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Water Gardens: Pond story

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
1:31 AM

Post #9502195

Someone asked on another thread that I post pictures of my pond in progress. I thought it might be fun to include some pictures to show how it's evolved over time.

I got the idea to put in a tiny little water feature back in 2004. I have a u-shaped patio on the side of my house, which is the view from my kitchen table, and my living room and dining room. It occurred to me one day that I really needed to put something cool in that area. But I have a teeny little urban lot, so a teeny little pond seemed appropriate.

My yard had been neglected for a long time--turned over to the dogs and the kids while I went back to school. I really had my work cut out!

Here's where we started. These were taken from the back door, not the side. First we dug a shade garden and put in a little paver walkway. Ugh--I don't even like to remember when it looked like this. LOL!

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
1:38 AM

Post #9502198

I had never, ever even dreamed I might try to do something like this, and I didn't know anything about plumbing, or working with rocks, or ponds for that matter. So I thought I should start with pre-forms. Almost finished, in spring of 2005.

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
1:44 AM

Post #9502199

And in spring of 2006 and 2007. This little pond actually really worked well for me. I had goldfish, which I just loved watching, and it was big enough for one pink water lily. I had a couple of problems with it, though. One, of course, was that it was way too small! Another was that I put it too close to the house. My sprinklers were doing water damage to the siding, and I couldn't get in there to patch and paint and clean the window.

Obviously, I needed a new, bigger pond. :)

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
1:50 AM

Post #9502200

Then something just awful happened. We had an old railroad tie retaining wall down the whole side of our lot, and it needed to be replaced. So we had some guys come out and put in a flagstone wall. Unfortunately, they made a real mess. They dug down 5 feet and turned up the worst stuff I've ever seen--boulders, caliche clods, those giant nails, ancient old aluminum cans. They piled it all on my lawn, 2-3 feet deep in some places, all the way down from the street to the alley. And then... they abandoned the job!

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
1:57 AM

Post #9502201

So, I basically started over. Cleaned up and hauled away all that subsoil and trash. Moved the paver patio over and rebuilt the bottom pool, this time with a flexible liner. I had other gardening projects going on, so it took most of a year to do all of that.

The second build was not as easy as the first. I had a 3-foot hole right up next to my window that had to be filled. I am not proficient with concrete, so I tried to fill it with that hard clay and some sand. That might have worked if I was still using a rigid liner, but it didn't work with the flexible liner. That whole area was very crumbly and unstable. I still didn't have enough room to get to the window, and if I did crawl in there, more sand and dirt would crumble away. The rocks were always falling off into the pond. Because the pond was wider now, I had a much bigger problem with the slope. And I couldn't ever get the flagstone to line the pond in a way I liked. I was just never happy with that version of the pond, and I didn't take many pictures. Here's one from 2009.

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
2:09 AM

Post #9502204

Which brings me to fall of 2012, when I was finally ready to deal with it. Did I mention that this area turned out nothing like I envisioned when I started out? What I had in mind was something a little more manicured and fountain-like, and less "natural." I had a hard time, though, finding rocks or pavers or anything that would work well with cascade ponds, so that's how I ended up using the flag and now sandstone.

Last fall and over the winter I took it all out, redug and reshaped the hole, and firmed up that unstable side. Got the large pool done exactly the way I liked it... and then found that I had a real problem with the slope. You know, I really couldn't have picked a worse place to put this pond! It slopes in two directions. On top of that, the cascade pools are located at a lower place than the big one, which meant they had to be built up a lot above grade.

So, anyway, the top edges were nowhere near level, and I had a lot of unattractive exposed liner. I had already lined the top edges with pavers under the liner, to stabilize the edges, but I needed to do a lot more. So I ended up using some of the old flag to do that. Good thing I hadn't hauled it away yet.

This message was edited Apr 30, 2013 3:33 AM

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
2:14 AM

Post #9502205

I also really didn't like my new sandstone on those top two little preforms. They ended up looking a lot clunkier than I liked. So, one day when I went back out to work on it, I found the pond nearly drained. Well, that's not quite true: the liner was floating. I had cut it too short and the lowest cascade pool poured all the water down under the liner. That was fun to clean up! Rather than try to patch another piece of liner on there, it was actually easier to move the cascade pool closer to the big one, and of course that meant the top cascade had to be moved also. Who ever told me working with preforms would be easier? Here's a picture of the "clunky" preforms.

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
2:24 AM

Post #9502208

That was two weeks ago, and I'm about done with the pond itself now. It's still clunkier than I like, but I think I've done all I can with that part of it. I plan to move the daylilies in front of it and put something tall and evergreen there. to help hide some of it. Then I still have to finish that side by the window, and finish part of the paver path, and finish trimming the liner, and finish landscaping, and get rid of the white cloud that's developed, and do something about the exposed tubing and electrical wires. But hey, my frogs are back and I have tadpoles already (a month or so early), so I'll just do the rest as I get to it.

Today's pictures.

This bed got pretty much demolished during the construction. It's a hot-spot, so I'm putting baby four-nerve daisies there, along with some sedums. For those who aren't familiar with the four-nerve daisies, they're the little yellow flowers in the second picture. Evergreen, slow groundcover, and sometimes bloom even in winter.



This message was edited Apr 30, 2013 3:38 AM

This message was edited Apr 30, 2013 3:49 AM

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pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
2:28 AM

Post #9502211

Last pictures. I will come back and finish the story when it's all done.

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meadowyck

meadowyck
Brooksville, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 30, 2013
3:32 AM

Post #9502229

great pictures and I know a lot of hard work went into making such a wonderful pond. Keep up the good work and pics...

Jan
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 30, 2013
4:54 AM

Post #9502298

You certainly deserve the beautiful pond you have ended up with. Love the stone you have in Texas. That would cost a fortune here.
Biggest problem here with diging a pond is cave in. We dug new pond last June or July and walls are all marine plywood screwed to posts sunk into ground. One wall is cement blocks cemented tog. to form base for walkway.
I'm no wizard with concrete but I mixed a little at a time and walled up all of one side for base of walkway. Husb. put 6" bolts down into concrete bock to form frame for laying deck boards on it. After he cut boards I screwed them all into place. My next dream is to have a humpbacked bridge going over pond with a trellis up higher that I can grow vines on. Can't tear up walkway but I could use large pots to grow vines in and train them over trellis.

I know your pond was really a challenge but nothing good is ever achieved without sweat and an idea to start with.

For my old pond I bought a few shubunkins that were very colorful at the fish farm I buy fish food from. If you were closer I could give you some. They are yellow with blue heads. Newer larger pond is just for koi. I doubt we'll ever put in any more ponds but I am very happy with what I have now. Yes they are work from building to maintaining but to me they are worth it. Enjoy your pond it looks just beautiful. And thanks for taking the time to upload all those pictures.

Bonnie
mittsy
Cicero, NY
(Zone 5a)

April 30, 2013
6:14 AM

Post #9502393

Wonderful pictures, thank you for sharing.
pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 30, 2013
10:13 AM

Post #9502778

Bonnie, I haven't added more goldfish because after they died, that was the year I started having frogs and tadpoles. I was afraid they'd eat the tadpoles. Is that how it works? Because I love having the tadpoles, but we really need the frogs to eat mosquitoes and other bugs.

I don't think boards would've worked for my pond, but I sure wish I'd thought of it for those pavers. This time I am using a new product for underlayment that is easier than the gravel/sand base, and it should help with the nutsedge that's been growing in that area. But boards would've been better.
BonnieGardens
Clermont, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 1, 2013
8:44 AM

Post #9504060

I've seen tadpoles in my old pond but never seen fish eat them so I don't know.

We had to use boards to keep sand from caving in all the time. You probably didn't need them in Texas as the soil is so different.

Anyhow, pond looks really good, you did a GREAT job.

Bonnie
pbtxlady
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 1, 2013
10:53 AM

Post #9504215

Thanks. :)

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Other Water Gardens Threads you might be interested in:

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