There are formal and informal ponds. Obviously, mine is informal. It is located in a corner of the back yard, which is surrounded by a wooden privacy fence. We fenced off the sunniest corner of the yard with a striaight line of chain link fence with a gate, creating a triangle. This keeps the dogs out of the pond (except for the time Puppy, our oldest and smallest dog, snuck in. Shortly after this picture was taken, she leaned over and pulled a water lettuce out of the water.) A triangular corner of a yard makes a great place for a cresent shaped pond (or a triangular pond, if you want to get formal about it.)
The pond was created by digging a hole, covering the hole with pond liner, filling with water, and adding plants and fish. If you want to build your own pond, start by reading several books on the subject: books are available at the library, of course, as well as your local PetSmart or Home Depot; both places also sell material for building ponds, as well as fish and plants.
It is recommended that the pond be in a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day, as water lilies need this much sun. A HINT: Before you decide how big you want your pond to be, check out what sizes of pond liner are available in your area. You do not want to end up splicing two pieces of pond liner together to cover the far corner of the pond. Not fun. Books recommend that the pond be about two thirds covered with plants. This does NOT mean go out and buy enough plants to cover two thirds of the pond - water plants tend to multiply and divide and calculate algebraic equations.
Fish do die, and pond scum is real.
In fact, I had quite a few fish die this year. Spring of 1998 was when I planned to add a pump and a waterfall. But I waited too long. The heat wave in early May must have disrupted the balance in the pond - I suspect lack of oxygen is what caused the fish to die. First the koi I had just bought died. A few days later, fish that I had had for a long time (some for about two years) started to die off. They are all missed, but we were all really attached to Big Mouth, a large orange koi. He was exactly a foot long.
Since then, I have added two pumps and a waterfall. I am still working on the waterfall - water is supposed to splash down the rocks and back INTO the pond, not splash down the rocks to the side of the pond. Due to the heat and waterfall mistakes, I have had to add water on a regular basis. But I have achieved the objective of having much cleaner water. I have added some koi, who are doing well. I have also added bullfrog tadpoles, and I have noticed a lot of small frogs swimming around.
This is a Japanese Iris, which is a partly submerged plant, as opposed to a completely submerged plant like a water lily. To the right is one of our little frogs enjoying the pond.
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