Fall is the time of year when many people begin to think about spring and how it affects their landscape design and build plans.  Perhaps you already have an existing garden or have some ideas that each year as the seasons change you start thinking about but aren’t really sure how to proceed with, or, if you are like many people you may say to yourself “maybe next year.”  Then there are those people who think that because it’s fall and the temperature is dropping that there really isn’t much that can be done for your landscape design and build plans or to improve upon your existing garden that you really enjoy.  The good news is that Wonderfalls of Atlanta works all year long and is here to answer all of your questions and help you with your landscape design and build plans, whether it be adding a water feature to your garden, extending or putting in a new stone walkway or wall, installing a patio, terrace, or outdoor fireplace or fire-pit, or adding some stone benches.  Wonderfalls of Atlanta believes that your outdoor living space is a “room” that is meant to be enjoyed during all four seasons, and strives to make their landscape design and build projects to be functional all year long.  As a fourth-generation master stone mason, and the owner/founder of Wonderfalls of Atlanta, I have over 28 years experience in Atlanta designing and building watergardens, pools, Japanese style gardens, stone patios and walls, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and much more.  I bring with me a team of dedicated, highly skilled, and creative craftsmen that provide over 100 years additional experience to every project.  It would be my pleasure to meet with you to discuss your landscape design and build plans, and guide you through every step of the process, from stone to plant selection, to make sure that your garden is the perfect four-season outdoor living room for you!  Please call me during normal business hours at 404-444-7118 to schedule a time to meet; I prefer that contact be made by phone rather than by email or text.

A grate water funnels to down a long driveway.

All the water from the driveway and hill funnels to this grate we installed.

I have a sign in my front yard, a memento of a very interesting project, it reads “Water Retention & Mosquito Control Project.”  People are forever asking what it means.

I got a call one day from a woman who asked to see me.  Intrigued by the address I went out forthwith.  “All my neighbors are digging wells,” she said, in the midst of  the 2008 drought.  “I want to do something different.  I’ve noticed that all the water coming down my driveway runs to one side and I am wondering if we can catch and save it somehow.”

Sure enough, that was the case.  Upon examination, I found that all the rainwater from her property and 2000 foot drive all came to one spot before going out to the gutter.  Everything else was downhill.  Why not dig a pond to catch and store the water for irrigation, etc?

We installed a catch basin where the water collected, installed an eight inch pipe to funnel the water to a 6000 gallon pond we constructed in our usual manner with a waterfall spillway to the existing creek below.  Hence a very natural pond–that attracts ducks–and a source for irrigation.

For the mosquito control part, we introduced bass and gambusia (mosquito fish) to the pond with their voracious appetites to consume the mosquito larvae.

Hence, a beautiful source of otherwise wasted rainwater.

Wonderfalls pond stocked with mosquito eating fish.

All the water from the grate ends up in this pond stocked with mosquito eating fish.

Area that becomes a waterfall when the pond over flows.

When it rains and the pond overflows, this becomes a waterfall and spills into the creek below.

All images on this page are click to enlarge.

Wonderfalls Pond Micro-Life Notes

Big or small, ponds soon become ecosystems teeming with life. Too much light or not enough oxygen will encourage bacteria and algae at the expense of everything else. To achieve shade in the sun, floating plants help greatly and underwater plants such as Anacharis, Cabomba and Parrot’s Feather consume nutrients that feed algae. So shade is good, and water flow, especially over rocks, will mix the water with air and replenish oxygen. Changing the water, or using chemicals to try to control algae will wipe out your ecosystem. On the other hand, the longer the healthy water remains, the greater the diversity of animals and plants within, even if you don’t see them.

Slides

These photographs were taken of creatures found in just 50 ml of water from in my pond, using a phase contrast microscope. All photos are phase contrast, except 9 and 12, which are darkfield images. The magnification is shown in the table (“Mag.”). In some (7,9,10) rotifers are attached to small plant stalks, and in the low-power image (9) dozens of rotifers can be seen attached to a stalk. In others (7,8), algae cells are easily seenin the gut of the rotifers, showing how these tiny animals help clean the water.

Slide Mag. Kingdom Phylum Class Species
slide_1
Amoeba
250 Protoctista Rhizopoda Tubilina Amoeba proteus
slide_2
Actinopod
250 Protoctista Actinopoda
slide_3
Actinopod
250 Protoctista Actinopoda Heliozoa Acanthocystis sp.
slide_4
Rotifer
125 Animalia Rotifera
slide_5
Rotifer
250 Animalia Rotifera
slide_6
Rotifer
250 Animalia Rotifera
slide_7
Rotifer
250 Animalia Rotifera
slide_8
Rotifer
250 Animalia Rotifera Philodina sp.
slide_9
Rotifers
 50 Animalia Rotifera Collotheca ornata
slide_10
Rotifer
250 Animalia Rotifera
slide_11
Daphnia
 125 Animalia Actinopoda Crustacea/Cladocera/Daphnia
slide_12
Daphnia
 50 Animalia Actinopoda Crustacea/Cladocera/Daphnia

In most slides many single celled algea (Chrosphytes, Euglanophytes, Chlorophytes and Baccillariophytes) can be seen. Rotifers like to eat them and you can see them in their gut (eg slide 08). Bacteria are visible as dark dots or tubes, but are not abundant, a good sign. Filamentous green or blue-green algea are also not common, another good sign since these are the bacteria that will flourish in poorly oxygenated or overly sunlit water at the expense of everything else. Amoebas and actinods are single-celled organisms, from the Kingdom Protoctista. There are 5 Kingdoms; the Bacteris, Protoctista (single celled eukaryotes), Fungi, Plantae and Animalia. All are represented in your pond! There are 30 phyla of living things, the next division from Kingdom. Rotifers have their own phylum, Rotifera, and there are about 200 described species, mostly found in freshwater. They are among the smallest multicellular animals, not larger than a millimeter. They feed by creating a water current with a ring of hairs (cilia) found at their anterior end (giving them their name), hauling in algea and bacteria which are ground with a muscular pharynx. Next up the food chain, Daphinia is a common genus of ‘water fleas’, which are really more closely related to shrimp than insects. They are filter feeders, which at their size means they will be feeding on algea and larger organisms, including free-swimming rotifers. Daphnia in turn becomes a main food source for larger invertebrates such as water beetles and small vertebrates such as tadpoles and small fish.