As water from Tropical Storm Andrea poured down the road, swirled around the driveway, gushed past the newly planted hostas to fill the dell outside the dining room, we contemplated going with the flow by turning the dell into a giant pond; simply replacing the hostas with waterlilies. Which led me to remember I hadn't posted about a recent successful project in the backyard that turned the dank, smelly pond by the bridge into a dry water feature.
Firstly, a little background. For years I've been running interference with the dogs, trying to keep them from drinking out of the pond. We tried a cover but it was too cumbersome to move when we needed to get at the pump and mesh kept the dogs off but allowed decomposed leaves, garden debris and the balls off the damn linden tree to fall through the holes and fill the pond. Honestly, who would build a pond under a conifer and plant a bunch of fast-growing shrubs around it? I wanted the pond part gone but still needed a way to keep the water flowing to the rocks and along the stream.
I came across this low maintenance water feature on familyhandyman.com that looked perfect for our purposes. We already had most of the structure in place, it seemed easy-peasy to drain the pond and swap the mucky water for stone chips and gravel. The instructions indicated it could be completed within a couple of days so we began by buying six bags of pea gravel. These sat for a month on the patio while we dealt with a bunch of non-house related crises and some too wet/cold weekends
Finally, on Mothers' Day weekend in May when three consecutive days of sunshine were forecast The Guy set to scooping out the pond. He hauled six garden refuse bags of dirt out of there, at which point we knew those six bags of gravel were not going to make much of an impact. We used those bags as a base for the buckets that would act as miniature reservoirs and went back to Home Depot for another 10 bags of pea gravel. Two more trips to the HD later we were 18 bags in and almost to the top of the pond. We turned on the water and tested the pump and were suitably impressed when the heard water gurgling from the fountain. We still had a few damming issues along the stream (anther two bags of crap were filled) but in the end we had a dry water feature that works - it's a very quiet, soothing sound which adds to the ambience out back.