Sunday, October 25, 2009

Backyard Pond Project

This spring, the hubby decided to build a pond in the backyard. We’ve been gradually creating a little oasis since we bought this house in 1992. At that time, the back yard was nothing but sand, a couple of oak trees and an unsightly burn pit. For years, we would find pieces of glass, bolts, wires and other trash every time we made a new flowerbed. One spot in the middle of the yard would never grow anything, including grass. Wayne decided it would be the perfect place for our pond. The pond would be a good place to put our butterfly peacock bass, Jack, who was outgrowing his 55 gallon tank in the house.

Our friend, Leon, had given us a 160-gallon pond form that he wasn’t using. It had been sitting in our shed for a year or so. Wayne started digging in the area of the old burn pit. After setting the form in place and backfilling, he cleared an area around the pond and put down weed block cloth. He then filled the pond and put in a filter system of his own design, using a plastic bucket with lid and pond pump. Wayne then punched holes in the top of the lid and lined the top with filter material. We had a big pile of bricks that a neighbor gave us years ago when she sold her house. We’ve used them to edge flowerbeds and used more of them to make a border around the pond. Another neighbor sold us leftover rock from his swimming pool waterfall project. We used those to edge the pond and disguise a cheap plastic waterfall feature we bought from Home Depot. A trip to PondScapes netted us a beautiful purple water lily and some very strange advice. The salesman said, to condition new pond water, pee in it.

Wayne let the filter do its work on our straight-from-the-well sulphury water for a couple of weeks. Then we put Jack in. We still had to buy feeder fish for him and he did well for about 3 weeks, then went belly up. Sad, sort of, but he was costing us $15 a week in feeders, and he could continue growing to an eventually enormous size (I told Wayne I wanted angel fish, but NO, he had to have the exotic one). Now Jack’s fertilizing a Norfolk Island Pine. We have 2 koi and a pleco that have been doing well for months. It will be time soon to upgrade the pump and add a heater for the few cold days we get here in the winter. We’ve put some solar lights shaped like rocks around the pond and a hummingbird feeder. It attracts Lenny, who will sit and watch the koi eat, and grandson, Krue. I tried to get a picture of the koi, but they’re still shy. We haven’t yet been able to buy the river pebbles we want for inside the brick border, so just filled in with eucalyptus mulch for now.  Click on the slide show to see bigger pictures.

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