I had always wanted some sort of small water feature for our yard and I often mentioned to Susan the idea of digging a small pond. Four years ago she told me to go for it. It took about two weeks. That was when I found out how difficult our soil is for digging, hard red clay and rocks. It was a back-breaking pick and shovel operation. I finally had enough and declared the hole large enough.
Because the pond is on sloping ground I had to make a low retaining wall on the downhill side. When the pond was complete we got a lot of enjoyment out of it. The water lilies really took hold, it was a complete ecosystem for dragonflies from egg to adult, and every year frogs would spontaneously show up and spend the summer. It was also a nightly watering hole for the neighborhood feral cats, birds, possums, skunks, families of raccoons, deer, and even the occasional fox. It was a fun place to sit and just "be in the moment"
One thing, though, always nagged at me about the pond; I hadn't made that retaining wall high enough. While the downhill end would be filled to the top the uphill end had ten inches of liner showing. This, and the fact that the liner had developed a very slow leak prompted me to action. Exactly four years after starting the first pond, I began its replacement.
This photo was taken about five years ago. The pea-gravel paths were not yet complete. The empty space to the right of the raised flower bed was the chosen spot for the pond.
This is the pond at the beginning of its restoration last month. By now the pea gravel pathway connects to the toy soldier studio. All of the rocks that surrounded the pond have been removed as has the black vinyl liner. At this point I took pick and shovel and deepened and widened the hole. It's about a five by seven-foot hole with a depth of a little over two feet. One of the main pieces of work was to make the retaining wall twice as high to make each end level.
With uphill and downhill ends now at the same height I lined the hole whith old carpeting that I had been saving just for this purpose. The rugs provide protection from stones below.
Then I dragged the 10x13 vinyl liner into place and started filling. I just let the weight of the water gradually cause the liner to conform to the hole's dimensions and contours.
The water was free, all 140 gallons came from my rainbarrels.
With the pond full, I started placing the surrounding stones. In this improved version of the pond I used much larger stones, as the smaller ones from the previous pond were often kicked in by deer. In the foreground you can see a part of the retaining wall. When all of the surrounding stones were in place I trimmed the excess carpet and liner. Then I covered the soil with shredded bark.
Although larger than it appears in this photo, the pond has two new waterlilies and a little solar-powered fountain. Just add frogs!
Come visit some time.