Tell Me About Your Pond Experience


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I want to fulfill a childhood dream of having a backyard pond, but I don't want to just dive into it. I'm researching as much as possible because I know how easily a pond can be disrupted and become a headache. Tell me your most valuable lessons and tips you've learned. Recommendations for filtration, plants, lining, etc. are welcome, too. Your successes and failures.... and pictures are a plus. Thanks!
 
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JBtheExplorer

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I think one of the things that I learned is to be very careful with you plant shelves, if you're adding them. Two inches one way or the other can be the difference between the pot sticking out of the water or the pot being too low underwater. Of course, it also depends on the depth of the pots. Luckily they sell a few different depths.

Also, many top their potted plants with pea gravel to hold the dirt in. I learned the hard way not to do that. Ducks and fish knock it out and it's everywhere in my pond. I have to be extra careful when I step in my pond not to step on the pea gravel and puncture a hole. I'd recommend topping the pots with 2" or 3" stone. I've been doing that ever since.


45mil EPDM is the liner you'll want to use, along with underlayment to help prevent rocks from poking through. Some people also add a good layer of sand underneath the underlayment as extra insurance.

Another thing is to build bigger than you think you want, if you have the space. Just about every pond owner on the Garden Pond Forum (the sister site to this one, check it out!) has upgraded at some point, myself included. My first real pond was a 400 gallon pond. I instantly wanted more, so I doubled it the following year. Could've saved myself time, hard work, and money had I just made it the right size to begin with.

Try to use as many native plant species as possible, in and around the pond. You'll create a better habitat for all sorts of things from frogs to butterflies to hummingbirds.

Also, a bog filter was the way to go. I can't speak for everyone, but that's what I installed, recommended by Addy1. My pond has stayed crystal clear since day one, and it doubles as a great water plant garden and frog habitat. I followed her bog topic and it really helped me out.


Here's my pond just a few days ago.
IMG_2932 copy.jpg
 
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Thank you so much! Your pond is beautiful. You answered a lot of questions I had. About a week ago, I saw your filtration technique on a landscape architect show, but they didn't say what it was called. you put a name to it for me. Bog filter is the way I want to go. I didn't know about the pond forum, either. I definitely want to go bigger than one would think. It's amazing how small a few hundred gallons looks once you fill up. Did you dig by hand, or use a Bobcat or something similar? I have a big backyard, but also a willow tree. It is going to be tricky getting the right pond placement. I've read a lot about how far willow roots stretch and every source has inconsistent information. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with any underground piping.
 

JBtheExplorer

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Did you dig by hand, or use a Bobcat or something similar? I have a big backyard, but also a willow tree. It is going to be tricky getting the right pond placement. I've read a lot about how far willow roots stretch and every source has inconsistent information. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with any underground piping.

I've heard about the issues with willows and other species. That's something you could ask over on the pond forum and see what people say.

I dug mine by hand, little by little over the course of a week or so. I definitely could've dug it faster, but weather was an issue at the time. A lot of rain and even some snow really slowed the process down. Other than that, digging was easier than I expected. Overall, it was hard work installing a pond, but well worth it. I've thoroughly enjoyed it every single day (except during winter) for the past 4 years.


IMG_0460 copy.jpg
 
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Oh, my gosh. It's so beautiful. I would sit and stare at that pond all day. Do you have any issues with wildlife? Or do you just let nature take it's course and roll with it? We have a lot of herons. I would probably have to stick to 10 cent feeder goldfish. Hehe
 
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I've heard about the issues with willows and other species. That's something you could ask over on the pond forum and see what people say.

I dug mine by hand, little by little over the course of a week or so. I definitely could've dug it faster, but weather was an issue at the time. A lot of rain and even some snow really slowed the process down. Other than that, digging was easier than I expected. Overall, it was hard work installing a pond, but well worth it. I've thoroughly enjoyed it every single day (except during winter) for the past 4 years.


View attachment 22761

JB, your pond is absolutely gorgeous. Now I'm all jealous because I live in the city and do not have any space for one.
Great job! (y)
 
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I agree with everything that JB said. For sure go check out the garden pond site. Looking forward to seeing what you decide to build.
Here's a few pictures of mine, I'm at around 2500 gallons. :)
2015-08-06 07.28.05.jpg
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JBtheExplorer

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Oh, my gosh. It's so beautiful. I would sit and stare at that pond all day. Do you have any issues with wildlife? Or do you just let nature take it's course and roll with it? We have a lot of herons. I would probably have to stick to 10 cent feeder goldfish. Hehe

If herons find your pond, they'll eat your fish without hesitation. We have herons fly over all the time but they've never stopped here. The Mallards arrive around April and stay for a couple months. The female has nested here the past two years. They poop and occasionally rip apart plants, but I let them be.


JB, your pond is absolutely gorgeous. Now I'm all jealous because I live in the city and do not have any space for one.
Great job! (y)

I fit mine into a small 16' by 24' space between my house, garage, and patio. Originally, I had a smaller pond in a 8' by 16' space. If you have any room at all, you can make it work!
IMG_0173 copy.jpg
 
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I love your ponds! Thank you. They're inspiring I'm getting excited. They're giving me a good idea of what size I want. The herons nest in my backyard, too, in an oak tree behind our fence. I'll register on the pond forum today and start looking into California aquatic plants... if any such thing exists! We don't exactly have a lot of water here in CA. hehehe
 

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