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A Do-It-Yourselfer’s Story

Steve and Terry Metzler shared their Do It Yourselfer’s story this month. Steve writes:

We began pond construction in Aug. 2005, first by deconstructing our old pond of 12 years. The goal, like everyone’s, was to make it bigger and better, adding a stream with waterfalls. We had gone on several Pond-O-Ramas and were always envious of what we saw. We thought what the heck, we could do that ourselves. Ignorance is bliss!

– Owner: Steve and Terry Metzler
– Location: St. Louis, Missouri
– Designed and constructed by Steve, Terry and Matt Metzler
– Size: 2200 gallons (16′ x 20′)
– Equipment: Aquascape filter and skimmer, 4500 gph pump
– Special features: Two streams with five small waterfalls, 20 koi

Our old pond was 600 gallons, just a kidney-shaped pond with a home-made filtering system. As is always the case, technology had leaped forward in the pond industry.

When we began digging for the new pond, we hit bed rock and had to jack hammer most of the hole to get it at least 30 inches deep. We used a back hoe and pick axe to fine tune the shape. By now we were in just enough not to turn back.

Once the pond was dug, we began working on the stream beds. We brought in a load of top soil and our son, Matt, pretty much wheelbarreled the dirt to the top of the hill and designed the stream bed which became two since he felt we needed a split with an island of plantings in the middle.

Matt left for college and the rest was up to us. We watched the Aquascape video on how to install a pond in a weekend. Ya right, not our pond. We attached the liner to the filter and laid it out over the stream section. When it came time to rock everything in, Terry and I just looked at each other with a lost look. The first rock was finally laid in place and like a puzzle the rest followed. We would haul several rocks up the hill and try them out finally getting just the right one in place. We worked our way down the hill till it met with the pond.

Before we could rock out the pond, Katrina hit and when St Louis got all that rain, our liner floated up. The pond filled with rain water and mud. This forced us to remove the liner and rework the shape of the pond and tweek the planting ledges again.

From start to finish was about 21 months. We were only able to work on weekends and many of those were out because of rain or other commitments (such as golf for me).

The planting part of the pond was all my wife’s doing. She started planting in April of 2007 and everything was finished by June 2007. It required another load of topsoil. We both love the look of a Japanese garden, therefore we do have a few items that relate to that theme.

We absolutely love our pond and garden and have had many people come by to see it. Several even bring their own bottles of wine and just sit and enjoy it. We still cannot believe we did this and will never build another one ourselves.