What we’ve done is we added some floating net islands, added some plants up to our water fall, there’s a little side view of our net island, and we’ve got our plants working for us.
But what if we need more? What if we needed to just do a little bit more? Well, there are a couple of things we can do. We can add an external area, an external pond filter, or a true water garden. We can do that a couple of ways. We can go out and get a stock tank.
Now don’t go get the big round ones, you know those three-hundred gallon round stock tanks are great, we use them to raise koi and to store koi, but they’re horrible for filters because you can’t circulate the water worth a darn through them.
So if you’re going to use a stock tank get those long skinny ones, and depending on the material and the powder coating on them, you might want to just go ahead and line them with palm liner, pop a couple of holes in them with a bulk head, and just hook in through your pond pump, and that will return to your pond right there, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to fill this with plants.
What a lot of people do is they turn milk cartons upside down, stick them all in there, put their plants on them, roots grow out, perfect. What I prefer to do rather than using the milk cartons and rather than using the actual stock tank, is I like to add on directly to the pond. Especially if I’ve got a real long narrow yard, my previous home had that, a real long narrow backyard. So what I did as part of the pond was I just extended this about eighteen feet, brought it out, and I had a couple of barrel filters that I added there, so those are all added on.
We’re pumping the water back here. So that I had a little bit of a water feature, I diverted a bit for a fountain; so you can still have a little bit of a water feature in the pond and do this. Instead of using milk cartons here, I’m a big fan of using the chimney blocks, the kind that you would use to build a wood stove or for your fireplace because they’re hollow inside.
So when I laid them all in like so, I went out and got some shelving from Home Depot, the kind of shelving that’s plastic coated, laid that right on top here. Then I took some filter media, a couple of rows to widen it up, laid it all the way out. I used pull tabs to kind of put the filter media on top of the shelving, the kind you slip through and snag it, the cable ties, works great.
Then I went out and I just put a bunch of iris, cattails, hornwort, parrots feather, all those kind of plants. During the summer you can add some tropicals but during the main planting, mint work great, just lay it all out on that pond filter, even use the pull ties if you have to to keep the plants on there. Throw a little gravel, don’t put any dirt in there or soil. We’re trying to clear it up, not mess it up.
Once that starts growing, all of a sudden you’ve got roots all growing down through here, plants are growing up, and you get a lot of color. It’s actually a real nice extension; if you don’t know, people that would come out in the yard wouldn’t even know that this was part of the pond. It’d just look like there’s a great flowering garden right next to the pond.
But the fish knew. The fish would all swim up in here, go crazy through their tunnel. On this open area right here, this is probably where I stopped with the tunnel, that’s where I throw all those extra hyacinth during the summer when I start having more than I need. So it’s a great place for feeding the fish without having to throw in a bunch of food that’s going to cause more problems for me.
And it was also a great hiding place. One year I trapped over 13 raccoons in there and that’s a lot of raccoons, didn’t lose one single koi. So they were all hiding in the tunnels.
This is a nice add-on for your pond, but if you don’t want to go through the tunnel system, just use it in a regular stock tank. But it’s an inexpensive way, especially if you’re looking at spending thousands redoing your pond to add bigger pumps and filters and UV. You might want to try this first; it adds a whole new dimension to your pond.