Award-winning commercial water feature in Mt. Sinai, N.Y.

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The architect's plans for the entrance to this 400-home subdivision in Mt. Sinai, N.Y., challenged several firms, but when AquaFX by Island Land Care looked at the schematics it suggested a different approach.

The company's principal, Jeffery Ingrassia, proposed a natural ecosystem that would let his company's creative abilities shine with natural boulders, liners and filtration.

The result is a tumbling brook that cascades over natural rock into a 40-foot pond. "You think you're vacationing in the mountains, but you're really driving to your new home," says Ingrassia of the design. Entering the development after dark is a treat, too, as lighting creates a dramatic effect.

To create the welcoming oasis, AquaFX excavated the location and laid approximately 3,000 square feet of liner and 40 yards of gravel. Two pumps flow at a combined rate of 15,000 gallons per hour while landscape evergreens, creeping shrubs and marginal water plants complete an authentic wetland setting.

The Judges:

Nonemaker ROBERT NONEMAKER, principal of Outerspaces, specializing in landscape and watershape design and construction, and Robert Nonemaker Exterior Designs, a watershape consultancy.

White LEE ANNE WHITE, photographer, landscape designer and writer; former editor-in-chief of Fine Gardening Magazine and author of numerous books including Taunton's Pool Idea Book.

Tisherman DAVID TISHERMAN, principal and founder of David Tisherman's Visuals, principal and founder of Genesis 3 Design Group, and an award-winning designer and teacher.

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