Throwback Thusday: 1990's Backyard Makeover

We bought our house in 1991 and a few years later we decided to add a pond and covered bridge to the backyard. This was the day of film camera's and, although I took more pictures, these are the only ones that made it into the computer. The picture size was only 3 x 3 and the color wasn't perfect. The little pine trees on the other side of the fence are now full grown and totally block the neighbors yard.

e throwback thusday 1990 s backyard makeover

As I dug the pond I found a lot of broken glass and other junk in the ground. I'm guessing that in the days before garbage collection, the residents buried what the couldn't burn. In an effort to protect the liner I lined the hole with old carpet before putting the liner in place. A store allowed me to raid their dumpster to get the pieces I used.  A local swimming pool company sold me a liner that had to pull (because it was the wrong size) for $30.00.  We got it spread out and then the heat of the sun soften the vinyl allowing us to put in the necessary folds that gave it the perfect fit.

e throwback thusday 1990 s backyard makeover

This is one of many shots I took from an upstairs window. On Saturdays we were allowed to go into the pits of two local quarries and select the flat stones we used for the walkway.  We had an S-10 so we couldn't haul very much at one time. We also bought sand from the quarries that was the bed for the stones.  We're in Ohio and have limestone quarries. This type of stone isn't available everywhere. I would dig out the path, put in edging and lay down landscape fabric before putting down the sand to keep weeds from growing up. What I didn't consider was that any weed or tree seed that landed in the sand was going to grow. A better alternative would have been stone dust (also from a quarry) or concrete (more expensive, but worth it in the end.

From this view you can also get a glimpse of a waterfall that's on the left side of the pond. The tree is a birch.

e throwback thusday 1990 s backyard makeover

The work is completed. To the right of the picture you can see a wagon wheel and barrel (on its side) that we added as part of the landscaping. We purchased feeder fish from the pet section of a local big box store. These are similar to gold fish but can have other colors (brown, black & white) in them besides orange. This kind of fish can survive without the need to aerate the water. 

As long as there's deep enough parts that won't freeze , those fish can over-winter without having to be removed from the water. My deepest point was two feet. The only time we lost some fish was when there was thawing around the edges and some of the fish got on top of the ice and couldn't get back under it.

The fish grew and even reproduced. We fed them during the warm months and they would come to the surface as soon as they heard our footsteps on the bridge.

At the shallowest point (near the barrel) we put in soil and added some local water plants. The following spring we were delighted to have toads breed there and watching the tiny toadpoles (my word) develop into tiny toads was fun.  Unlike frogs, the toads stayed small.
  14 answers
  • Cori Widen Cori Widen on Feb 17, 2017
    Wow! That is GORGEOUS!

  • What a great place to live! This is just beautiful. Worth every bit of hard work was worth it. One of my dreams . . . 🤗

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Feb 18, 2017
    Its like your very own paradise! Thanks for sharing!

  • Joann Gail Haddock Joann Gail Haddock on Feb 19, 2017

  • Patty Patty on Feb 21, 2017
    You did a beautiful job. I built a pond when my husband had a heart atack

  • Marquetta Marquetta on Feb 21, 2017
    Wow that's beautifu. We are very slowly doing stuff to our place. Hopefully we have everything done before I'm to old to enjoy it.
    Enjoy your pond and stuff.

  • Sandy Turner Sandy Turner on Feb 22, 2017
    Must be nice to have a large yard

    • Janet Seiber Janet Seiber on Feb 22, 2017
      That portion looks larger than it is, especially since you're seeing the vastness of the neighbors yard beyond ours. With those little pine trees fully grown, the perspective has changed considerably!

  • Kate Baxter Kate Baxter on Feb 22, 2017
    If it gets really cold put a length of pipe at the bottom of the pond and the fish will stay in there. You did a beautiful job. I wish my backyard looked like that!

  • Janet Seiber Janet Seiber on Feb 22, 2017
    Thank you for your comments and the tip! It's a new one for me.

  • Patricia Patricia on Feb 22, 2017
    You have a lovely yard! I especially like the rocks and the covered bridge. I bet there were lots of happy memories there.

  • Janet Seiber Janet Seiber on Feb 22, 2017
    Thank you, Patricia! You're right, there were lots of memories there. It was a special place for the grandchildren when they were young. There was a large flat piece of sandstone in front of the bench and they'd lay on their stomachs and the fish would come to them when they wiggled their fingers in the water. We also enjoyed sitting on the bench that was on the bridge and just watching nature. Besides the spring visits from the toads, we had frogs that came to live their on their own. We also had dragonflies breed there. Their nymphs are evil looking things! We also had a bit of drama when I great blue heron found it. We thought he'd eaten all of the fish until one day one of our granddaughters was laying on the bridge and saw them under it. The heron had traumatized them to the point that they stayed hidden for weeks.

  • Melody Drinkwater Wagner Melody Drinkwater Wagner on Feb 23, 2017
    This is stunning! Just beautiful work!

  • Betsy Betsy on Mar 02, 2017
    Did you build the bridge? This is gorgeous. I made a huge square in my back yard, the centre is 12' x 12' and the outside is 3' of flowers encircling the square. I have an arbor where you go in, and grow grapes on that. The inside of the square is all mulch, so I don't have to mow. Then I have a hammock and swing glider in there, too. I'm thinking of putting a bridge over nothing, under the arbor:) Maybe a pretend 'river' of rocks. It's only 4 or 5 feet wide. Just dreamin' :)

  • Janet Seiber Janet Seiber on Mar 02, 2017
    Yes, I built the bridge. It was pretty easy and has held up well for all of this time. Your idea sounds great. You could also make a stream by giving a slight slope to it. Line it with heavy plastic, cover with your rocks and put a small pump at the bottom to bring the water back to the top. It wouldn't have to be wide. Birds, butterflies and other creatures will thank you for it.