Building a Waterfall in The Woods

Check out this awesome footage of the Pontz crew building a waterfall in the woods. This amazing pondless waterfall was built at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg, PA. The pondless waterfall in approximately 26′ in length and is featured in Nature’s Discovery Play Area.

Nature’s Discovery Play Area

Short Summary
The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art is a small non-profit in Millersburg, PA dedicated to the legacy of our namesake, Ned Smith. He spent a lifetime connecting nature, people and the arts. Our mission remains the same, to merge the arts and the natural world and foster a celebration of both.

We believe that children should play outside; that outdoor play contributes to skills they can use in the future and good health. For this reason we are adding an area where kids can just be kids, get dirty, use their imagination and explore. This play area will be called Nature’s Discovery Play Area and its mission is “to provide an outdoor ‘yes’ space for children of all ages to gather and discover the textures, sights, smells and value of the natural world while exploring and interacting with natural elements such as wood, stone, dirt, water and plants in a self-directed and unstructured manner.”

Phase one of the play area will include three major features:

The Burrow, similar to an open roofed bunker, this is an area that is dug out to gently slope below the normal level of the ground and is reinforced by locally harvested logs.

The Tree Fort, octagonal in shape, this low to the ground platform will be less than 4 feet off the ground, enclose three trees and have a rustic branch railing, Children will be able to access the platform in a variety of ways which will include a climbing wall and rope swing.

The Water Feature, this small stream will allow children to explore a miniature “river bed”. The water will be shallow and the bed made of liner and rocks. The water will flow down the stream and magically disappear into the ground where it will be recycled through and used again.

What We Need

The basis of this project is estimated to cost just under $50,000. We have received very generous support from private donations and currently have $39,500. Without another $10,000 we will not be able to complete the first phase of our project and open the Nature’s Discovery Play Area without one of the major features. The more money we raise over the $10,000 the more features we can add to the play area such as balance beam logs, a sensory exploration path, fossil dig area and so much more.

Risks & Challenges

Our biggest challenge, as with many other non-profits is funding. Should we not hit our $10,000 goal we will not be able to complete all aspects of the play area that we envisioned. More money means more elements of the play area. We would love to be able to give the children who come to the Center everything on our list. We believe that it is truly an important aspect to childhood and leads to creative, freethinking, problem solvers.

Other Ways You Can Help

We appreciate all of the support we can get, but we know that some can’t afford to financially help out. That’s OK, you can help by sharing our campaign on social media, talking to your friends and family or writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Anything that helps other people find out about the Ned Smith Center, our mission and our project.


Top 4 Landscape Lighting Trends of 2018

Low voltage landscape lighting is an essential addition to any landscape. It extends the hours that you can enjoy your outdoors, as well as adds another dimension of BEAUTY and added security to your property. Below you will find some of the top trends in landscape lighting for 2018.


Top 4 Landscape Lighting Trends of 2018

 BY:CAST Lighting
Spring is just around the corner and we’re excited about what’s to come. We’ve compiled a short list of the biggest landscape lighting trends to come in 2018. From what fixtures are in to what technology is out, we’ve covered it all.

So make sure to keep an eye out as you drive through neighborhoods this coming season, visit friends, and peruse properties for landscape lighting inspiration. We think you’ll find the following trends are hot, hot, hot!


Brass, Bronze, & Copper Fixtures

Outdoor light fixtures earth tone-coated to match your landscape are on the decline. Instead, brass, bronze, and copper are the homeowner’s fixture of choice. The look of today’s fixtures are moving away from trendy and returning to timeless. Brass, bronze, and copper fixtures offer more class and natural beauty as they age with a lovely patina, which is now the coveted look.

Of the three, solid bronze light fixtures steal the show, however: Not only are they stunning to look at and admire, they’re an extremely durable and weather-resistant product compared to some of their inferior alternatives made of subpar material like aluminum. Even copper and brass fixtures are known to bend, corrode, and even break, making bronze the most superior quality of the timeless trio, impervious to damage and corrosion.

Outdoor Living After Dark

Today, we’re seeing a major shift in favor of outdoor living: outdoor kitchens, outdoor living rooms complete with rugs, pillows, and throw blankets, and expertly hardscaped fire pits. According to a Houzz study, 83 percent of backyards were being transformed into primarily outdoor entertaining spaces with 73 percent focused on becoming outdoor eating spaces, 53 percent being remodeled into outdoor living rooms, and 48 percent included barbeques and/or fire pits for added touches of ambiance and functionality.

As such, these outdoor living spaces require professional outdoor lighting design and installation. Homeowners spend a great deal of money on these outdoor living spaces and the best way to make the most of this investment is to make sure it can be used at any time with landscape lighting.

Not to mention, the trend has never been to wash out scenes with one-dimensional lighting, it’s to create depth and emotion and to create specific moods in specific areas for specific tasks—like a intimately low-lit area with a hot tub or a lively dining area where bright light is needed to entertain, grill, and keep energy high. This is hard to achieve without the knowledge and expertise of professional designers and top-quality products.

LED Lights

Halogen lamps are the way of the dinosaur—put out to pasture by LED technology. It’s been a long time coming, but now 90 percent of our fixtures are being paired with LED lights, truly showing how extinct halogen lamps have become.

Halogens are known for power inefficiency, burn outs, their inevitable replacement, and, of course, heavy maintenance in comparison to LEDs. LED lights are now known for their energy efficiency, reliability, and can look identical to the warm halogen glow people are attracted to.

But make no mistake, the reality of purchasing and using LEDs is not so rosy, though. The LED faces issues with light, heat, moisture, color, false manufacturer claims, and a capable fixture to protect them. It’s important to do your research and buy quality LEDs.

Astronomical Timers

Today, most homeowners are opting for astronomical timers over analog timers and photocells. And why wouldn’t they? Analog timers and photocells are fairly accurate and a tad cheaper, but antiquated in comparison; for that little extra investment, homeowners can get the best technology available, and we encourage them to do so.

Photocells sense when light is diminishing, and when it hits a certain level, the landscape lighting system is turned on. Meanwhile, analog timers—the ones that look like old-school dial timers used in the kitchen—are truly archaic in comparison to digital astronomical timers.

Astronomical timers are by far the most sophisticated, precise, and reliable of the bunch, requiring you to program the GPS coordinates of the property or its zip code to determine exactly when the sun rises and sets no matter the time of year. You can even program them to adjust for daylight savings. So, for a little more legwork in the beginning, you get the most accurately timed system every day.

Some people may ask, why are timers even needed at all? The simple answer is: for convenience and security. Rather than manually turning a system on or off, a timer makes the process effortless. Additionally, a major reason why folks install landscape lighting is for security. Ensuring that your system is turned on at dusk—when a homeowner may not be home to manually turn it on—helps ward off potential incidents that are encouraged by unlit houses.

Spring for The Best

Spring 2018 is all about implementing the best—the best landscape lighting design, techniques, products, and installation. From the types of fixtures purchased and the LEDs that are paired with them to professional installation and timer programming, it’s all about implementing the best design tools and team to make outdoor living spaces—and an entire property as a whole—safe, secure, beautiful, and usable.


Waterfall and Stream (Before & After)
Waterfall and Stream (Before & After) installed in Lancaster, PA

Waterfall and Stream (Before & After) installed in Lancaster, PA

This beautiful waterfall and stream installation was recently completed in Lancaster, PA. The water feature is approximately forty five feet in length. We built the falls through an existing masonry seating wall already existing on the property. This is first phase of what we hope to be an additional 45? feet or so of pondless waterfalls and stream that will travel up through the front of the home. The water feature flows down to the basin just before the natural stone boulder wall and is outfitted with an overflow that directs into a natural spring pond on the property. Underwater LED landscape lighting was also installed through the feature for nighttime enjoyment. The feature is made of of natural slightly weathered limestone and as per normal the water feature products are from aquascape. Check out more on this project here.


Do you have a pond but have no idea how or what to plant? Well you came to the right place. Featured below are 7 tips for planting your pond from our good friends at Aquascape. Enjoy!

By: Aquascape


From colorful water lilies that dance on the pond’s surface to aquatic Forget-Me-Nots that hug the edges of your water garden, it’s the amazing pond plants that put the “garden” in “water garden.”  You can apply many of the same tips and guidelines you use to create your terrestrial flower beds.  Things like color, height, and planting conditions are things you’ll want to consider when it comes to naturalizing your pond with plants.One: Create Interest with Variety. Random placement of plants with varying textures and colors will create more interest than using plants that have all the same growth habit or leaf shape.

7 Tips for Planting Your Pond

Two: Play with Colors. Choose colors you like best and consider the type of lighting your pond receives. Yellow, orange, and white help brighten shady areas, while cool blue and violet tone down the intensity of the sun’s rays.

Three: Go Green. A soft, calming space is created by using different textures and shades of green foliage. The combination is effective on its own, but also looks great when accented only by white flowers.  You can also play with color based on leaf selection alone, since you’ll find aquatic foliage in a range of colors such as red, purple, yellow, and several variegated combinations.


Four: Know Your Plant Size. One of the biggest mistakes novice water gardeners make is failing to realize how big their pond plants might grow. Be sure to take height and width of the mature plant into consideration and allow enough space for future growth.

Five: Short in Front, Tall in Back. This might seem like a no-brainer, but always put shorter plants in front of taller ones.  Most likely, you’ll spend most of your time viewing your water garden from a deck or patio, so keep that sight line in mind when planting your pond.


Six: Group Plants Together. Interior decorators tell you to group like objects together when decorating your home, to create visual impact. Use this same principle when planting your pond. Plant a row of marsh marigolds along a stretch of the ponds edge, as opposed to dotting them all around the pond in single locations.

Seven: Consider Each Plant’s Needs. Be mindful of how much sun your aquatic plants require, along with their planting depth. If a plant requires full sun, that’s a minimum of 6 hours of unobstructed (ie not dappled shade) sun per day.  If you’re not sure what your plant needs, ask the pro at your local garden center or search online for information.

Aquatic Plants in Water Garden
You’ll want to ensure an interesting mix of aquatic plant types for your water garden. Plant a few marginal at the pond’s edge, include colorful water lilies or even a lotus, add floating plants like water lettuce, and include submerged plants to help add oxygen to your pond. Variety is the spice of gardening life, so don’t be afraid to experiment … or follow our handy planting guides below!


Small Pond: Plant Placement Ideas

How to Plant a Small Pond


Medium Pond: Plant Placement Ideas

How to Plant a Medium Pond


Large Pond: Plant Placement Ideas

How to Plant a Large Pond

What once was a Pond was converted to this……..

What once was a Pond was converted to this…….. an amazing pondless waterfall feature. This Project included converting an existing pond into a pondless waterfall with single decorative stacked slate bubbling urn feature with driftwood. This included keeping the existing pond liner in place and removing the stream liner and installing a new liner in that area as well as reshape the stream and build a updated new stream and waterfalls. The pond area was converted in to a pondless basin. Two Statuary duck fountains the home owners had previously in the pond were reinstalled into the pondless basin along with submersible landscape lighting. As with all our water feature installs all products were manufactured by Aquascape..

Pond Renovation

Pond Renovation

What once was a Pond was converted to this........

What once was a Pond was converted to this……..

Pond Renovation

Pond Renovation

What once was a Pond was converted to this........

What once was a Pond was converted to this……..

Pond Renovation

Pond Renovation

What once was a Pond was converted to this........

What once was a Pond was converted to this……..

Pond Renovation

Pond Renovation

Top Home Trend for 2018

The Top Home Trend for 2018 isn’t inside the home, it’s on the outside. The concept of bringing the indoors outside is as popular as ever. If you haven’t been exposed to whats available today, i suggest you look into it….
By: Cast Lighting

Outdoor Living: Bringing the Indoors Outside

According to HGTV, the No. 1 outdoor home trend of 2017 was the concept of bringing the indoors outside—and we see no signs of a slowdown this coming spring and summer. With the introduction and desire for outdoor kitchens, rugs, couches, ottomans, tables, and cozy blankets and pillows, the most prominent home trend of 2018 will continue to be outdoor living—the seamless transition from your home to your outdoor space.

According to a 2017 Architect Magazine article, outdoor living spaces continued to be the most popular “special function room” for the sixth consecutive year. Six in 10 architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built, and the survey also noted that 69 percent of homeowners increased outdoor living options along with landscaping.

Why Outdoor Living Spaces are Trending

One of the initial reasons for the rise of outdoor living spaces was the 2008 financial crisis. More and more Americans were opting to stay home for vacation to save money—and the word “staycation” became a part of our everyday vocabulary and lifestyle.

But today, the trend is just as popular, extending beyond economic reasons. According to the most recent Houzz Spring Landscaping Trends Study, there are several motivations for homeowners to invest in their outdoor living space. Among the most popular reasons are the following: 56 percent of homeowners choose to update their backyard to make it more entertainment friendly; 44 percent desire to make their yard more functional; 34 percent wish to increase home value and resale value; and 27 percent want to create more living space.

In fact, according to’s “2017 Cost Vs. Value” report, outdoor living areas continue to produce a sizable return on a homeowner’s investment. Cost recouping for patios and decks range from 55 percent to 71 percent—on par with bathroom remodels, additions, and replacing roofs and exterior siding.

What Outdoor Living Enhancements & Additions are Popular?

The Houzz study revealed that backyards were undergoing several different kinds of additions and improvements: 83 percent were being transformed into primarily outdoor entertaining spaces, 73 percent focused on becoming outdoor eating spaces, and 53 percent were being remodeled into outdoor living rooms.

How do these spaces come to life? By adding an array of features! Sixty-nine percent of homeowners chose to add patios to enhance their outdoor living space; 38 percent choose to add a deck; 48 percent decided to include barbeques and/or fire pits for added ambiance and functionality; 19 percent added sound systems; and 14 percent built outdoor kitchens.

We’re expecting even more of a rise in fire features—including permanent custom-built fire pits and portable tabletop fire pits—in 2018.

A Spotlight on Landscape Lighting

For evening entertaining, safety, security, and the ability for your clients—and their guests—to adore their backyard, professional landscape lighting is a must. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2015 trends study ranked landscape lighting the second most popular design element of the year. The Houzz study similarly revealed that seven in 10 homeowners install lights to illuminate their hardscape. And, of these homeowners, 58 percent of them go green with LED.

Additionally, seven in 10 homeowners taking on landscape lighting projects are lighting their deck or patio; five in 10 are using lighting around paths and trees/shrubs, and a third are lighting steps.

The Effects of the Outdoor Living Trend

One direct effect of the outdoor living trend is the boom of the hardscape Industry. The demand for hardscape products—boulders, edging, and pavers—in the U.S. is expected to increase nearly 6 percent each year, making hardscaping a $3.5 billion industry by 2021, according to a recent study by The Freedonia Group.

A surge in landscape lighting product sales is also expected. The Freedonia Group study projects a 3.4 percent growth year-after-year through 2021.

Sadly, these numbers are truly representative of what’s going on in the industry: Homeowners spend a fortune on creating unbelievable outdoor living experiences, but then forget to budget landscape lighting. This is a huge oversight that needs to be addressed at the onset of any major backyard project. Homeowners spend a great deal of money transforming their property into amazing outdoor living spaces, but then they aren’t as safe as they could be due to lack of lighting; they also aren’t used to their fullest potential or shown off as much as they should due to poor lighting.

Our advice is to include landscape lighting design into your budget. Making this investment on your outdoor living investment will only increase the value of your home and your outdoor experience as a whole! Enjoy all the hard work you put into your place!

Backyard Design (Before & After)

Check out this amazing backyard design before and after transformation!!!

This Paver patio project was installed in Mount Gretna, PA. The project consisted of approximately 850 square feet of techo bloc blu 60 paver patio. There is a smaller elevated patio landing area when you first walk outside. This then opens up to the much larger and main patio area. off to the side of the main patio are is another smaller patio. This area is covered by a beautiful 12 x 14 alipine pavilion. The surrounding area was completed with new landscape beds and plantings around the perimeter. A landscape lighting system was also installed throughout the project area. Now this is an outdoor space built for living and entertaining with family and friends, surrounded by beautiful scenic views.

Water Artisans of the Year

Water Artisans of the Year | The 2017 Pond Season Winners

Pond Trade Magazines second annual contest winners raise the bar!


Best Water Feature Under 15k

Pond trade water artisan award $15,000

Bobby Kenyon brings home the award for the best pond installation under $15,000.


C.E. Pontz Sons of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is an outdoor living expert, with some of the most creative and well-trained employees in the landscape and outdoor living industries. Bobby Kenyon is the creative-solutions guru. He has over a decade of experience in the landscape and water-garden industries. The company prides itself on being different — not an everyday, run-of-the mill, cookie-cutter landscaper. “Where art meets nature” is their tag line.

The central philosophy of our contest is to showcase the talents of independent water-feature contractors in an open, unbiased forum. We added this category as a special nod to the smaller projects out there, because not all works of art come with a hefty price tag.

This outdoor patio overhaul by C.E. Pontz Sons is living proof that not all stunning pondscapes have to cost an arm and a leg. Lead designer Bobby Kenyon and his team created a luxe, private sitting area atop 685 sq. ft. of Belgard Lafitt pavers, set under a majestic cedar pergola for the enjoyment of this new pondless waterfall and meandering 16-foot stream.

Low-voltage LED landscape lighting gives this new living space around-the-clock character for the enjoyment of the moving water and freshly edged and mulched landscape beds. The team even hid the air conditioning unit and generator behind a 4-foot privacy panel to create the perfect aesthetic feel. A 25-foot Rosetta Belvedere retaining wall beautifully accents this stunning, full-package backyard makeover (without the full price tag).



Ever wonderful how many fish you can add to your pond? How many is too many or too little for your backyard water feature? Lucy for you we have the answers you desire.


Chances are … if you have a pond, you have fish. In fact, your pond fish might be the primary reason why you even wanted a water garden in your yard.  Fish are fun to watch and most pond owners name each and every one of their finned friends.  While fish create a memorable experience, they can also bring headaches to water quality if you go overboard when stocking fish. Too many fish in the pond creates an imbalance in water, so you’ll want to make sure you’re smart about the number and size of fish that you place in the water garden.

Pond fish typically need 10 gallons of water for every inch of their length, but keep in mind they will grow larger over the years. So no matter how tempting it might be to add just a few more fish, be careful not to overstock! Some pond experts even go so far as to recommend only ½ inch of fish per 10 gallons of water as a maximum stocking density.

If you’re a fish fanatic, you may find yourself with a pond containing 2 or even 3 inches of fish per 10 gallons of water and the fish seem to be fine. However, the density and ecological strain of this loading can turn your pond into a fragile system. The pH tends to sag, the fish tend to grow more slowly, and disease can become a common occurrence.

It’s very difficult to salvage sick fish in a pond that’s overcrowded. Most likely, Mother Nature will sadly pick off your favorite fish to achieve her ideal stocking density based on the system the fish are in, and then the remainder may recover.

So before adding another fish to your koi collection, make sure you have ample space so that all your fish are ensured a happy, healthy home!

How Many Fish Can You Add to Your Pond?

Read More: Pond Fish

Winter Pond Tips

Winter Pond Tips

Winter Pond Tips

DON’T WALK ACROSS YOUR FROZEN POND!!!!!!!! Check out all the winter pond tips you need to get you through the cold season from our good friends at Aquascape!!!!!

Aquascape VP of Construction, Brian Helfrich, shares really great tips for keeping your pond in tip-top shape during the winter months. Just don’t do what he did and try to walk across your frozen pond!