Friday, January 11, 2013

Seen & Noted Part 2: Gardens Take a Backseat

Entire Backyards are being devoted to Ponds:


Garden ponds have been popular for some time. This past summer however, I was amazed to see how many homeowners had decided to devote almost their entire backyard to a pond.

I am going to show you just a couple of examples, but I saw more than a few of these large scale water features in 2012.

Hamilton, Ontario. Pond by Clearwater Pond

I am not sure my picture gives you an accurate enough sense of the sheer expanse of this pond. 

Trust me, it was enormous!

Save for a small deck that framed the pond like a crescent moon, this sizeable suburban plot was almost entirely under water.


A flagstone path leads to a gazebo at one corner of the property. A gang plank leads from the gazebo out to a tiny island near the center of the pond.

Here is second example:


This is the view looking down from the upper deck of the home into the backyard. A series of streams and waterfalls feed a large pond located just off the back deck.

Waterfall detail 




Talking with the homeowners, I think it was the sense of being at the cottage, without the long commute, that made them want to devote so much of their property to a pond. The sound of water tumbling down a waterfall also has a pleasant way of drowning out the local traffic noises.

The backyard becomes a place of private retreat and a sanctuary from their busy lives.


Darting fish...


The summer serenade of mating frogs...


and beautiful waterlilies.

I can see the appeal of these large backyard ponds.

Flowers, trees and shrubs are incorporated, but they take on more of a supporting role.

So what do you think? 

Could you ever see having a large water feature like this in your backyard?

My time is short today and so I will put up the name of the winners for the book draws on Sunday.

29 comments:

  1. Jennifer, people might want to relax after their work from the hustle and bustle. Or do they want to hear the constant sound of water from streams and waterfalls. But I think a big pond is dangerous for children and it is necessary to enclose it.

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    1. Children certainly need to be considered when it comes to backyard ponds. They can be as dangerous as swimming pools. In both cases shown, the homeowners had fully fenced their yards. Both sets of homeowners were also in the 50+ age range and did not have young children in the household.

      In another home where there was a large pond and 2 young boys, the pond was separated from the remainder of the huge back garden with a fence. The boys love the pond, but are only permitted to play there when they are supervised.

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  2. No, I should not like to have a watergarden. When you have a backyard with a fench and on the background you see other houses, such a large pond with rocks looks unnatural. But that's my opinion, I can imagine there are people who like it for the fishes or so. For traffic noise you can also take another water feature, a fountain for instance, which does not cover your total backyard.

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    1. A large pond is not everyone's cup of tea. Such a large pond certainly limits the area available for gardening.

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  3. When you said it was enormous you weren't lying!! That is probably one of the biggest ponds I have seen on a suburban lot! It is lovely but I personally could not devote my whole yard to a pond. First off the mister wouldn't go for it due to resale. And then there is the issue of maintenance and with my look drainage issues! But that doesn't mean I wouldn't love to go and admire it!!

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    1. Resale is an interesting issue! Certainly not everyone would want to buy a property with such a huge pond. If you had young children, safety would definitely be a concern. I think having a large pond may well impact negatively on the resale of a home.

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  4. In order for this to really work visually, it needs tall screening trees on the perimeter. As Janneke suggests there's way too much visual "noise". In addition, the existing plants need to grow in and mature and soften all that stone. The balance is off now but in 4-5 years that part will work. They've got a good start just photographed too soon.

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    1. I can't help but agree that that the second property might benefit with a screening of trees around the perimeter. The pond is relatively new and the plantings will fill in nicely, as you say, in 4-5 years.

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  5. OK, they are BEAUTIFUL. But I could never do it. The backyard is our socializing space, our bird watching space, and also I cannot do without the flower beds. I have wondered about putting in a very small pond - right now I just have a little fountain and a couple of bird baths. But I couldn't do a mega-pond, much as I admire them.

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    1. Jason, You are right about flowerbeds- there is certainly less space available for flowering plants.
      Most of the ponds that I visited last summer were located right off the back deck. In the second property shown here, there was a large deck off the main floor of the house, as well as a deck at ground level that was perfect for entertaining.
      One of the benefits of having a pond, even a much smaller one, is that it is a mecca for wildlife. I have many photographs of birds drinking water and bathing in local garden ponds.

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  6. Jennifer, I would love a pond but would then have to give up my garden. I just have a fountain pond and the running water seems to satisfy our pond envy.

    Eileen

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    1. Eileen, I have the same issue with lack of space. At this point, I have a fountain and that is it!

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  7. Personally Jennifer, it's too "built", too much stone, too many elements that don't flow and dare I say the two white plastic chairs in the gazebo, yikes! They need to soften the landscape perhaps with bamboo or conifers. I love weeping willows over water but we know what the roots do. My view is to design a garden as one would inside your home. I have a pond I built myself along the patio. The same patio stones were used to surround it so it has a grotto feel with shrubs growing around it for privacy. It is my Eden, quiet yet full of life come Spring. Would I expand? O you bet I would but the garden is full of mature trees and I wouldn't dare dig damaging their roots so for now I enjoy my own wee pond the way I created it. :)

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  8. These are beautiful, Jennifer, and so are your photographs.
    Having a pond put in when we renovated a house a few years ago, was one of the best things we did.
    Have a great weekend!
    xo.

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  9. Hi Jennifer
    Both of these ponds seem out of proportion to the total amount of yard/garden space. Also as Nadezda points out, it could be dangerous for small kids (fence or no fence) plus I would worry about mosquitos and West Nile. Does pond water circulate or is it still? Anyway - the ponds were very beautifully built but need a country property to show them off correctly (IMHO).

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  10. I would love a pond but I wouldn't want the pond to take up the entire garden. I also wonder about the maintenance. I wonder how hard it is to keep it all clean.

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  11. Happy 2013, Jennifer! :)
    There is always something magical in your shots, wow!
    Hope the New Year will be brilliant for you.

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  12. Wow - beautiful. But I agree with Astrid - you need a larger property to show off these ponds correctly. They would be stunning on a larger piece of land, as one feature among many.

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  13. Beautiful. I love ponds especially ones with water features- I love the sound. I remember my grandmother had the prettiest one growing up and we would race out there to feed the fish when we would visit. We don't have one here at our new house but have been discussing installing one.

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  14. These are beautiful features that is for sure and they are seriously big. I'm sure the owners derive an awful lot of pleasure from their yards. I haven't got any water features at all. I find them lovely but am just not a water gardener. I always wonder too about wasting resources. One of things I love about gardening is complementing nature, using natives and creating places for insects and animals. Water is certainly good for frogs and birds but to bring in water to fill ponds, constantly running pumps to keep it aerated, cleaning. It seems like a waste of water and electricity, I don't know, maybe I'm silly but there's something unnatural about it.

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  15. I like the first pond but no, I don't think I could deal with a pond that large!

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  16. What happens during winter? Ontario means all those must be freezing up? I love ponds but honestly I don't want to devote my whole backyard to ponds - it will become too boring. I would rather have a small pond and all sorts of trees/plants/shrubs in the backyard -- more natural, as if a pond in a small forest/wood.

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    1. You know I did think to ask them about the pond in winter! I do know that you close a pond in a similar way that you close a swimming pool, but am not sure exactly what labor is involved.

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  17. Una belleza!!No sé qué más decir...Maravillosas imágenes.Un abrazo grande.

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  18. I do hope you and your husband are feeling much better - it truly is/was a nasty cold that was going around. I admire these ponds - absolutely love seeing the construction photos of how they go from nothing to Lake Superior in 6 weeks. Only a birdbath in my backyard, although would like to include a drooling rock at some point. Can't imagine Bart with all the water. Started in on Pinterest - glad you wrote about it - for me, it's a time-suck, one beautiful photo, leads to another, to another and before you know it, there's a good part of what ever I'd planned for the moment gone.
    B.

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  19. Those type of ponds are not for me I prefer mine small and natural looking. We have two, one for the fish and one for wildlife.

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  20. Wow I admire the wonderful ponds and gardens you shared... would I do one , I think just a small fountain type one.

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  21. Those are some serious ponds. Almost the entire yard is pond with some patio...what a lovely setting.

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  22. Wow! I think I would prefer something more natural looking and in proportion to its surroundings, but I do see the appeal of these larger ponds. It is somewhat magical how the spaces have been transformed. I definitely want to add some sort of water feature to my garden but I am thinking a smaller pool and hope to be able to maintain it without a pump and just plants. It would be cool to attract a few frogs and toads. I already have dragon and damsel flies because of our close proximity to the water but I bet I would see more. I have no desire to keep Koi. It just doesn't seem to "fit" my garden. Maybe a couple of minnows from the bait store. I can place transport them to the river when they become too large (our bait stores are very good about only carrying minnows that the river supports).

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