Moving toward the center section, the pond reflects the flat marshy terrain of central Illinois’ farmland. Slow moving water and deep pools with lush vegetation were incorporated into this area of the design. It’s here that Beaulieu added the deepest part of the water at 10 feet, allowing a fish tunnel to be installed so koi would have a place to hide from would-be predators.
Toward the southern end of the 250′ long water feature, a variety of aquatic plants were added planted to resemble a painting of Monet’s garden. Over 200 hardy, day-blooming water lilies were planted by numerous contractors led by Steve Stroupe of Davis Creek Marketing Group, Inc.
Adjacent to “Monet’s Garden” is the wetlands area. Two of the water feature’s largest coves are located where the wetlands filters reside. Shallow, warmer water conditions allow for optimum plant growth here. Filtration in the wetlands was designed to mimic nature. In nature, groundwater is filtered through several feet and many layers of soil and sand before reaching the aquifers. Aquascape’s signature pond consists of 3 to 5 feet of gravel. The gravel bed provides an ideal home for bare root aquatic plants that absorb nutrients, forcing the plants to grow rapidly. The root zone is biologically active and is responsible for breakdown of organic compounds. Since excess nutrients contribute to algae growth, the plants in the wetlands area of the pond help to control algae and keep water clarity optimal.
The wetlands area is approximately 85′ x 10′ and is divided into two bog areas, measuring 35’x10′ and 50’x10′. The underground Centipede™ Module creates a 93% reduction in water velocity. Water moving through natural wetlands has a slow speed, and Beaulieu wanted to ensure that same lazy attitude. The pond contains a vanishing edge near this location. From inside the building, a blur line occurs where the water ends and land begins, creating a stunning view.
At the very southern end of the pond, a cypress swamp was incorporated into the design. Bald cypress trees were planted to mimic Southern Illinois’ vegetation and large logs were placed for visual interest. The logs were previously excavated from the property and saved to be used specifically for Aquascape’s extreme pond. Nearby, the pump basin holds up to 40,000 gallons of water and houses all of the filters, jets, and pumps for the waterfalls. From here, the water is pumped back to the northern edge of the water feature where the greatest volume of circulation exists from a set of waterfalls.
Aquascape’s signature pond is bisected by a large grassy peninsula at the eastern edge, which makes way to flat limestone slabs that act as stepping stones toward the building. Up to 150,000 gallons of water per hour flow over the stepping stones. The water is approximately 3 to 4 inches deep over one of the stones. The rest are located above water for easy stepping. Transitioning from the stepping stones to the building is a series of man-made deck “stepping stones” created from recycled plastic.
Interactive areas were incorporated throughout the water feature and the peninsula is a key area to spend time enjoying the surrounding watery views. The patio adjacent to the grotto’s waterfalls is another favorite viewing area due to the captivating views and availability of lounging areas.