Pittsburgh Koi Pond Waterfall

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
– Edgar Degas

Pittsburgh Koi Pond Waterfalls & Outdoor Fountain Design

Because most homeowners typically spend whatever precious time they have fixing up their property that will be seen by others, why not install an aquatic design like a pond, water garden, outdoor fountain or koi pond waterfall to enhance that attention at your Pittsburgh home. Imagine, stepping through the back door of your home into your own calm and relaxing oasis, and instantly feeling as if you’re on vacation somewhere far away.

Wichman Landscape Construction can transform your boring backyard into a tranquil retreat by installing a large or small fountain, a breathtaking Koi pond or calming pond less waterfall system. Whether your yard is large or small, there are many options to meet your need and your budget.

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For example, when choosing and planning your Aquatic Design, make sure that it fits in with the composition of your garden, perhaps using materials that feature elsewhere in the design.

Look at the use of waterproof masonry, such as concrete, will seal in the water in your feature, whether it is a raised or sunken pool or line it with a waterproof membrane such as polyethylene or PVC. Do not add any decoration that could puncture the waterproof layer or liner, and ensure that any joints where inlet and outlet piping enter the pool are fully watertight.

Natural-looking water features, such as artificial streams or wildlife ponds, are usually irregularly shaped and lined with flexible waterproof materials. Design the pond to make sure it is deep enough to allow desired rooting to take place and that in the Pittsburgh area it will not freeze.  Whether it is a stream or waterfall make sure there is a header or reservoir at the top to ensure a constant even flow of water down through the system into a large holding reservoir.  Cover the edges of your pond or stream with planting or flat stones to conceal the waterproof membrane.

Therefore, while many of the standard landscaping options, such as patios and colorful plantings, will give your home a pleasant atmosphere for playing outside with your children or barbecuing with friends, the truly stunning addition of a koi pond waterfall or other water feature will take it over the top. Of course, to make it even more appealing, you could accent your new pond with submersible lighting and surround the area with lush landscaping and beautiful walkways. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?

A consultation with a Wichman professional will show you all of the many possibilities for transforming your backyard into a unique, relaxing getaway. Call today at (412) 760-8524 to set up your free consultation!



A backyard waterfall will create a soothing environment and can completely change the atmosphere of your backyard. Falling water produces a peaceful sound that is soothing to the soul. Adding a well-designed waterfall and pond will transform your backyard into a private retreat where you can unwind with friends and family. There are many other benefits to installing a waterfall. First, the constant flow and movement will help to keep the pond water clear and free of algae. Second, a waterfall will aerate the water (add oxygen), which is necessary for growing plants and raising fish in a koi pond.

A backyard waterfall can be built in a formal or informal style. A formal waterfall is constructed to look like a staircase. Characterized by geometric lines and right angles, formal waterfalls are often made of brick, poured concrete or blocks of stone. An informal waterfall is designed to look like a natural waterfall. It should appear as if you could have stumbled upon it while hiking in the woods. Typically, rocks, boulders, gravel, and driftwood are used to build informal waterfalls. The style of your pond, as well as the rest of your garden and your home, should dictate the style you select for your waterfall.

To design a waterfall for the back yard, consider these simple concepts:

  • Keep the waterfall in scale with the pond
  • Build the waterfall on a slope for the most natural look
  • Place plants far away from the waterfall so that they aren’t damaged
  • Make your pond deeper where the waterfall is to avoid excessive splash and water loss
  • Leave a hollow space behind the falls to amplify the sound
  • Increase the height of the waterfall to increase the sound produced


Water Gardens


People of all ages love water gardens for their natural sights and sounds. When designing a water garden, aim to mimic nature. The shape of the pond should be organic and irregular, real rocks and boulders should surround the water, and aquatic plants should be grown. Sound is also a crucial part of a water garden. Hidden circulation pumps, a cascading waterfall or flowing stream can all be used to create water movement which then produces a melodic and relaxing sound.

Since water gardens have such a natural appearance, they fit well into informal gardens. Informal gardens typically have curved lines, meandering paths and casual planting beds. A water garden may also be right for your yard if you live in a natural setting, such as meadow fields, or the woods.

When designing a water garden get your inspiration directly from nature. Consider to mimic nature

  • by lining 40-60% of the shoreline with rock – use sand, gravel, mulch, plants or driftwood for the remaining shoreline
  • use river rock in the water and use mountain stone for edging
  • place rocks at irregular intervals (avoid patterns)
  • vary the width and depth of your water garden

Koi Pond Design


A Koi pond must be properly designed in order for the fish to thrive. Most professionals recommend that a pond intended for Koi meet a certain set of requirements in order to provide the best habitat for the fish. Generally, Koi ponds are larger than fishless ponds.

Koi pond waterfall size requirements:

  • 3+ feet deep minimun in Pittsburgh
  • 25 sq. ft. of pond per koi
  • No less than 1,000 gallons of water

It’s important to realize that fish need shade. If your pond location is in direct sunlight consider growing floating plants like water lilies. Half of the ponds surface should be shaded to provide koi with a comfortable place where they can escape the sunlight. Another benefit of floating plants is that they provide a place for the fish to hide from predators.

Water plants are an essential element of a Koi pond. Aquatic plants help balance the ecosystem, creating a more natural home for the fish. Some plants are oxygenators, meaning they will release oxygen into the water, which the fish can then breathe. Additionally, Koi eat many types of water plants and they will live off of algae, insects and other miscellaneous food that the environment provides.


A good pond filter will help keep your pond clear and clean. Koi produce a significant amount of waste, making a filter a necessity. There are two types of filtration: mechanical and biological.

Mechanical filtration traps debris and fish waste. Pump baskets, bottom drains and skimmers are all good for mechanical filtration. Biological filtration utilizes beneficial bacteria to convert toxins into harmless substances.


Fish need oxygen to survive. Depending on the size of your pond, the amount of plants growing and the number of fish you may need to consider aeration. Aeration is a process in which oxygen is circulated through pond water.

Koi pond waterfalls and outdoor fountains are two pleasing ways to aerate a pond. The motion of the water will allow oxygen to circulate naturally. However, you may also want to consider installing equipment that will help aerate your pond. Aeration pumps or jets are especially beneficial if you live in a hot climate or have large fish.

Water Quality:

The quality of your pond water will have an impact on the health of your fish. You’ll want to keep a close eye on water temperatures and pH levels. Ideal water temperature for koi is 39° to 68° F. The deeper your pond is the easier it will be to regulate the temperature. The best pH level for a Koi pond is between 7.0 and 7.8.

Be aware that chlorine is harmful to Koi, it will burn your fishes’ gills and possibly lead to death. For this reason you must wait at least a week after filling your pond for the chlorine to dissipate before stocking it with fish.



A well-placed fountain can transform an ordinary backyard into a relaxing outdoor retreat with the restorative sound and hypnotizing movement of trickling water. A fountain can also serve as a focal point in a front yard, plaza or courtyard.

Outdoor fountains come in a wide range of sizes, styles and materials:  prefabricated or custom designed and built. Fountains can be mounted on walls, freestanding, tiered or disappearing. The option you choose will primarily depend on your budget, space availability, maintenance considerations and garden style. A good rule-of-thumb is to use a large fountain as a focal point and a small fountain as an accent element. Wichman Landscape can help you sort through the options and ask the right questions before you install your fountain.

The main factors to consider when choosing the best location for a fountain, including the style of your garden, are whether you want to use your fountain as an accent or a focal point, and the proximity to electricity for operating a water pump & lighting.

Important questions to ask before installing a water fountain, such as how much maintenance will be required and how much sound does it produce.

The characteristics of the most popular fountain materials, including cast stone, fiberglass, ceramic and metal.

The benefits of installing a self-contained fountain, which comes with all the working parts, including the pump and plumbing, enclosed within the unit.

– Visit our aquatic design technical specifications page to learn and understand the basics of water garden construction.

I was very impressed with the level of work each day and the clean-up was terrific. Mr. Wichman very was professional I would highly recommend this company.

Paul W.

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