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Raised Garden Pond Ideas

garden pond in new hampshire

Raised Garden Pond Ideas | This is my own raised garden pond. It's surrounded by a pond garden with lots of shade plants. This pond is 10 feet front to back, 5 feet wide, and about 24 inches deep. Copyright 2022 Tim Carter

Raised Garden Pond Ideas - They're Unlimited

Before I got married, I was invited to go out to dinner with my future wife and her parents on a routine basis. One Saturday afternoon we ate lunch at a restaurant on a floating barge tied up on the north shore of the Ohio River. My future father-in-law and his partner had built this restaurant years before but they had sold it to a new entrerpreneur. I had no idea restaurants like this existed in Cincinnati, Ohio in the early 1970s.

While eating a marvelous dinner, I marveled looking out the windows as giant tows pushing 15 or more barges loaded with coal chugged by. Many recreational boaters zoomed past as well. After dinner was finished, we drove just five minutes away to a 240-acre piece of land my future father-in-law owned with that same partner. We parked next to a magnificent stone manor, got out of his car, and walked a short distance to a breathtaking view of the mighty Ohio River.

I was spellbound. My future’s wife’s father then said, “Nothing enhances the value of real estate like a view of water.” Those words were branded into my brain from that moment forward.

You know that what my future father-in-law said is true, so why not enhance your yard, your patio, or your deck with a view of water? You can make it as small as a fountain or bird bath, or large enough to dunk a VW Beetle car.

Garden Pond Ideas

I’ve had small koi or fish ponds in my last three houses and I have one here at my current home in New Hampshire. The Internet is littered with advice and tips on how to build a pond. I’ve tried all sorts of methods. I believe I’ve finally come up with a formula that creates a natural-looking pond and keeps pond maintenance to a minimum.

The first pond I built 45 years ago was made with concrete. I dug a depression in the backyard that was the size of a two-person jacuzzi. Fortunately I had enough fall that I could put a drain in the bottom to empty out the water. This allowed me to clean the pond.

The concrete was 3 inches thick and I put chicken wire in it to strengthen it. The day after I poured the concrete I then applied a 3/4-inch-thick layer of cement stucco over the fresh concrete. I pressed thousands of pieces of rounded gravel into the stucco to make it look better.

This pond worked really well, but it was not easy reaching down to unscrew the drain plug. There was no electricity to the pond so I didn’t have a pump or waterfall. This pond would transform to a green swamp in no time. It was a maintenance nightmare and the fish would die from lack of oxygen.

My next pond project involved a cheap plastic liner that had two different water levels in it. This is a good idea because as you’ll discover, the key to having clear pond water is to have certain aquatic plants that work to keep the pond healthy and the water clear.

Garden Pond Rubber Liner

The house I currently live in has a magnificent pond that I didn’t build. The previous owner had it installed. The liner of the pond is a giant sheet of black commercial rubber roofing. It’s been installed now for twenty years and has never leaked.

Garden Pond Kit

Installing the rubber is simple. You just dig a hole that’s the size, depth and shape of the finished pond you desire. Be sure to incorporate different levels. You then unroll the rubber and set it in the depression with enough excess to lap up onto the ground surrounding the pond. I have about 16 inches of rubber ringing my pond. It’s covered with granite boulders, plants, moss, etc. so you have no idea the rubber exists.

Garden Pond Waterfall

I also have a waterfall. This waterfall does three things. It adds oxygen to the pond water, the falling water makes a relaxing sound, and the splashing water makes the surface of the pond move ever so slightly. This movement draws your eye to the pond like a magnet is attracted to iron.

Frogs, chipmunks, squirrels, litter peeper frogs and who knows what are attracted to this oasis. It’s very soothing to sit by the pond reading a book or just relaxing as a breeze blows by.

Rock Garden With Pond

If you really want to go whole hog, you might want to build a small stream that has several small waterfalls within it. This stream eventually feeds into the pond. A recirculating pump in the ponds sends water to the top of the stream.

Think about it. When you go on a hike and come to a moving stream, you almost always stop to watch the water move. Most humans are mesmerized by moving water. I have my own thoughts as to why, but it really doesn’t matter. You know that the babbling sounds of water moving through a stream fills you with happiness. That should be your goal - create a water feature on your property that will bring a smile to your face each and every day.

To keep maintenance to a minimum, be sure to think about covering your pond with some sort of screening to capture fall leaves. You want to keep these out of the pond so you don’t end up with an overload of rotting organic material that could foul the water.

Solar Water Pumps and Lights

You can also decorate your small garden pond with solar lights and pumps. Look at this photo and you might think it's three UFOs from outer space.

solar water garden pond fountain pumps

You can really decorate your small garden pond. If you don't have much space, just use decorative pots for your tiny ponds.

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