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Colorado Springs business specializes in waterfalls, streams and ponds in 'artistic endeavor'

March 3, 2018 Updated: March 4, 2018 at 1:04 pm
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A spring fountain start to a long pondless waterfall stream installed by Purely Ponds Fine Landscapes of Colorado Springs.

The name of Chris Oberg's business doesn't capture the whole picture.

Purely Ponds Fine Landscapes of Colorado Springs installs more than ponds. But, as Oberg will tell you, after 15 years you can't just up and change the name of an established business.

"Most of what I do is the pondless waterfall, also called the disappearing waterfall, which is a recirculating waterfall or stream," Oberg said. "It's a growing trend because ponds just aren't the most popular option these days. People want the sound of the waterfall - that's what they're after."

The business is called upon by those who want to transform their yard into a soothing oasis of moving water, rocks and plants.

"It's an artistic endeavor for me - it's my artistic release to design landscapes," Oberg said. "There's not many, if any, water features specialists."

Purely Ponds Fine Landscapes has grown over the years from Oberg alone to crews of installers and service/maintenance personnel and a fleet of four trucks. Installations can be done in as little as a day or may take up to a week. Jobs are predominantly residential, with about 10 percent commercial. Project costs typically range from $4,000 to $20,000.

"A nice whole landscape will cost $35,000 to $50,000," he said.

The largest project Oberg has done was a $100,000 whole landscape.

More clients are seeking what Oberg calls Rocky Mountain Scapes on their properties as sod becomes a less popular option in arid Colorado.

"We're always getting calls for something for the outside of a home that people can see or hear from the outside," he said. "And we build a lot of dry creek beds to divert water."

The hottest trend, Oberg said, is pairing water features with low-maintenance xeriscapes - landscapes that require little or no irrigation.

"Our goal is for everything to look super natural," Oberg said.

Oberg's wife, Jessica, takes care of the bookkeeping and runs the office.

"I've designed a pretty simple business. We are small and owner-operated. The landscape stuff is easy. It's running the business that's hard," Oberg said.

He and his team have installed 400 landscapes to date.

"Some years we might do 50," he said. "We install 4 million pounds of rock by hand every year."

Half of Oberg's business is devoted to servicing water features, whether they were installed by Purely Ponds Fine Landscapes or another business.

"We want to teach clients how to service their own waterfalls. We're not going to hold all the knowledge hostage," he said. "We'll also fix other companies' work. Many other companies don't do service at all."

A service call costs $129.

The greatest payoff is when the client gives "tears or hugs" for a job well done, Oberg said.

If you'd like to see their work, Purely Ponds Fine Landscapes hosts an annual self-guided tour of southern Colorado's "most scenic backyard retreats" to benefit Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region. The 12th Annual Purely Ponds Parade of Ponds tour will be June 23-24. Tickets with tour map are $5 and can be purchased at Pioneer Sand Co., 5000 Northpark Drive, and online at www.purelyponds.com.

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