Ponds & water features

Pond1What’s more soothing to the eye and ear then the sound of trickling water.  Ponds and water features enhance a backyard experience where your backyard actually becomes an extension of your home, only its outdoors.

One of the first things many people say when looking out over a few acres is, “I wish I had a pond.” Ponds add scenic beauty to a property and provide opportunities for boating, swimming and fishing. There also are many practical uses for a pond — sound, wildlife and an overall peaceful and serene state of mind.  Ponds don’t need to be gigantic to be enjoyed, they can be small and intimate with beautiful landscaping that will pull you outside and right into the chairs you have set up.

When I bought my house the first thing I did was build a pond in the backyard. My idea was simple and it took me quite awhile to dig and get it set up but the planning was fun and the work was enjoyable.  I dug a huge hole and then a deep but lengthy trench which made the area look like a small creek that wound through a small area into the pond.  The liner was inexpensive and I loaded up the area with rocks and boulders large enough for me to carry by myself.  You don’t see the liner and it looks like a natural pond.  The pump was cheap and the rocks cover the hose.  Simple!  

The earth I dug was piled at the start of the creek and from there large rocks were piled on top to start the water.  It wasn’t hard.  For more than Pond2five years I continued to add rock and features to the pond  and the landscaping began to fill in.  Now its gorgeous!  The birds love it as over the years I added small areas for them to bath and drink.  At times we have seen 20-30 birds at the pond at one time.  Birds are very social creatures and every evening they show up and its like a wild party.  We even had a duck in our pond once and we always wondered how it got there and how did it know there was a pond in our back yard.  Its not that big.

Ponds, like their owners, come in an endless variety of shapes and sizes. But each one is “a spot of beauty, a sparkling universe teeming with life,” Louis Bromfield wrote in his 1948 book, Malabar Farm. “For the children they are a source of inexhaustible delight. And like the fishponds of the abbeys and castles of medieval Europe and the Dark Ages, when all the world fell apart in anarchy and disorder, they provide not only food for the table but peace for the soul and an understanding of man’s relationship to the universe.”

Pond4Pond thoughts

Don’t take your pond to seriously.  This pond is stunning but it would be expensive to haul in all those large boulders. This was completed by a pro but “WOW” is all I can say.

For what I’m talking about there is only one way to build a pond — dig a hole and start there.  You don’t need be a engineer to get started as this is just a beautiful water feature for your backyard that you can add to every year.  Decorating the pond is fun!  Its not like you’re on a farm where you can build a damn and get a pond that way.  I’m talking about a glorified water feature on steroids.  Some of the pictures show something a little more than a hole in the ground but you don’t need to spend a great deal of money to build a beautiful pond.  Remember, it’s supposed to be fun.

Build a pond you can see and hear without having to trek around your property to get to it.  Build it off your patio or deck.  Place chairs and a table near by for an intimate gathering.  Use plants and rock to create a natural setting.  You can even use cement and cover the cement with rocks.  The ideas are limitless to what you can do with your pond.  We built our near our outdoor fire place so we get the best of both worlds.  Fire and water.  Last year we added Iris’s along the back side and the look was stunning.  We added some ferns a few years ago and they turned out amazing!

Supplies

I suggest a waterfall style for your pond and even though it’s a little more work its worth it when you hear the sound of trickling water.  PondPond3 pumps are cheap so you’re going to need one but, tear a page out of my experience and get a good one.  Depending on the size of your pond you will need to buy a pump that can push water up 5-7 feet.  Even a small pump can do that but you want to circulate the water enough to keep the water moving so your pond doesn’t become a mosquito infested nightmare.

If you want to add goldfish you will need a pond filter to keep the water clean and free of algae that grows fast in the hot summer sun.  The water filter will have a light feature that will kill the algae spores as the water circulates through the filter.  You can also add a bag a lava rock where the water comes out of the hose to help gather algae.  If you want to keep your goldfish all winter then you will need a water heater so the pond doesn’t freeze solid and kill the fish.  Gold fish are very hardy and they go dormant in the winter but the heater will keep an opening in the pond all winter long.  Pond heaters are cheap and they use very little energy.  Here’s the link where you can pick one up at Farm & Fleet.

Cement is cheap!  The cement pond to the right is probably $500 or less if you did this yourself.  Building a cement pond is one summer project that is fun and rewarding and when you build your new home consider adding a pond to your outside living space.  You won’t regret it.

The staff at Hart DeNoble Builders.