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A Deck-side Water Feature in Ballwin

Water falls from a small upper pond (hidden), tumbles down the 15-foot stream flowing under the stone bridge and into the main pond, providing soothing background sounds to those sitting on the deck.


  • Owner: Joan Woelfel
  • Location: Ballwin, Missouri
  • Installed: October, 2000
  • Designed and built by: Nies Landscape Contractors
  • Size: Lower pond is 1200 gallons
  • Equipment: BF4000 Biofalls, CS2000D Skimmer Box, Aquascape high efficiency pump (2300 gallons per hour), CVA4 backflow prevention valves
  • Special features: Waterfall, stream, stone bridge, small upper pond, larger lower pond, 4 Koi and about 20 goldfish 

The pond was on the Pond-O-Rama tour in 2002 and 2003. The owner is always delighted to welcome visitors to see it.

This water feature curves around the deck providing the soft sound of water and enabling those in the house to look out the window to watch the fish year ’round. In the spring, frogs and toads sing loudly, a treat to the homeowner. Plants are greening up, and hardy water lilies send their first leaves to the surface, reaching for the warmth. Neighbor children come to see the millions of polliwogs covering the rocks at the bottom. A few weeks later as they get legs, you can see hoards of miniature toads hopping around the yard.

In the summer, there’s lots of activity. A pair of mallards visits each year as they raise their young elsewhere. Butterflies drink from the splashes filling the small hollows in rocks, while birds delightedly bathe noisily in the stream. Damselflies hover, landing on a nearby iris, and waterwalkers skate across the pond. A toad often lives under the stone bridge. Several years ago, two Black Labs would race to the pond whenever they escaped from a nearby yard for a cooling dip. And last summer, a large groundhog made its home under the back steps, happy to have water close at hand.

The tropical water lilies and parrots feather provide shelter for the fish, and when threatened by a predator, they hide under the protective rock tunnel in a flash. Romeo and Juliet, Speckles and Lemon Drop are always begging for a handout when anyone walks by, and the goldfish have learned to eat quickly before the koi grab it all.

The large leaves of the Black Magic taro provide a contrast to the grasses, flowers and other marginals edging the pond. The water hyacinths placed in the biofalls filter the water before it spills into the small upper pond, which sports canna, taro and a water lily. Since the stream is in full sun, there is usually a good bit of string algae to provide further filtering, so the pond water is very clear. (But the string algae is periodically pulled out manually to keep it in check.)

Having the pond has been a delight. Even in winter, when the plants have died, it is bare as you can see, but we can always watch the fish.