Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pond Building Party

A chance conversation with a waterscape designer led to an invitation to a Pond Building Party this weekend. That's the kind of party where instead of BYOB the invitation says: Bring Your Own Shovel .

Strangely enough, this kind of party seemed like just the way to spend my Saturday. I've been trying to make connections with other gardeners and horticulturalists of various types. I have an inkling if I ever decide to make a career change, this is the field I'd like to be in.

Doesn't hurt to network, right?...Well, unless you hurt yourself networking by carrying large rocks to build a pond. Nah.....I'm stronger than I look. :)

In the beginning.....There was only lawn.And then there was digging. A whole lotta digging. It was like that show Two Feet Under . Or something. Of course, with fifteen people digging, the work seems a lot less arduous than you might think.

Also, our spirits were kept buoyed by good coffee and treats from Tim Horton's.
Three feet deep is not extraordinarily deep for a body of water, but regulations classify anything deeper than that as a swimming pool, so we had to keep our depth to about two and a half feet. It may not sound like much, but that's a lot of dirt when the pond is going to be eleven foot by sixteen foot (plus a ten foot stream with waterfall). The dirt that came out was recycled into a large berm that the stream would run down.

Dave (our very charismatic pond-building teacher) taught us how to dig a pond in several tiers.... to fit the two layers of liners.... and how to select and place the rocks.
The shape and size and location of each rock is important to the overall effect of the finished pond, Dave taught us in his enthusiastic manner. I've seen some of his stream/waterfall work around town and in gardens and he has quite a talent for making the whole effect seem genuinely nature-inspired.

He showed us how to construct "fish caves", natural hiding-places for pond fish fleeing from the inevitable herons and raccoons attracted to backyard ponds.
I learned about pumps and filters, acid-producing rocks, PVP piping, Ph levels, and the biological cycles of pond bacteria.
I learned nifty ways to lift boulders using two-person slings, the value of constantly applying sunscreen, and to never ever get any of that black gooey stuff used for sealing rocks together on your hands. It may never come off till you're dead. :)
It was a hot day. It was hard work. But frankly, I came away from this event inspired.
When the pond was filled and the first water came tumbling and rushing musically over the edge of the waterfall that I had toiled to build, it was a beautiful moment. Sweaty, but beautiful.
The owner of the home has invited me to come back when all the plants and edging and gold fish have been added, and I think I will.


Weary Hag said...

Wow... that's going to be one heck of a pond! Sheeeesh! Great pictures and reporting. :)

Jocelyn said...

WOW. I have wondered many times what the process is to build a yard-water-feature, and this gave me amazing insight. Our yard has the perfect spot for such a project; how much would it cost to fly y'all down?

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

I am now doubly inspired to have a water feature in my own yard at some point in the future -- it's just so lovely! What a great way to spend a weekend!

Pol* said...

Holy moly.... that was all done in ONE DAY? It looks incredible, and your play-by-play photography is superb.
Very very cool.

BostonPobble said...

That's gorgeous! When I have my gothic monstrosity and you have your lawnscaping/gardening business, we're hooking up.

blackcrag said...

Very industrious of you.

OB Juan said...

Wow -- could sure use your help down here in Colorado, when should I expect you?

Looks great!

Ms.L said...

oooh that looks beautiful and like a lot of fun!

Hagelrat said...

that is going to be a fab pond, i take it you'll post pics of it planted and lived in?

Gnightgirl said...

This is great! I'm moving into a farmhouse in about 6 months, and now fantasizing about doing this, in addition to gardening and flowering up the place! Will definitely bookmark this page to show the significant other!

Get Off My Lawn! said...

Nice way to spend a Saturday if you ask me... unless I'm doing all the digging while someone wanders around with a camera so she can have pics for her blog... kidding. Looks you were working hard.

Gnightgirl said...

I'm back, to comment on this. Just showed the BF this blog, after raving about it for weeks. He was scrolling and admiring, and asked me, offhand, how large it was. I popped off that it was 11 x 16, and 2.5 feet deep.

I just went to a family reunion, and don't remember half of my cousin's names...but I come home and pop off the dimensions of the pond you helped build.

Selective memory. heh.