Pond Improvements 2010

We started digging the pond in 2002 when we moved in the new house after the housefire, and had the contractor dig some of our fill dirt out of a low spot on our property.

This is what the pond looked like (from the South) in the early going, quite shallow and lots of cattails.

this is a photo after the pond was enlarged in 2009, this area show here is all new on the north end of the pond, deeper and larger.This photo is of the pond in the early spring before the north end was dug larger and deeper..(photo above is north end enlargement)

This photo was taken this morning (9/20/10) after the redig to make the pond deeper. Joel worked on the far East bank last night, moving soil and levelling between the lilac bush and the olive tree and backblading the bank . When the pond is full the bank will mostly be under water as the water level in this area is down about 3 to 4 feet at the time of this photo. You can see by the island the water level should be up about 6 to 12" on the cattails, so when it fills back in with water the water level should go at least half way up the far bank.

this is a photo of the target pile that Joel is making, so it will be a back drop when he is target practicing with his guns. I'll probably plant some ground cover over it so it doesn't just turn into a weed pile..the bank above is to the left in this photo.
this photo is looking at the levelled area of the East bank between the lilac and the olive tree from the back side or East..toward the pond.

You can see across the pond the arbor and dock
on the far side of the pond as well, the water isn't visible in this photo as the water level is down so far.
You can see that this will reqire a lot of raking and levelling before it can be seeded to grass..however, there is still a huge pile of dirt to be moved on the far side of the lilac and to the south of the trees on the left side of this photo..see next photo.
Here is a photo of the banks on the SE end of the pond, Joel has begun to remove some of these piles of dirt and putting them in low spots to the east of the pond to level the ground, but this shows the work that still has to be done in this area.

Here is a photo of the North bank of the pond that I have been working on getting level so I could seed it to grass seed.

Here you can see the dried out area of the pond close up and the area beyond the dock that still has water in it (where the white water lilies are as well). The dock is yet to be finished (have to shop for boards) and the arbor still needs to be finished. You might be able to see some rock pillars I sat up in the shallow areas ..when this fills back in with water those rock pillars will be mostly under water, I put them there for turtles to be able to sun themselves on. You can also see part of the levelled area on the east bank of the pond on the far upper right hand part of photo.

Here you can see some of the plantings along the North bank edge, there is (closest right) a white pine, and a creeping juniper with some iris and burgundy leaf ajuga around them. There is some vinca down the bank and then a blue spruce with a hosta behind it, and two ligularia rocket and some pink filipendula, blue siberian iris and hardy geraniums. There are also red and gold barberries, spireas, white edge variegated dogwoods, an alberta spruce and other various perennials and shrubs and trees. There are two kinds of baby maple trees and on the far end of the bank some arborvitae, goldthread junipers, chamaecyparis, and a black spruce..This area has temporarily been seeded with a grass seed mixture to stabilize the bank (yesterday 9/20/10).

the last two photos above are taken from the North bank of the pond just south of the woods..the first one looking east and the second one looking south east. You can see some of the water is starting to fill in in the new pond dig, but the water level on the left (upper pond area) is still down 2 1/2 feet and on the right is down another 2 or more feet yet, or 4 and a half to 5 feet..In the second photo above you can see the piles of clay that still have to be moved NORTH of the lilac bush and part of the levelled area east of there and south of the lilac bush (in previous pictures above). Eventually all pond banks will be treated same as this one, levelled and seeded to grass or planted with trees and shrubs. The channel you see is on the EAST side of the island, there is also one on the west side, and the part of the pond shown in the pictures at the top of this page are all south of the island, not visible in this photo..this is the newer pond area dug in 2009.

This is an ongoing project, the piles will be removed, banks levelled, water level brought up to the proper depth , shown by the discoloration on the cattails and bare banks, and then hopefully a flowing well will be put in to maintain top level of water in the pond so fish can be planted.

Update September 29

Since the dig earlier in the month we have had a little rain and the pond levels are beginning to fill up a little more..there is still a lot of water needed to fill in the pond to the full mark, but we have about 4 more inches of water in the new dig area since last photos. The new photos now will give you a little more idea of what the pond will look like when it is full.
In the previous shot from this area you could still see a lot of the rough pond bottom stickint up through the water..but with 4 more inches of water now, the bottom is covered and now you see a glassy expanse of water. Although this section of the pond will eventually be 3 or more feet deeper than it  is right now..it is beginning to look like a pond again.

This is looking from the SE toward the West..with a glimpse of the food forest on the left and the woods on the North..and there is  still a lot of clay and dirt piles that need to be removed, banks backbladed and levelled and plantings done.

A longer view across the pond from the SW corner, you can now see the finished dock and the arbor frame (not quite finished yet but framed in). You can see the martin house up on the pole on the bank to the left..and the woods to the left and bank to the right..the pond is beginning to form a pond..even though the water levels are still very very low.

This photo was taken from the West peninsula near the island..From this position you can see the two water levels as they stand since the redig.The far water is about 2' higher than the closer water, as we left an earth dam between them to protect the water that was in the far area which is full of lots of goldfish and baby goldfish, water lilies, turtles and frogs. There is like a drop off down to the new dig area..but that will be invisible when the water reaches its new level which will be well over that earth bridge by a couple of feet.

The above photo shows my favorite place to sit in the yard, the swing. The awning broke last week in high wind but still it is a great place to sit and relax and catch a breeze. When the olive trees are in bloom the smell is absolutely inticing. You can see the woodsy trails going off behind the swing, and a baby butternut tree at the base of the aspen to the left..(there is also a baby Carpathian Walnut and a baby Black walnut spaced 25' apart to the west of the butternut). The swing is facing the shallow end of the pond (nw) and the new arbor and dock. There is also a great view from the swing of the field to the East.

Above you can see the swing and the arbor and the shallow end of the pond. Because this will be the most likely area to go dry in a drought since the new dig, the plan for the shallow area is to plant a lot of bog plants on the high areas of the shallow end. I am putting in marginals and plants that will withstand water on them most of the time, but that will also survive should the pond go dry here as it is now..generally this area would have about 2' of water over the high spots..I have also set up a few piles of rocks for the turtles to climb on when the water is at it's highest level.

This area here shows a good view of the rock piles and shallow end of the pond..it is kinda overgrown with cattails and reeds and I am putting in some prettier marginal plants like siberian iris, filipendula, hosta, etc. You can also see the field to the East and even the woods across the road on the far side of the field from this view.
This clay bank has recently been seeded to lawn seeds and the bank edges have been planted with white pine, blue spruce, alberta spruce, black spruce, maple and box elder trees, variegated dogwood, smoke bush, gold and red leaf barberry, arborvitae, juniper, false cypress, filipendula, hosta, iris, siberian iris, daylilly, goatsbeard, vinca, h geranium, and many other plants that will eventually grow up to a beautiful landscape along the pond banks..more plants will be brought in.

This is a photo of the new arbor framework and the new little dock. The arbor will eventually be finished with some trellis work of some sort, either rustic or boughten trellis. There will be vines growing over the trellis of woodbine, trumpet vine and seedless grapes and possibly others as well as some climbing roses.. there will be perennials planted around the sides as well as down the banks into the water edges. There area bout a dozen white water lilies planted on this end of the pond (pink and others on the other side of the pond)..and a pickeral weed. Marginal plantings are being planted at the end of the dock, under the dock and to the west of the dock where the water level will never be more than 2.5 feet deep. Some of the marginals being planted on the higher ground are hosta, filipendula, siberian iris, reeds and there are naturalized cattails..others will be brought in a little at a time that will grow either in or out of the water.

The water level should eventually reach the lawn area on the far side of the pond at it's highest level..the banks should be completely below the water level. This area has all the baby and adult goldfish harboring in it and we were careful to leave a soil dam between the new dig and this area..which was down 2.5 feet from the drought even before the latest dig..so it will be much deeper when it is full. You can sit on the dock and watch the goldfish, even tiny baby ones so they are breeding, and the turtles and frogs that inhabit this area.

Looking down into the area where the fish are hiding, water levels way down from the drought and dig..but will eventually be 2.5 feet deeper.

I'm standing at the end of the dock looking SE toward the field and the far bank of the north part of the pond..the pond continues on the south side of this area..as it curves around this penninsula. This far bank eventually will be levelled off with the soil from this pile that was left from the dig 2 weeks ago..and will eventually be seeded to lawn and mowed here..There is an old large lilac that will be cut down and rejuvenated, it has lavendar flowers in the spring. The water level evenetually will come up to the top of these banks here, when the pond fills back in..and this will be a good place for children to play and watch the goldfish, turtles and frogs, and when we get a well to keep the pond full of fresh water we will eventually plant food fish in the pond. The dirt pile in the center of the photo will be left for a gun target siting in backdrop and will eventually be planted with groundcovers so as not to just become a weedpile. There is a drainage ditch beyond the pile and we will be putting a food bridge across the ditch for access to the field and evergreens on the far side, which is mown for a camping area in some spots..There are also some siberian iris where the path will go across and eventually wildflowers will be planted along the ditch and a hedgerow will be planted as well. South of the pond is Joel's house and SW of the pond is our house, West of the pond is our rear shed, gardens, and North of the pond is the woods, trails and our food forest garden is to the NW.

The piles should all be moved out by 2011 and the banks backbladed and landscaped..more food plants will be growing such as elderberry, and ornamental plants and trees. There will be a weeping willow both on the south and the north banks (babies are in now) and several taller trees will be put in for shade and bird habitat. Hopefully the pond will be finished and stocked with fish and new water liilies and lotus and other pond plants by summer 2011.

If you go back up 4 photos, you can see a mass of alder trees on the far side of the pond. The first weekend of October I spent time cutting down the alder trees and piled them up to be run through the chipper, and on Ocrtober 7 I took some salvaged lattice and attached it to the arbor...here are those photos.

You can see on the far side of the pond in this photo that the alder trees have been removed from around the apple tree (that grew from an apple)..and they have been piled to be run thru the chipper..this has made a trail around the East end of the North part of the pond now, which was previously inaccessible. Also now we will be able to easily pick the apples on the apple tree. (yellow sweet early apples) The arbor has been finished and there has been a grapevine planted on the arbor (seedles Tickled Pink) and to the NE of the arbor yesterday I also planted a White Pearls Apricot tree, full size, just a baby now.
You can see it if you look for the green leaves, as they are about the only two items that haven't frozen yet as they were just planted.

Here you  can see from the North to South looking between the little apple tree and the pond. I have cut out the alders that were here and piled them for chipping, and now have access around the pond between the apple and pond. I tried to run the lawnmower through here but the alder stumps were a bit too rough, so I'll attempt to clear out the herbal layer with the D R trimmer or a string trimmer to make the path, and then  use the chips to cover the stumps on the path and to keep down the herbal layer as a mulch.

May 9 2011..update..here are a few photos of the ponds now in early spring..with water in it ...this area in the first photo is east of the food forest garden looking east..in the summer the water surface will be covered with water lilies that won't begin to show leaves for another few weeks...

same are from a little farther south, the cattails are just now starting to put on their new growth for this year..goldfish are hiding in the reeds..hundreds of them.
the little island in the center of the pond with a channel on each side..this area is south of above two photos..there are baby reeds growing around the island which pretty much hides it in the summer..redwing blackbirds are fighting over prime nesting areas in the reeds.
the same area looking south toward Joel's house..this area is south of the island..there are reeds up close and along the right side but the rest has been all newly dug ..there is a plant order coming that will be put in this area of the pond that will include some  lotus and floating plants as well as others..