Gardens Ablaze

Ponds & Water Gardens - Introduction to Pond Building
By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task
completely overwhelm me.....Ashleigh Brilliant

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Building a Backyard Pond - Where to Start

Choosing a Pond Liner

Building a Waterfall

Choosing a Pond Pump

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For those not fortunate enough to live by the sea or other body of water, there is still a way to enjoy the soothing sound of water from the comfort of home, and that is by building a water feature.  Ask anyone who already has water in the garden, and they will tell you that it is truly a haven at the end of the day. The sound of water is mesmerizing, and the movement and reflectivity are enchanting.  In a very real way, it's therapy - a welcome form of relief after the rigors of a long day in this hectic world.

Water gardens can take many shapes and forms, from a simple bowl with a couple of floating plants, to a huge undertaking with tall waterfalls and meandering streams.  As with any other outdoor project, cost is directly related to the size of the project, but building your pond can be done in stages to minimize the financial impact if necessary.

For experienced gardeners, a water garden is a natural extension of the hobby, but even those with only a passing interest in gardening can still benefit from the peaceful tranquility afforded by even a small water feature.  Water is the number one requirement for attracting and keeping wildlife in the garden, and as such, all of us should have a water feature of some sort, even if it's only a birdbath.  It would be a dismal world indeed without the singing of birds in the landscape.

As an avid gardener myself, I have built my share of water gardens on my property, and have made every mistake there is to make, so I am fairly well-qualified to write about the pitfalls and rewards pertaining to water gardening.  I hand dug my first fairly large pond in my back yard, complete with dual waterfalls.  One of the waterfalls leaked from the beginning, and the pond was never completely level, but all in all it was a fairly successful pond until the liner started to deteriorate about four years later.  My second pond was an above-ground pond built quickly to save my fish from the first pond when it wouldn't hold water anymore. Unfortunately, I didn't pay enough attention to the importance of a firm, level base and in the end it was held up by spikes of rebar driven into the ground in the back corner to hold it up.  Not very attractive.  My third pond is pictured above.  It was built in the footprint of the first pond, so I didn't have to do much digging with this one. It is now three years old and I have never had a problem of any significance with it.  Success at last!

The bottom line is, if you want a water feature in your yard, then get educated and get out there and build it.  Don't let fear of failure slow you down for one second.  I have been a gardener for a long, long time, and nothing else I have done has even come close to being as rewarding as my water gardens, flaws and all.  And yes, I do raise fish - I did Japanese Koi at first, but these days find that goldfish are just as entertaining, cost a lot less, and are less prone to problems.  I kept the Koi for nearly 10 years, only to lose them all due to lack of oxygenation during a power outage when the pump was not working. There is some maintenance involved in keeping a water feature, but proper planning and execution of the project using quality materials in the beginning should restrict maintenance to just a few minutes on the weekend. Liner and pump quality have improved drastically since I built my first pond in 1997, so if you carefully choose your materials, you should have no problems for years to come.

Please see the links on the top left for step-by step instructions for planning and implementing a water feature in your own garden.  I will be adding pictures and information regularly, so do check back if I haven't yet covered your particular area of interest. 


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