Koi Ponds Adding Beauty And Grace To Carolina Landscapes

Posted on | July 2, 2014 | No Comments

Water gardens are a wonderful way to add life and beauty to an outdoor space. Koi ponds add an especially intriguing element; the fish are colorful, graceful and soothing to watch, which is why many homeowners have made maintaining them a hobby. To find out a bit more about what goes into creating the perfect koi pond, North Carolina Design turned to an expert: Ben Case, owner of Down to Earth Designs in Raleigh.

Images Courtesy of Down To Earth Designs ©

Ben Case is a genuine expert in all things landscaping. He and his team can do everything from simple maintenance to designing and building an entire outdoor living space from the ground up, with impeccable taste and craftsmanship. That said, he has earned a reputation for his beautiful and exceptionally well-designed koi ponds.

“We build many other ponds that are not koi ponds, but koi ponds have become our niche,” Ben affirms. “Honestly, you can add koi to any pond, and many people do. But homeowners who are collectors or serious enthusiasts – and want a true koi pond – come to us because we know how to build them the right way. Not many other people do.”

There is much more to building a koi pond than one might think. “True koi ponds provide the best possible environment for the fish.” Ben notes. “They have vertical walls, they’re deeper than regular ponds, and they have much more advanced filtration systems. Many people don’t realize how complicated these ponds can be. They are actually more elaborate than a lot of swimming pools.

“Every pond is different. I design each one with the client’s wishes in mind, while factoring in the budget and the topography of the land. I consider the style of their home, and ask to see pictures of things that they like so that I can tailor the overall look to their preferences. Some people prefer ponds that look natural, with boulders, natural water edge treatments and irises that migrate down into the water. Others want a contemporary pond with clean lines and a more sculpted, deliberate look.”

Building the perfect pond can also come with some significant logistical challenges. “You never really know what you are going to find on the site until you start digging,” Ben says. “Sometimes we’re confronted with rocks, poor soil, or seeping groundwater, and we’re forced to change the design a bit. Access can be an issue — sometimes the site is in a far back corner of a yard, and we’re coming in with heavy equipment and literally dropping off 20 tons of rocks. That kind of disturbance creates repair work.”

In a warm summer climate like North Carolina’s, conserving water is certainly a priority. However, Ben affirms that homeowners needn’t worry much when it comes to their koi ponds. “Ponds really don’t require a lot of water,” he explains. “You are basically continuously recirculating the same water through the system. Unless you have a leak or a problem with splashout, there is very little water waste.”

Ben’s passion for landscaping and water gardens comes from a lifelong love of the outdoors. “I grew up on a farm, and in some ways landscape design and landscape horticulture allow me to stay in close connection with the land,” he notes. “Also, I have a lot of fun designing and developing new projects. It’s very satisfying work, and I truly love it.”

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