By Josette Keelor
There are 18 waterfalls at Tom Waters' Strasburg home on Hockman Road -- all of them between the garage and the sunroom.
With multiple lights submerged or otherwise disguised in his landscaped water garden, Waters said, "At night it looks like the aurora borealis."
"It's just incredible," he said. "In fact I enjoy it even more at night."
Waters had the garden installed last summer so he could hear the sound of running water from his sunroom. It was a desire he found he shares with his customers at Noah's Ark in Front Royal, and he said it makes water gardens work for any type of yard.
"People say, 'I don't want the fish, but I want the sound,'" he said. As for him, "I tried to get a little bit of everything."
Waters, who owns Noah's Ark pet shop, kennel and grooming salon at 10269 Winchester Road, is also a distributor of Aquascape, a pond installation company he said is the best he's seen.
"This company, I can't say enough," he said.
He also said Noah's Ark is the only distributor of AquaScapes of Virginia.
Customers can go as large-scale or small-scale as they want in what he described a step-by-step process that starts with underground aqua blocks stacked one on top of the other to hold water filtered up into the waterfalls and down into the ponds.
Aquascape's RainXchange system collects rainwater and snow melt to use in the garden.
Pond kits start at $1,200 and come with a RainXchange liner, aqua blocks and add-on extensions.
Last summer's installation of the water garden at Waters' house is documented in a YouTube video that shows prospective clients the step-by-step process. Prosperity Landscaping in Stephens City partnered with Aquascape on the project, and Waters said contractors volunteered their efforts so they could learn more about installing Aquascape materials.
"This was literally a gift," Waters said. "They gave their all for me."
He said Aquascape frequently holds building days like that, inviting in contractors to learn more about the process. Many, he said, have no previous experience with the RainXchange.
He also said the process will be described in an educational television series featuring Aquascape. Waters said the show recently completed filming but is currently looking for a network. He expected it to begin airing later this summer.
According to Waters, the water garden is easy enough to maintain, and he keeps it running year-round except when it's very cold outside.
To keep algae from forming, the IonGen pumping system filters water through a copper element. Pumps are disguised under a log and inside an antique Gem farm pump, and Waters said he can adjust the copper element as needed using a wall panel in his garage.
"It's instrumental in the way this RainXchange works," he said.
But even aboveground, the garden isn't all for looks.
"Plants are essential to help with the clarity, bacteria," he said. "It all goes hand-in-hand. It's an ecosystem."
For more information about Noah's Ark, an Aquascape distributor, call 540-662-2782 or visit www.aquascapesorva.com. View the Aqua Scapes of Virginia build at youtube.com/watch?v=jZLGQnyMqWc.