Post 10: Ponds in the Garden as Special Garden Rooms

Ponds in the garden were easily made in the initial earthworks for the house when the site was excavated in 1981 (34 years ago from 2015).  Our land is is on a sandstone base four metres down below the soil surface. We have on our land about a metre  of black sandy topsoil which becomes a heavy  clay layer which then goes down to the sandstone base. With heavy rain,  the  water sinks down to the heavy  clay layer and sits on top  of the clay. It is like a vast underground dam and with slight southern slope  of the land, this underground water  slowly drains down the slope  over several months. Three months later, this water  is readily available at the surface  if you dig a hole.  Woe  to you  if you went down in a vehicle. The soil would turn to instant bog and you  would need to be towed  out by another  vehicle on a  firm surface (that is why we had many horizontal logs and branches laid down in our extensive driveway coming down to our house).

When the heavy  clay layer  is broken into, this underground water trickles out and down to fill any depression in the  clay base below. It then becomes free water with an extensive surface. By excavating shallow ponds in the clay (some up to 0.75 metres deep), I have created four ponds that drain this water  away from the house. One pond is a deep one outside the glass wall of our bedroom. It drains in different southern  direction away from the house. See the three photos  below.  This pond had been planted several  years ago with waterlilies  which  have large plate-like floating green leaves and  produce blue flowers. These  flowers eventually produce  seed which sinks down to rest on the sandy base of  the pond. The pond may dry  up  to bare  sand and  leaf mulch that  year as the underground water  ceases and the  ponds  slowly evaporate over  six  months.

In the  next year, the  heavy rain will  repeat  the process and the ponds  will  fill again. The waterlily  seed resting on the sandy base of  the pond, quickly produces  new waterlilies  with their  floating green leaves and   blue flowers.  Occasionally, wild black ducks come to paddle in this  pond and provide a sense of movement in the serene landscape.

The two large ponds on the north side of the house, drain into each other and then into another lower  deep pond and  eventually down the hill to open land.  With the new bore which was only drilled in September last year,  we have abundant water for  our garden in dry times and water to keep the ponds full. It is wonderful in having the contrast of the still  reflective water surface  and  the ever changing three dimensional nature of the garden and surrounding bush.

Harriet and I so identify with what the  Psalmist David says: Psalm 19: 1- 4 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky displays what his hands have made. One day tells a story to the next. One night shares knowledge with the next without talking, without words, without their voices being heard. Yet, their sound has gone out into the entire world, their message to the ends of the earth.


Looking down on Master bedroom

….  Looking down on the  Master bedroom area of the garden with its pond  …..


….  The  pond with a water lily  and blue flower ….

1. Pond At Master Bedroom


…  Pond 1 on the northside of the house drains into Pond 2 as shown below.

  Pond 2  then drains into another lower deep pond and  eventually

down the hill to open land. ….


As of 10.10.15, this pond has been excavated  to eventually form a

billabong with a natural log on the other side. This a work in progress as there was no

hurry. The brown creek sand is being spread over the bottom up to 100 mm thick. This

will cover any exposed clay. We will then filled it with bore water over a night and day.

It will be used as natural dipping pool in the hot Australian summer period (it really

doesn’t have the depth for a  swimming pool).  Summer begins in December till February.
The water may be slightly discoloured from the sand and clay base but with frequent

 topping up  with bore water, the water should be relatively clear. Any excess water flows over

the  top to descend to a lower pond which then flows under a level driveway bridge and down

into the paddock below.


003The natural dipping pool was filled with bore water which was very clean.

However, we then had four major thunderstorms in four  consecutive

days  in mid November  of 2015. We had a small excavator coming out to  do

some work in a weeks time which had booked  a month before. With all  the

rain, the grading on the driveway was not quite right. This meant that the

dipping pool received four doses of muddy runoff off the driveway. Since then

we have diverted all  runoff to the other side of the driveway.  The dipping pool will

be flushed out with bore water which will make it clean  again.

010 …. Newly Built Garden Pond September 2015 …


See the next post on our house and garden:  Post 11: Animals and Birds on our Land


Comments are closed.