Building A Huge Koi Pond In Chevy Chase: Inside The Crew Edition

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at our pond building process as our team creates our client’s vision: a huge koi pond. This video and post can allow you to see the team in action and get to know what they are like. You can follow the crew as they build this huge koi pond in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Let’s follow TJ (a foreman) as he takes us from day 1 to completion.

All characters in this post are not accurate representations of our clients. The characters’ personalities and diction are fictional.

“So, here we are, getting our tools and equipment ready during a flash flood warning.”

It’s about 7:30 in the morning and the crew are loading materials onto the trucks. This next project is a big one and they need to be ready for it.

Thankfully, no flash floods appear to “dampen” their process (pun intended). The crew finishes loading the equipment and gets on the road to the client’s home.

“It’s time to start crafting a koi pond!” says TJ excitedly.

The Pre-Job Walkthrough

“This is where we, the crew, learn about the client’s vision.”

For this particular project, Steve Shinholser is doing the pre-job walkthrough. He has had the most interaction with the client and knows exactly what they want. Steve is also the founder and part-owner of Premier Ponds, so he’s had years of practice.

Now he is passing along the client’s vision to the crew.

For example, the client wants to be able to see the pond and waterfall from their patio area. That’s why we won’t put the waterfalls on the hill nearest them because they would be facing away from the patio.

“Now that we know what the client wants we can start creating their pond paradise. Spray paint marks the outer edge of the pond so the crew knows where to start digging. We also set the biofalls where the waterfalls will go.”

For this project, the crew will also be dealing with a removed tree stump. Well, it was removed from the ground but not the yard. “Still, our client saved 6 days of work for us by having another contractor do it.”

Now the hard part starts.

Day 1 Of Building A Huge Koi Pond

“That tree stump has got to go,” TJ says, annoyed.

The crew starts chipping away at it so they can remove it from the yard. On the bright side, all the dirt that came with it is going to be used to raise the ground where the waterfalls will go. “We’re turning an obstacle into an opportunity!”

Now it’s a lot of digging and heavy lifting until we break for lunch. “I am not a fan of olives, loud chewing, and drivers looking back to talk to passengers. I won’t be offended just please keep your eyes on the road,” TJ says with fake exasperation.

Now it’s back to work.

“We’ll be digging shelves into this pond for plants. Basically, think of it like a big stairstep downwards. We can put submerged plants on the bottom, shallower water plants on the shelves, and then some plants around the pond itself.”

But that’s not all they’ll be digging.

“We’re also going to dig some fish caves and tunnels. It gives more room for your fish without taking up your yard. Oh, and it’s great for protection from predators too, like the herons that come from the Chesapeake Bay area.”

After more digging and moving, day 1 is done, but day 2 is still to come.

Day 2: Boulders, Electricity, & A Bigger Hole

“Now we get to shape this ‘whole’ monstrosity into a pond, pun intended,” TJ smiles.

Thankfully this pond turns out waaayyy better than that pun.

“Now, something most people don’t think about when it comes to back yard ponds is electricity. Gotta have some to power the waterfalls, pumps, and LED lights if installed. That’s why we’re digging this trench. Don’t worry, we’re digging it to code.”

TJ walks over to Mike, another part-owner and pond engineer. He’s choosing the best rocks for this pond so it can be big and strong (like him).

“Wrapping up day 2, we have a beautiful stone wall foundation, an expanding hole for a pond bottom, and plenty of soil in front of the wall to keep the water in.”

Day 3: Rocking Onwards & Digging Downwards

“These filters are amazing. And big.” says not-TJ.

It’s actually Andrew, the 3rd and final part-owner and pond engineer. He’s actually standing in one of them they are so large. “This pond is going to be so clear the homeowners will be able to count the gravel on the bottom.”

The project continues with stacking stones and moving dirt.

Day 4: Finishing The Pond Bottom

“We’re trying to beat the rain, which is why I’m doing this solo today,” says real TJ.

With a rain deadline looming, the crew steps up their efforts so they can keep to the client’s schedule. “Today is installing the fish caves and tunnels, setting the skimmers, and getting as much else done as we can.”

Day 5: Rockin’ Out!

“We’re taking this pond from blank black liner to beautiful, natural rock.”

From large boulders to tiny gravel stones, this pond is going to have rocks everywhere. Nobody wants liner poking through to ruin the natural vibe. Rocks also help preserve the life of the pond by keeping the liner safe from the sun and from tearing.

Day 6: Lights, Gravel, Action!

We continue to add rocks to the pond bottom. Underwater and above water LED pond lights go in too. They’ll turn the pond into a magical spring whenever night falls.

We’re also tearing the extra liner off and putting it around the skimmers and filters for extra protection.

Day 7: The Finishing Touches

It’s the last day, which means finishing touches. This beautiful, natural-looking pond has come a long way from being a muddy hole in the ground.

3 days later…

Andrew and a couple of the crew go back to make sure the clients love their creation. It’s also to make sure everything is working the way it should (which it does). The water is crystal clear, the waterfalls are beautiful, and the setup is just how the client envisioned.

The adults, the kids, everyone loves this koi pond (especially us). Check out the video at the top to see how it all came together.