6 years ago I decided I wanted a pond in my back yard. Being the type of person who does not undertake things lightly, I researched ponds and pond construction for 2 years, making plans and modifying them until I was content that it was do-able and would be a worthwhile addition to the landscaping.
With the help of my sister, Doreen, the initial groundwork was started. Imagine 2 middle-aged women digging a pond with shovels, swede hoes and determination. The pond began as a 5' x 10' rectangle shape and we mounded the dirt off side of one end to make the waterfall (because what good is a pond without a waterfall??). We were careful to make the shelves on the long sides in order to place the plant baskets and make the slope in 3 stages with a final depth of 36". At the shallow end we make it to look like a beach, finished with gold pebbles. Along one side we placed a 2"x12" x 10' board that we named "the boardwalk" and placed another shorter version (it's called the plank as in "walk the plank") on the opposite side beside the waterfall. On the boardwalk side we made a bench out of 3 very large rocks and named this addition "Stonebenge."
I had been given a small pre-formed pond that we installed at the far end of the beach. I will never use a preformed pond again. The time it took to dig and finesse the hole so the liner fit and sat properly was just not a good use of our energies. But we finished it none-the-less and topped the remaining perimeter with large, flat rocks we gathered along back roads.
The next year an elderly couple who had to get rid of their pond fish asked me if I would adopt them. Well, how can you say no? But that meant making the pond bigger and deeper in order for the fish to winter successfully. No problem.
Doreen booked a week holidays and we began by removing the preformed pond liner and digging the addition in a 8' x 16' oval shape with a 3' wide x 5' deep centre depression. Did I mention that I live in an area that has a LOT of clay? When we hit the clay pan about 3 feet down I found a whole new use for hubby's ice auger. I used it to make several holes so we could break past the clay and continue to the 5' depth. You know what we did with the soil. We made the waterfall higher. This meant removing and repositioning the rocks, liner and hoses.
The new liner was installed and a spillway created to merge the 2 ponds together. The liners were taped and siliconed, smooth pond gravel added then filled with water. Again, we placed large flat rocks on the edges to hold and protect the liner and added a garden that we planted with a variety of Echinacea, hostas, ferns, ornamental grasses and ajuga. After the water was conditioned my new pets arrived and acclimatized very nicely. I have added to my brood (and so have they, they little spawners). I purchased three beautiful butterfly Koi in the spring that were only 3" at the time: they are now at least 12" nose to tailfin and Elvis (hubby named him, not me) the biggest one, is at least 16".
Last fall while sitting on Stonebenge with our feet on Boardwalk, Doreen and I realized a narrow bridge would protect the spillway liner and finish the project. So with the help of internet information and hubby's expertise the 9' x 16" bridge now proudly spans the spillway and is strong enough to walk across. We also had some interlocking bricks laying around doing nothing so we added the "Patio" on the far side of the pond beside the waterfall complete with a Muskoka style chair. Is the Koi pond finished? Oh, I'll probably tweak this or that, but I am so pleased with the project.
Doreen and I with finished initial pond
First spring after fall construction
Modifications in progress
New bridge installed