Ecosystem Koi Ponds

Can I have a Koi Pond that Looks Natural

in my Landscape?


Westmoreland and Allegheny County PA’s top quality residential Koi Pond design and installation company. Master-Level Certified Aquascape Contractor. We utilize the proper filtration and construction techniques required for a beautiful and low maintenance backyard koi pond in the Greensburg, Pittsburgh, Irwin and 
surrounding areas.

Ponds are ecosystems, in that they play host to a total interrelationship of all organisms in the environment – birds, fish, frogs, plants, and many microscopic organisms. Thus, ponds not only create a natural ecosystem in their defined environment, but they also fit into the community and life cycle of not just one homeowner’s back yard, but of the entire ecological region. An Ecosystem Pond works with Mother Nature to provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife around it. It also provides you with an all-natural, low-maintenance piece of paradise.

It’s important to remember, however, that every piece of the ecosystem puzzle must be present in order for a true ecosystem to be in place. Eliminate one of these elements and you've got an unbalanced ecosystem that won’t be so low-maintenance anymore. We understand the key components needed for an Ecosystem Pond to flourish in Western Pennsylvania:





The Skimmer
The first part of mechanical filtration starts with the Skimmer Pre-Filter. Skimmer units work much like a pool skimmer. They collect surface debris, and pre-filter the water before it is pumped into the Biological Filter.  The circulation pump sits inside the skimmer (behind the pre-filter net), thus removing it from the bottom of the pond which drastically reduces the maintenance needed to unclog the pump in inferior pond designs.

The BioFalls
The water that enters the skimmer gets pumped up to the biological Biofalls filter unit. The filter media and microscopic bacteria located in the BioFalls effectively scrub and polish the pond water.  BioBalls are also located within this unit.  By combining both mechanical and biological filtration, the Ecosystem does the maintenance for you, reducing your work and increasing your enjoyment. The BioFalls is located, depending upon the design of your pond, either at the edge of the pond or at the beginning of the stream. This unit serves not only as a key filtration area, but also as a perfect way to create the initial waterfall to begin your stream. As the water leaves the BioFalls it spills onto gravel, boulders, pond water, etc. and becomes aerated as it re-enters the pond. Air, particularly oxygen, is extremely important within the water as it allows beneficial aerobic bacteria to work at their peak effectiveness in breaking down organic waste compounds.

Rocks & Gravel
We add a precise layer of rock and gravel to the bottom of all Ecosystem Ponds we build. This will not only protect pond liners from UV light degradation, but will also provide tremendous surface area for beneficial bacteria to break down excess nutrients in the water and dissolve organic debris on the pond floor. From an aesthetic design perspective, a gravel bottom pond looks much more natural than a bare liner-bottom pond.

Pond Fish & KOI
Fish are an integral part of the ecosystem. Unfortunately, fish are often seen as high maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, fish actually reduce pond maintenance as they graze on string algae and other organic materials on the pond floor. They also make very enjoyable pets, providing hours of natural entertainment.

Aquatic Plants
Mother Nature's true filters, plants are great for adding character to a pond by providing color and texture, but from a filtration perspective, they're second to none. Thriving from the excess nutrients in a pond and depriving algae of its food source, the aquatic plants in a water garden, given proper coverage, are critical for the overall health of the ecosystem.  All of our Ecosystem Pond installations come complete with a proper amount of aquatic plants that are hardy in the state of Pennsylvania.

Project Spotlight

Project - Removal of existing dilapidated pond, Re-grading area, Construction of brand new koi pond with long stream and waterfall.

Area - Derry Pennsylvania. (Greensburg, Latrobe, Ligonier, Pittsburgh surrounding area)

I was headed to this consultation under the assumption that there were a couple waterfalls that needed to have their liners re-attached. Upon stepping out of the truck, it quickly became obvious that these ponds needed just a little bit more work!

BEFORE picture

I asked Stella, the homeowner, how she liked the overall appearance of the two side-by-side ponds. She started to point out all the things that she wasn’t happy about – the wobbly rock work, the very narrow strip of ground
between the two ponds that made walking around them dangerous, the towering waterfalls with ripped liner hanging off the fronts, the constant green water, and so on, and so on……

This was a classic case of a homeowner living with a very sub-par water feature, for years, because she did not know just how good it could be. So we talked a bit about how a nice pond would look, and how we could make her ponds look like they were a naturally occurring part of the property. After a week or so of figuring out a really cool design that would fit within her budget, we settled on a timeframe to begin work.

Both ponds were completely removed, and all plumbing components were scrapped. The original installation happened about fifteen years prior, so there was nothing really salvageable. We also removed the surrounding landscape, re-sloped the area to fix an old drainage issue, and re-routed some electric lines in the process.

Most of the original rock was reused, however you’d never know. It was a style of flat fieldstone that stacked really well, so we used it to build the “shelves” of the pond interior. Approximately 25 tons of Laurel Mountain boulders were trucked in for use above the waterline. Rounded, weathered sandstone with it’s awesome character and occasional moss patches looks great when used in water features.

To compliment the old charming farmhouse and flat terrain, we decided to build one large pond with a slow moving, deep stream and modest waterfall. It is a commonly overlooked aspect of design to not consider the scale of your surroundings when designing a water feature. A tall, aggressive waterfall just wouldn’t look right surrounded by the flat lawn and landscape – it would have looked forced and fake.

AFTER picture

The pond features two skimmers, one small waterfall and one medium-sized waterfall feeding the 20′ stream, an IonGen algae control unit, and an aerator. All of the man-made materials are Aquascape brand. To finish it off we lightly landscaped the surrounding area, added aquatic plants, mulch and a gravel path.

Stella, and her fish, couldn’t be happier with their new backyard paradise. When she first saw the finished product, she said “It looks like something you would see on TV! I love it.”