Continuing on from where I left off at "the pathway" is where the pond is.
It all started with a patch of grass. I thought we needed that patch. It was the only grass in our backyard. When we first moved in the grass was pretty bad. The previous owners had a dog that wore a running path through the whole backyard. So, our first attempt was to reseed the grass. That didn't work. We then removed the dead grass, and prepped the soil and laid sod. We babied that sod, but still it died.
It was around that time that I started dreaming of a pond. Not a large one, but one that we could install ourselves in a place we could enjoy it.
So, we again removed all the dead grass.
The ground was hard clay full of roots and rocks and the occasional golf ball and bone. Not only did we use a shovel, but an ax and lopers came in handy too.
Here is "the muscle" resting.
I'm not weak, and yet I couldn't be of much help to him. So he dug and dug until we ended up with this hole. It's about 2 feet at it's deepest. There are 1 foot shelves all the way around. I'd say it's about 8 feet long and 6 feet wide.
Since my husband is also the mathematician I let him estimate the volume. He thinks it's in the 500 gallon range.
We used an underlayment that we bought at the hardware store. Then we covered it with a pvc liner. I don't remember the thickness, but was meant for ponds and has a supposed life of 15 years. I'm sure my husband will be glad to dig another pond for me in 15 years...
Here is how it looked filled the next day. Not too bad for a few days of work.
We bought the stone for around the pond at a large rockery. We didn't have a truck, so we made MANY trips back an forth loading up our car. The waterfall is the only thing I wish we would've spent more time on. The pump and filter system came in a kit. I later upgraded to a higher gallon per hour pump because of the fish and it seems to keep the water more clear. I take it out every couple of months to clean it out. It's very easy to do.
Our first fish. I always thought we had started with 3 until I looked at this picture just now. I guess they were the 4 amigos, not 3.
Here is our pond the next summer. I started buying more marginal plants as well as the one water lily. The marginals grow in black plastic pots on the shelves in the pond. The only problem is that the raccoons like to knock them in when they come for their midnight rampages. Then I get to fish the pots out of the pond. I've cut way back on the marginals because of those raccoons. Now I mostly have water lilies, and floating plants like fairy fern, water lettuce and water hyacinth. We have some underwater plants as well that provide extra oxygen for the fish as well as being a hiding place for them. I've been trying to find a way to conceal the pump and filter, yet still make it accessible. Any suggestions?
That same year we decided we needed a better path around the pond. I tried to do the curved area at the top myself. But as my husband pointed out, it was far too narrow. The ground was so compacted there and difficult to dig that I didn't mind that he took over. He widened the path to make it much more useable. We used crushed gravel to cover the path. It has settled really well. I can sweep or rake it to clean leaves, etc. My girls can pull wagons or run around there too.
These stepping stones are where the path meets the pond.
Here is the pond a couple of years later. Yes, that's a gnome by the waterfall. He was knocked in one too many times and now sits safely in the vegetable garden.
This last one is from the end of last summer. The plantings around it have really begun to fill in. I'm continually adding new and moving old ones around. The gravel path is more visible in this picture. The brown looking grass in the pond is actually a dwarf cattail. It doesn't spread like the larger variety. It produces the cutest cattails, and my girls love to pick them. I put the large rock in the water so that the birds can rest there.
We've really enjoyed having this pond. It has really increased the variety of birds that we get. During the winter we see quite a few that come to the waterfall to drink. In the summer the birds bathe in the waterfall or sit on the edges of the pond. The girls love to feed the fish. The fish actually swim along the side of the pond while it's warm and wait for us to feed them. They will eat right out of my older daughter's hand. Dragonflies swoop down to eat any mosquitoes that may be around. Bees come to drink water at the edges. Still waiting on the frogs to show up. Maybe this summer.
Updated 9/14/09 to link this to "I used to have a lawn but now I have a...". on Blue Planet Garden Blog. Check out Lawnreform.org website for more information on getting rid of your lawn.