During a visit in the mid-1880s, Vanderbilt was inspired by a view from downtown Asheville, North Carolina. It so spectacular that he purchased 125,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains for his summer estate. His legacy is the Biltmore Estate, embodying his vision as well as that of architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
The centerpiece is the Biltmore House, a four-story French Renaissance home which was completed in 1895. Frederick Law Olmsted surrounded the house with magnificent gardens including the formal Italian Garden which contains three ponds. Hart Restoration was called in to restore two of the three ponds.
After investigating various repair solutions which included replicating in poured concrete, it was decided to rebuild the two ponds using the construction method used over 100 years ago with the addition of modern plaster crack control methods.
The water in the ponds is actually held in by brick walls with a water stop installed in the center of the brick structure. The walls are then covered with a traditional three coat decorative plaster veneer. To create the complex and ornate design, Hart Restoration fabricated special tools and forms. As it was done years ago, most of the work was performed by hand with a great deal of patience.
The end product created an image of the ponds as they appeared in 1886.