Suggstions for new natural pond?

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

It looks like in a few weeks, we'll be moving to a new home and one of the most exciting and challenging features will be in our front yard. The picture below is blurry - we took it back in December from inside the house - it's the view from the upstairs.

The dimensions of the pond will rise and fall with the rainfall. (We haven't yet figure out if there's also a spring feeding it but there's another larger pond on the property adjacent to this one, and then a creek beyond that, so my guess is there's some water source besides just rainfall.)

We want to do a few things with the pond starting this summer:

1. Build a small floating or piered fishing dock, in scale with the pond. (Probably no bigger than 8x12 or 8x16.)

2. Add plants. As far as I can tell, there are only cattails in there now. I've got a couple tubs of waterlilies to take with me, plus Louisiana Irises that will be happy on the edge of the pond, and some sedge. But I could use some other suggestions for full sun, clay soil, and mostly boggy conditions - from shrubs to perennials and grasses to groundcovers. :-)

3. Add fish if it appears that it will stay deep enough to support them all summer

4. Put a fountain in it for aeration (and aesthetics) - that will have to wait until we can get an electrician to get electricity run out there.

So, any tips or advice from those who have a natural pond to tend? We've had ponds for several years now, but they've always been rigid or flexible lined ponds, and not nearly this big.

Thumbnail by Terry
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

My oh my, do you have a project. How utterly neat!!! How deep is it? I get my koi from a fellow in Kentucky and he keeps his fish in a pond just like yours. And you have your own creek?? My dream is 'a river running through'. My in laws in Michigan had a house with a wonderful creek in the back hard. No neighbors to speak of with trees hanging over and fish. I just loved it. so peaceful. And 10 degrees cooler in the back with the creek and trees than in the front.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

To be honest, we don't know how deep it is. I think we're gonna have to get some hipwaders and plunge in, but not until we've signed the papers and it is ours, "lock, stock and barrel."

I'd love to have some goldfish or koi, but we may hold off on introducing any fish until we've gone through a summer and see how shallow it goes when we get a few weeks without rain - there's no sense in buying and killing a bunch of fish if it dries up too much to support them. There's a rock-lined inlet area to the right-side of this picture, and that's where the runoff water enters.

The house sits on a little over an acre and a half and is surrounded by farms - to the left of the pond is a farm with emus, cattle, chicken, ducks, sheep and goats. Across the road (beyond the pond) is a horse pasture. To the right of the pond is another home (and they apparently have free-range chickens), and the house beyond them has a fenced area with sheep.

This should be interesting...like living on a farm without the chores of feeding or cleaning up after all the animals. And I suspect I'll be able to snag any kind of animal manure I could want just by visiting one of the neighbors :-)

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Your new home sounds like my idea of heaven, minus the horrible heat. Anything above 72F and 50% humidity and I just die. Lived in Paris TN for three months from Feb to June and that was all I could handle. Almost went to the University of Kentucky one time but fate intervened and I ended up coming back to Alaska. Graduated from UAF instead.

Terry -

It looks wonderful..... smart idea to see what happens to your waterlevels before introducing any fish.

Deer Park, IL(Zone 5b)

From the looks of that water it appears shallow-ish due to the lack of incline. Be concerned about chemical run-off from neighbors. Also, there might even be fish in that water-dropped in from birds. Remember any area can be dug deeper to hold more water if you want it to.

In my neighborhood we have a lot of water areas similar to yours and they support a lot of hardy waterlillys which look pretty in summer. Only one neighbor has a larger and deeper runoff area that supports fish (not koi but sport fish like small mouth bass) and she aerates the pond. Her water area slopes quite a bit more and is about 10 feet deep in the center. it is feed by all the drainage of the neighborhood. It's quite lovely.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Good points - thanks! My husband went out yesterday afternoon to try to find the boundary pins (a fence for the back yard is among our first orders of business.)

He talked to one of the neighbors, who said the pond got pretty low last summer. Of course, WE got pretty dry last summer. After the infamous May floods (we're just outside Nashville) - I think we went close to 6 weeks without rain.. Another reason to probably hold off on fish for now. And that's a good point - if it dries up, that would be a good time to make it deeper :-)

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