Filed under:Design,Landscaping,Ponds and Waterfalls
Disappearing or pondless waterfalls are becoming popular with the backyard gardener who wants more for the outdoor spaces. The disappearing waterfall is a great way to incorporate a dynamic effect to accent the hard surfaces and plantings of the patio garden for the sophisticated homeowner. These waterfalls are refreshing and virtually maintenance free and create a tranquil effect for the homeowner. They are a simple closed system with an unseen filter below a couple of inches of 1″-2″ sized ornamental stones where the pump is located. The beauty is in the details of the stones, drops, pools, and cascades to create a spectacular overall effect with the soothing sounds of moving water. The pump pushes the water up and the falls return the water to the filter and the cycle repeats itself. Pondless waterfalls are the perfect option for the homeowner that enjoys water without the once a year maintenance of the koi pond. The following 4 links are short movies of the brand new disappearing waterfall shown above that Teacup Gardener installed last week in Clarksville, Tennessee.
August 18, 2009
By STACY LEISER
The family’s backyard in Rudolphtown had its appeal, dropping down to the Red River, then farmland beyond. But it was steep and craggy enough that it was unusable by Troy and Tawyna Sinitiere, their then-teenage daughter Brooke, and even their dogs.
“You couldn’t walk back here, really, because of the slope of the land, without breaking your ankle,” Tawnya Sinitiere says.
“You couldn’t use the space for anything,” Troy Sinitiere agrees.
Today, all that has changed for the better. The Sinitieres’ new landscape will be featured on the
Montgomery County Water Garden Society’s 10th annual Water Garden Tour, which is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 22. In honor of its 10th anniversary, the tour features 10 local people’s ponds for the first time this year.
The Sinitieres are relatively new to town. They chose Clarksville and moved here from Atlanta a few years ago, bringing with them their business, B.E.S. Security Systems.
“I like to fish. I like the outdoors. I liked the Cumberland River coming through, and close proximity to the lake,” Troy Sinitiere said. “Clarksville has restaurants, shopping, everything we were looking for.”
The climate was part of Clarksville’s appeal, so they wanted ways to better enjoy the outdoors at their home. They tried with little success to find a local landscaper to redesign their yard. After a year of looking, they found Robert Edwards, a Nashville-based landscaper known as the Teacup Gardener
They first hired Edwards to landscape their front yard, but that went so well they gave him a crack at redesigning their much more challenging backyard.
“I like different,” Tawnya Sinitiere says. “I wanted something like a Southern Living garden, something for all seasons.”
Troy Sinitiere and his father-in-law already had a major deck rebuild and expansion in mind, To add to that, Edwards proposed a plan that made the backyard’s rough terrain into a peaceful walking path alongside a lovely stream.
“I was always interested in having a stream in my backyard,” Troy Sinitiere says. “I never wanted a pond with koi.”
Now, Troy Sinitiere has two ponds swimming with 29 koi.
“We were originally only going to have one pond, but he (Edwards) said with the slope of the land we could have another pond,” Tawnya Sinitiere says.
The backyard now features a ground-level deck overlooking a waterfall-fed pond. The surface is at deck level near the house, but is at the top of an impressive rock wall as the ground falls away on the back side. Tens of thousands of pounds of natural stone were trucked in to build the pond walls, as well as a walking path and stone steps that circle two ponds connected by a stream.
Many people go on the annual water garden tour to get ideas for their own backyard water gardens. The Sinitieres joined Montgomery County Water Garden Society to meet other pond people, who share ideas about filtering, pumps, liners, koi, health and other issues that people don’t encounter elsewhere.
“We joined to help learn how to take care of our pond,” Tawnya Sinitiere says.
“It has taken us a while to figure out what it takes to get it balanced and how to keep it balanced,”
Troy Sinitiere says.
Tawnya Sinitiere has enjoyed using the new space as a showcase for her gardening experiments. She said she loves going on the Montgomery County Water Garden Society tour to get new gardening ideas. People can participate in the tour Aug. 22 by purchasing a ticket ($10 per person ages 13 and older; free ages 12 and younger) that includes addresses and directions to each of 10 stops. Tour attendees then drive at their leisure to each location, where the water garden’s owners will be on hand to chat or answer questions.
Tawnya Sinitiere loves bright colors and enjoys trying new combinations of color, texture and scale in her plant choices. And she’s happy to pass on all she has learned. Black coral elephant ears, petunias, limelight hydrangeas, azaleas, cattails, knockout roses, Japanese maples, blue pickerel and lizard’s tail are among the profusion of plants that make their garden a four-season wonderland. Crape myrtles, trained to grow tall like trees, add whimsy and privacy at the side property line.
The Sinitieres now enjoy their resort-like backyard so much it is hard for them to imagine how unwelcoming it once was.
“It’s peaceful out here in the evening,” Tawnya Sinitiere says. “We like to eat dinner out here.”
Dramatic lighting creates warm pools of light at night, enhancing the magic of the space.
“When it’s lit up at night,” Troy Sinitiere says, “it takes on a whole different appearance.”
July 16, 2009
By STACY LEISER
Eric Berg is a forensic pathologist, by nature slow and meticulous in his work, performing autopsies
for the Army.
But working for himself, choosing a home, his scientific method went out the window.
“Before I even looked inside, I said, ‘This is the house,’ because of the backyard,” Eric said about the
home he and his wife, Elaine, bought in Clarksville’s Rudolphtown neighborhood 10 years ago.
It was improvements to the house that eventually led the Bergs — 9 years later — to revise their
backyard landscape. In 2005, they hired local builder Don Sharpe to expand their master bathroom,
adding a seating area and picture window overlooking the backyard in the process.
The Bergs’ backyard slopes down to boggy bottomland with the Red River beyond. Eric said he fell in
love with the yard’s “potential,” but that potential didn’t begin to be realized until last year, after the
couple grew tired of the ho-hum view out their new picture window.
“It took a while to dream this up,” Eric said, looking out at the elegantly curving stone walls around a
pond with two waterfalls that is now the centerpiece of his backyard. “I think it started with the bird
Eric and Elaine were already avid bird watchers, with Eric hanging feeders topped with two curved
baffles from zip lines spanning the yard, his most successful effort in making them inaccessible to
“I have an acrimonious relationship with squirrels,” he said, laughing.
But other than that, the backyard was still a blank slate.
“We were looking out at grass and mud and decided we wanted something better to look at,” Eric
Impressed with the water garden of their neighbors, Troy and Tawnya Sinitiere, the Bergs hired the
Sinitiere’s landscaper, Nashville-based Teacup Gardener, to re-envision their yard. Workers started
with the front yard, then moved on to the much more challenging task of remaking the sloping
backyard. Rather than straight, squared fences Eric had in mind, designer Robert Edwards proposed
curving black fences.
In addition to being beautiful, the fences are practical. The Bergs had walked their two Scotties on
leashes for more than an hour a day for nine and a half years before the fences were installed. Now,
the dogs have the run of the yard, and Eric and Elaine can sit back and watch them romp.
The newest addition to the landscape is a waterfall that leads to a pond that leads to a waterfall that
leads to another pond. If that sounds repetitive, it is, by design. The curving rock outlines of the ponds mimic each other, continuing the sinewy S-curves of the rock walls and fence lines.
“The bridge where the waterfall is — the birds can come there and drink and bathe,” Elaine said.
“You don’t need a birdbath when you have a pond like this,” Eric added. “Birds are attracted to still
water, but when you have moving water, it really attracts them.”
In the ponds are the Bergs’ newest pets — 19 comets, shebunkins and butterfly koi. The couple
strategically placed benches and a swing near the pond, so they can relax and take in the natural
beauty as it unfolds in their own backyard.
“This has made it so much more livable,” Elaine said. “I don’t want to go on vacation, it’s so restful
In the dark, the scene takes on a little more drama.
“I like the sound of the water. After dark, it’s illuminated,” Eric said. “Robert (Edwards) did a great job
of placing the illumination. He was very judicious about where he aimed the lights. You get pools of
light here and there. It gives an ethereal look to the backyard.”
Because it is held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 22, attendees of the Montgomery County Water Garden
Society’s 10th Anniversary Water Garden Tour won’t see the Bergs’ romantic pools of light. They will,
however, get a firsthand look at the newest pond on the tour, completed just this spring, the
realization of 10 long years of potential.
July 15, 2009
By STACY LEISER
Eric Berg fell in love with his home at first glance — of the back yard. He hadn’t even set foot inside
when he realized “This is the house.”
The backyard that won him over has, at long last, become a restful oasis for him and his wife, Elaine
Berg, with the addition of two ponds connected by waterfalls. Read all about them and see
photographs of the ponds, which will be featured on the Montgomery County Water Garden Society’s
Water Garden Tour in August, in Thursday’s edition of The Leaf-Chronicle.
July 16, 2009
By STACY LEISER
Earl Parrish said this year’s tour will be the best ever, and he may be right.
In honor of its 10th anniversary, the Montgomery County Water Garden Society’s Water Garden Tour
will feature 10 local ponds — three more than last year.
People can participate in the Aug. 22 tour by purchasing a ticket ($10 per person ages 13 and older;
free ages 12 and younger) that includes addresses and directions to each of 10 stops. Tour
attendees then drive at their leisure to each location, where the water garden’s owners will be on
hand to chat or answer questions.
Eric Berg joined the group in 2001, hoping to learn more about water gardens eight years before he
had one of his own.
“I decided to go on the pond tour,” Berg said. “I’ve been on all the pond tours but one since.”
This year, Berg finally put all his plans into action, building two large, curving ponds with two
waterfalls in the backyard of his Rudolphtown home. He said going on the Water Garden Tour is an
excellent way to get ideas and advice for designing or caring for your own water garden.
In addition to Eric and Elaine Berg’s water garden, this year’s tour features three others that have
never before been open to the public, the ponds of:
Chris and Suzanne Goff.
Les and Rhonda Shanks.
Troy and Tawnya Sinitiere.
“It’s fun to get out and see neighborhoods you wouldn’t normally see,” Berg said, but warned: “They
might want a pond of their own.”
A sneak peek at all 10 water gardens on the tour will be offered in The Leaf-Chronicle in August.
ONLINE: Montgomery County Water Garden Society — www.mcwgs.org.
Last Saturday, Beth and I and our children, attended the 2009 Montgomery County Water Garden Society Pond Tour in Clarksville. Teacup Gardener designed and installed two of the ten koi ponds on this years tour. We are also proud to say that the entire landscapes of these two homes, both the frontyard and backyard, were also designed and installed by Teacup Gardener. Both ponds and gardens were featured in the Clarksville daily newspaper, the Leaf Chronicle and you can also read the four articles written by Stacy Leiser from the Leaf-Chronicle in the following posts to our blog.