Showing posts with label ponds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ponds. Show all posts

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pond Design, Continued

Let's keep showing pond design solutions.  I know it seems simple just to dig a hole and fill it with water and in many ways it is, but making that pond fit where it's dug is as different as the people who will live with the pond in the garden.

This client had a long, narrow back yard. He wanted to hear waterfall noise.  In fact, he installed a baby  monitor outside the bedroom window so he could hear the sounds inside while going to sleep.
This pond is 22' long and about 8' wide. I built a hill in the yard, so we could put a path behind the pond and it could be viewed from 'behind the set'.  Of course, that meant there was no 'behind the set', so I used plants on both sides of the path to cover the back of the waterfall where the tubes and hoses are and against the wall that formed the back of his yard.   You can see both waterfalls. For some reason two waterfalls worked better than one long one.

This pond was mainly in the shade so the plant palette had to be specific to shade plants.  Notice the ferns and even a croton in back of the waterfall.  Putting plants behind a waterfall and in front of a fence solves two problems:  Covers the back of the waterfall and separates the pond from the fence. One of the biggest mistakes DIY pond builders make is to back the pond right up against the fence.  Water does not come out of fences and we can't figure out why we don't like the way it looks. Put plants in between and you will suddenly like your waterfall more.

Visit my website at  Visit us with your pond questions or just to show off your pond.

To learn more about pond design read my book.
A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond, available here
Learn to build your own pond.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

More design ideas

I found early on while starting to build ponds for customers that most of them didn't want formal concrete boxes, but free form natural looking ponds. They wanted to feel like their back yard was part of a forest.  I loved building those kinds of ponds.  And a side effect of all those ponds was that the pond was part of a backyard habitat that allowed critters a place to get a drink of water and probably find food as well.  Yes, often that food was our goldfish, I know. But since we stole the habitats of the wild critters, perhaps our ponds could help pay them back for that theft.

Here's what I mean:

I sorta put critter pics up. I promise design pics tomorrow.

Visit my website at  Visit us with your pond questions or just to show off what you have done.

Don't forget my book, A Practical Guide to Building and Maintaining your Pond, available here
Learn to build your own pond.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Disappearing Water

Water levels way down at Blanchard Springs, near Mountain View AR
We all know that one of the biggest problems facing the world today is lack of water.  Our rivers are being diverted to cities for ever growing need, to farms for irrigation to grow food for animals to eat and we are losing water to climate change.  Our colder regions are not getting as much snow and warmer regions are not getting as much rain as 20 years ago.  So our rivers are drying up, our lakes shorelines are receding and we should fear for the shortage of potable water. 

So, we want to have a pond.  Is this wasting a precious resource?  Is it just another example of people putting want above need? I say no.  Well, it's because you are a pond builder, you say.  Still, I say no.  People want vast expanses of lawns. In their gardens, in public spaces.  Lawns take vast amounts of water, water that could otherwise be used for satiating the thirst of people.  Lawns get irrigated, they get fertilized, they get cut using gas gulping machines that pollute the atmosphere. And next week they get all those things again.

Ponds get filled with water once a year ideally. They need topping off occasionally when conditions lead to evaporation, but that's rare. 

Ponds need little maintenance and certainly never need mowing. They provide places for wildlife to visit, breed and live.  Birds, bees, toads, frogs and yes, the occasional bird eating egret or heron to get dinner.

Ponds can be used for growing food if owners wish, but even if they don't, they are beautiful additions to the landscape and don't use precious resources.

If you want to build your own pond, my book can help you do that. It really isn't hard to do. Download it here

If you want to get more information about ponds, join us at to meet other pond builders and pond keepers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turtles in the pond

Nuf said? No?  OK, turtles eat everything in the pond. They start with your most expensive plants, like tropical water lilies and eat their way through every last plant.  And they do it fast.

You can have turtles in a pond if you have nothing else in the pond. You have to feed the turtles and make a little island and/or ramp so they can get in and out. Turtles do not live underwater.

In the winter, they burrow in the leaf mold and under the rocks and stay there undisturbed until spring when they wake up with a voracious appetite for more water lilies.

Turtle on a turtle?  Yup, it is.

To find more pond information, go to

And to meet a great community of gardeners, join us at  Gardeners  Gumbo

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pond hardware

So often when we are buying hardware for pond fittings, we buy the first ones we see or the cheapest.

When you are buying hose clamps, don't buy the cheap ones...they rust and fall apart. Buy the more expensive steel ones. They will last forever. Same with plastic hose fittings. Buy brass hose fittings. You will never need another one.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pond Conversation Overheard

Pre Katrina, my office overlooked our front yard where the pond was. One unusual New Orleans day when we could have our windows open, I overheard the following conversation:

Man and woman, probably husband and wife, looking at the pond and waterfall:

He: "I wonder how 'he' did that. Where is all that water coming from?"

She: "Silly, the water is coming from the garden hose. Anyone can see that. What I wonder is where is it going? I'd hate to pay their water bill."

And these people reproduce.