Documents: Special Interest: Water Gardening:

In Barb's Garden

...water ponds
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

May 8, 2005

More about Garden Ponds! Choose a style of pond that best suites your home and surrounding gardens.

A formal pond should look totally geometric and be well suited to its surroundings. It could include tile work, mirrors, statues, ornate fountains, urns, lighting, formal plantings etc..

The most favored type of pond for most gardens would be the informal pond. Although artificial it should blend with the total landscape, creating within itself a distinctive picture in which plants and animals play a role. Usually built much like a rock garden, the informal pond can include obviously man made features such as lighting, statuary, fountains etc..

The natural pond on the other hand is constructed to appear as if it is an integral part of the environment. It should appear as a body of water with no visible square corners, or man made edges. It should look totally natural, but like a painting there must be design, composition and balance. It does have native stone and plants.

Choose a style, drawn up a plan, and obtained the necessary materials. I would recommend a pond kit if this is to be your first water garden. Most kits come with instructions, please follow them. When a pond liner is used Butyl or E.P.D. materials are recommended. A 4' x 8' pond will require an 8' x 12' liner.

Unless installed above ground, rigid pond liners and flexible pond liners require excavation to suit size and shape. When excavating for a flexible liner; keep in mind that the pond should have a level bottom for setting pumps, plants, statues, etc. There should be level shelves for shallow water plants. We have found that including a level, shallow shelf around the rim of the pond, to hold a primary layer of edging material, will allow the water level to rise above the bottom of this first row of edging material, thus hiding the liner most efficiently. It is very critical that the rim of the pond should be level. We wouldn't want the water running over on one end of the pond and the liner exposed at the other. The sides of the pond should have a slight outward slope. Be absolutely sure to remove stones and any other sharp objects that may protrude and cut liners.

Flexible liners require an underlay material, this could be several layers of wetted newspaper, sand, or a purchased underlay(meant to further protect the liner from stone cuts).

To place a flexible liner, drape it loosely into the excavated hole. Anchor the edges temporarily with stone or brick. Fold excess materials in neat wedges to obtain desired shape. Run some water into the liner to snug it into place. Place the first layer of edging material on rim shelf. Lift the outside edges of the liner and tamp in soil to create a slight berm beneath the liner and behind the first row of edging material. Fold the liner back over the tamped berm. Place the top (second) layer of edging material. Fill pond to highest desired water level. Make any desired adjustments. Trim excess liner, the edge could be turned upwards again behind the top layer of edging or left flat. Finish off behind the edging with peagravel, soil, rock or brick.

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