Friday, June 22, 2007

Rebuilding a Backyard Pond!

The pond we had installed nearly two years ago is beautiful enough and our installer kept his price low enough. What he didn’t tell us was that we needed a biological filter, which I thought was odd… “Just treat it with beneficial bacteria once a month. That’s all you need to do.”, he said. We thought, OK, we’ll try it. It didn’t work. My plants weren’t thriving and the water clarity was poor during warm months, even after adding clay. The Koi have grown and are thriving very well, thank goodness. The pump we had, until yesterday, choked up every three days and I had to slam and manhandle it to keep the water flowing. Three of the same models burned up in the past year. I guess when you opt for the low bid, sometimes it will backfire on you.


A new crew of three arrived on Thursday morning with three pick-up trucks and a trailer. They were carrying 3.5 tons of rock, new plants, and all sorts of new equipment to provide a glorious ecosystem. They’re getting ready to drain the murky pond.


Nearly 1,200 gallons drained from the sidewalk to our fast descending driveway.

I watched my my Koi and Goldfish get netted. Poor things…

Here is where they chilled out, except for one excitable Koi who jumped out and sunbathed in the grass. I yelled, “Casualty!”, but he/she survived and is doing well.

The Boston Terrible Sisters wanted in on the action. I walked them outside on leads and kept them away from the muck. They eat anything that stinks.

While the pond drained (only took 15 minutes!), work began on the new pump. This baby won’t clog and it’ll throw a rock instead of choking on a tiny piece of mulch.

While work began on the pump, our bare-bottomed pond was power washed. I was glad to hear it was an easy job in comparison to others they’ve seen!

The Canna lilies were dug up (wince) and a place was made for the new bio filter behind the waterfall.


I need to comment here. If Michael and I were doing this job, we’d still be backing the trucks into the yard, taking the fence down with them, and we might be in the hospital with fractured backs. We might have had a fist fight! LOL! Boulder lifting at our age is out of the question!

Still blooming, my orphaned lilies…

These guys were meticulously lining my pond with rock to capture good bacteria. Not one inch of pond liner is exposed now. We have fewer gallons of water, so I’m at my limit in the fish department. The pond depth is still a good 30 inches.

Pondscapes of Charlotte is an outstanding, award-winning group. They worked diligently and followed their plans. No time was wasted with guesswork or chat and I was in awe with the ease in which they completed a large amount of work in one day. Check out their gallery!

This is where it all happens. A new bio filter (in front of the Canna and behind the waterfall) will capture good bacteria and create an ecological balance, along with the rocks that line the pond in the previous photo.

Lilies are planted at the bottom and celery plants, grasses, parrot feather, hibiscus, and a water orchid are rooting now and will eat up the nitrogen. I’ll love watching them grow. The transplanted Canna Lilies will need good watering every evening for a while, as they look a bit wilted. Our UV light burned out a few weeks ago and although we probably won’t need it, I’ll replace it anyway in case an algae bloom occurs.

A new waterfall. Now we have a shallow place beneath the fall for the birds to drink and bathe easily. They perch on the driftwood and I’ll have great photos of them. Today I saw a red-winged blackbird lapping up the luxury but my camera was… where? Not with me! The birds are obviously feeling the heat, too.
The toads and frogs were screaming nearby last night. I'm sure they will find the way to their new home.




Everybody’s happy!

When I paint my toenails, I'll post a photo of my hot feet submerged and the Koi nibbling on them.


RuthieJ said...

Oh Mary, I'm so jealous! It's such a beautiful pond and I'm glad you were able to get it fixed up so it will be manageable and stay beautiful.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Wow Mary- those guys did a fast and wonderful job! Your fish are so pretty and that water is crystal clear. Looking foreward to seeing the toe nibbling!!

Mary C said...

Wow! So beautiful. And now you can sit and enjoy watching all the wildlife, etc. that will also enjoy your new pond. How nice you had efficient professionals doing the job. On a lighter note, will Bella and Chloe enjoy it, too? :) Thanks for sharing.

NatureWoman said...

Wow! Your new pond is beautiful - and I love it when people do good, fast work!

Ruth said...

You should get a job in sales for this company! I would get one installed in a minute, before my husband could say no. Lovely!

Deb said...

A pond has been on my "garden wish list" for years - yours is absolutely gorgeous. The Koi and goldfish are so beautiful ~ what a relaxing spot to sit & enjoy in your garden.

Dorothy said...

Now *that's* a pond!!! I can't get over how fast and efficiently the pond team worked their magic.
You must be tickled pink with your new pond! I am amazed at the transformation. Does the waterfall sound louder now?

possumlady said...

Okay, I'll give you another WOW!! The water does look crystal clear and the fishies indeed look happy. I, too, await the toe nibbling photo!

Mary said...

Ruthie, it was really looking poorly. It needed some help...

Lynne, I'll plan on painting my toenails this weekend :o)

Mary C, Bella fell into my pond in Delaware once. A few labs jumped into my pond in Maryland. So far, Chloe is the only non-swimmer.

Pam, those guys were incredibly fit and fast. I was amazed.

Ruth, when a company does a good job, they're worth mentioning. Look for a small pond that you can install yourself. They're pretty and give the birds something to do on a hot day.

Deb, I do enjoy the sound. Watching lowers the BP!

Dorothy, thanks. It's nice - smaller than my other ponds but I think it's the best so far. The sound is quieter because there is a sheet of water falling instead of the dramatic rush over rock that I had before.

dmmgmfm said...

Your pond is gorgeous, Mary. What a great documentary of the day.

I'm smilin' here girl. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a great way to celebrate the beginning of summer! You were brave to contract for a re-do, it looks scary in process and the end result is simpy amazing! When someone knows that they're doing it's quite remarkable ho work progresses. Glad there were no koi casualties and it really is a lovely waterfall. Good job! I'm looking forward to photos of all the life that finds the way to this delightful pond.

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Mary,

The renewed pond looks beautiful, but don't get caught out there without a camera once the birds find out their resort has been remodeled!

I've been trying to catch up with two weeks of weeds, laundry and everyone's posts, and sure enjoyed your stories... can't stop laughing at the idea of Mr Biggins sleeping with Grand Maw Mary - and on clean sheets, yet!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Great idea to hire this out!
Beautiful workmanship!
You and the birds will enjoy your new pond for many years.
I love dragonfly photo!
Looking forward to toe nibblings.

LauraHinNJ said...

Oh wow Mary - that is something! The rock work is beautiful and I love the plantings and driftwood. I'd like to see another photo of that waterfall and how it works - where does the water go once it comes up out of the biofilter? We have the same type of system here, but our waterfall needs work; the water just comes out of the box and falls down - boring! Would love to see a few more angles on how they handled that.

I love the look of a rock bottomed pond - we built ours that way but keeping the fish poop out of the rocks was nightmarish. Did they install a bottom drain do you know?

Looking forward to more pics - including dangling toes!

Carol Michel said...

Your new pond looks very nice, and it sounds like it will "work" much better for you.

Susan Gets Native said...

Fish-nibbled toes....can't wait!
I am GREEN with envy right now. Please email my DH and tell him that I need a pond.

Unknown said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Love that picture of the happy koi.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Well done, Mary! You got the big guys in and it worked. I love the picture of the waterfall (waterfull, ha ha).

Jayne said...

I am soooo impressed! WOW! What a job they did for you. Can't wait to see a full shot of the finished job and to see all the beautiful bird shots you get. So when should we all arrive to enjoy it with you? ;c)

Chrissie said...

Oh Mary your pond is really beautiful! I am so envious. We would never have thought of lining the whole pond with rocks etc and the planting ideas are excellent. Thanks for your post and the link. I don't think these guys will travel this far, not for what I could pay them anyway :-) but we might just copy some of your ideas :-) Great post!

sonia a. mascaro said...

You have a wonderful pond, Mary! It's so charming! I love also your fence! All pictures are beautiful as always.

Have a good weekend!

entoto said...

WOW! I love the play-by-play of your commentary and photos. Indeed, a great way to welcome summer.

And Susan is GREEN with envy -- heee heee!

Susie said...

I love how nice and clear your pond is. Ours is that murky green you just got rid of..
What a gorgeous place for your wildlife!

Mary said...

Laurie, thanks. I documented it for those who would like to have a pond - maybe my tips would help?

Vicki, yes it was scary but I saw his work at a friend's house and I was confident. Nervous about it? YES!

Annie, I'm so glad you're back. Take care of those weeds and please us with a post whenever you are ready :o)

Sherry, you will see my feet cooling off, for sure!

Laura, I'll send you an e-mail soon. I'm overloaded with fish. I had promised my neighbors I'd take their three Koi before they move. Now I'm WAY over the limit...


Carol, thanks for visiting! Yes, this pond should work very well. My fingers are crossed.

Susan, I made a note to write to him. Yes, I will!

Liza Lee, you don't need a pond. You have the most beautiful, natural waterscape that nature has to offer. Lucky duck...

Beader Girl, yes - we need to let the young, strapping men move boulders :o)

Jayne, I'd rather wade in your pool than to sit and watch the fish in 95 degree heat! LOL!

Chris, e-mail me if you have questions. This is our third pond (fourth with the re-do). We are learning as we go.

Sonia, hey, I like the fence, too! It's hardly noticable in the landscape.

Trixie, Susan REALLY needs a pond. She would want a natural one, though, the size of a football field, loaded with herons.

Susie, oh, I know about thick green... The weather has a lot to do with it, too.

KGMom said...

WOW--so I was at my high school reunion all day--and come back to see I missed the big pond clean-up and alllll the comments.
Well, as they say--better late than never!
I love the waterfall!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Ooo, to be a fish in that clean clear water--that's beautiful! I know you'll get so much enjoyment out of the new set-up--and your little birdies, too!
I expect lots of pictures of the refreshment!

Susan Gets Native said...

BTW, Mary....did you use the dirty water to refresh your crunchy lawn and flowers?????

Mary said...

Susan, Oh, you are too sly. The majority of the water ran down the driveway but we had holding tanks of pond water that soaked the dying shrubs, trees and flowers. Yes, we did!

Larry said...

Wow-There's a lot to it, but they worked quick.-Right now I just have a homemade dripper over my birdbath.-I'd like a pond some day.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you guys had to put all this extra work into your pond but looks like it will be 100% better now for everyone!

thailandchani said...

Wow.... that is outstanding!

LostRoses said...

Chiming in a bit late here (I was helping my kids move all last week) but wow! what a wonderful pond. I'd have given anything to cool off by that beauty during our mid-90's temps and all that sweat equity I worked up!

Cathy said...

Oh my gosh! I'd never get another thing done with all that well-engineered beauty in my back yard. The moving water and plants and gorgeous critters would find me endlessly gazing.

Good for you, Mary :0)

cat59 said...

Hi Mary,
Well, I took your suggestion and started a blog! I guess I will learn as I go along.
P.S.--beautiful pond!

Anonymous said...

The pond is beautiful, Mary. I can't believe they did it so quickly. They never go in that fast on HGTV!

harley said...

Rebuild the pond that sound interesting . But how did you repair the liner where you cut it out to make the pond deeper.

Waterfall Pumps

Mary said...


We did not cut the liner to make the pond deeper, in fact, we made the pond a bit more shallow after adding a rock bed. The original pond only had a liner bed. It is still 2.5 feet at the deepest point - OK for the mild winters in Charlotte.

Thanks for stopping by.


Mary said...


We did not cut the liner to make the pond deeper, in fact, we made the pond a bit more shallow after adding a rock bed. The original pond only had a liner bed. It is still 2.5 feet at the deepest point - OK for the mild winters in Charlotte.

Thanks for stopping by.


Unknown said...

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