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Ponds: Building Your Own Backyard Oasis

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Posted in Bergen County Landscape Design Ideas

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Dig a hole. Put down a liner. Install a pump. Place stones around the perimeter. Fill with water. Add some plants and fish.

Voila! Your own private oasis. It's a bit more involved than that, but those are the basic steps in creating a new haven for reflective senses on your property.

A pond at Waterford Gardens in Saddle River.

 

Several years ago, I had a small pond installed in my yard. The contour of part of my backyard lent itself to the pond I wanted with a cascading feature. It's important to locate a pond that will enhance the existing landscape. It should flow with the features of the land and add an element of beauty. If it is just "plopped" in the middle of a yard with a berm to support a cascading water feature, it will almost detract from the backyard. Select a design and location that will "flatter" your yard.

In real estate, the phrase "location, location, location" means everything. In selecting a location for your pond, think about the elements. In shade, there may not be enough sunlight to keep the pond water warm to maintain a fish population. In the fall, leaves are a serious threat to the maintenance aspect of the pond and you may find yourself constantly working to keep leaves out of the water. You may want to put a delicate plastic grid over the pond to collect leaves and deter them from entering the pond.

If you want a lot of fish, build a big pond. Size matters. A small pond can maintain only a few plants and/or fish. In winter, a small pond can freeze; the proper depth is needed to cover winter fish and help retain a healthy fish population.

A homeowner can also purchase a do-it-yourself kit. With a lot of human-powered energy (the digging is the toughest), you too can have an exquisite pond in your own yard. The average pond is 11-by-16 feet. Some have a long trickling stream before emptying into a pond. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, the one thing you will discover is what to do with the soil that's dug up. I had the contractor place the soil around two different trees on my property, creating two new garden beds. You can also use the soil to create a cascading feature at the upper part of the pond.

Brian Danielson of Jacobsen Landscape says: "Clients sit by the pond, drink their coffee and meditate. Most people find the aesthetic value, and relaxing brings on a positive mood."

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Steve of Aquarius Irrigation, supplier of materials to contractors, advises to "be prepared to do some maintenance. There is no such thing as a maintenance-free pond and some people are turned off by that."

But the rewards are many.

A recent visit to Waterford Gardens in Saddle River highlighted many varieties of aquatic plants and fish. While the property was hit by the recent flash flood (especially the roadway), the fish and plants were hardly scathed. Mike, pond specialist at Waterford, described many plants and fish suitable for ponds.

Water lilies are the most endearing aquatic plants — tropicals or hardies. Tropicals are planted 6- to 10-feet deep and need to come in during winter, whereas hardies can be left in the pond year round, but are planted 18-feet deep. Red, pink, yellow and white are the primary colors of hardy lilies.

You'll find a larger selection of tropicals, which Mike describes as "fun flowers, but more costly." The leaves are also more varied. Some examples of hardy lilies include Barbara Dobbins, Texas Dawn, Pink Grapefruit, and Joey Tomocit. Tropical lilies include: Foxfire, Midnight, Green Smoke, and Innosence. A night-blooming tropical lily is Antares. Lily breeders name plants after family members — Barbara Dobbins is a good example. Lotus is another desirable aquatic plant and can vary in size from relatively small (just a few inches) to the gigantic Amazon that you can find at the New York Botanic Garden. 

Bog plants, including cattails, iris, rushes, horsetails, canna and elephant ears, are among other aquatic plants for your pond. Just remember that the size of the pond determines the number and size of plants that can be sustained.

Koi are show fish. Mike advised they are imported direct from Japan, consequently making them more expensive than domestic fish. Imported Koi are more vibrant in color, live longer, are fed better food and receive enhancers for growth including vitamins.

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In my backyard, it has been the most delightful pleasure listening to the sound of water cascading over a rock ledge into the pond.

Ponds — a beautiful addition to any backyard.

Comments (1)

Pond Liner Repair

Discover how to manufacture a water highlight on your terrace to include interest and excellence and attract herbal life. Pondpro2000 A delicate liner that you can need to oblige koi or different fish.


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