Note: this is a guest post and consideration was received for its publication. photo: CC-licensed image of a backyard pond by Chang Er
I've always dreamed of having my own backyard paradise with a pond. I imagined emerging from our house onto our craftsman deck and stepping down into an oasis of lush greenery that peeled away to reveal a beautiful babbling pond filled with a rainbow of carp. Instead we got holes in our backyard, my husband's thrown out back, and some disappointment. More than anything my dream of a pond led us to rush into the installation without developing a solid plan or blueprint that suited our yard. After a few failed attempts we did manage to install a lovely little pond but not without a lot of unnecessary work and one giant bruised ego (mine).
I hit the internet for information about building our pond, but I encourage you to take time to get out and look at backyard ponds in action. Not all ponds are created equally. For instance I was at a party last week and incurred a healthy case of pond envy. My friends installed a beautiful koi pond that stretches much farther than ours and sets a beautiful scene for their entire yard. Had I encountered this pond before digging ours, a larger pond budget might have seemed worth it.
Call Before You Dig!
If you live in Texas, call 811 to request a surveyor to mark your property for gas, electric, and water lines. Uncovering a gas line while digging not only slows project progress, it also might cause costly damages. Not novices to home renovation, we did make this call. Unfortunately while I thought I knew our safe areas from previous landscaping projects, it turned out the exact place I wished to place our pond actually contained a sewer line. Not a huge setback, but it did cause us to move our entire project over about five feet diagonally.
Maintain Your Water Level
Invest in a float switch or similar method to keep your water at level on a continuous basis. Unfortunately we left for the weekend shortly after we installed our two beautiful carp. The weather became unpredictably hot, water evaporated, and we came home to two very crowded fish. While we lucked out and did not lose our little buddies, had we been absent a day or two more the heat of reduced water might have killed them.
I cannot emphasize how much work it is to dig a pond and then hustle in the necessary stones to landscape it. While we are not strangers to heavy lifting for home renovations, this is an instance where paying the professional is worth the pain and labor saved. After heaving half of our rocks from the driveway tot the pond perimeter, my husband threw out his back and we stalled on the project until we opted to pay some strapping neighborhood teenagers to carry the rest of the stone.
Investing in a pond creates a beautiful element within your landscaping, and while I roll my eyes every time the subject comes up or a visitor compliments our little pond, I do love to walk out cool mornings and meditate over it with a cup of coffee.