Tommy Hill moved to Snellville a few months ago from the state of Washington. Since his arrival, he has plugged into the community as if he’s been here for years. (It helps that his fiancee’s family, the owners of McMillan Landscaping, have been here for years.)
Hill installs custom water features, and has worked for high profile clients like Epcot Disney and the Omaha Zoo. Most recently, however, .
“I saw their story on TV,” said Hill. “I called them up and felt compelled to build a water feature for her.”
He contacted distributors and partnered with Buck Jones Nursery, North American Tree Service in Loganville and McMillan Landscaping to create a serene, unique feature that Aimee will be able to see and hear from her room.
During the process, he and the Copelands became good friends.
“Once the news media comes and goes,” he said, “we’ll be over there throwing horseshoes.”
Patch: How did you get involved with water features?
Hill: I used to work for the largest pond manufacturing company in the world, Aquascapes, in Chicago, Ill. My job was to travel North America and teach contractors how to build, design and sell water features.
Patch: Why did you branch out and start working for yourself?
Hill: I found that with contractors, you could teach them the right way to do things but you couldn’t be involved. So I left corporate and went out on my own. I like it much better because I get to work with the homeowners and educate and teach them.
Patch: What do you enjoy about your work?
Hill: I don’t look at this as a job but as a lifestyle. I’m very passionate about it. I love water features. The peace, serenity and the fun, and what I see homeowners say after I build it is what I like the most. When they tell you you’ve exceeded their expectations.
Patch: What do you mean when you say water features?
Hill: I build koi ponds, create bubbling urns, bubbling rocks, bubbling stumps where I take driftwood and drill holes, waterfalls, streams, basically anything that deals with water.
Patch: What sets you apart from other companies?
Hill: My company is all natural, no pesticides. We use real rocks, use a liner, not concrete, real plants, and I guarantee my water features will be crystal clear. We use natural processes that have been around hundreds of years. Did you know that the number one algae cleaner is hydrogen peroxide? A lot of people don’t know that.
A lot of companies know how to place rocks, but they don’t know how to answer the phones when a homeowner needs to talk to them. I can educate them as well as build what they need.
Patch: How long have you been doing this?
Hill: Over 12 years.
Patch: What are your plans for the near future?
Hill: Hopefully by the end of the year I will have a storefront in Snellville. I love to teach classes and want to teach homeowners step-by-step how to build the features themselves.
Patch: What was it like working for the Copelands?
Hill: The opportunity that the Copelands gave me to build that water feature was one of the greatest honors of my life. Aimee Copeland is definitely a strong, awesome lady, but the Copelands themselves… it’s remarkable how their life has been turned upside down and how they have coped. I hope that I am half the father that Mr. Copeland is. They show what a mother and father and unity in a family is all about.
I’ve also been very impressed with the city, how they have all come together for this family. I’m looking forward to being a part of it.
For more information, follow Serenity Falls Watergardens on Facebook.