Friday, 20 May 2011

Water Gardening: 6 Reasons to Add a Pond to Your Back Yard


Relaxing retreat, roaring rapids, roiling rivers, or reassuring renewal?

Is there anything more enchanting than a waterfall? What kind of waterfall and mood do you wish to create? There are gently trickling water features, and then there are boisterous and splashy water flows. Your decision will be influenced by the volume of water in your pond and by the arrangement of your rocks.


Coy koi, delighted dragonflies, friendly frogs, and beautiful birds

Your pond will become a haven for beneficial insects, amphibians, and fish. Beneficial insects, frogs, and fish eat many nuisance insects that may be destroying prized plants and flowers in your back yard. Birds will appreciate having a place to get a drink, and consequently, they may be less inclined to peck those ripening tomatoes on which you’ve lavished so much time and attention.

Landscape Enhancement

Lovely lilypads, lilting lotus, lush lizards’ tail

For color, texture and interest, you cannot go wrong with water plants. Water lilies, the mainstays of your pond, are available in many pretty colors. The umbrella palm, with its tall, graceful, upright stalks adds dimension and interest to your pond. Dozens of varieties of rush feature interesting flowers, or no flowers at all, if that’s what you want.

Carefree Maintenance

Once per day (look), Once per year (clean)

You can’t believe this one. Water gardening is one of the easiest ways to carefree plants in your landscape. My pond, now in its third year, is virtually maintenance-free. I’ve noticed that the growth of the taro (elephant’s ear) has become especially vigorous in my waterfall now that it’s established. Indeed, with a pond, you may eventually grow alarmed at how your plants are taking over. But typically, your water plants will only need repotting once per year, at pond-cleaning time. Other than that, you won’t do much except make sure your pond’s water level is topped off during hot months when evaporation is high.

If you have a larger pond, many fish, and a biological filter, you’ll have to be more diligent to attend to the needs of your fish, and your filter will need regular cleaning. The truly stunning water features require a little more work and care.

Property Values

Selling feature, simple addition, shrewd investment

Many years ago, everyone wanted a swimming pool in his/her back yard. Long ago, my realtor told me that a swimming pool on the property made a house sell faster, even if it didn’t add a lot to the price of a house. In today’s economy, however, this is increasingly not the case. With the declining U. S. real estate market, it may be very difficult to recoup your investment in a pool, and many people do not want the expense and maintenance of a swimming pool. Once installed, a pond adds a charming water feature at a fraction of the cost of a pool, and with far less maintenance required. It is even possible for you to build your own pond, and thus save more on your investment – which brings me to the last point.

Emotional Rewards

Salutary, salubrious, subtle support

Many of the award-winning ponds in my area were built by women. One woman I know of remarked that building a pond is a soul-enhancing, therapeutic adventure.
First you do all the construction – the building of the waterfall with its interesting rocks, the digging of the pond and placement of the liner. You place small plants in the water and bless them as they send out their roots in hesitant communication. You watch, stupefied, as, within days, your water turns the color of pea-green soup, the result of microscopic algae. Then you observe, as, magically, about two weeks later, the chemistry balances, and your water turns sparkling clear. In time, your plants take off, and you may be thrilled by the appearance of that attractive green moss on the boulders in your waterfall. Your pond has become its own quiet eco-system, ever-changing in response to life, pulsating with surprises year after year.
I can’t think of a better reason to have a pond.

Third photo in this article is from Everything Fishy. Used by permission.


  1. We have just put in a simple pond in our front area. Andy just dug a big hole and the roof runoff goes in there. Looks pretty good. We put nice driftwood bits and rounded river stones around it. Your pond looks fab!

  2. Thank you. The pond and the area around it continue to change over the past 4 years. I would look forward to seeing your pond, and I enjoy all of your photos anyway.