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Welcome to Ecosystem Lakes and Recreation Ponds

It used to be the only way to enjoy backyard swimming was to install a high-maintenance, heavily chlorinated pool with an unnatural liner and boring concrete deck. 

Well those days are over …  

Building a natural water feature in your yard – a small koi pond, a pondless disappearing waterfall,  a large swimming pond or even a simple fountain – is an investment in your home and your family’s well-being.  The natural beauty of plants, the soothing sounds of waterfalls just make you want to get outside and reconnect with nature!

The team at Splash has more than 30 years’ experience creating these kinds of beautiful, natural, backyard ponds and pools with natural boulders, beautiful waterfalls and peaceful streams – and we’re excited to help you imagine and create the perfect retreat for your property. 

Imagine jumping off a huge natural boulder into your very own swim pond with crystal-clear water and no harsh chemicals!

Today’s backyards don’t have to be boring spaces. Whether you are new to Natural Swim Ponds (NSP) or you are already familiar with natural filtration, we hope this page will be a helpful resource as you design your backyard oasis.

Click the links below to jump to what you’d like to know, or simply scroll down to learn more about the Splash team, our processes and our designs.

The Splash Team

Over the past 30+ years, Splash Supply Company has grown into the largest water feature design build team in the region.  Our team has built hundreds of water features, from small backyard waterfalls to the huge koi pond at the entrance of the newest UPMC hospital.  Splash’s work has also appeared on national television shows and in major trade magazines.

Our founder, Mark, studied landscape architecture at West Virginia University, but we learned most of what we know about pond design the hard way: intense focus on water features, and playing in the dirt and finding the things that work (and a few things that don’t). Let us share this expertise with you during a visit to our display gardens or at one of our many seminars.

Whether you’re dreaming of an acre-sized lake or just want to enjoy the sounds of a small trickling waterfall, we can’t wait to get started on your personal oasis.

Designing Your Splash Ecosystem Lake

After you contact us, we’ll schedule an Initial Call to talk about what you are looking to have done and your timeline expectations for the project.  We’ll ask a ton of questions to make sure we understand your ideas, thoughts and questions. 

Our goal is to understand your dreams as we begin the process of combining your vision with our expertise to create the perfect project that fits your budget and backyard. 

When you visit our 1 acre+ display garden, be sure to pickup a copy of our Price and Idea Guide .  You will see that current installed prices and options on over 50 different water features from small table top waterfalls to our massive 750,000 gallon habitat pond.

If you are looking at a larger scale project like a Splash Ecosystem Lake for bass or swimming,  let’s schedule a time to talk .

Larger projects many times require custom design.  At the end of this initial call, we’ll know what the next best step is, whether we recommend a visit to our display garden or if you are ready to schedule a more detailed call with your designer to talk about the preliminary plan for a custom design.

The Preliminary Plan

After the initial call, your designer will take the information you talked about and create a preliminary plan. This plan is simply a step-by-step guide for your project based on your initial conversation and our experience working with similar projects. Our goal is to make sure everyone knows what to expect and eliminate any surprises along the way.

When your preliminary plan is ready, we’ll schedule a time to continue the conversation from our initial phone call to make sure we understand your project properly and review the preliminary plan with you.  Your preliminary plan will include the details of the rest of the process including:

  • Project Description
  • Scope
  • Pool Size
  • Pool Depth
  • Open Swimming Area
  • Debris Skimming System
  • Pumps
  • Aeration
  • Plumbing
  • Liners
  • Natural Biological Filters
  • Pond Boulders
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Fish and other Pond Life
  • Total Estimated Cost of Installed Project
  • Project Description
  • Scope
  • Pool Size
  • Pool Depth
  • Open Swimming Area
  • Debris Skimming System
  • Pumps
  • Aeration
  • Plumbing
  • Liners
  • Natural Biological Filters
  • Pond Boulders
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Fish and other Pond Life
  • Total Estimated Cost of Installed Project

Let's design it together ...

As soon as you are ready, your designer will take the preliminary plan and create a detailed work order based on the budget that you decide is best for you and your project, to begin the design phase of your project.

This work order will include the schedule and costs to begin the design process including onsite visit, site survey, code compliance, storm water management, erosion and sediment control, setbacks, septic reserve, fencing, design charatte and a 3D rendering of your project.

Costs for the design phase of the project typically have a $3,600 flat fee that includes initial site survey, CAD sketch, and your personal  3D Conceptual Rendering.  Our unique custom 3D renderings allow you to fully immerse yourself in the design and see the transformation before the first shovel goes in the ground.

Here are a few design projects we have worked on with other clients:

Natural Crystal-Clear Water, Low-Maintenance Filtration

Clear Water, Low Maintenance

Old-fashioned swimming pools require a lot of work and harsh chemicals with the acid washing, chlorine, shock tablets, and pH monitoring. Our two-part Ecosytem Filters work with nature to achieve crystal-clear water without the constant worry, work and chemistry homework. 

Simply relax and enjoy!

So how does it work?

1. The skimmer intake removes physical debris from the pond

Your pond is designed to create constant flow from the waterfall toward the wet well skimming intake.  

Debris (leaves, twigs, pollen, etc. …) that gets into the pond is skimmed off of the surface before it has a chance to settle to the bottom of the pond. In a properly designed pond, this system should capture 80 to 90 percent of all of the debris getting into the pond. In many designs, we also include underwater jets to help push debris toward the skimming intake.

The skimming intake area is designed to blend into the aesthetics of the pond. This area typically looks like a small natural gravel beach with some aquatic plants. The surface area is occasionally raked when debris accumulates.

Your skimming intake removes most of the physical debris so your biofilter doesn’t have to work as hard to remove excess ammonia and nitrites to achieve crystal clear water in your pond.  Our goal is to create an oligotrophic (Ollie  gō  trō′fĭk) ecosystem, where there are very little nutrients remaining in the closed ecosystem.  The second part of the pond filtration system can then handle the little bit of excess nutrients that remain in the system, using natural beneficial bacteria and enzymes.

2. Biofilters starve algae, resulting in clear water

What is a biofilter?  Put simply, a biofilter is a purposely designed space in your pond’s ecosystem that houses beneficial bacteria and enzymes. These bacteria and enzymes remove nutrients and starve the single-cell algae that causes green water.

At Splash, we design our biofilters to be seen and beautifully blend into the natural landscape.  

With our automatic dosing systems, our constructed wetland biofilters require no monthly maintenance. We recommend annual inspection and professional cleaning every one to three years.   Click here to learn more about Splash Ecosytem Filters.

How Much Does a Splash Ecosystem Lake / Recreation Pond Cost?

Splash Ecosystem Lake projects typically have budgets that will start around $175,000 and can reach over $1,000,000 for larger more complex projects.  

Our signature Ecosystem Lakes are designed with the same techniques and ecosystem technology that Splash incorporates on all our  ecosystem ponds large and small.   Our Liner Systems are guaranteed not to leak and are easy to repair if damage occurs.  Unlike clay that might never hold water or could start leaking within a few years after installation.  We use real pond boulders and other edge treatments to ensure a naturalized edge.  Skimming filtration effortlessly removes surface debris in a naturalized intake bay.   Healthy natural biological wetland filtration ensures your pond will not have excess excess pond scum or experience terrible odors.

The Splash Habitat Lake at our NEW Powder Mill location (coming soon) starts around $350,000 installed. (2024 price update)


How big of a lake do I need?

Our ecosystem lakes are all designed with the same philosophy, no matter the size: Crystal-clear water, naturally healthy pond life, and not a lot of work to keep it looking great.

No matter what size you choose, all of ecosystem lakes are built to be enjoyed with large boulders for stability, shallow entry for safety and aquatic plantings for a natural look and too remove excess nutrients. A larger body of water will create a more stable environment, so we recommend going as big as your space and budget allows.

We build a lot of different sized ponds – from large swim ponds to smaller decorative features.  Wandering around in our garden, you will see dozens of other ponds and waterfalls that range in cost from under $10,000 to over $250,000.  If one of these smaller features falls into the scope of your dream project, you can find more details in our Idea & Price Guide.

Our Ecosystem Lakes are the biggest ponds we design and install and each one is custom designed for you, your space, and your budget.

Splash Ecosystem Lakes Ponds FAQs

If you’ve never really experienced a Splash Ecosystem Lake before I’m sure you have questions. Here’s more of the common questions we get:

Can I swim in the lake?

YES!!!  Yes, unlike traditional pools, our systems are designed so you can enjoy your waterfall and lake all year long.  It might be a bit too cold to jump in the pond in January, but you’ll be able to enjoy watching and hearing your waterfall 12 months a year.

Do I need a permit to install a farm pond or ecosystem lake? 

Yes.  Typically, your local municipality will have some rules and guidelines.  Additionally, most earth disturbance over 1 acre (1/2 acre pond + access and regrading around the pond, will require and NPDES permit.  This permit helps to ensure our local waterways stay clean and healthy.   Although this process does have some cost and can seem complex,  we will guide you through the process step by step. 

Will the liner be visible?

Natural Rock and Gravel placed in a thin layer on the shelves and pond bottom protects the liner from sunlight/UV degradation, animals, and fish hooks and supports an amazing natural ecosystem to help keep the pond ecosystem in balance.

Will my lake be safe for wildlife?

Naturalizing features like logs and planted edges not only look amazing they also create wildlife habitat.

How do you prevent erosion and make it safe along the shoreline?

Creative Shoreline Design with boulders, plantings and other structures to help to stabilize the shoreline, and provide access for fishing and enjoying the pond.

Can I add a beach?

Submerged Boulder Steps and Sandy beaches are just some of the options we can love to incorporate.

What about fish?  Can I have bass in my lake?

YES! Splash Ecosystem Lakes are designed with fishing in mind.  Our goal is a complete self sustaining ecosystem. Your lake design and installation will include a healthy balance of pond life to your new lake starting with a variety of aquatic plants for food and habitat.  Then we introduce a natural food sources like daphnia, clams, snails, and tadpoles.   Then we can start adding fish including fathead minnows, shiners, catfish, crappies, perch, blue gills, and finally bass.

Do the pumps make a lot of noise?

What’s really cool about our Ecosystem Ponds is the waterfalls. Not only do they look incredibly natural and have amazing sounds, but they will also mask any sounds like external pumps or HVAC units or even traffic going by. You can really relax and escape in your own piece of paradise.

What about algae?  

Does the Ecosystem Pond have more green water algae than a traditional swimming pool?

No.  A well designed swim pond will have naturally crystal clear water all year long without the use of harsh chemicals, a chemistry degree, or extensive test kits.

What about filamentous stringy fuzzy type algae?

The natural biological plant based filter removes excess nutrients and keep the water crystal clear.  A healthy and natural biofilm forms on the rock and gravel.  We’ll adjust the water treatments to ensure your pond is happy,  healthy, and looking amazing all year long. 

What’s so good about Beneficial Bacteria?

It is critically important that you are consistently adding a fresh dose of healthy beneficial bacteria to establish and maintain a happy healthy ecosystem.  These beneficial bacteria strains of nitrosomonas and nitrobacter are the backbone of your pond system.  Adding these will keep other potentially harmful bacteria such as cyanobacteria greatly reduced. 

Will my pond attract wildlife?

Water features don’t just make humans happy.

Ponds attract all kinds of wildlife, from the fish that you put in to the frogs and turtles who migrate there. Squirrels, chipmunks, birds and other critters will also enjoy the nice oasis of plants around your pond, as will honeybees and butterflies.

Related: How does a pond ecosystem work?

By creating an environment for these animals, you offset some of the damage humans cause when they spread into natural habitats. The sounds of flowing water block out noises that otherwise disrupt animals’ activity patterns, and your plants and pond add much-needed shelter for creatures that might otherwise have no place to go.

Your pets will enjoy the addition too. Lots of our customers have dogs that love their ponds as much as their humans do.

5 More Reasons to Build a Natural Swim Pond

As if you needed even more reasons for Splash to design your private recreation swim pond in your backyard, here are a few science-based reasons that prove you need a pond in your yard today!

Ready to Jump In?

If you decide a natural swimming pool pond is right for you, let’s talk.

You can reach us by phone at 717-751-2108 or visit our store at 1298 Toronita St. in York, PA. Our online Pondsultation form gives you a quick way to reach out via email.

Splash Supply Company builds and services ponds throughout southcentral Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.

Check out the links below to learn more about adding a swim pond to your life:

Natural Filtration Using Aquascape Snorkel Centipede

Pond Ecosystems: How Skimmers, Biofilters Keep Water Clear

How Much Does a Pond Cost to Build?

What’s Included in a DIY Pond Kit?

DIY Ponds: Where to Start

Natural Swim Pond