Monday, June 6, 2011

Making a Garden Pond

The pond garden in June

It must have been May of 2003 when the ground was broken for the garden pond. I went out to the back yard and got a garden hose, laid it out in the shape I wanted the pond to be, and began digging. The boys and I dug the hole which is about 10 feet long, 6 feet wide, and three feet deep. We dug down about 1 1/2 feet, then to make shelves, we went laterally about a foot and a half before continuing the downward dig.

 In the process of making the pond garden - Beginning in 2003
You can see how eager we were to sit beside our little pond.

THEN   I found old carpet and cut it into approximately 2 ft. strips that were about 22 feet long? I'm not sure exactly, but they had to go from the ground level down into the pond and back up the other side, always overlapping, to line the pond with carpet so that no rocks could work through and poke a hole in the liner that would later be laid on top.

THEN  I found a huge piece of rubber roofing and managed, with a little fold here and a little fold there, to get it laid in on top of the carpet. Yes, so far we had all this stuff lying about the place. (Don't ask.)

 Getting ready for the brick

Try not to notice the dog house in the background or the rusty old monster boiler that sits in the 18' x 71' dog pen. I guess the pen is for the boiler; the dogs are certainly never in there. They live in the big house with us. At least we haven't had to start paying them rent - yet.

THEN it was time to haul in railroad ties so I could plant my flower gardens around three sides of the pond. Kevin and the boys did all that, and we actually did purchase the RR ties from a lumber yard. The stones to line the stream were in a pile of stones out in the field (which the previous owners of the farm, with much sweat and toil, had removed from their fields.)  We used the riding lawn mower and trailer to bring the stones from the field.

The boys hauled wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow of black dirt from a pile we had dumped at the top of the driveway - over to the pond gardens. (BLESS THEIR LITTLE HEARTS!!) (they were 14 and 16 at the time, PERfect age for this job. And they enjoyed it! This was not done in one day, of course.)

 The brickwork is done (thanks to Kevin)
The boys, Kevin, and I hauled the old brick from a school building that had been torn down. So the brick was a good price - free. All we had to do was drive our truck to the location, scrounge through the brick to find unbroken ones, and haul them home.

Kevin built the stream bed, including a couple little waterfalls, and lined it with rubber roofing, tucking in the hose from the recirculating pump which we'd placed into the pond , and laid the stones at the edge of the stream.

The last thing to do was fill the pond with water and start planting flowers. You'll notice that I actually filled the pond as soon as the rubber roofing was laid to see if there were any leaks!

I planted a row of lilacs following the perimeter of the flower gardens so that they would grow up and hide the dog pen, dog house, useless monster boiler, clothes lines, etc. The first couple years, because the lilacs weren't big enough to do the job, two rows of corn were planted at the back of the flower garden. It helped - until the raccoons got to the corn.

Reflections of 2008

June 2010

What started out as a part-sun garden is now mostly a shade garden. The maples, basswood, and flowering crab have all grown up and make it a challenge to find plants that will get enough sunlight to blossom.  Of course the daffodils have full sun to blossom because they're up before the trees have leafed out.

What does manage to survive in the garden are the following:

Peppermint spirea
Purple Sage
Wild geranium
Bleeding heart

They are strategically placed so that those that need more sun are in the sunnier spots.

To keep the pond clean all summer, I get four water hyacinths from the nursery and a bucketful of snails. It creates a great little ecosystem that all works together to make an enjoyable addition to the backyard.

My dad and Bridger taking a coffee break beside the garden pond
Summer of 2010 - It was my dad's last summer with us.

Largo, ready to dip into the pond
Yeah, he's a fake, but he's fooled a lot of people! (I move him from place to place.)

This little frog is the real thing! Isn't he cute!


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Empty Nester said...

Wow, that's impressive. Now, of course, I want to get busy on a pond in the backyard. Oh Hubs--(in a sweetly singing voice)...LOL

Love that picture of your dad and Bridger- so sweet. Bridger looks like he's king of the pond!

That turtle fooled me! And, ick, on the frog...LOL

Unknown said...

Very impressive indeed! Love that you used bricks from an old school :)

Joyce said...

I love the pond...a water feature of some sort is on our list of 'improvements'. We had a koi pond in the UK and we miss that. I love your iris especially!

Yenta Mary said...

What a project ... oy!!! But oh, so worthwhile! It's so gorgeous, so peaceful ... :)

Unknown said...

This is a master piece! Amazing! You brought everything to this post. Love the story and pictures.
Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog.

Unknown said...

I was following you. Thanks so much for your support. Means a lot to me :)

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

What an amazing work of art. And the frog is just the cherry on top! I want to make one now!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

Prairiemaid said...

It is beautiful, Judy. You guys did so much hard work, but it is lovely!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Lovely! We must come see it next time! Love your pet turtle:) Your iris are beautiful! They are one of my favorite flowers. We use to have a bunch, but the grubs ate them. Now we need to work on re-planting.

Rachel said...

I love this!! I want a backyard so I can have a pond too!! The frog is cute!!

Hope you are having a great day!


Tiffanee said...

That is gorgeous!! What a project. I want one too!!

Mama Hen said...

Wow! I love these pictures! What a fabulous job you all did! I love the reflections picture. It must be so lovely to grab a book and a cup of coffee and simply relax in that beautiful oasis. Have a great night my friend!

Mama hen

Midwest to Midlands said...

Fantastic, my husband would not want me to see that. (ideas of my own and he is not too keen on a pond.) But def something to think about. I was wondering how much maintenance there was and if it needed to be cleaned out often, or do you drain it in the winter. Again great job!

Cranberry Morning said...

I do NOT drain the pond for the winter. We often have frosts that go down 6+ feet, so if we drained it, the dirt would heave in the spring and ruin the whole thing.

What keeps it clean is only the 3-4 water hyacinths and about 50 snails. I don't have my snails yet this year. Still, I'm noticing that my water hyacinths may be able to do it all by themselves.

I do nothing else to keep it clean, except for the recirculating water pump, of course, and the pond stays very clean all summer and fall. I knew that I didn't want to put chlorine or anything in it because the dogs also use it as their outdoor water bowl. :-)

George The Lad said...

Great pond, in all the houses we have lived in over the years the first thing to go in was a pond. Three years ago I had the idea I wanted to make my pond bigger we got there in the end but it was hard work, as you know! but its a lovely edition to any garden. Our garden is very shady to, but then I'm not a sun lover ;)
Have a good week
Jan and George sends his love xxx

J_on_tour said...

It looks like there's been a lot of hard work gone into this pond and it was worth it by the way it looks now. I like Bridger testing the reflection and Largo eyeing up the depth !!

Unknown said...

Great post! Now I want a pond! Steve will have a conniption fit if I tell him ;-) Love this "How To..."

Judy S. said...

Wow, you really created a lovely spot, Judy. Your irises are beautiful. Don't you love astilbe? It looks like there is a stream flowing into it? At any rate, it must be a great spot to sit and enjoy the summer.

Tami said...

Love it, love it, love it! Good Job done by all :)

Lisa | Fresh Eggs Daily® said...

Awesome job. Thanks for linking up to the From the Farm Blog Hop. I need to make a duck pond and loved reading how you made yours.
Fresh Eggs Daily

Unknown said...

Oh wow your pond is so beautiful!! Love it!

Mary, MI

Laura said...

so beautiful...enjoy this serene space!

'Tsuki said...

Wow ! You did such a great world with this pond ! It must be so cool to rest around now it is finished.

Anonymous said...

Your pond is really impressive - Can I ask if you use a pump at all? I'm in the middle of making my own pond and have been told to get an Aquamax pond pump (here) - did you have any knowledge of them or pumps in general?

Cranberry Morning said...

Yes, LauraLou, we have a recirculating pump (see Amazon, TotalPond DD11560 560 GPH Pond Pump - it's about $68 and worth every penny. We have a hose that runs from the pump at the bottom of the pond and alongside the stream (under the rubber liner)to the top, where it spills the water and forms the stream and the water runs over the little waterfalls we built and back into the pond. At Amazon, just type in the words I have in bold and hit 'Enter.' The same pond pump we use should come up.

Gail said...

Your water garden is absolutely beautiful.


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