Silver Spring pond hosts human guests as well as flying fowl

Mary Beth Millstein’s duck pond, built by Premier Ponds of Burtonsville
Premier Ponds

In the short time that Mary Beth Millstein has had to enjoy the new duck pond on her Silver Spring property, she’s hosted several social celebrations.

“We’ve had a Mother’s Day celebration, we’ve had a Father’s Day celebration,” she said. My son lives in D.C. so he and his wife come, as well as my daughter and her boyfriend.”

Before the pond, “it was really just dead landscaping space,” said Millstein. “So it has added quite a bit, with the waterfall and just the sound of the water, and the ducks splashing and quacking. It’s enhanced that area quite a bit.”

The pond was constructed by Premier Ponds, which focuses on pond and water feature construction, said Mark Pankowski, the Burtonsville company’s vice president of marketing.

He calls Millstein and her family “animal people. They have horses and things of that sort, dogs, so I think they just wanted to give the ducks the best life possible, the best space possible.”

Premier Ponds began work on the Millstein’s duck pond in April and finished in June, said Pankowski,

“The finished product is a gorgeous, rock-outlined, rubber-liner-bottom pond,” said Pankowski. “We also installed a huge waterfall system, and then rocked that out to look very natural.”

Premier Ponds

At 12 by 12 feet, the pond sits next to the family’s pool house snd swimming pool, Pankowski said.

“So you kind of have this paradise of swim,” Pankowski said. “You’ve got the horses walking around in the background behind the pool, and then you’ve got now this beautiful duck pond, beautiful sounds of running water, right there, too.”

“It’s definitely where outdoor entertainment, home entertainment, meets a functional, almost farm-type suburbia,” Pankowski added.

The pond is surrounded by an enclosure, constructed by the family themselves, to prevent the domesticated ducks from flying away, said Pankowski.

Normally, Premier Ponds will place rocks, specifically Pennsylvania mountain stone, around a pond’s perimeter and then “build our way in,” Pankowski said. The stone covers up the black leather liner they typically install.

For this project, though, because the rocks in the pond itself could trap the ducks’ droppings and make it harder to clean, they chose to only use rocks for the pond’s perimeter and walls, leaving it with a slick rubber bottom that would be easy to spray and drain.

To mitigate the inevitable duck droppings, the designers installed a filtration system that would normally have been used for a significantly larger pond than this one, Pankowski said.

Premier Ponds

The actual construction was relatively uncomplicated, Pankowski said.

“We had a full crew, we have a great team, so moving the rocks, placing those, was pretty easy, pretty straightforward,” Pankowski said.

The real challenge the pond presented came from the strategic planning, Pankowski said, such as what type of waterfall could be included that could provide the needed filtration without overwhelming the pond.

The pond features a BioFalls system, Pankowski said, which is essentially a small decorative waterfall. A pump at the bottom of the pond sucks the water in and sends it up to the waterfall at the top.

“I don’t think there were any hiccups along the way,” Pankowski said. “It was mostly about how to make this thing as clean as possible over the life of the pond.”

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