No seriously, instead of just talking about it and sketching ideas, we actually built it.
Obviously this idea and plan has been gestating for a long while, we went back and forth on the location, the shape, the depth- all of it. But we settled on the swale as the best location and, in a fit of cat-loss-grief, I went out and just started digging. Anything to not think about how sad I was. So the hole got bigger and deeper, and Rich got digging too. Then we realized that our sandy soil wasn’t the most solid or stable substrate for shaping. So we hustled to finish it and got a liner it in within 2 days, water in 3.
Digging in our very (VERY) sandy soil is always easy, but it also means a pit like this doesn’t have a ton of structural integrity. We had to water the edges down to keep their shape and used a tarp to cover it at night.
We even had one large section cave in and it caused a bit of a shape re-think. It became pretty obvious that the sandy soil wouldn’t lend itself to the 2 shelf layout I had hoped for, instead we opted for one larger (and more stable) shelf that angled down from the beach to the back (14″ deep) allowing for a whole range of depths for the plants.
We have been incredibly lucky to be able to source all manner of rocks from our property. Not only is it the best kind of cheap (free), but they suit the area well and allowed us to play around with the pond edge at our leisure.
We used 3/4″ local river rock for the beach and to fill in around the larger rocks. We are happy with how it works in these areas and we hope that some grass and other assorted plants will fill in the edges of it, making for a more natural look.
Here she is, the finished pond. We’ve already had a huge influx of water-dwelling bugs and a recent inundation of American Toads and one, wee little Wood Frog. The birds are loving it and I’ll post more pictures of said birds soon.
I plan to do another post about the specific plants we chose too. Its been a steep learning curve and I’ve put a premium on hardy natives for the water, but the lure of exotics is strong! I’ve also had to get creative with the edging plants seeing as how our soil is still sandy and dry, but we wanted a lush and semi-realistic look for the pond.