Dreaming Of A Water Feature

By Bonnie Grant | March 6, 2021
Image by YuraWhite
by Bonnie Grant
March 6, 2021

Since I’m just getting started at our new home, I have a ton of planned and wished projects. I need a fence of some sort out front to keep the tumbleweeds out, a bigger patio, many more ornamental and edible plants, and a host more on my dream list. One of the bigger desires is building a water feature. Garden ponds add delicate sound, humidity, visual appeal, and help our native animals. It’s a must have. 

I’m no stranger to garden ponds. I had a small one with a little waterfall years ago, and when I worked on an estate, we had numerous ponds stocked with koi. Currently I must content myself with a purchased fountain. It does have the noise effects, and the birds love it, but it is small and insufficient for the impact I desire. Plus the pump keeps fouling from things falling into the fountain. I want to go big and create a water feature bordered by plants and with water lilies growing inside. Eventually, I also want to stock fish, but I have to figure out a way to prevent animals from eating all my little aquatic friends. 

The Best Laid Pond Plans

Building a water feature takes planning. I have the site picked out. It is up higher in the garden where the natural slope will help form a waterfall/return basin. This does mean some serious excavation for the pond part of the feature. I’m going to use a pond form for the base and I already have a large enough pump and return hose. Once excavated and the pond base is in place, I need to acquire enough large, natural rock to build a fountain site at the top. Then run the hose, install the pump, and run pipe to house the electrical line. 

Bringing it to Life

After the basics are attended to, the fun part starts. I want some interesting marginal water plants to cover up the edge of the pond form and naturalize the site. On my wish list are cattails, sweet flag, and iris as marginal plants. In the pond itself, I want water lilies and American lotus. There will also be some other floating plants to make cover for fish. Perhaps some water lettuce or duckweed.  I will build a little forest of bamboo at the back of the pond, flanked by a couple of pampas grasses to make it private and add cover and interest. 

Winter is hard on ponds; I know this from personal experience. Also, wild animals can cause pond damage. We have deer, raccoons, and other varmints that will enjoy drinking from the pond but could do harm to the liner or pump. There are also many birds of prey that are going to have to be kept out of my pond and fish family. Part of building a water feature is ensuring some safeguards to keep wild animals from damaging the pond. I will need to use a grid over the water itself to prevent the coons and birds from helping themselves to my fish. This will also discourage other animals who seek to drink or browse on aquatic vegetation. 

All in all, I am looking forward to the process. One thing stands in my way. Winter. But there is always spring to look forward to, and a cold season of planning and plotting. I can’t wait.

This article was last updated on
Read more about Backyard Stories
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

Browse Dozens of Our FREE Gardening Guides Today

Whether your dream garden is a houseplant sanctuary, a bountiful vegetable garden, a pollinator paradise, a bright and bold flower bed, or a backyard oasis – Gardening Know How has the perfect gardening guide just for you.

Click the button below to access more than 3 dozen of our completely free and completely comprehensive guides to growing your dream garden.

Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!