Donna lives in one of those enviable established Forest Hill (beside Forest Heights) neighbourhoods with large backyards–hers backing onto a school yard ringed by mature trees, nevermind her addition of an inground swimming pool.
She had an embarrassingly tiny preformed plastic pond by her patio. Well, truth be told, I was embarrassed by it.
When she decided she wanted a ‘real’ pond, I was all over the idea. Wait. Consider.
It has to be said that every garden or pond that I’ve designed has consistently taken the owner aback. Every time. That’s because, even though they’ve described to me in length what they want, plus they’ve seen it on paper to scale, once they actually see me carving it out in their backyard, they are shocked at the sheer size of their vision.
Donna was no different. Going from a 50 gallon pre-formed pond beside the patio to a 1,200 gallon pond streaming down from the back corner of her property–it’s definitely a stretch. I always tell clients. Go as big as you can, right now. You’ll always wish you’d gone larger later. Trust me. Let’s just start here.
Her property perfectly lended itself to a series of waterfalls. Digging up the hard clay built the backbone for the waterfalls and stream bed, with the main pond landing into a natural low point. As long as we included an overflow drain, it would work.
Design wise, it was easy. And it wasn’t to scale, it was just us dreaming it up plus a huge trust contract. Donna used to have a cottage on the French River and would regularly bring home gorgeous granite rocks, which had been placed into her garden. Over time they’d sunk, but I meticulously found them and dug them all up, for the pond.
Not realizing the bounty to be had in her own backyard, she put out the call for rocks for her pond. All free and all for the taking, we ended up with more rocks than we could ever use. However it was a haul to bring them up into her backyard. After that she was adamant that we will use these rocks. Period. And they were pretty rocks. Some were moon rocks. Mossy rocks. Some were blue rocks. And so on.
And though I desperately hate a ‘rock necklace’ around a pond, we did create areas of different rocks to show off their individual beauty. With extensive landscape plantings I knew that we could offset the amount of rocks by living greenery.
And so we did. When we first created the pond five years ago it was shaded by a large tree that has since come down, so it dramatically changed the entire landscape. Her previously shaded pond was now a full sun pond.
Plus, the woman loves fish! And despite anything I’ve ever told her, she successfully overwinters her goldfish without any of the myriad considerations that we koi keepers have. Her goldfish still come up in the spring showing off their new babies.
Now however, it’s just too much fish load. “You can’t keep this many goldfish in such a small pond!” So this year she’s agreed to include 5 small koi to help manage the population (yes dear hearts, the small koi will eat the goldfish eggs, think caviar).
At any rate, I think you’ve guessed where we’re headed by now.
Un huh. The pond needs to be larger. Or the fish load lighter. Hmmmm.