DIY Garden Project: Building a Pond, Part 3

Our pond is set up and ready for everything that makes it work, ties it to the home, and enhances the landscape.


The power we need runs through PVC pipes and tubing from the house and the electrical box to the various pond components. Our trench keeps all the connections protected from the elements and each other in one place underground.


After drilling a hole into the side of the house from which he’s pulling the power, Narvas measures the pipe he needs to sheathe the wiring from the trench to the conduit body.


One end of the electrical connection is complete


Using clear silicone, Hannah seals the conduit body.


At the other end of the connection near the UV filter, a covered electrical box supplies power to the pond filter, pump, and lighting. For safety, a GFCI outlet should always be used for electrical connections outdoors and near water.


The moment of truth. The pond is complete, the power is on, the pump is plugged in, and the water is flowing. We knew it was going to work but there’s always a massive sigh of relief when everything comes together. Now on to decking this pond out in its natural glory. Because, let’s face it, it ain’t exactly pretty at the moment…


Using the rocks we gathered before our project started, Kurtis and Hannah start encircling the pond with boulders. Take a look at local Craigslist listings, you may luck out with free rocks! Setting them on the shelf below the water line creates a more natural-looking transition from water to land.


For the top layer of boulders, we want more decorative and varied rock so a visit to our local landscaping supply company is on the agenda. All kinds and sizes to choose from here. Using a standard formula (length x width/65) we calculated that we still needed about one and a half tons of boulders. It sounds like a lot but it took us less than an hour to choose them and surpass that weight. Note to pond builders everywhere: don’t forget gloves! The rocks can really chew up your knuckles.


Once transported and unloaded, it became a matter of fitting together the boulders with stability and visual balance in mind. Tucking smaller boulders in the crevices between the larger ones helps to hide the liner underneath. Although heavy work, it was surprisingly fun—we would have kept going but we ran out of rocks.


It’s time to add the organisms that will populate the bio-balls and keep filtration running efficiently. Smartpond carries a complete line of water treatment products that are generally safe for fish, wildlife, and plants. With water clarifiers that settle dirt and organic matter, sludge removers that consume natural wastes, and beneficial bacteria that optimize filtration, there’s no excuse for anything less than crystal clear water.


Now that our rocks are placed, it’s time to create planting beds around the pond. Using the dirt dug from the pond as our base, Narvas shapes a curved slope from the spillway down to ground level.


We want a mix of shrubs, perennials, and annuals for visual variety. An Endless Summer hydrangea will grow into a dense shrub and give us continuous blooms from spring through fall. It will also thrive in our partially shaded yard.


To keep our view interesting in all seasons, a selection of evergreens is high on our list of must-haves. Boxwoods come in various sizes, leaf shape, and finish. We transplanted one large box so we chose a dwarf variety to balance it. Tall arborvitae and small globe-shape ‘Anna’s Magic Ball’ thuja will provide evergreen points around the pond.


Annual flowering plants will give us season long color. We’ve chosen a base of pink and magenta Supertunias from Proven Winners and impatiens for the deeper shade, but want to punctuate the palette with golden and buttery yellows. These zinnias will do the trick along with some perennial coreopsis.


Coleus in chartreuse, burgundy, and pink, along with pink caladiums and blue star creeper groundcover round out our plant purchases.


Before planting starts, we place our foliage plants to get the design figured out. A mix of foliage types, colors, and shapes will make a eye-catching surround for our water feature.


As we’ve noted before, the dirt we’re working with here is almost all sand. Which is a dream for digging but less than ideal for plant health. We picked up some top soil and composted manure to work into the beds to improve the soil matrix and add nutrients.


A mix of our soil amendments is spread over the planting bed. We’ll work it into the soil, then add the plants to create our garden of green, gold, pink, and blue.


While all this plant selection and bed design was going on, Hannah and Kurtis chose a surface for the patio that they want to extend from the concrete foundation around the house out to the pond. They found these flagstone-shape pavers for only 99 cents each at a local home improvement store. Sales are a boon to the thrifty.


After digging down to match the existing concrete patio slab and sidewalk, Kurtis and Hannah carefully place and level 190 paving blocks to create their extended patio.


Matching the natural slope of the yard and existing pavings is the most time consuming element of this part of the project. Kurtis manfully digs in and gets it right.

The pond is coming together. We’ve got plants, we’ve got pavers, everything’s running well. Next, we’re excited to show you…well, you’ll have to wait and see!


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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  1. Awesome job!! I can definitely understand that sigh of relief when it all comes together. When the pump works and the water stays where it belongs it’s a happy moment.

    We also just built a pond. I’d love for you to visit. 🙂

    • Don’t the smartpond products make it so much easier? Your pond looks fantastic. My compliments to you and your handy crew.

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