Monday, December 29, 2008

You are a fountain of wisdom

I need your help, garden bloggers. I would like to put in a pond/water feature/fountain, and I can't wait for my usual 10 years of mulling. Here's my current backyard plan. I spend a lot of time on my deck and would like to be able to see/hear the trickle from the deck. I've thought about a pre-fab Italianate lion head mounted on the wall above the rosebed or a stock tank pond along the hardscape path that runs by the deck.
So if you are still sitting around in your pajamas on xmas vacay and have nothing better to do, please send any ideas my way. Let's pretend money is no object for the sake of totally unleashing your creativity.


Unknown said...

Libby, when I put mine in, I went to a few places which sell a wide variety of fountains and I made them plug in and fill up about 5 of them that I liked the looks of, so I could hear how they sounded. For me, the key was the water noise which would go far toward drowning out the city noise. The one I ultimately picked makes a lot of water falling noise for its size. I picked something elevated instead of an in-ground water feature as a practical matter - since the dogs would have constantly been into an in-ground feature, making it a constant mud pit.

The only remaining challenge was digging up part of my patio (which was already there) to put in the underground electrical. I spent WAY more than I'd planned on the project, but it only took me a day of work, and after having it installed for about 5 years have concluded that if I'd spent any less, I probably wouldn't have ended up with something that even my big dogs can't tear up, and which will last for a long time to come. I couldn't be happier with it.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know I like stock tank ponds. I think wall fountains are great too, but not on a wooden fence. They need a brick or stucco wall.

I'd go with a large, 8-foot diameter stock tank just off your deck. Run a bubbler pump to it, adding a GFI outdoor electrical outlet and, for convenience, a switch up on your deck to turn it on. A big tank will be more visible from up high on your deck, and you'll have room for water plants and some fish. Site it in at least a half day of sun and preferably not under a deciduous tree canopy.

If you add a new bed around the container pond, you can build up some soil along one side of tank, helping to moderate temperatures during hot or cold days.

Have fun!

Lori said...

According to the water feature guy I talked to, since summers are so hot down here, evaporation can be an issue and you need to make sure that there's enough water in your water feature that it won't run dry if you don't top it up every few days. In other words, wall fountains can really suck in this climate. I'd go with the stock tank pond idea, which I'm going to do myself sometime in the next few months.

You could get one of the really long and narrow stock tanks at Callahan's and put it parallel with the fence with something evergreen behind it or some sort of outdoor art hung right above it. If you were feeling creative, I bet you could rig some outdoor art on the fence that could serve as a sort of wall fountain thing, like those faces above the pool at Peckerwood.

Sounds like an exciting project! :D

Bob said...

Build one into or along side the porch. That way the wiring and plumbing could be under the porch and no trenching would have to be done. Also you could use a plastic water trough and they out last the metal ones. If along side the deck you could build the deck around it, or cut into the deck part way and build around it for a nice look. You would not need as big a pump to get your water sounds as it would be closer to you and you could see the fish and would enjoy it more. I have six ponds and the one every one likes the most is the one right off the porch.

For your water sounds you could use a big jug or decorative pitcher or pot that lays on the porch and runs out into the pond.

Maerlowe said...

I'm going to echo the stock tank along the patio.

I have a spanking new Christmas stock tank pond, the 6 foot (450 gallon) size. I had a budget of 400, and the stock tank sucked up 250 (including delivery and tax), but thankfully, Lowe's has all their pond stuff on sale for crazy low prices -- a 300 gph pump and mech/bio filter kit for $24 instead of 99, chemicals on sale, bio filter for $14 intead of 60ish, fountain heads for the filter for 3 instead of 15, and so on. I was able to get the stock tank, kit, chemicals, leveling dirt and mulch, extension cord, fountain head kit, a UV filter (the spitting frog one was on sale for 24 instead of 90 -- the normal one wasn't marked down at all and sells for 60ish), then still headed over to Emerald Gardens for some winter-tolerant plants and a few big glass rocks (gravel and river rocks in the bottom of a pond look good but hold a lot more dirt and nastiness, which builds up over time -- I was told to only put as many rocks in the bottom as you're willing to pull out and clean by hand weekly). I exceeded my budget only slightly at Petsmart buying comet goldfish, a net, fish meds, barley pads, spring/fall food, a thermometer, water testing kit, hornwort and anacharis. I also used cinder blocks and milk crates (2 of each) to create ledges for plants, lift the filter off the bottom (so the fountainhead breaks the surface), and give the fish a place to hide until spring when I can pick out a water lily.

The pond looks a bit monolithic at the moment, since I didn't sink it at all (lots of small children and dogs go through my backyard on a daily basis) and I haven't planted around it, but the sound of the water is wonderful, I love watching my fish, and I pulled a rocking bench and side table up along it to sit and watch with my kid.

I am very, very anxious to get plants around it. Since I have fish, I need to do a partial water change each week. All that means is that I stick the hose in, run it for 30 minutes, and let the water slop over the side. Where the water falls I'll be planting all sorts of things that like damp soil -- fruit, veg, and flowers that I normally wouldn't have in my "maybe you'll get water, maybe you won't" gardens. I've already ordered blueberries.

My blog has been fairly well abandoned, save for one post a few days ago, but I plan on doing one detailing some of the work I did on the front and back yard this last year.

Also, at Lowe's right now they have a 160ish gallon pond kit -- black plastic liner and pump -- on sale for 25 or 30. You could only have a few plants and a couple of goldfish, and you'd still need to get or make a filter, but that kit has given me more than a moment's pause... until I think about digging into a foot of black clay then hitting limestone.

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

Thanks for all the great ideas and how-tos. The stock tank seems to be winning. Sounds like I need to get to Lowe's asap.