OK, close your eyes and imagine the trickling of water in your backyard. Yes, it’s late March and, yes, it’s snowing – but Gary Showalter, affectionately known as “The Pond Guy,” can cure all that.

About the business: In Style...By Design, LLC, The Pond Guy, P.O. Box 339, Blue Springs, 835-0008, www.instylebydesign.com



About owner Gary Showalter: OK, close your eyes and imagine the trickling of water in your backyard.

Yes, it’s late March and, yes, it’s snowing – but Gary Showalter, affectionately known as “The Pond Guy,” can cure all that.

An offshoot business of In Style...By Design, Showalter’s small but growing project started way back in 2003 – to be precise, back in 2007 when he retired from AT&T – is finally seeing real growth. .

“I’m an outside guy,” he said, adding with a laugh: “You can tell that I needed a change of pace from what I was doing.”

Focusing on decorative pond design and installation, as well as maintaining, Showalter sees his business as a homeowner’s opportunity to beautify his or her property – or simply build a way to relax within the grasp of nature.

“There’s something soothing about it, about listening to water or looking at it,” he said.

Owning a decorative pond, however large or small, isn’t as complicated or expensive as people think, he said. Sizes range from 1,500 to 2,000 gallons (on average), and the initial cost of installing one is no more than $3,000.

Expensive? Perhaps, but the return is worth it.

Aside from boosting property value, decorative ponds fuse nature and family together. There can be plants on display, or even fish. If there’s fish, the pond needs to be at least 24 inches deep so as to allow the fish a place to hibernate in the winter.

Similar to aquariums, decorative ponds rely on perpetually filtered water. One of two kinds of linings are used to keep the water in and help regulate its quality. If things are done right, Showalter said the water is as clear three months later as it is the day it starts up.

The average time for set up is about four to five days, but it can be shorter if the pond is small enough. Showalter built his own in about three days.

In addition, bog settings can be used to flank the main area, and other arrangements can be designed as well.

“You can do any number of things with this type of setting,” he said. “It’s really up to your imagination.”



What’s unique about the business: Aside from the fact that it’s the only pond installation and decorative company in the city, Showalter benefits in another way: his wife, Dana, owns and operates In Style...By Design, a company that redesigns, redecorates and stages homes and businesses.

And Showalter enjoys his work, so much so that he gives professional advice on ponds and general landscaping free of charge.

While there are few, if any, such businesses to compare to, Showalter feels that he is fair and reasonable in his costs.

“With supplies, I’m able to cut out the middle man, which is a savings to the customer.”

While there are no immediate plans to expand, Showalter said he’s currently looking for someone to help with excavating.

“I’m really just moving at a slow pace right now,” he said. “I’m just enjoying it as it comes. I’m having a heck of a lot of fun.”