There’s nothing like the soothing sound of water to add a relaxed atmosphere to a backyard. A pond welcomes wildlife, supports aquatic plants, and helps to mask the sounds of mechanized life that surrounds us. So when Smartpond suggested we collaborate on an in-ground project, we were jazzed and ready to dig in.


Backyard before pond build

We chose a backyard that needed some landscaping feature to help define it. Hannah and Kurtis moved into their home a year ago and inherited a dead tree and derelict playset in the yard that starred in all the views from their back windows and upper-story deck. Not ideal.


Blank slate backyard before pond

After chopping down the dead tree and removing the playset, they really were looking at a blank slate. But that gave us the opportunity to site and angle the pond so that it offered the best view from several vantage points. We found a great spot. The only problem was, there was a massive dead tree stump in the way. Removing the stump was step one.


Kurtis gets a headstart on the stump

Sounds like a straightforward project, right? Dig down around the 2-foot diameter tree stump to start the hole for the pond. Well, as Kurtis quickly discovered, that 2-foot above-ground stump was hiding a six-foot mass of underground roots that seemed to travel to China.


The crew digs around the tree stump

Hannah, Kurtis, and Narvas spent a day working their way around the perimeter of the root system and down underneath.


Narvas chops away at tree roots

Narvas demonstrates his lumberjack technique. Pretty impressive…


Hannah saws under Narvas's direction

Hannah takes a quicker route with power tools. Points for the women.


Lifting the tree stump from the dirt

Now the fun part, getting this massive stump out of the hole. Do you see those faces? Yeah, not easy.


Rolling the stump out of the hole

Rolling the root system up the sides of the hole seemed to be the only way to go.


The tree stump carcass

Abandoned in the yard roots upward, the tree stump looks like a gargantuan dead bug.


Tree stump gone and the beginnings of a pond

Our gaping hole gives us a head start on digging the pond. Although this is very sandy dirt, which digs like a dream, we’re running into all kinds of artifacts (metal, glass, bricks, you name it) and since both Hannah and Kurtis are trained archaeologists (which means they know their way around a shovel), everything has to be examined and categorized. I think the we found a whole jar (in pieces). It was pretty cool.


Rye considers the demo of his yard

Rye wonders what’s happening to his stomping ground. He is noticing a double standard here. Why can’t he dig, too?


Narvas digs the deep end of the pond

After outlining the center of the pond, Narvas starts moving dirt.


An underground boulder halts progress

First check: a huge boulder fills the deep end of the pond. Moving it would undermine the structure, so we’ll have to work around it.


Firming the bottom of the pond

Narvas firms the bottom of the pond with a soil tamper. It’s good to have a strong pair of arms for this part of the process. Also, don’t let go of it when you throw it down. Hannah made that mistake. She’s fine. She just learned quickly.


Smartpond product display

This is the third pond we’ve built over the years and for the first time, finding all the components is a breeze. One-stop shopping at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores where they carry a full and exclusive line of Smartpond products. Everything you need from pumps and pond liners to fish food and floating fountains are at your fingertips.


Narvas selects a pump Now that we know just how big our pond will be, it’s time to select the products we’ll need to set it up. Narvas looks over pumps, filters, skimmers, lighting, and more. With our merchandise chosen, we’re ready to start on the next phase of our installation. In our next three posts, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create an in-ground pond and make it a showpiece in your garden in less than two weeks. Seriously, two weeks. The homeowners were also skeptical. But it really does come together quickly.


Keep up with all our progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And show us your pond projects using the tag #summer16pond on social media so we can follow along on your pond projects or water adventures, too!

A big thank you to Smartpond for partnering with us on this series! As always, all opinions are our own and products we work with are things we like or enjoy and would use ourselves.

Thanks, too, to our readers for supporting the brands we love that bring bigger and better DIYs coming your way.



© Caruth Studio

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