Q & A for Robert Pavlis, author of “Building Natural Ponds”

By Shelley Pierce | December 31, 2017
by Shelley Pierce
December 31, 2017

Robert Pavlis, a Master Gardener with 40 years of gardening experience, is owner and developer of Aspen Grove Gardens, a six-acre botanical garden featuring over 2,500 varieties of plants. A popular and well-respected speaker and teacher, Robert has published articles in Mother Earth News, Ontario Gardening magazine, a monthly Plant of the Month column for the Ontario Rock Garden Society website, and local newspapers. He is also the author of the widely read blog GardenMyths.com, which explodes common gardening myths, and GardenFundamentals.com, which provides gardening and garden design information.

In his latest book, “Building Natural Ponds“, Pavlis provides a step-by-step guide to designing and building natural ponds that use no pumps, filters, chemicals, or electricity and mimic native ponds in both aesthetics and functionality.  Read on to learn more and enter below to win one of three copies from New Society Publishing.

1. Why should we consider adding a water feature to our landscape?

Water features provide a way to grow new plants and have fish. It attracts wildlife like frogs and dragon flies. Many smaller mammals and birds use it for a drink and to bath in. When moving water is added the sounds helps drown out other noises in the neighborhood.

2. What is the key to creating a clean, algae-free pond without pumps, filters or chemicals?

Plants use the nutrients that would normally produce algae. In a natural pond it is important to keep a balance between the nutrients being produced by plants, animals, fish and insects and those being used for plant growth.

3. How does this book help us construct a new pond from start to finish?

The book approaches building ponds from two directions. The first is from a design perspective. How do you design a pond to look natural and function without equipment and chemicals. It looks at both man-made ponds and native ponds to clearly understand the criteria that make a natural pond function and look great. Then the book goes through a very detailed process of making all of the right decisions to make the design a reality, covering topics such as site selection, construction issues, and finally plant and fish selection.

4. What basic skills does one need to build a natural pond?

The process is fairly simple. The only real skill is a willingness to work hard. Digging and moving stones becomes a labor of love, but it is still work. The design process can be challenging, but anyone who is willing to put some effort into the project can do that.

5. Once a natural pond is built, how much maintenance does it require?

Almost none. If you don’t get enough rain you need to top up the water level a couple of times a year. It is a good idea to remove dead plant material and fallen leaves in fall by scooping them out with a net. Other than that the pond requires no other work.

Win one of three copies of “Building Natural Ponds“!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Sunday, January 1, 2018 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

Why do you want to build a natural pond?

Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See rules for more information.)

This article was last updated on
Read more about Gardening Experts
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!