Dan and Kevin Stanza enjoy bringing movement to landscapes. The brothers and owners of Good Earth Water Gardens specialize in water features for homes, including ponds, fountains and waterfalls. Dan offers tips on choosing the right feature and the best spot for it in your yard.
Q. How did you get involved with creating water features?
A. I was raised in the industry. My dad was a contractor, and by default my brother and I were put out in the fields on the weekends. After graduating from college, I just kept going back to what I knew.
My dad started doing water features. We started getting pricing guides from a distributor, and we ordered a contractor video on how to build ponds. My dad showed this to us. My brother and I thought it was fun to come home from school and watch this video. We thought it was cool.
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Q. Why do you find people want to install water features in their yards?
A. I think water just has a draw naturally. We like water. We go to the oceans and lakes to be near water. It’s in our DNA to be drawn to water.
You can enjoy a beautiful landscape, but there’s only so long you can look at a rosebush. If you look at a waterfall, you can stare at it for hours and still not be sick of it.
Q. What makes your systems unique?
A. We specialize in low-maintenance and natural-looking water features. We try to create something that looks more like something that was built by nature.
The systems we use are pretty simple. We don’t make it so you have to build an entire pool room to have your water feature. We use a system that is its own eco system. It works with Mother Nature instead of working like a pool where you have to put chemicals and chlorine tabs in it.
It requires maintenance but it’s not a huge time and energy drain.
Q. What kind of challenges do people have with water features in their yards?
A. The biggest problem tends to be that the water feature leaks. Trying to find the leak can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Like a lot of niche things, a beautiful water feature is awesome, but if it leaks it’s problematic.
In order to make a water feature work right, it is kind of an intermediate and advanced skill set. From an installation standpoint, it’s good to be experienced. The cheap free-form ponds can be cost-effective, but if you want clear water and low maintenance, those aren’t the best routes to go. You’re going to be constantly changing water, and you’re never going to have it look the way you want over an extended period of time.
Q. How do people know they are installing a good water feature?
A. Make sure you do due diligence and research it. If you are going to hire a contractor, do your regular contractor protocol. Ask if they have done features before. Check for photos and references, and go and see some of the features in real life.
Q. What should people consider before planning a water feature?
A. The biggest thing is define what type of feature you want. Some people are just looking for the sight and sound of water, and they don’t really want a pond. There are fountain options. You can do a pond-less or disappearing waterfall.
If people want fish and aquatic plants, then a pond might be a better option.
Also, try to pick an area that’s viewable from multiple locations or an area you use frequently. Some people pick the back corner of a yard, where they only see it from one location. We like to pick a location that can be viewed from both inside and outside the house and can be seen well.
Q. How hard is it to keep a backyard pond healthy? Are there any specific tricks of the trade that people can consider in their own backyard ponds?
A. For our systems, customers can expect to spend 10 or 15 minutes a week making sure that some of the filtration components are operated properly. We recommend for any water feature to do a spring cleaning, which involves a water change.
Maintenance can be an issue, and a lot of landscaping companies will install, but they are not interested in maintaining the water feature. We drain it and spray it all down with a power washer. Pump the old water out, and put new water in afterward.
Q. What is popular?
A. This is Kansas City, and we trademarked the City of Fountains. People like fountains. The bubbling boulders are growing in popularity, and you don’t always have to have a big space.
Really small areas can be really nice spots for a water feature. There’s no limit to the size and space you need for a water feature.