Q&A With Pond Star Greg Wittstock

Greg Wittstock is the owner of Aquascape and the captain of the Pond Stars team. We asked him a few questions to get to know him better and found out that there was never a doubt that Greg would spend his life building and enjoying ponds.

Admit it. You were one of those little boys catching frogs just to throw at girls, weren’t  you?

Yes! I was one hundred percent that boy. I loved snakes, turtles, and fish. I had a sister who I terrorized. I grew up on a lakefront home in Southern Jersey. Then my parents moved us to the cornfields of Wheaten, Illinois. My parents made me a deal and allowed me to bring 11 of my favorite pet turtles and build a pond for them.

Ah, your first pond! How did that work out for you?

My first pond leaked, turned green, and my prized turtles migrated away. For seven years I spent every summer ripping that pond out, and starting over. I just kept “MacGyvering” it up and “jimmy rigging” it to get the water clean. My classroom was my back yard through junior high and high school.

So, eventually you built the pond you were hoping for?

Yes. By the time I was in college I had gotten it right and everyone wanted one. I started building ponds for other people in Chicago. When I was 24, I got a patent for that filter system I had made out of garbage cans and cattle troughs, and started selling them across the United States. Our company, Aquascape, grew from that into one of the 500 fastest growing in country with 195 employees.

What is your favorite part of planning/building water features?

By far and away the way it changes people’s lifestyle. To people who haven’t experienced it, it sounds a little cheesy, but a water feature draws people outside. One hundred percent of the time when we build a pond, we have a friend for life. Fifty percent of the time when the water flows, the tears flow. If our client says that it looks like it’s always been here, that it looks like God made it, then we’ve done our job.

What does your backyard look like? You have a pond, right?

I have the Aqualand Pond at Aquascape. It’s 600,000 gallons, 600 million pond of stone, over 10 feet deep and filled with thousands of fish, frogs and turtles. My kids were just swimming there yesterday. It’s a million dollar water feature that was built with over 300 contractors from around the world for the “world’s most extreme pond build” in 2008.

aqualand
The Massive Pond at Aquascape

I also have a one-acre pond at home. The water comes right up to the foundation of my house. In fact, I bought the lot, built the pond, and then built the house.

Okay, dish. What kind of boss are you?

I’m a type A, high-strung personality. I need a pond just as much as the next guy. I am very much a driven, “everything needs to have been done yesterday” type of dude.

My costars are the opposite though. Ed is the scientist and he is unflappable. Nothing bothers him. Brian is the cut up. He’s the jokester. We’ve been working together for 20 years and are like brothers. Have you ever watched Gilligan’s Island? Well, I am the Skipper, Ed is the Professor, and Brian is Gilligan.

What is the one tool you never leave home without?

My iPhone, but mostly because it’s my camera. I love capturing moments. Every single day I take one photo. It isn’t always easy to find a beautiful shot, but I make an effort to do it. Of course, I get email etc, but it’s my camera.

If you were an aquatic species, which would you be and why?

Definitely a turtle, it’s my favorite animal. Turtles got me into the business. I have a turtle cam at Aquascape that I can watch at home. A turtle doesn’t get anywhere until he sticks his neck out, and that is my life philosophy.

You can check out Greg and the Pond Stars team tonight at 10P on Nat Geo WILD! 

Pond Stars: School of Rock premieres tonight at 10P on Nat Geo WILD.

Comments

  1. RICHARD MORENO
    OREGON
    October 10, 2014, 2:24 pm

    I haven’t seen crawfish stocked in the ponds.Is there a reason?

  2. Michelle
    Western New York
    October 11, 2014, 4:31 pm

    I have had a 1200 gallon koi pond for about 8 years and I love it but I have had to bring the koi into an indoor pond every winter for he last 5 years because of a mink who empties my pond of fish (30 the third year I had my pond). I left a few in last winter to see if the mink had moved on and sure enough he took them. My koi are too large to continue to bring in so I tried to alter my pond for this winter by taking out the natural rock around the outside and build an even height patio stone edge that I can build a cap for. Seems a bit extreme and I am having a hard time getting the liner to fit correctly! Ugh! Is there any suggestions you have to keep mink away?

  3. Guy Regnier
    Sacramento, CA
    October 11, 2014, 4:38 pm

    Love your show! Watch it, tape it, watch it again!

    I have a love hate relationship with my pond/stream that is going to be the death of me if you don’t come rescue me! I am an avid DIYer, but no matter how many hours and $$$ I spend I can’t seem to find and stop my 900 gallon pond from leaking to a certain water level HELP!

    Signed,
    Desperate in Sacramento

  4. Belinda Maynard
    no.central florida
    October 13, 2014, 2:43 pm

    watched,watched and re-watched your shows for ideas on how to make my pond “right”. Waterfall’s in the wrong place and not enough water flow-i need a stream and fish caves. need to revamp the whole darn thing because in addition to all that it’s crammed into a corner. no idea where to start.We can’t even sit by the pond to reduce stress-it brings on more. lol. i want an oasis of calm. any suggestions?can send pics if you want.

  5. David Farer
    United States
    October 18, 2014, 12:12 pm

    I’ve built several ponds over the last few years. None of which I would consider a success. Started out with a hatchling penisula cooter that was found in the front yard. First I built a small 50 gal pond that lasted a few months til I decided it needed to be bigger. When we bought a new house I had to build a pond before we could move the turtles and fish. This pond build turned out better than the last 4 did,but still has plenty of issues.Now I am needing to do it again as the turtles and fish are getting bigger by the day. If you need a candidate for a show,I would be glad to work my butt of in any possible way to help. My 5 turtles thank for taking the time to read this.lol

  6. Darnell Elliott
    United States
    October 27, 2014, 9:35 pm

    I have been wanting a small gold fish pond in my yard, but have no idea how to begin or end. Will you please come to Mt. Holly, Arkansas and build me one. Please! Please!