Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Thrills and Dramas of a New Pond

Clear and cool, clear and cool,
By laughing shallow, and dreaming pool.

Charles Kingsley The Water Babies 

 I wanted a pond in my garden for a long time, but I did not realize just how much pleasure it would give us. The waterfall is very relaxing to listen to, while at the same time visually stimulating. H.H. and I have a new evening routine of feeding the fish and sitting, with our after-dinner coffees, enjoying their antics. 

But before I discuss the joys of the fish pond further, I must show you how it was made.

We decided to locate it in the cottage garden area, so it would be surrounded by herbaceous borders on three sides, with the proximity of the patio on the fourth side. I began by marking the shape of the pond and its interior shelves on the lawn. I did a lot of reading about installing ponds so I knew we needed shelves for the plants.

H.H.'s brother-in-law, Dave, opted to do the work. He is a building contractor, but this was his first pond. I wanted part of it to be at least 36 inches deep, for the fish to over-winter down there, so Dave decided not to dig it out by hand. The first real drama occurred for me when the backhoe arrived ... very exciting!

 When the pond was dug out, Dave and his helper, Russ, lined it with sand to protect the liner from being torn by rocks and roots (of which there were many!) I chose a flexible pond liner because I felt it would be more natural looking.

The second drama was getting the liner into the hole! It was so heavy! At this point we started calling friends and when there were about six of us, we stood all around the liner, and gradually maneuvered it over and into the hole. Well, that's what friends are for, right?

As water was slowly added, the creases were eased out, and the liner properly placed over ledges and sides. I was so glad Russ volunteered to take his shoes off ... the water was very cold.

The above procedures took a few days. Dave starting laying Pennsylvania blue stone around the edges. Russ shoveled soil under and around the stones.

The following weekend, H.H. and I went out of town to perform grandparent babysitting duties. A few times, as we were enjoying our grandsons, we would wonder aloud to each other whether Dave was at the house working on the pond. We knew he had to build up rocks to make a waterfall and install the pump and filter.

On our return, we drove into the driveway and were greeted by this incredible sight ...

The waterfall had immediate, dramatic impact on the scene. Good job Dave!

I had great fun purchasing plants for around the pond. I decided to add ground covers. H.H. didn't want the grass up to the edging stones, because he was afraid that the grass cuttings would fly into the water when he mows. I bought two kinds of sedums, and divided some others that I had already.

I placed lilyturf on either side of the waterfall and put a large clump at the back to hide the electrical outlet. I put some of my hypertufa pots around the edge.

We didn't buy many water plants as it is so late in the year. We thought it best to wait until next spring.

Very soon the frogs began to arrive. We have counted three so far.

When the two grandsons came for a weekend visit, H.H. took them to purchase coy fish. They were told they could each pick three and they were told to pick really little ones because they were cheaper. Anyway, coy grow very fast and very big. Of course, the boys gave each fish a name. I think the two you can see below are Nemo and Walter.

And it is the fish that create the most drama. They become very excited when they are fed. They race each other to the waterfall and back. They are great fun to watch!

Finally, we added a couple of lights behind the waterfall. We like the way it looks at night.

If you were to ask me what I like best about the pond, I would have to say the amount of wildlife it is attracting. My garden is registered as a wildlife habitat but as Baines says in How to Make a Wildlife Garden, "A wildlife garden without a pond is like a theatre without a stage ... the real thrills, the real dramas of the rich habitat garden take place in and around the pond." I have to agree.

Enjoy your weekend!
Pam x

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I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Oh, Pam, I loved this post! Your ponds is beautiful! That makes me want a pond, but our yard is small and choppy. How did those frogs find your pond so quickly?

  2. Hi Pam,

    Oh that is beautiful! I think ponds add so much to a garden. The sounds, the animals, it all has a magical effect. It is good you did not dig that by yourself! That is a good sized pond.
    It is something you will enjoy for a long time.

  3. How beautiful! I love the little angel statue. Thank you for reminding me to come by to see the updates on the pond.

    I totally agree about the pleasures that wildlife brings to one's surroundings, If you plant it they will come.

    I find it amazing how frogs and other wildlife will appear out of no where, like Rosey stated it's Magical!

    Thank you for sharing.. talk with you later.. Vetsy

  4. Hello Pam,

    I do love the sound of running water. I can just imagine how much pleasure you are getting from your new water feature. It was nice to see your pond come into being with help from many others :-)

  5. Very lovely. I like the way it is situated in the garden. I am sure by next summer after the plants grow a bit, it will look fantastic.

    Always Growing

  6. Dear Pamela, As you show here, ponds are not easy or quick to make. They require a lot of planning and hard work in the creation if they are to be successful. Congratulations on such a pretty and effective final result. I am sure that you have had and will continue to have many happy hours watching the fish and listening to the sound of the water.

    Water in the garden is always, in my mind, so relaxing and so interesting. There is always something to see and the sound of gentle splashing is so comforting after a stressful day. Lovely!

  7. Hi Pam, Your pond looks beautiful, and you are going to love it more and more. My own pond is blessed with frogs and birds and it's the best place to sit in the garden.

  8. Pam, your pond is a beautiful addition to your garden. Water features always bring serenity to a space. I know you will enjoy it for years to come.

  9. Hi Pam, WOW what a wonderful pond it's so beautiful. Thanks for sharing the planning and building of the pond as well,it's nice to see how your ideas came to life.
    Does your mother ever get to see your blog ? or has she been over to see your garden? she must be so proud of the fact that you have inherited her love of gardening.
    Have a lovely week. x

  10. A beautiful pond, but whew, such hard work! I don't think I'll ever get one, but I keep dreaming. There are so many gardeners who get sad when summer ends, just like us. We just can't stand to see our gardens going to bed for the winter!

  11. I really enjoyed reading about how you made your pond, and the final result is fantastic. I only have room for a (very) small pond in my garden, but it's amazing how much wildlife it attracts. I have three resident frogs so I'm hoping for some frog spawn next year.

  12. Wonderful. A dream comes true. You will countless days and nights of real pleasure just sitting there and watch the water, the fish and the cool environment it had created. ~bangchik

  13. What a perfect documentation of the creation of your lovely pond. The statue at the top of the waterfall is the crowning touch. That back-hoe looked scary, and how fortunate you are to have a trustworthy person to do the digging for you. I'm inspired to think again about having a pond in our allotment.

  14. Dear Pam - what an undertaking and I am impressed with all your planning too. Now in situ, the pond looks amazing but best of all that the frogs have given the final seal of approval.


  15. What a wonderful pond. We have three small water features and enjoy each one. I have agree with you that the fish are such a delight. We love to sit and watch ours while we have a glass of wine in the evening.

  16. Are'nt our lucky? Grandsons, dream garden, a pond, wildlife .. . somewhere in your youth or childhood, you must have done something good

  17. That should have been 'aren't you lucky?"

  18. Congratulations Pam! What a wonderful accent or world within a world you now have in your pond. It is so lovely and I am sure very magical for you. ;>)

  19. What a great addition to your garden. And it sounds as if you don't have racoons, so you'll get to enjoy the fish ;->

    Seriously, though, I just love how it looks. And much fun to have done it yourself.

  20. Hello Pam,
    Your pond looks so inviting! We are quite a way off having one here...but one day we will and I can't wait!

  21. Kudos!!
    Ponds are a huge undertaking.
    I'm sure you'll take great enjoyment from it in the seasons ahead.

  22. Do you feel the jealousy radiating from the north? Yeah, that's me. I guess I have a theatre with no stage. I WILL have a water feature at my next garden, even if it's a plastic bucket filled with water! Thx for the inspiration.

    Christine in Alaska, pond-less

  23. Dear Pam, I LOVE your pond! I am so glad that you have it! The fish and the waterfall must be wonderful. You have inspired me to see what I can do about finishing up my "pond"! :) I need to install the fountain and finish the planting. It does already have a resident from, though. :)Thank you for sharing your pond! :)

  24. Hi. I found your blog through Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and I just wanted to say I think your pond is beautiful.

  25. nice pond, im doing a smaller pond in my garden for some gold fish. I wanted to know whether oxygen plant would be enough for a 200-300 litre pond or should i get a small water feature to oxygenate the water?

  26. Hi, James, Thanks for visiting. It wouldn't hurt to get a water feature. A lot depends on if your pond is in full sun or not. Ours is, and the sun and heat rob the pond of oxygen. We are planning on getting a bigger filter. Hope this helps. P.