Install a Water Garden
Water gardens provide a dramatic yet low maintenance alternative to high-impact landscaping options.
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Hosts Amanda Rosseter and Pat Simpson work with water gardening expert Richard Koogle to install an impressive natural water garden in just two to three day's time.
Materials and Tools:
Plastic pond liner
Pump and filter system
Snails and fish
Optional: black dye
1. Check the local building codes before digging to find out about the location of any underground utility lines.
2. Clear away the pond area and outline the desired pond shape with a garden hose.
3. Dig a trench around the outer edge of the hose.
4. Excavate the pond area, forming a slight downward slope into the center of the pond floor from the sides. Remove any rocks, sticks or other sharp objects and yard debris.
5. Rake sand evenly across the pond floor.
6. Apply a protective coating such as a geo-textile liner about ¾" to 1" in thickness along the pond floor. Trim away about 1" to 2" around the pond perimeter. Concrete is an expensive option, but once concrete cracks, it's hard to make permanent repairs. There are also pre-formed, pre-cast pond forms available, but these don't allow for any flexibility in size, shape, and depth.
7. Work with a partner to unfold the liner in the pond with the black side facing up. If you attempt this step alone, you risk dragging and tearing the liner.
8. Once the liner is in place, arrange the pleats along the edges to lie against the pond's contours.
9. Fill the pond with water to tighten and conform the liner to the shape of the hole.
10. Trim away the excess liner leaving about 2" to 3" of material around the outer edges.
11. Position large stones along the pond edges, placing a few over the edge to create a small overhang. The overhang will hide any liner flaws and protect the pond from damaging ultra violet rays.
12. Slip a PVC pipe through two rocks to act as a conduit for the pump cords. Disguise the exposed portion of the pipe with landscaping.
13. Mix the cement according to the manufacturer's directions and apply 1" to 2" of mortar to the pond's edge to secure the stones in place. Do your best to keep the mortar from getting into the pond since it is extremely harmful to aquatic life. If any mortar does fall into the pond, drain the water, clean the liner, and remove any mortar residue.
14. Install a pump and filter system in the pond. Rinse the pump pads about once or twice a week during the warmer months.
15. Add a variety of aquatic plants to the pond.
16. Before adding any aquatic life like snails and fish, float them in the pond while still contained in their plastic bags. By floating and adding an aqua safe supplement to the water, you can reduce the shock and stress levels.
17. Add a small amount of black dye to the water for aesthetic purposes. Be sure to use it sparingly since too much black dye can stunt the growth of your plants.
Here's a jigsaw shortcut to cut a perfect circle:
1. Using a piece of 3/4" plywood, cut the width of the board flush with both sides of the saw worktable.
2. Cut a straight line into the board until you reach the center and the board is flush on both sides.
3. Slide the saw out and make 1" marks on the wood parallel with the cut.
4. Label each line with the radius and diameter.
5. Draw a straight line down the center to meet where the saw cut ends in the middle of the board.
6. Draw diagonal lines on another piece of wood to locate the center and hammer a nail partially into the center point.
7. To make a 10" diameter circle, line up the diagonal line on the 10 diameter marking.
8. Hammer the nail down into the grid board to tack it in place.
9. Rotate the board to cut the circle.
Instead of being an impediment, a rocky slope now holds a bold water feature.