Building a Natural Pond

Once upon a time, there was a pond in my garden. The previous owner had installed it, and it was quite lovely, tucked away in a back corner with a gentle waterfall cascading down the rocks.

a young girl reclines on a rock next to a small pond ringed by stones
The child in this photo is not one of ours! She came with us one day when we stopped by to see the house, and fell in love with the “mermaid rock,” as she called it.

But then I had kids. Since babies/toddlers and ponds do not mix well, we filled it in with dirt, covered the surface with pebbles, and created a backyard Zen garden instead.

in the foreground, a buddha statue looks out over the former pond, now filled in and covered with grey pebbles. in the background, a little toddler in a pink dress presents her father with a yellow flower.
Aww, check out that cute little toddler in the background by the lawnmower!!

Over the years, the pebbles got dispersed all over the backyard (little kids really love transporting rocks!) and the Zen garden was overtaken with weeds. Since the kids are much older now, and we’ve all been craving water features in the yard, we decided to resurrect it. Now that we’re hanging out at home so much more, turning the garden into a pleasant oasis is top on the list of priorities.

a view of the backyard. a navy blue shed sits behind the excavated pond, which is flanked by a dwarf apple tree and lilac bushes.

The tedious first step was digging out the dirt. That part was not exciting. But after that was done, it was time to put in the liner and fill the thing up!

a boy fills the pond, which is draped in a black liner, with water from a hose. his sister looks on, filming the scene on her phone.
View from the upstairs window

Our goal with this pond is to create a self-sustaining ecosystem – one that doesn’t require chemicals or lots of maintenance to keep algae and mosquitoes at bay. We found tons of helpful info in this article, and ended up designing the pond to have some shallow spots, as well as one area that’s about three feet deep.

the current pond, lined with red bricks and dotted with floating aquatic plants. two lawn chairs sit next to the pond.

The original idea was to get a bunch of aquatic plants, but apparently these are hard to come by this time of year. We did manage to grab some water hyacinth (and a waterfall pump) at a hardware store, as well as water lettuce, dwarf cattails, and blue pickerel at a pet store.

the pond from the front, with the waterfall cascading down the rocks, and a bright blue floating ceramic "lily pad".

While we were at the pet store, we also picked up a dozen goldfish, who (we hope) will be allies in our struggle to build a healthy pond. Fingers crossed that they enjoy their new home!

The pond is still a work in progress, but it has been so lovely to sit outside listening to water trickle down the rocks and watching the little golden fish darting around. Most definitely worth the work it took to (re)construct it!

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Brett

    Such a beautiful pond! It makes me so happy to listen to the waterfall and watch those cute little goldfish!

  2. Nicole

    Welcome to the pandemic aquatic society! We are a disorganized group of pond enthusiasts that have no clue what we’re doing but we’re doing it! Love the pond!!!

    1. Alanna Peterson

      Haha, yes, totally!! Thanks, I can’t wait to see your pond creation someday too!

  3. Margaret Ghiglieri

    You did a beautiful job creating your new pond! It looks so restful and inviting.

  4. Jennie

    Looks awesome! Can’t wait to see it in person ❤

    1. Alanna Peterson

      Thanks, Jennie! Can’t wait to show it to you 🙂

  5. Karen Wilmink

    Beautifully done! I want to dip my toes in there!

    1. Alanna Peterson

      Thank you, Karen! Next time I dip my toes in, I will do so in your honor 🙂

  6. Ramlah

    I love this story, your new pond, and your writing, Alanna! Enjoy your lovely backyard oasis!

    1. Alanna Peterson

      Thank you, Ramlah. We are very much enjoying it so far!

Comments are closed.