outdoor living spaces
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Eclectic. Exquisite. Contemporary. These are some of the words used to describe this water feature. Drawing inspiration from Old World craft and artisan stonework, with native boulders and driftwood and aquatic plants, all these elements draw together to capture the magic, of water!
This one of a kind fountain feature was only one part of a display constructed by Tussey Landscaping. Constructed in the hub of the Penn State's Ag Progress Days farm show, these waterfalls and fountains are viewed by over 40,000 people in three Days! Our crew arrived the first day to a flat open section of lawn.
To begin, the crew created a mound that would become the slope for our 10 foot Appalachian Run Pondless waterfall. Eventually, the custom fountain feature would be incorporated into the other side of this mound. The Premier Pondless kit was constructed using weathered limestone rocks. This kit pondless comes with a variable flow pump, so the amount of water flow can be adjusted to taste.
To construct the water feature, the catalog of various Aquascape fountain products was opened. Copper Spillway bowls and Basin bowls were used. Various sizes of Stacked Slate urns were brought in. Several sandstone boulders were drilled to be used for bubbling boulders. An assortment of stumps and driftwood, weathered limestone and Pennsylvania sandstone were collected, and the creative process began.
This fountain feature was built over a large basin that would catch the falling water from all the waterfalls and fountains. After the basin had been constructed and liner was in place to catch all splashing, the creative process began. Two pumps were installed to send water to the many different sources. An elaborate manifold of Tees and valves allowed the amount of water directed to each bowl, urn, waterfall, and boulder to be controlled independently. There was no specific design for this part of the display. The crew of artists building this fountain feature evaluated each step of the process. Guys would step back and contemplate.
"Should we switch those two urns?"
"What if we would put a bubbling boulder there instead of a copper bowl?"
"Let's make a waterfall here!"
"Do yo think we could make water come out of that stump?"
Deliberately, yet freely, the fountain took shape. Urns splashed lightly; open pools of water shimmered beside them. Thin ribbons of water poured from some places, torrents gushed from others.
If you want more information about how this display was constructed, or are interested in creating a fountain feature of your own, contact us today to begin the conversation.
These home owners had a koi pond behind their house which they had enjoyed for many years. However, it was leaking water, and the rock pond walls were falling in. In lieu of an extensive "fix up" project, these clients chose to have the old pond removed and a new and improved pond put in its place. This new pond would be slightly smaller than the old pond, and it would be moved back into the bank a bit more. This would allow more space for the patio area between the two wings of the house. The new 11'x16' pond would be deeper than standard, three feet deep instead of two feet. This extra depth would contribute to the health of the Koi living in the pond. When our crew arrived, the fish were removed to a holding tank safely out of the way, the water was pumped out of the pond, and demolition began.
As soon as excavation began, our crew knew that there would be challenges to this build. The slope behind the house that our crew hoped to carve out for construction was a limestone ledge! In order to create the space and flexibility needed for the stream and pond construction, the crew spent hours digging out limestone rocks. After all obstacles had been removed, the now oversized hole was refilled with clean topsoil. This would aid the crew in shaping out the pond shelves, and also would ensure that no troublesome limestone ledges would damage our liner, once installed.
Like so many projects that year, we battled rain and mud the entirety of this project. In spite of this inhibitor to morale and efficiency, within a week, our crew was finishing the rock work in the pond, and setting boulders for the waterfalls and stream. Like all water features constructed by Tussey Landscaping, this pond was created using Aquascape components. Weathered limestone boulders from Semco, Missouri were used for the rock work. These mossy, aged beauties make a newly constructed waterfalls and stream look timeless!
When stream excavation was completed and the liner was installed, our crew began the creative work of selecting individual rocks for the stream. Each rock is evaluated for how it could be used to create a waterfall. How will water run across this rock? Can we use this tall rock to frame that heavier one beside it? This artistic process is unpredictable; the rocks delivered to a jobsite will dictate how the waterfalls are shaped and come together.
The project moved along, and soon the pond and waterfalls were completed, and it was time for a test run. The pond was filled (it was muddy!) and the pump was switched on. Even though there was still much work to do, everyone was excited. These new waterfalls played down the bank beautifully. Once all the details and landscaping were completed, this newly constructed water feature would look like it had always been there.
Soon shrubs, perennials, and mulch were brought in, and the final details of this project were completed. If you want to watch the development of this project in more detail, check out our project video for this Koi pond.
If you have further questions about this Koi pond remake, or if you are interested in creating a project of your own, contact us today
Like many Altoona residences, this property front entrance had a series of steps and retaining walls leading up to the front door. Unfortunately, poor construction technique and improper installation of this wall caused it to fail. The force of freeze an thaw on this retaining wall each winter slowly was pushing this wall over.
There are many steps to proper installation of a retaining wall. Improper procedure or execution of any of these steps may to lead to failure down the road. There are many wrong ways to build a retaining wall, but only one right way. Although there are many ways a retaining wall can fail, most walls fail for a few common reasons.
1. Improper compaction of the soil and base of the wall. Proper compaction of the subgrade and base of a wall is very difficult to see, especially once a wall is installed. It is difficult for even an experienced hardscaper to look at newly constructed wall and determine if proper compaction was used in building. However, the longer a wall stands, (or doesn't stand) the more obvious it is if proper compaction equipment and techniques were used.
2. Poor drainage. With every type of precipitation, water collects behind a retaining wall. If this hydraulic pressure cannot be relieved, the retaining wall turns into a water dam. Even large commercial walls with very heavy blocks are no match to the incredible water pressure that can build up behind them. This effect can be heightened by heavy clay-type soils that hold water in them. A wall with proper sized block and effective base compaction is still not effective if there is not proper drainage behind the wall.
3. Backfilling and soil stabilization. Part of the solution to water crises is solved with correct backfilling. If a wall is backfilled with soil, this will trap moisture behind the wall and enhance water problems. Depending on the height of a wall, the soil type and the block used, soil stabilization methods may be needed as well.
While our crew rebuilt this wall, we captured some of the integral parts of proper wall construction. Different types and sizes of blocks, how tall or how long a wall is, and special requirements of load or capacity may cause additional building requirements, which won't be discussed here. The steps of retaining wall construction demonstrated here are universal to all retaining walls.
Compaction of the subgrade below the base of a wall, and compaction of the wall base itself is fundamental to retaining wall construction. Without wordy complex answers, it is difficult to demonstrate proper compaction.
One easy way to understand proper compaction it to look at the machines or tools used. A vibratory plate like the one pictured here is adequate for most residential wall construction. Using a smaller plate compactor can be done, although gaining proper compaction will be more difficult. Using hand tamps or any manual compactors is rarely effective. Improper compaction will lead to many different problems, but ultimately it will always lead to wall failure.
If you hire a crew to build a wall, ask them about the compaction equipment they ae using. Once a wall is built, nothing can be done to remedy improper compaction other than rebuilding. Make sure proper compaction is achieved first.
The base course is the very bottom row of block installed on a retaining wall. How, and where this base course is installed is vital to the longevity of a retaining wall. The entire first course of block must be buried underground. As you can see in the picture above, when dirt work and grading is completed around this wall, the entire first course of block will be hidden. This is also fundamental to wall construction. The buried first course becomes the anchor which prevents the entire wall from sliding forward over time. No matter how tall or short a wall is, or what size blocks are used, the entire bottom course must be buried. On large walls holding a large amount of weight, more than one entire course is buried.
When installing the base course, it is vital that these blocks are installed straight and level. String lines (as pictured) can be used to ensure the blocks are installed in a straight line. A laser and levels should be used to ensure that the base course is installed level.
Water pressure has destroyed many retaining walls. Proper compaction and base course installation are no match for the terrific pressure water behind a retaining wall can create. To ensure proper drainage, water must be dealt with in two ways.
Surface water, or runoff consequent from every rain, must be diverted away from a wall. Whether this is accomplished through swales or catch basins, the goal is that no surface water flows over the top of the retaining wall.
Ground water constantly is moving through the soil stratus behind a wall. To address this, a retaining wall should always be backfilled with clean stone. This allows any water to quickly drain down away from the face of the wall. At the bottom of a retaining wall, a perforated pipe must be installed that allows water to escape at the bottom of the wall. This can be accomplished by extending the pipe out past the end of the wall, or by daylighting it through the retaining wall. Either way, it is important that an escape is created to relieve water pressure behind a retaining wall.
Geogrid is one integral part of this wall that may not be required for all retaining walls. For many walls Geogrid is a necessary step to giving structural strength. This woven, biaxle geogrid stabilizes the clean stone behind the retaining wall. proper installation of geogrid is necessary. When to use geogrid, and how much is required for the project, will vary based on the size of the wall and the blocks used.
When completed, this wall provides an aesthetic solution that will last for decades. Like all Tussey Landscaping's hardscapes, this retaining wall is completed with a lifetime warranty. With all proper construction steps in place, this wall should stand after the workers who built it are gone.
If you want to learn more about Tussey's lifetime warranty walls and patios, contact us today.
These clients had a dream of a pool in their backyard. When they contacted Tussey Landscaping for a design and build, our Team put together a comprehensive pool and patio design; integrated into the natural slope of their backyard. Complete with a paver stone pool area, outdoor lighting, and landscaping, their swimming pool dream turned into a backyard paradise!
Our crew arrived the first day to this grassy slope, waiting transformation. With a design in hand and a vision in mind, our experienced construction crew began excavation for what would become the pool area.
This Rosetta wall was the foundation for the entire project. This Faux stone wall would shape the lower edge of the pool deck. Once this lower retaining wall was in place, the excavation for the pool could be finalized, and the fiberglass pool could be set.
With the pool in place, work moved to shaping the upper walls of the pool area and incorporating steps, walkways, and patios. Rosetta steps were used to create the stairway ascending from the pool area to the house. The pool deck was created using Techo Bloc Blu 60 pavers. These Harvest Gold colored pavers were accented with Techo Bloc Villagio pavers. The Pool coping was made using Techo Bloc York Cap. This wet cast product has a smooth top, with a chiseled stone face.
After weeks of work, the hardscape was finally completed, and it was time to focus on tying all the softscapes together. Trees, shrubs and perennials would be planted in the flower beds around the pool area. Amp low voltage LED lighting was incorporated into the entire area, allowing the pool to be used day or night. Our crew hydroseeded the new lawn areas around the pool. This was the final task, to repair the lawn first torn up over a month ago. When our crew left, this paradise was ready to be enjoyed!
If you want to learn more about this project, or are interested in starting a conversation about your own backyard paradise, contact us today.
This home was constructed beside a meandering mountain stream. Years ago, another contractor created a pond beside the house and created waterfalls in the stream beside the house. When the homeowners contacted us, the pond and stream were badly needing an upgrade. The pond needed dredged, and the stream was beyond repair; the liner was deteriorated, and all waterfalls needed rebuilt. Tussey's team arrived to remove all remnants of the old stream and start again at the beginning.
Our team faced numerous rainstorms during this project; some quite severe. From beginning to end mud was an obstacle to be overcome. However, the team pushed on, and in spite of the muck and rain, demolition was soon complete and it new construction could begin. The stream was diverted away from the work area, and boulders, rock and liner were brought in to begin building.
Soon, we had created a solid base for the last waterfall, that would fall into the pond. A pump vault was created to house three Aquascape pumps. These pumps would recirculate water from the pond back through the waterfalls beside the house. This would give the owners the capability increase the natural flow of water streaming past their house. If rains brought the water level in the stream up, or if they wanted to quiet the brook outside their windows, a flip of the switch would stop these pumps.
While our goal was to make this natural stream more beautiful, or crew also knew that it had to be able to handle a high volume of water that comes with the downpours of this area. As construction moved forward, these two requirements of function and beauty were the two guideposts of the process. Machines were brought in, and rock after rock was placed in the new stream. These sandstone giants would frame the waterfalls, and the meandering of the stream itself.
As this project started to fall together, everyone was excited with the final product. The new waterfalls were visible from the house, and projected the peaceful sound of water up to the house. With the pumps running, this newly created babbling brook became its own instant attraction. Our team also dredged out the years of accumulated silt in the pond. Sandstone boulders were placed around the perimeter of the pond to shape and define its edges.
With the pond finished, there were only details to be completed. Underwater lights were added to all the waterfalls and stream areas. Landscape details were finished up around the pond and stream, and grass was replanted. The only thing that was yet to be discovered, was the question of the new stream's ability to handle the flood waters of a Pennsylvania rain storm. We were able to watch firsthand the effects of a washout on the new construction.
This project took over two weeks to complete, but our crew enjoyed the challenge of transforming this aged water feature into an new paradise.
If you want to learn more about this project, or are interested in starting a conversation about your own backyard paradise:
Clear Ridge Event Center had its beginnings as an elementary school. When the owners began creating an the school-turned-events center, they wanted to create someplace special for the weddings that they hoped to attract. So when they turned to Tussey Landscaping for a design and build, our team knew they had to create something one of a kind special.
The design centered around a Pavilion, which would be the focal point of the project. But there had to be more. The sound of running water, the textures of stone underfoot, the fragrance and colors of tasteful landscape; all these were incorporated into the design.
The final project hit the mark; a photograph destination for capturing the moments and event that shape a lifetime!
If you have any questions about this project, or want to start a conversation about your own project, contact us today.
Our clients of today' project wanted to create their own little backyard retreat. With a dream and a patch of grass, they contacted Tussey Landscaping to help bring their backyard to life
Despite the constant weather related setbacks, our crew doggedly continued, and the project continued to take shape. As the patio, steps, and walkway took shape around the water feature, the vision of a backyard became traceable through the mud and chaos of construction.
The new water feature, muddy but running, encouraged everyone that we were progressing towards the Goal.
In progressing stages, the patio, steps, and walkways came together. For the walkways, we used a small Techo bloc paver called Antika. This small, random sized paver created an aged "cobblestone" look, while still giving a smooth walking surface. Black Hills natural stone slabs were used to continue the natural look of this landscape.
Thankfully, nearing the end of the project, the rain finally stopped. Our crew planted a mix of shade plants around the tree and water feature. After all the planting was completed and mulch was put down in all flower bed areas, the full beauty of this area became apparent. The sight and sound of water incorporated with the calming aesthetics of landscape create the atmosphere of relaxation for which the patio was created.
After all construction work was completed, the crew regraded the lawn, patching up all areas disturbed by construction; hydroseeding a new lawn behind us as we left. the final day of cleanup was dusty! Nobody complained though, for everyone was relieved just to be free of the mud.
The final project was nothing short of stunning. Check out our slideshow of the completed project.
Check out the video of this project coming together, in spite of the rain and mud our crew endured.
If you have questions about this project, or if you want to begin a conversation about creating you're backyard paradise, contact us today
These clients reached out to Tussey for help with their aging koi pond. built over a decade ago, their small water feature was in need of extensive troubleshooting. Unfortunately, It was not effectively constructed, and had chronic operating problems. Over the years numerous "fixes" had left this pond struggling. It was time for our construction crew to do some pond work!
Rather than attempt more corrective measure on the pond, our crew decided it would be best to start over. It was agreed to remove the entire pond and stream system and install our 7'x10' Simplicity Series Pond Kit.
We also added an eight foot stream to the pond kit. Our team of builders knew that a correctly constructed stream and waterfalls, would greatly enhance the beauty of this water feature.
The old pond system had a complicated plumbing system that was difficult to service and maintain. The lighting system had exposed fixtures and wires running everywhere in and around the pond, and many of the fixtures were no longer working well. The improved skimmer and pump hook up system of the simplicity series pond makes the pump much more accessible. Easy to install Low voltage LED lighting would be installed to transform the night time views of this pond.
There was a few challenges to be overcome for this pond construction. A narrow gate was an obstacle that almost barred the use of equipment from the project. Luckily, our machine was able to literally squeeze in. Layers of older liner and underlayment from previous ponds, along with unstable soil conditions made it necessary for our crew to fill in and compact the entire area before they could begin sculpting the new pond. However, these difficulties were dealt with, and soon a new pond was on the way!
Our finished project completely transformed this backyard. The new Simplicity Series pond features improved circulation and filtration; both will improve water clarity and ecological health in this pond. The new skimmer box allows the pump to be easily accessed for maintenance, and the skimmer basket easily removes floating debris from the water flow. The carefully disguised biofalls provides extra filtration. Our Underwater Low Voltage lights are carefully hidden among the rocks, illuminating the pond with their effects.
Watch this video to see more of the construction process, and the stunning transformation of this pond!
If you're interested in learning more about our Simplicity Series ponds, or if you want to talk about your ideas for your home, contact us today!
This project features one of our smallest and simplest Ecosystem ponds. But small doesn't mean different. This ecosystem pond was constructed following all the same steps used to build any size pond, and upon completion it functions exactly like its larger relatives. In just a few hours our experienced crew transformed this patch of grass into a living koi pond!
Digging the pond proved easy. Our procedure for making this pond is the same regardless of size. after excavation, our crew set the skimmer and biofalls where they will be positioned by the pond. Once these foundational parts are placed, underlayment, and then EPDM liner could be put into the pond.
With a motivated team of experienced builders, this rock work for this pond was completed in an hour! Our team installed the pump and plumbing work. Aquatic plants were added to help create a functioning ecosystem that koi fish could thrive in. After the rock work was completed, our team rinsed out the pond to remove excess dirt from construction. The pond was filled, and when the pump was plugged in, an new ecosystem koi pond was born before the owners eyes.
The relaxing sights and sounds of this little pond transformed these homeowners backyard patio into a relaxation station. This little pond brings all the delights of nature right to the edge of their living space. Watch this video to learn more about this tiny gem.
If you want to learn more about our ponds, or want to talk about pond or landscaping options for your property, contact us today!
The owners of this project showcase approached Tussey Landscaping looking for a contractor to help them create the landscape of their dreams. They wanted something natural, that would incorporate and enhance the living beauty of nature. Our Mountain Stream 16' pondless waterfall was the fit.
Weathered Limestone boulders were used to frame and create the waterfalls. the aged boulders bring timelessness to a newly constructed water feature.
An old stump was added. The aesthetic properties of the stump are obvious, but the aged relic also becomes a host for very biologically diverse collection of life. insects, moss, plants, and other tiny lives will call this home.
Winter hardy plants like this Chameleon Plant add color and life to this water feature.
These artistic waterfalls are more than just rocks and water. The winding stream, slow and ponderous, then cascading through itself, is the music and heartbeat of the landscape.
A Healthy ecosystem waterfalls attracts and breeds life on many levels.
There is infinite beauty in nature. On every level, from the roaring Niagara to the single sphere of water, there is a discovery of beauty waiting to be found.
It is more than just a waterfall. It is the centerpiece of the landscape, and of nature. from the tiny moss creeping along the waters edge, through the gentle flowers that grow beside the stream, to the trees that shade all below, the entire landscape integrated itself to water.
Check out this quick video of this natural beauty running in all its glory!
If you're ready to create beauty and life in your backyard, contact us today.
8583 Woodbury Pike
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Call us: 814.696.3700