New House, want to make the pond more natural but don't know what's possible


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Hi all!

I've just bought my first home and it has a rather deep pond, I like it and would love to keep it...but I've never even had a garden till now so I'm coming at this like a newbie, not knowing how to develop and look after a pond

I really don't like all of the slate surrounding the pond, at least not taking up as much space as it does. I'd ike to make the pond more natural, but controllable.
I would like grass, flower beds, foliage or something else more natural than that slate taking up so much space.

But i have no idea how or if possible.

Under the slate there appears to be a liner. I can't tell if it's the pond liner or just to stop weeds growing up.

Being new to this what is even possible and how?
I really need a point in the right direction.
 
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Mmathis

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Hello and welcome! I envy people who inherit ponds!

Boy, you’re going to get a lot of comments and suggestions. No one can tell you what to do, as a pond is a personal expression. What I would recommend for you to start, is spend some time here on the GPF. Look for topics about pond builds, equipment, stuff like that.

Find a starting place where you can get an idea of what you would like for your pond to look like. Get an idea of its function in your yard. What kind of fish do you want (koi, goldfish, other). The fish that you choose will dictate what kind of pond. You came to the right place, especially if you are wanting to incorporate the pond into your landscape!

Read up on the nitrogen cycle. Also, we are big on recommending bog filtration, but that choice is yours. There are many threads here that cover bogs. They are natural filtration (plants do the work of keeping the water clean).

Do you know how much water this pond holds, or it’s approximate dimensions? I see your spot as an open canvas (or is it “empty canvas”?) — you could do anything you want to do!

As you read, you will come up with questions. Write those down. Keep an objective, open mind. What works for one person, may not work for someone else.

HAPPY PONDING!
 
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There's already a lot of goldfish in it, grown quite big!

I'm not sure on size yet but I know it's rather deep, at least four foot maybe even five.

I suppose what I'm looking for is knowing I can fix the surrounds without ruining the pond, as a starting point.

Will definitely look around the forum. But never even owned a house till now so there's so much to consider and learn. The pond will hopefully be a project later in year or even next year.
 

JRS

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Welcome!

Perhaps they had an over sized liner and spread it out under the slate? Pick an area and see if it is continuous. If so, you could just fold it up closer to the actual pond, leave the extra for future use or expansion as a bog/shallow area for marginal plants.
 

addy1

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Welcome to our forum!

Are you going to remove that fencing? If so you could pull the liner edge back dig a shallow shelf that you place rocks on to cover the liner edge. The gray and green are rocks...............

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You can definitely make this look more natural, but it will take some work!

Obviously, that wood fencing around the pond will have to go. I'm guessing it's there to prevent rocks from falling into the pond, but we can find a better solution than that.

To truly naturalize the edges, you'll want to have a couple large boulders, a lot of medium-sized rocks, and small rocks. Most guides I read suggested using stone of the same type, but at least here in the mountains where I live, I often see sandstone of varying shades, slate, granite looking rock, all in one pile.

Most natural ponds will have rounded stones due to weathering. This is also a rule I ignored with my pond, because I'm cheap and I got my rocks for free from a friend, so I wasn't about to be choosy!

The key is that you don't lay down the stones in any repeating pattern, and you make sure you juxtapose rocks of various sizes right next to each other. You want to really show off the size difference. Often people will choose stones of all the same size and create a ring around the pond. It's called a "pearl necklace" in the industry, because it looks like a pretty row of pearls (though it can also be done with flat, stepping stone type rocks, not just round ones.

You can use waterfall foam to stick rocks of varying sizes together and prevent the little ones from falling into the pond. This will also help prevent runoff from the yard from leaking into the pond. REGULAR YARD FERTILIZER AND PRODUCTS CAN BE DEADLY TO FISH. Keep in mind that whatever you choose to grow plant-wise near the pond, you must be extremely careful with what you use to feed it.

Another tip for creating a natural look is to use dirt and plants around the border, not just rocks. Apparently the average shoreline is only 40% rocks or something like that. In an artificial pond, we can get away with using about 60% before it looks artificial (according to some video I watched on Youtube, anyway). This is something that I had a lot of trouble with and ultimately decided to keep a ring of rocks around the pond, but to have dirt come right up against the rocks, and then to grow plants in the dirt. My hope is that over time the plants will encroach closer and closer to the pond liner, obscuring the rocks somewhat and creating a more natural look over time.

The waterfall you've got there could use some work if you want it to look more natural. It, too, needs rocks of varying sizes. Typically waterfall construction is done by laying down a flat stone, which will create a ledge, and having two taller, rounded stones on either side of it to pinch and direct the water flow. This is repeated, and pockets of gravel, little pools, or divisions in the water can be added as desired to lengthen out the waterfall stream (good for sound quality and aerating the water!), create a place where small bog plants can be grown (like creeping jenny, parrots feather, etc.), and overall create a more visually appealing, natural look. The key with waterfall construction is to avoid going too high. Allow the hill the waterfall comes from to slope very slowly, over a huge surface area of the yard. this will create the appearance of a natural spring emerging from the depths of the earth, rather than an odd volcano looking mound spewing out water from nowhere.

All of the changes above I've mentioned will require a lot of effort, and could potentially be expensive (landscaping rocks cost so much!). But even removing all that excess slate, the mini wood fencing, and adding some pond plants of varying styles (grass/reed-like, for example) around the edges would make a huge difference to the overall appeal of that pond.

As others have already said, the important thing is to really look it over, be patient, and figure out what you want. In the end, I opted to not go for an entirely natural look. As I said, I still have a ring of rocks around my pond. I still have some liner showing underneath those rocks along the inside of the pond before reaching the water level because the edges are sheer. You can see planters inside my pond, none of which look very natural. But I did want my waterfall to look and sound as natural as I could make it. It is kind of the artistic centerpiece the pond, so to speak. And it was very important to me to have places where I could sit up and close to the pond. I have two jumbo boulders and a wooden "dock/deck" for that reason. And it was important for me to have the chance to grow plants all around the pond in hopes of naturalizing it somewhat, so I made sure my garden dirt comes as close up to the pond as it can (without too much of it falling in because that makes the water murky). Think over what your priorities are when it comes to how you want to interact with the pond. The person who made that pond before you obviously did't intend to soak their feet in the water, for example. There's really nowhere to sit comfortably up close and personal with that pond.
 
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Welcome and congratulations on your new home and pond!

You came to the right place. There's a lot to learn. You will benefit from the knowledge and experience of all the friendly members here.

Patience is very important when it comes to ponding. Things don't happen overnight.

You will find that most of us here prefer doing everything naturally, without any chemicals or other additives.

Good pointers already posted.

I'll add to the waterfal description: your waterfall hopefully has a liner underneath all those rocks and that liner should be shaped so that any water that spills over can only return to the pond. Leaks are really tough to locate.

Read through the many threads and you'll get a great education and hopefully avoid many of the newbie mistakes we have all made.

Keep the pictures and questions coming. We look forward to helping you enjoy your pond.
 

cas

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Cute pond.
A lot of good advice has been given so far. Don't let it overwhelm you. Just start by removing some rock and planting some plants. It will start softening the look of the area. You don't need to do it all at once.
 
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Welcome to our forum!

Are you going to remove that fencing? If so you could pull the liner edge back dig a shallow shelf that you place rocks on to cover the liner edge. The gray and green are rocks...............

View attachment 131355
Addy's drawing is spot on.
This is exactly how I concealed the transition between the water and the land so that no liner is showing. The first stones sit on a shallow shelf. The stones are submerged half way. Then the next layer of stones are on top of those, stepped back, half on the first stone and half on the land.

Any excess liner is folded and tucked under the stones. You never want to cut the excess off. You never know...I have been known to tinker with the edges of my pond. Lifting the liner, digging out a bit or adding soil behind it to give the pond a natural shape instead of having a straight line or a square shape. I like to round things out or create curves if I can. A bit abstract if you know what I mean.
 
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Addy and poconojoe have given you great advice...The shelf will solve the ‘liner showing’
And poconojoe is right, never cut your excess liner tuck it under rocks...we made all kinds of
little bump outs with the excess liner, we even made a shallow beach section that is 4’ x5’ where we
feed the fish.
 
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It's funny. Just today I decided to build up a low point on one end of the pond.

I removed the rocks, lifted the excess liner and shoved some flat rocks under the underlayment. I had plenty of underlayment and liner to do what I wanted. So, the pond is an ongoing project and excess liner is good to have. Oh, my pond is over 10 years old. Glad I had extra liner tucked under the rocks.
 
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Wow, 9 months later...
The pond took a backseat and is still not a priority to beautify, as the house still needs major work.
Also went through a breakup not long after moving in, so life been a bit crazy!

I just want to thank you all for the responses and help, I'm going to read it and hopefully have some good ideas for the future.

But for now,
I've cleaned the filter and did a little studying of the pond area.

There were a few plants but I have no memory of what was which! I assume they're dead? Or will they live again if placed correctly?

I've attached photos of the two plants and any dead bits that came off.

When removing one of the baskets I noticed a rather fat frog starring at me! He soon disappeared!
So i thought before I top the water up I'd add some rocks near the waterfall thinking this might add some shelter or at least another level for the frog!

I wasn't sure whether to make a new thread for this, for now I'll just see how this one goes.
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addy1

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looks like water lilies, don't let them dry out, healthy looking! You may want to divide them as spring arrives. The pot looks a bit crowded.
 
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Is the reason the timber edging is there because the blue stones are higher than the level of the edge of the pond?
 
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looks like water lilies, don't let them dry out, healthy looking! You may want to divide them as spring arrives. The pot looks a bit crowded.
Do you mean the curved pot and the broken/dead parts?

I didn't think I could separate them. Is it quite obvious?

The pond is quite deep except for around the edges and I'm sure I remember the lillies being more central so the pot must have been floating?



I hope they can regrow with any advice given. The pond looks empty and I'd hate the fish to have no shelter.


Is the reason the timber edging is there because the blue stones are higher than the level of the edge of the pond?
I think so, that or it prevents people accidentally walking into the pond?

I'm a little wary about removing the wall yet. The posts are going through the liner, or at least a different liner that the slate is sitting on.
 
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From what i can make out from your photos and your description. i would bet you have a cinderblock wall holding the sides from collapsing in. Your photos appear to show a shelf that @addy1 was trying to describe . and they look rather angular and with the 4 foot deep statement my money is on cinderblocks . that being said . you would have a couple different layers .
1. The first would be a underlayment to protect the liner from sharp objects like rocks or even the corners of cinderblocks . Again from the pictures it appears you may have epdm liner/ rubber. As far as making things look more natural i have to agree the bamboo garden edging has got to go . And the water fall reworked . i would look at it as a couple easy lazy weekends take on one task at a time once you get one area done and see what you can make it look like you'll want to get to the next and the next. What would look ok with your set up and is usually quite available is thin flat stones/ shale? slate"? i myself to make this look pretty sweet is to watch a bunch of you tube videos on how to build a pond and a waterfall. so yu know what's what and how to make it all work.

I'd consider adding some epdm liner toward opposite side from you both in the picture . you would basically make a tub with flexible rubber sheathing. and have it drape over the sides of the existing liner. this way all water finds t's way back into the pond . you'll be able to have a crazy garden that needs next to no work once you get it built. an the sounds of a water fall that is the most peaceful white noise you could ever have in a back yard
 
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addy1

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I didn't think I could separate them. Is it quite obvious?
Lilies are real forgiving except for being frozen, dried out, or the growing tip buried when repotting. Take them out, use your hands or a sharp knife, wack them apart.

The pic with just the tuber you can see the small leaves, that is the growing tip. Red circle growing tip, white line chop, replant just the growing tip how every many you want to make new plants. I put mine in oil pans and kitty litter, with some osmocote under the litter.
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