Aquascape Goes Wild, Nat Geo Wild

Aquascapes goes Pond Stars

“We are extremely excited to be part of the Nat Geo WILD family and look forward to sharing our love for the water feature lifestyle with viewers around the world. Stay tuned for more information!” says – Greg Wittstock- (Owner-CEO)

I first met Greg Wittstock in the late 90’s and we kinda hit it off for a couple of reasons. We both really like water, we like water features, we like rock, we like making backyards better, heck, we just like making the World a better place to live. one other thing . . . he may not be from the great state of Ohio, but when it comes to the Ohio State Buckeyes, well, let’s say we both bleed scarlet and gray.

Greg is kind of a bombastic guy, who eats up huge space as he moves along through life. He’s a type-A who has a vision and a purpose and is not afraid to share it with anyone in earshot. Lots of energy and focus he’s just the kind of man you develop a great amount of respect for, or, just don’t like. Well I like him, he’s sincere and passionate and honest about his life and work. For most anyone who runs around shouting carpe diem all the time you’d just shake your head and think “poser” but with Greg, no way. He truly practices what he preaches.

Early on I think Greg’s driven style, motivation, passion and message rubbed a lot of folks in the landscape industry the wrong way. I think Greg missed convincing some early on with the “pond a day” mantra. It was constant and Aquascapes was throwing that line around a lot-too much in my opinion. There was push back from a lot of those in the “pond” industry and a lot of misunderstanding in the landscape/design industry, a lot. But, I saw early on that his system with a very sound filtration system had real promise, I mean real promise. Now, instead of jury rigging up a skimmer, water-collection, delivery system, filtration system, upper water container on every job, it was all there-ONE System, same plumbing, same connections, same install-every time.

Well what did that mean? I’ll tell you what it meant for me . . , it meant artistic freedom, a lot of it. Especially the biofalls box and filter system. That box and it’s ability to let me cut that shelf led to a lot of great falls built by me, and technically built with greater ease. A winner for sure.

Okay, let’s not completely sugarcoat this, sure there were(still are, I’m sure) guys now throwing awful looking, leaking systems in the ground. But that is there fault not Greg’s, or Aquascapes. But hey, there’s a awful lot of really bad landscape design out there, who do we blame for that? The nursery wholesaler’s for selling the plants? How about the suppliers of the markers/pens/pencils/computers that led to the design? No? I didn’t think so. Anyway, there are always going to be bad landscapes, bad designs, bad ponds. But Greg and his team have really made the designed landscape a better place to be.

So what happened? Greg and Ed Beaulieu(right hand man, Ed) came to a WCI event on water, hopefully they came away with some ideas or inspiration(they did go away with some inspiration, I know for sure). I remember giving Greg the floor and he spoke passionately about his ideas and system it was a glimpse into the future of Aquascapes and the pond industry. Even then, in front of a small group of mostly landscape designers you could see this guy was going to make a mark on the green industry, and they have.

Speaking of Ed Beaulieu. Ed is a bit quieter on the outside but this man is just as passionate and committed to the cause. He is a top notch professional and his eye for detail and desire to create great work makes him perfect partner and sidekick in this adventure. Ed is the kind of guy who could do just about anything he wanted to, luckily for him he has found his life’s work and passion and he has made the most of it. Besides that if you are ever looking for someone to have a beer with and swap great stories, Ed’s your guy.

Over time Aquascapes grows, the industry grows, their building grows their event grows, the converts grow and here we are 2014, time to become TV stars. . . . POND STARS. From reading Greg’s Facebook page Greg, Ed and Brian are the stars as they go around the country doing backyard makeovers and building, what are most likely beautiful water features, and changing people’s lives.

What will make or break the show of course is whether or not the chemistry between Greg, Ed and Brian come through the TV screen, and will they come across as likable guys, probably so. Now the landscape designer in me, and creator of “great” spaces will obviously be looking at the entire space, the foreground, the seating, the designed function, the background . . . the context.

Is the entire space a great space? Or did they go in and drop a water feature in with a couple of junipers slipping over the streams edge? Questions, questions, questions . . .

This lack of context, poor design planning, lack of quality materials, cheesy ornamentation, and poor building practices have driven me away from every single design makeover show on TV, EVERY SINGLE one of them. My blood-pressure couldn’t take it. Funny, it’s about the only time I ever got mad at anything. Watching awful design, bad materials, bad knick-knacks, and bad construction was too much for me to bear.

So to Greg and Ed, and Brian . . . good luck, and I’ll be watching-closely.

More stuff around the web on the new show, starting this fall.

From the article at BJL Aquascapes

If you ask me… it’s chemistry ! With close to 20 years experience working with ( & dealing With ) each other, there is a natural chemistry that does not make things seem forced or fake. The truth be told, reality shows these days are a dime a dozen, very few new shows make it to a second season. And there are rumors of a possible second season for the Pond Stars. I can speak from experience when explaining the chemistry between these guys. BJL Aquascapes has worked for and with Greg, Ed, & Brian on dozens of projects across the country, and with Ed & Brian in Ireland. I have witnessed the high-jinx and immense talent and passion for the artistry they all love. Their humorous actions are as natural as any functioning dysfunctional family’s can be, three very distinct personalities will be apparent when you see the show. Comparisons between the Pond Stars and Gilligan’s Island three main characters ( Gilligan, The Skipper, & The Professor) have been made and I think they hit the nail on the head. All of us Certified Aquascape Contractors around the globe are really excited about this show, and we know you will love watching it like we all will. I so proud to say that my friends and mentors have the ability to change an industry for the better, and help change the way the world views water features and backyard ponds.

If you are unfamiliar with Aquascapes go here and take a look at their website to learn more about the company and background on the people, the philosophy, the system, and take a look at their work to supply clean drinking water in other parts of the world.

Nat Geo Wild

POND STARS (Warm Springs Productions) (Global) Dive into the wild world of ponds with Greg Wittstock, one of the most experienced backyard pond builders we’ve ever seen. The goal: to completely transform boring backyards and plain public spaces into inspiring natural habitats and wonderful oases for local critters. Greg and his expert team — Brian, Ed and Chris — tackle entire backyard remodels and rehab malfunctioning ponds. Together the Pond Stars transform people’s yards and lives by reconnecting both of them to the natural world.

Link to BJL story, a couple of the pics, and lead quote to my story . . . via Pond Stars Are Coming To The Nat-Geo Wild Network In 2014 – NJ – BJL Aquascapes.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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