Monday, September 17, 2007

My summer project

For many years I have wanted to build a garden pond but being a renter it just wasn't feasible. Last year Kriss and I bought our first home and for the first time I can create some great features, pond, sauna, climbing wall, etc., and if and when I move again I will get some benefit instead of an ungrateful landlord. I have the climbing wall well under way and I am currently planning the sauna. The pond on the other hand has been my summer project, or as some have said, my summer obsession. For the site I chose a preexisting depression in the yard.

On the first day I used a level and spray paint to mark out the perimeter of the pond, then it was time to remove sod.

After quite a bit of digging, the liner was placed and filled with water.

This is the beginning of the first waterfall which was later torn down and rebuilt.

At this point you can see what was initially going to be the finished product.

Within weeks the pond was teeming with wildlife. Frogs, dragonflies, quite a variety of birds, and a couple of garter snakes moved into the waterfall and hatched their young.

This is the point where obsession starts to take hold. Just when I thought I was finished I came up with the brilliant idea of a second pond with a stream. Of coarse that also means a bridge to get to the other side.

This stream originally flowed into a sump that I built by burying a garbage can in the ground. The problem with the design was that if both ponds and the sump were full I would turn on the pump and the sump would be pumped dry before the water started to flow sufficiently. In other words the sump was too small. Rather than making a larger sump, it was much easier and more cost effective to build a third pond.

For about three weeks we had literally thousands of these little toads everywhere on our property.

This is the pond as it stands today. You can see the new waterfall that is being constructed in the background.

The addition of plants brings the whole project to life. I also have several goldfish and there were two Hypostomus Plecostomus until a Great Blue Heron decided he liked one of them more than I.

My thoughts for anyone who wants to build a pond: It is a lot of fun, creates a very relaxing environment, and can be done very economically if you do your own labor and collect your own materials. I have spent about $600.00 for the entire project and that was all for pumps, filters, and liner. I saved well over $1000.00 by collecting my own rock as opposed to buying it. I also saved a fortune in labor. To have this pond commercially constructed would cost nearly $20,000.00. The biggest warning I would give is that it can be addictive. I spent more of my summer working on this pond than climbing mountains. Anyone who knows me understands the implication of that statement. Another warning, part of the cost savings was due to the fact that I did nearly all this work by myself without any kind of machinery. This can be very back breaking work. Many of the rocks in the waterfall are in excess of 300 pounds and I placed every one of them by hand. It took a lot of time and planning, but if you use your head more than your back it is amazing what one person can accomplish.