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Planning a Small Water Feature

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Planning A Small Water Feature
This was my start plan, I really just wanted the sound 2004

Adding A Small Pond
One of the most important preparation steps, no matter what size pond you add, is making a plan.  Simply drawing out what you want concerning placement and the feel of the surrounding area.  The above picture was my plan, I took pictures of existing plants and worked around them.  Keep in mind this is my experience in adding my small pond.
At first I got very discouraged, because my vision did not match the actual water feature itself.  Photo below.

My Beginning Site for the Pond
It was a bed with three terraced parts

I was quite pround of the 1rst attempt
Right Idea wrong Size

Now I did not let discouragement get the best of me.  If things do not go as well as planned just tweak your plan.  My problem was too little water volume, splash and evaporation killed my double streamlet feature in its original form.  This was when my little  idea got a little bigger, and became a small 40 gallon pond.
See photos below.

This was the second attempt
With a 40 gal recycled rubber trough from 'Tractor Supply Company'

I went in search of something large enough to sustain enough water as not to have my pump running on empty, therefore damaging the motor in the pump.  Thus I found a great recycled rubber feeding trough.  It would hold 40 gallons of water and was the perfect size for the area I was working in.
All that was left was to get it into the ground.  I did not use cement, as maybe in the future I would add a larger pond  in it's place.  So I dug my hole about 3 inches deeper than needed, and filled the bottom with about 3 inches of coarse sand.  Added my feeding trough, back filled where needed, and pushed any excess dirt up to the sides.  Easy as that, now to fill, and add my 70 gal per hour pump (no filter), and my plants which at that time was water lettuce, I learned a very important lesson with that experiment.  Even though they are great for reducing the amount of sunlight that actually hits the water, their roots will get pulled into the pump and clog it.  In a larger pond they are perfect, and they provide a place for fish to hide from predators.  Use plants as not only decoration but for oxygenation and protection.
Along the top of my pond I have rocks that have been collected from around the edge of the lake during its dry time.  Flat rosks work great but make sure you leave a few on the slightly rickety side, for if a cat, raccoon, or something like steps on it and it moves, most likely they will find a snack elsewhere.
Another thing I have learned is that this type of gardening is just like any other, you will be constantly changing things and it will change as it settles itself in and lets you know what will grow around it.  I do not use any chemicals in my pond for the fish or plants, I do however put in a mosquito dunk in just in case.  Your pond can also be a source of free fertilizer.  When you clean it in the spring time be sure to pump out most of the water and collect it into buckets, pour on your plants, they will love it.  I know I mentioned cleaning.  It takes me about 2 hours to clean mine from start to finish any other time I flood it to remove floating debris.  I take out my fish along with about 2 gallons of waer, then I pump out all the water and hose off any excess algea build up.  This spring cleaning is mostly to remove debris that has fallen in and decomposed at the bottom.  I hose off all the rocks, and check to see if the plant needs repotting, then I refill and add everything back in.  Lastly I add the fish.  My fishy does not show any ill affects.  He is the king of his little ecosystem. 

Finished and grown in August 2003
It is still a wrok in progress in 2005

This article contributed by Victoria Meetze.

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