How To Build A Simple Water Feature

A water feature can bring beauty and life to your landscape, and can be as simple or as complex as desired. From a basic pool to a spectacular waterfall, we can help you to incorporate a water feature into your existing landscape, or build an entirely new design around an aquatic feature.

To get you started, here are some tips on constructing a simple water feature:

  1. Placement:  Before you ever begin to excavate your pond, it’s important to find the perfect location.  The first step to take is to call 811 to have any electric and gas lines located and marked, so you’ll know where you can and cannot dig.  Once you’ve determined which locations are safe to place your pond, you can focus on aesthetics and ease – you want your pond somewhere visible, away from areas in which your children and pets will be likely to play, and free of large trees and other shade-giving objects that will limit sunlight too much.  If you’d like to incorporate a fountain or lighting, you’ll also want to ensure that your pond is located within reach of an electrical outlet.
  2. Excavation and Sealing:  As you begin to excavate your pond, keep in mind that the sides should be sloped – this will help prevent damage to the liner during the winter, when the water freezes.  You may also want to consider incorporating one or two terraces at the perimeter of the pond, to hold rocks that secure the liner in place as well as any plants you may wish to add.  Once you have excavated your pond, you will want to line it completely, first with a layer of sand or a similar substance to smooth any jagged or rough surfaces, and then with a waterproof liner manufactured for this purpose.
  3. Aesthetics and Finishing: Once your pond has been excavated and lined, you can focus on the fun stuff – the aesthetics!  You may wish to place rocks around the edges of the pond, on the terrace that you included when excavating, so as to naturalize the edge and help hold the liner in place.  You may also want to add plants on a second terrace around the edges, again to help naturalize the appearance of your pond, as well as to provide natural filtration and beauty.  Before you fill your pond, take the opportunity to experiment – sometimes, trial and error is the best way to figure out what looks best, and it’s much easier to move things around before you’ve added water to the pond.
  4. Additional Elements: Now that your pond is constructed and filled, you can consider adding additional elements.  If you want to add a fountain or pump, do so now.  A pump will add movement to the water, preventing it from becoming stagnant, and also adding interest to the feature.  You may also wish to stock your pond with ornamental fish such as koi – if adding livestock, consult with an expert to ensure that the animals you’re adding are well-suited to the environment you’ve created, and that all of their needs are met.

Of course, these are just the basics – while a water feature can be relatively simple, there are still a number of complex elements involved in its construction.  We would love the opportunity to help you add a water feature to your landscape, and to show you just how much beauty and relaxation it can bring to your home. Please contact us to learn more!

Why Natural Scapes?

When choosing a landscape company, there are a number of things to look for and consider – reliability, quality of work, recommendations and testimonials, and so on. Each of these is important, but there are a lot of companies that can offer all of them. So how do you decide who to work with?  What sets a great company aside from a good one?  What, in particular, sets Natural Scapes apart from the rest of the field?

  1. We are locally owned and family-run.Natural Scapes believes in the importance of supporting local businesses, and we’re proud to be a part of a community in which so many local and family-owned businesses flourish.
  2. We offer over 35 years of horticultural experience, so you always know that you’re receiving the best advice and insight, and your Landscaping the best possible care.
  3. We always provide the best quality work, and are willing to back it up with  1-year and even lifetime guarantees with our maintenance plans. We’re here to ensure your satisfaction and the health of your landscape – for life.
  4. We are fully insured and living-wage certified. We care about our employees and are proud of the excellent work that they do. Our success as a business depends upon them, and we strive to ensure their personal success as well.
  5. We specialize in sustainable, low-maintenance landscaping, designed specifically to thrive in our unique region. Our goal is to create landscapes that you can enjoy all year with minimal upkeep and maintenance.

We firmly believe that Natural Scapes offers a unique and superior set of skills and services, and that we can help to make your dream landscape a reality. To learn more about us and what sets us apart, contact us today!

Living Wage Employment: What It Means and Why It Matters

Most of us have heard of the concept of a living wage, and are likely familiar with Living Wage Certification, at least in the abstract.  But what does that certification really mean, and why is it important?

In Asheville and the surrounding areas, the certifying entity most employers work with is Just Economics of Western North Carolina.  Just Economics began its efforts in 2000, initially focusing on securing a living wage for all city employees and then expanding into other public and private sectors of the workforce.  One of its primary goals is to offer certification to employers providing their employees with a living wage, and to increase the number of employers doing so in the region.

Of course, before an employer can provide a living wage, it has to understand what that wage is.  Per Just Economics, a living wage is “the minimum amount that a worker must earn to afford his or her basic necessities, without public or private assistance.”  In Asheville, that number is $13 per hour, or $11.50 per hour for employers offering health insurance to their employees.

That’s all well and good, and provides some obvious benefits to the employees receiving these wages.  But there are additional benefits as well, for employees, employers, and economies as a whole:

  1. Living wages are proven to increase morale and productivity while decreasing absenteeism and employee turnover rates.
  2. Small businesses paying a living wage tend to be more successful than their minimum wage counterparts, due to the aforementioned benefits and the ability to absorb the expense of higher wages through greater productivity as well as lower training and administrative costs.
  3. Consumers may be more likely to purchase products and services from businesses that are Living Wage Certified, helping to boost local economies.
  4. Employees of Living Wage Certified businesses are more able to contribute to the economic communities in which they live, and are less likely to require costly social assistance programs.  Thus they both contribute to and reduce the burden on the economy.

In Asheville, these benefits are particularly important; ours is a uniquely challenging economic community, in that its living costs are relatively high while many of its jobs are relatively low-paying service industry jobs that, in many cases, pay at or near the federal minimum wage.  By paying a living wage, employers help their employees to be self-sufficient contributors to the economy, support local business as a whole, and have a positive impact on the economic health of the region.

Natural Scapes is proud to be a Living Wage Certified employer, and to provide its employees with the resources to be self-sufficient and successful while supporting the local economy and small business climate in Asheville.  We firmly believe in the principles and ideals of Just Economics and the living wage, and look forward to watching our community grow and thrive with the proper resources.