The Joys of Natural Pond Maintainance

Creating this pond has been the greatest source of beauty, joy and challenge on our Colorado mountain property. It is the centerpiece of our Wildlife Habitat, attracting critters of all sorts. You can hear the constant cawing of birds every day, colorful stellar jays protecting their turf, ignored by other busy birds and squirrels at work. We especially appreciate the owls and hawks who help to keep the rodent population in check.
The surrounding gardens host expanding colonies of bees & butterflies, endangered over most of America but not here. The meadows beyond are visited by great herds of elk, deer and meandering bears, foxes and coyotes.
Although it's just me & Rich now, we never feel alone in our natural estate. As I look out my window, right now daylight just beginning, and fall diminishing the color, I see so much happening.
I am grateful to witness such life and play my part to keep things in balance.
See Youtube video for more on how we built a part of this:
Stepping into the Muck
You should probably step into the Muck twice a year, spring & fall. We do this as needed, keeping a constant joyful vigilance that has rewarded us with little effort required at this stage. A perfectly balanced pond smells good and sustains life. Needs NO chemicals. It has very little algae except in highest heat and has a constant flow of water.
We knew things we had problems when we could see the water was not flowing properly and needed to fill pond too often.
l would need to cut back these irises tremendously. They've grown to be over 5' tall and their biomass of solid roots has raised the pond floor at least six inches, creating a natural filter system, but severely blocking water flow.
I also discovered an aspen root growing over the top of the rubber liner and pushing it down exposing a leak. Roots are generally well behaved, tending UNDER the liner -- as you can see from our great aspen forest which we started with a handful of bargain babies 12 years ago.
Mother Aspen in island
Had to cut one of her roots that jutted over the liner and caused problems. Sorry. Hopefully her baby is sufficiently grown to withstand the trauma.
I needed to readjust liner and re-situate rocks to encourage flow of water AWAY from center island and into larger pond below.
A naturalized pond will have far more vegetation than water showing, offering plenty of places for fish to hide and discouraging water traffic from land creatures.
I needed to cut OUT as much as I could this fall. Tough job with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut close to the rubber liner.
View from top of upper falls to 2nd
This summer we added tons of rocks Rich collected from our surrounding Rocky Mountains. For fall maintenance I would need to turn off the top waterfall and move some of these rocks to discourage excessive splashing.
View from 2nd falls toward 2 ponds
Please, check out how we expanded this original creek and pond on our youtube video:
We keep a trickle of water turned on all year: 24/7/365 -- Lucky us to have good draw from our wells. We circulate water with two pumps. One that serves a high waterfall, that can be turned off in the winter.
The creeks blend into a shallow catch pond that then drops into a very large, 17,000 gallon, koi pond -- home to over 30 happy fishies, some over 2 feet long butterfly type...
Summer edge enhancement
This summer we also started enhancing the edging with rocks and stones in contrasting color
We set largest rocks to create natural seating areas, too.
WIldflower summer view
We encourage wildflowers to grow at the pond edges -- in ever-growing ellipses of gardens ...
Mexican Hat seed collecting
Fall is a great time to collect seeds & throw them. I'll also cold sow some grass seeds as well. I know the critters will be burrowing all winter. I'll need to pound out their burrows and rake out a mess of activity in the spring. The cold sowing helps cover their tracks, a bit.. Later in the summer I often find a new row of wildflowers or grasses in my lumpy ground. Naturalization often yields unexpected rewards!
Proximity of creek to house -- a sliver of the overall concept.
Very Rewarding Experience!
That video again:
If you like this, I'll show you how we built the waterfalls and other tips & treats.

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3 of 5 comments
  • Cori Widen Cori Widen on Nov 01, 2016
    I really can't believe that this is your property - really amazing.

    • Adele DuranGO Adele DuranGO on Nov 01, 2016
      Thanks Cori. I expanded it a bit since you saw it. It's better for me to tackle a post like this in chunks. Post to save -- then add a few changes later, so I don't lose ground as I go.

  • Los6674666 Los6674666 on Apr 16, 2017
    Exceptional... what an accomplishment! So natural. If I were a jealous person...  Thanks for sharing such beauty.