A garden pool or pond is a great asset to your property, but the thought of digging a hole big enough is enough to make someone think twice about doing it. Good News! With the right liner and supporting landscaping, you can have your garden pond with no digging at all!
But before you begin here are a few questions.
First, Where Will You Locate It?
To be healthy, your no digging garden pond should have some sun. For the sake of blooming water plants as well as for the landscaping around it, at least some morning sun is desirable.It depends on your climate how much sun you want, of course. In the South, what you don’t want is so much sun that you ‘˜boil’ the water, killing plant and animal life in the pond. A no digging pond might heat up hotter, not being sunk in the ground.
If you live where winters are mild, however, afternoon sun might keep the no digging pond ‘˜living’ all winter rather than having to shut it down. Also the shade you have, take note of it being building shade vs tree or shrub shade, which will in turn control the amount of sunlight reaching the pond surface.
Also, keep in mind Winter maintenance as well, if draining will be needed: where will you allow all that water to run?
Second, What Kind of Liner Will You Use?
This becomes more critical with a no digging garden pond. The two main kinds of garden pond liners are the rigid kind or flexible kind. Each has it’s advantages and drawbacks.
Rigid might need draining if freezing is issue (the expanding ice could split the pond liner) but is more rugged in the long run. They are easier to work with in this no-digging garden pond as well. Flexible liners, on the other hand, can take freezing and expand with the ice, but it will not last as well because there is simply less material to handle the wear.
Another question is what material is the no digging pond liner made of? Often plastic is used for liners, but consider that concrete is not as hard to use as you might think. With the right reinforcement, it is not as subject to cracking (and therefore leaking) and will last literally a lifetime.
Third, What Shape Will it Take?
Here begins the creativity! Generally you have to chose either a geometric shape or a “free form” for the pond. Geometric is more formal, and gives your garden and pond a look of permanence and structure. If you chose free form, which is more natural, lay out a hose to help you picture a flowing free-form shape. For straight line ponds'”rectangles and squares'”use small boards.
How Do You Actually Build the Pond?
Once you have chosen the location, liner and shape, its time to build the earth up around it. If you have chosen a rigid liner, like a large tub, you can begin to ‘˜bury’ your pond immediately with a choice of several things. If the sides are sturdy enough to hold water without additional support, simply push topsoil, mulch or bagged garden soil around the perimeter of your pond and you are ready to plant! Consider also placing some large stones to make the pond look more connected to it’s site. slope gradually away from the pond so it doesn’t look like it’s just ‘stuck there’ in the middle of the garden.
If the liner needs some support, consider using bags of topsoil against the sides of the pond.Leave the soil in the bags, then split the bag at a later time to plant in the soil. Ring the soil with a single row of cement blocks, which will stabilize the bags of soil and hold them in place.
If you using plastic sheeting, similar to the kind sold at Pond Liner, you can begin your layout with bags of garden soil still in the bags, surrounding your pond with this kind of ‘˜sandbag levee’ before you place the liner over them. Then continue to build up the sides until you reach the height you want. This works especially well for a shallow reflecting pond.
Note, you should always put down 2-3 inches of sand under any pond liner, rigid or flexible, to help keep sticks or stones from puncturing the liner when it is heavy and full of water.
outline the shape of you liner with concrete blocks, leaving about 8″ of space between the edge of the blocks and the liner.
If you have decided to use poured cement, your job is as simple as it gets for this step. Set up your forms, pour your concrete and when the forms come off, ‘˜backfill’ your planting medium and begin planting.
The Finishing Touches
OK, the hard part is over! No digging, no disposing of extra soil. Just back fill. Just be sure you have enough soil on the outside of your liner that it does not begin to shift and let your liner sag.Now the biggest question: what will you plant beside the pond? My suggestion is something native, for low maintenance, and pick several different heights of plants that will gradually draw the eye down to the edges of the pond.
And there you have it! Your no-digging garden pond is ready to go. You can add lighting, a fountain or bubbler, water lilies, gold fish or coi, turtles'”the only limit is your imagination. The hardest thing left is to decide where to put your next no digging garden pond.