A Relaxing Retreat

For years, Joe Lefler enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub on the deck behind his ranch-style Painesville Township home. But those luxurious soaks ended in 1990, when his doctor advised against them for health reasons. So Lefler and his wife Sue took out the hot tub and installed a small, kidney-shaped plastic insert with a fountain at the edge of a backyard flower bed.

The president and chief executive officer of the Fun-Tastic Entertainment booking agency figured he'd at least have something to look at while he sat in the back yard and sipped a glass of wine. Over the next decade, the couple would replace the water feature three times - each one larger than the last. The second time, Lefler added a waterfall. The third time, he built a bridge from the deck to the back yard over it.

"The secret to building a pond is to build the biggest one that you can possibly afford," he enthuses. "Bigger means more fish. Bigger means more water lilies, more plant life and so forth."

The third time, however, the Leflers realized the pond they wanted was too big for them to dig themselves and hired Aqua Doc Inc. of Kirtland to do the work. The company enlarged the pond to a free form 10-by-14 feet (enough to require a longer bridge), installed a rubber liner and added a fountain and more elaborate waterfall, along with a larger pump and filter to support it. "We really do get a nice sound out of it," Lefler says of the waterfall. "That's what we were really after." The body of water was then stocked with a variety of plants and fish - water irises, different kinds of water lilies, lotus, cattails, goldfish, fantails and koi.

"We've got fish in there, some of them pretty close to a foot long," Lefler says. "As soon as it gets dark out, lights come on and light the falls. I've had people ask me why we don't do it in color. The answer is, because we're perfectly happy with what it looks like now."While Lefler leaves basic maintenance to the pros at Aqua Doc, the pond has provided him with a new hobby: water gardening.

"I don't like to dig in the dirt, I don't like to mow the grass, I don't like to rake the leaves," he says. "But I love to play with the pond."

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