Landscape Project


More outdoor kitchens and grilling

built in big green egg

We design your outdoor cooking space to fit your budget and style.   There are numerous choices for surface finishes that will compliment your home and landscape structures.  We have access to the best appliances available and are not limited to a particular brand.   If you have a “Big Green Egg” charcoal grill, we have much experience with integrating them into outdoor kitchen designs.


Raleigh Koi Pond and Landscape Rennovation

Raleigh"after" picture of landscape rennovation

Transforming a Raleigh backyard

This was a full landscape transformation for a Raleigh home.  We started with a blank slate and worked with the homeowners to incorporate an advanced Koi pond into their outdoor living space.  They wanted to bring the pond very close to the house to view the koi from their screen porch and hear the tranquil sound of falling water.   The project also incorporated a bluestone patio, cantilevered deck, seatwall, outdoor lighting, an irrigation system, lush plantings, a new zoysia lawn, privacy fencing, and grilling area.  We also installed a cooling mist system around the patio which works well to cool the area on hot summer days.  This is a good example of how we can completely transform a bare yard into a comfortable entertaining space.


Raleigh Brick Patio

We built a very nice brick patio in Raleigh

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Patio in North Raleigh

Pavers by the pool and patio

A Breathtaking Backyard Transformation

When we spent time with these homeowners in North Raleigh, they made it clear they wanted a backyard landscape designed for easy entertaining.  Our Down to Earth designers came up with a plan to maximize every inch of space.  The pavers are a beautiful yet functional way to make the yard usable while still keeping with the contemporary look of the design.  Patio pavers and pavers that serve as a pathway to the next space are a great choice for anyone hoping to design the backyard of your dreams.

Raleigh Koi Pond

Taking Quality Care of Your Koi Pond

Maintaining your koi pond water and the fish living in the environment is always a priority for our clients.  At Down to Earth Landscaping, we take great pride in designing, building and maintaining beautiful and healthy koi ponds for our friends in Raleigh, Durham and Cary.

Bacterial Infections:  (The following is meant to be a very simple explanation of why bacterial infections occur and how to treat them. For a more detailed discussion see “Koi Health and Disease” by Dr. Erik L. Johnson, D.V.M.)  The two most common bacteria that cause problems on koi fish are Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. Both of these bacteria are naturally occurring and are found in all pond and lake water. These bacteria are non existent in tap water because chlorine is added to kill any bacteria. Never the less, you can start up a brand new pond with tap water and within 3 weeks after the chlorine has evaporated, you will find at least a low level of these bacteria in your water. Normally, in a clean healthy pond, the levels of bacteria are so low that they will not cause a problem on their own. The outer slime coat or epidermis normally protects the fish from these harmful bacteria. The most common reason koi experience a bacterial infection is when their slime coat or epidermal layer is broken and the bacteria is allowed to infect the koi. These sores can grow very quickly if they are not treated.  Raleigh Koi Pond

The most common reasons infections start

  • Parasites can eat through the outer slime coat or epidermal layer exposing the dermis layer to the bacteria. As flukes attach themselves to the surface of the koi with their haptens, which resemble small fish hooks, they can actually inject the harmful bacteria into the koi.
  • Scratching against a sharp object such as a rock can break through the slime coat and expose the koi to the bacteria.
  • Poor water quality can burn off the slime coat or stress the koi making it more susceptible to the bacteria.
  • Stress by itself through overcrowding or simply moving fish from one pond to another can sometimes be enough to allow a bacterial infection to start.

Treatment for Bacterial Infection 

Treatment can be handled in several ways depending on the severity of the infection.

  • On small sores you can dry off the wound with a paper towel and then treat the wound with hydrogen peroxide on a q-tip. Let it soak for about 30 seconds before placing the koi back into the water. Repeat this procedure 3 days in a row.
  • On larger sores after treating with hydrogen peroxide, again dry off the wound and apply Debride Medicated Ointmentto the sore. Repeat this procedure 3 days in a row.

Parasites:  Parasites are a real health issue when it comes to koi fish. The most common way koi fish contact parasites is from other fish. Before a new koi is introduced to the pond, it is extremely important that the new fish be quarantined for 3 weeks. During this time period the koi should be treated for parasites. Isolating a koi for 3 weeks in a quarantine tank, without treating the koi, is no assurance that the koi is parasite free. All that tells you is that if it has parasites, there are not enough of them to make it sick at this time. If you do not have a separate quarantine tank in which to treat a new koi in, then be very careful who you purchase your new koi from. Make sure the dealer is very conscientious about treating all their koi to make sure they are parasite free before they sell them. Do not take their word for it that they are parasite free. Ask them exactly how they treat their koi for parasites. If they are vague about how they treat the fish you would do well to assume the koi will have parasites and then make your decision as to whether or not to purchase the koi based on that fact.

The five most common parasites that affect koi fish are: flukes, costia, chilodinella, trichodina and ich. All of these parasites are microscopic which means you cannot see them without the aid of a microscope. The most common signs that you may have parasites are:

  • Fish are flashing. Flashing is when a fish swims slowly near the side or bottom of the pond and then quickly swims off by first rubbing it’s side against the pond wall.
  • A fish is isolating itself from the other fish.
  • One or more fish have stopped eating.
  • A fish spends much of the time near the water fall gasping for air.
  • Fish are sitting on the bottom of the pond with their fins clamped close to their body or are drifting in the pond with their head pointed upward or downward for several minutes at a time.
  • Sores developing on the fishes body or fins.
  • Fish are dying.

When selecting a treatment to rid koi of a particular parasite, you should always try to select a treatment that will effectively kill the parasite, while at the same time, cause the least amount of stress to the koi. Stress is a real factor that needs to be considered in treating koi. Think of it this way. You can live and work around all sorts of germs and never get sick. Then things change at work and you are suddenly required to work very long hours for several days in a row. Now, when you can least afford it you get a cold. Why is that? It is because your immune system has failed due to the extra stress of working so much. It works the same way with koi fish. When they get stressed their immune system can begin to fail them and any hope for recovery will be slowed down, if in fact they recover at all. An infestation of parasites can be very stressful to a koi.  For this reason, it is very important when treating a koi with parasites to select a treatment that will not stress them anymore than is necessary.

Proper treatment for parasites depends on which parasite the koi have. If you have access to a microscope, by simply taking a scraping from the fish and examining it under the microscope, you can usually tell exactly which parasites are present and then treat for them accordingly. If you do not have a microscope and are looking for one, there is a very good microscope for the price at  The model M-250  sells for about $500.00.

The pros from Down to Earth Landscaping are ready to advise you on any health matters regarding your water feature or koi pond.  Feel free to contact us today to see how we can help.



Raleigh Koi Pond

Raleigh Koi Pond

  If You Can Dream it…We Can Build it!

When we met a family from Raleigh looking to create a quiet space in their landscape, we knew it was a goal we understood, and a job we could do well.  Adding water with a tranquil koi pond allows the homeowners time and space to get away from the stress of their busy lives.  The homeowner wanted to build an ideal home for his prized show koi.  We designed and constructed the pond with dual bottom drains, tangential pond returns (jets), a fish-safe skimmer, settlement chamber, biofiltration, UV sterilization, dual external pumps, and a long stream with a final waterfall into the pond.  The homeowner wanted to incorporate a structure inspired by a Japanese tea-house and shoji screens.  We constructed a custom “azumaya” of cypress and cedar wood to become a shaded retreat beside the pond.

We would love to talk about your vision, and show you how to bring your outdoors alive today!



Cary Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living Room

Bring the Party Outdoors

Not long ago, we worked with a Cary, NC family looking to add an outdoor living room to their landscape.  Our design team created a space with a custom fireplace with wood boxes, pergola, patio and retaining walls, to bring the comforts of home out under the sun and stars.  The family now uses the outdoor living room to reconnect after the day, sit and enjoy the quiet, or entertain friends.  Let Down to Earth change the way you look at your landscape.


Cary Waterfall and Water Garden

Waterfall and Water Garden

 An Amazing Transformation

When a Cary client called with ideas for her backyard, we quickly knew this project would be especially challenging and rewarding.  The homeowners were ready to add a water element to their landscape, and fortunately, they had the room to go big!  If this inspires you, the highly skilled team from Down to Earth is eager to talk about your vision, and bring it to life.




North Raleigh Hardscape Job 1

Pool Hardscapes

Exquisite Hardscaping to Bring Out the Character of Your Home

Hardscaping your landscape is a perfect way to combine function with beauty.  We recently worked with a North Raleigh family to accentuate their already existing pool by designing a unique hardscape around the space, to enhance the feel and look of the pool.  We always listen to our clients and their vision, and then work to create distinct outdoor spaces that highlight the elegance of your outdoor living space.