To eliminate camera shake all together, you can use a remote shutter release for an ultimately crisp photo.

This was taken just as the sun was setting. .

I hope these few tips help you to get an amazing photo of your water feature. If you are Atlantic Professional Contractor, don’t forget to send in your best water feature photos to win a free trip to Las Vegas and the 2016 Irrigation Show! Maybe your new photography skills will pay off!

For more details on our photo contest click here!

 


About the Author:
Kendahl Kreps

After her Graphic Design internship in 2013, Kendahl joined the Atlantic team full-time in 2014. As part of her responsibilities, Kendahl manages all printing and packaging materials as well as helping run the Advertising Department. Photography is one of her many forte’s here at Atlantic.

We Are Atlantic Water Gardens

Welcome to the new Atlantic Water Gardens Blog. We will be bringing you information on all types of water features each month to help keep you up to date on what is happening in the industry as well as what is happening with Atlantic Water Gardens. Don’t worry we will also be including the educational pieces that you have come to expect from us. Our entire Atlantic Water Gardens team will be contributing to this blog in an effort to give you a great variety of topics, as well as sharing our diverse areas of expertise.

You will hear from –

Demi Fortuna –Demi is the Direct of Product Information for Atlantic Water Gardens

Demi has been playing in ponds since 1966, building them since 1986, and teaching since 2006.

Since his first disastrous but educational foray into water gardening on Long Island in 1986, he has been solidly stuck in the muck of water gardening.  As the owner of August Moon Designs starting 1990, he developed an interest in innovative plumbing and large, low-maintenance ponds. Since 2006, he has been lecturing across the U.S. and Canada on pump selection, conservation of resources and pond design. He is now proudly the Director of Product Information for Atlantic Water Gardens, promoting innovative pond equipment and techniques that maximize safety, efficiency and profits while minimizing maintenance, callbacks and costs. Whenever possible, Demi is still tickled pink to work with his sons Edwin and Ely building all sorts of water features, under the strict supervision of the boss, his wife Susan, of course.

Sean Bell –Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.

Sean is our professional fish geek. He got his hands on his first aquarium in 1978 and never looked back. It was the beginning of a lifelong obsession that persists to this day. He has raised just about every type of fish you can have in the aquarium hobby and then some. His love of goldfish and koi came about in 2000. He was managing one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. His love and knowledge of fish and water quality has led him to work with the top companies in the country and now he is the Regional Sales Manager of the South East here at Atlantic Water Gardens. His experience in retail, distribution and installation will show through with each of his blog posts.


Jim Chubb Jim is the National Sales Manager for Atlantic Water Gardens.

Atlantic’s National Sales Manager and Distribution Channel expert. Jim has been in the Sales Industry for over 26 years and over 16 years in the water garden industry promoting and training distributors and contractors on the how-to’s and selling points of water features. He got his start in distribution and has worked for top companies in the industry. We will hear from him as he travels the country on various topics on water features and selling. A pond owner for the last 12 years, Jim is a definite pond and koi lover and maintenance guru.


Shelby ScuderiMeet Shelby, AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media Extraordinaire

AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media extraordinaire. Shelby will be contributing various tips and tricks that she uses and has found useful when publishing social content and interacting with followers on different platforms. Her continued efforts can be seen on each of the various social media sites as she brings you updates on products and programs from Atlantic Water Gardens.

 

So stay tuned and check in with us each month. But don’t forget to check out Atlantic Water Gardens University and its growing content. Also remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel, AWGtv for the most recent content both in English and Spanish.

 


About the Author:


Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company.SEAN BELL

Sean is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast for Atlantic Water Gardens. Fish Geek and water feature enthusiast, Sean has managed one of the largest aquarium stores in the Southeast while running his own pond maintenance company. When it comes to water features, Sean is your guy!