The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, June 18, 2000
Garden Life

A pond for your garden

By Satish Narula

THE hassles of day-to-day working are so taxing that we always look forward to the weekend. We want to move to the hills, near the streams or water bodies. However it is not always possible to get away. One way out is to create waterfalls and streams in your home.

Man has always liked to live near water. Water, for him, is a source of solace and relaxation. No Japanese garden is complete without a gentle, soundless stream of water or a trickle through cut bamboos. Where there is no water, the sand is so combed that it gives an impression of a dry river.

Making ponds or waterfall structures in gardens in your home is easy. Creating a gurgling and bubbling water feature is not difficult. Space in this case is no constraint. What is needed is careful planning.

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Water features are of two types , still water or waterfall. Though fabricated pools, ponds or falls are available in the market , these are so artificial, one does not enjoy them for long. A simple pond with various kinds of stones, pebbles, plants and fish etc could be an excellent feature that attracts one and all. A small pump that recirculates water above rocks gives the ‘nature in miniature’ effect. Some people feel that ponds and stone become dirty after some time. But there is a piece of advice. Do not let water stand in the pool for long. After about a week or 10 days, use the pond water for irrigating lawns or plants and fill the tank or pond with fresh water. Those who love nature and want life in the garden, even stones could occasionally be cleaned with a hard brush. Welcome frogs and their little ones in the pond. Frogs also kill harmful insects in the garden.

Various plants growing in the pond give a natural look. Space permitting, you could even create features like rockery, bridges, stepping stones or even a log laid across the stream. The plants suitable for growing in and around the water feature are hydrilla, salvina and various nympheas (water lilies) with various coloured blooms. Patera or typha is another water weed which can be grown. It grows three to four feet above the water level and bears bajra like heads that are used by some for indoor display. Umbrella palm that is a favourite with pond lovers is also used for fresh foliage indoor display. Various ground cover plants like asparagus, pilea, chlorophytum (spider plant) saxifraga etc could also be grown to beautify the edge of the ponds. Dwarf bamboo or pines tree (to be contained later by pruning) could also be used. Various coloured grass and bamboos are suitable for such location.

Making a pond is easy. You can do it by digging a hole of permissible dimensions . You could make the pond of varying shapes like square, rectangular, star-shaped, kidney-shaped or any irregular shape. This could be provided with thick polythene lining the edges of which could be camouflaged with stones. Temporary ponds could be created by burying old water baths, barrels, boxes etc in the soil , but you should ensure that there is no leakage.

Do not select a site very near to a building as the leakage could cause damage. Dig the pit to a minimum depth of 2.5 feet. Take care, in case there is a toddler at home, to provide jalli fencing or a bamboo fence. Ponds could be made with concrete too. Do not forget to do the water proofing.