Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: Adding a Pond

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

At Home Living: Adding a Pond

Article excerpt

Whenever I'm in my backyard, no matter the season, I can hear a gentle trickle of water coming from my neighbor's abode. Our homes are divided by a privacy fence; however the audible noises continuously flow and are nearly as relaxing and meditating as if I had my own waterfall.

I sat down with my neighbor, Steve Sanford, to find out just how simple (or difficult) having a backyard pond could be. It turned out Steve was a pro, having ponds for a total of sixteen years. Seated on Steve's patio, I realized just how pleasant the white noise sounds of his waterfall were, much louder than what I detected on my side. I could hear the trampoline springs faintly squeaking from my yard but couldn't hear any other familiar noises - my air conditioner unit; cars going by; conversations of walkers. In fact, Steve pointed out that one benefit of their garden pond is that it drowns out street noise that might otherwise be heard from outside the bedroom window.

Steve made me feel like maintaining a garden pond was something even a busy scatterbrain such as myself could accomplish with the right amount of upkeep. The visual presentation of my future pond began to flourish. I could imagine lush vegetation, layers of rocks and water and the rhythmic sounds of a miniature stream. I could sit back and relax while the soothing sounds filled my own air space. Fish would eat out of our hands and wild animals might even visit my backyard. Well, maybe that last one is a hindrance to most but imagine seeing a blue heron up close and personal?!

The thought of adding a backyard water oasis seemed simple enough. Most projects in our house are DIY but I realized I would need to speak with a professional who could dig, landscape and install a garden pond for me. I started on my quest by contacting James Widman, Landscape Designer for Skinner Garden Store. James works his artistry, discussing ideas with clients, sketching, planning and developing specialty gardens, including designing water features. What this translates to is: I need a blueprint of what my new water garden will look like and James is the person to call. Step one is underway but for supplies, maintaining good water quality and general upkeep, I am referred to the experts at Waterscape Concepts.

Wes Chiles, Garden Specialist knows his ponds. I find out I will need a pump, liner, skimmer, filter system and an underlayment to protect the liner from roots on the bottom and heavy rocks on the top. Step two of initial items to purchase. Check.

Step three. Adding water. Wes stressed the importance of maintaining proper pH levels for fish. Poor water quality is harmful to fish and can occur from simply overfeeding them. Test kits are available or Waterscape Concepts can test the water at the store, either way the pH needs to remain between 6. …

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