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Build a Pond in Your Yard

Ponds have become a popular addition to home landscaping in recent years. Available in various sizes and shapes, ponds create a unique focal point for any yard. Once your pond is built, the entire family can enjoy new aquatic and bog plant life and fish. Future additions such as fountains, cascades, or waterfalls can enhance the project in years to come. Here are the basics for adding a pond to your yard.Step 1. Outline; Remove Sod: Locate pond in a level area, preferably at the lowest point in the yard and with mixed sun and shade. Use a garden hose or rope to outline the perimeter of your pond. Remove and save any sod from the pond area.Step 2. Excavate: If using a hard-shell liner, dig out the center to full depth and then slope sides. With a rubber or reinforced PVC flexible liner, many people create a shelf for plants around the perimeter of the pond. If you choose to do this, excavate the entire area to plant-shelf depth (typically 6 to 12 inches) then dig deeper (18 to 24 inches) in the remaining area.Caution: Before you excavate, be sure to check the area for buried water or electrical lines. Step 3. Level and Smooth Area: Remove all rocks and roots. Line the leveled horizontal surfaces with an inch or two of wet sand. If using a flexible liner, also cushion the walls with long-lasting polyester lining.Tip: If rock/plant shelf soil is loose, mix stiff concrete into the top couple inches of soil instead of sand. Step 4. Install Liner: Drop in hard-shell liner, or drape sun-warmed rubber liner into the hole so it overlaps at least a foot on all sides, and weight the edges with large stones. As you fill the hard shell with water, backfill with sand between the shell and the earth. As you fill the liner with water, smooth out large wrinkles in a fabric liner and trim off excess for a 4- to 6-inch overlap.Tip: Use cutoffs of rubber liner for extra padding under rocks or pots that are set on the plant shelf at the pond perimeter. Step 5. Landscape the Edge: To disguise the hard edge of a shell or to cover the exposed liner overlap, landscape the perimeter with stones and plantings. For a formal edging, called coping, set paving stones in a bed of mortar (3 parts sand and 1 part cement). For a natural look, set stones on plant shelves and overlap; cover the overlap with gravel and mulch for plants or soil for sod.

Caution: Make sure stones are firmly set and won't shift if stood on. Do not lay stones atop the edge of a hard-shell liner. They may crack it. Tip: Incorporate two kinds of pipes - one electrical and one water - in any coping or stone edging, in case you want to add a pump for a fountain or water source at a future date. Step 6. Plant and Stock Pond: Visit your local library to research how to populate your pond with beautiful aquatic plants and fishMaterials List Wheelbarrow Shovel and other digging tools Level Sand Paving or stone Pond liner (rubber or hard shell) Pump, filter, and heater (optional)

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