My house sits at the bottom of a tall hill wood covered hill. Every spring with the snow melt and anytime there is more than a day or two of rain large portions of the lawn and garden become small pieces of swamp due to the runoff from this hill. While by this time of year the dogs really enjoy splashing in the giant puddles, it has been nothing but a source of frustration to me for over 10 years now as these sections cannot be mowed for a week or more after the others and are useless to try to plant anything in because of the constant threat of a week or more of being water logged.
While putting in some type of ditch or drain may be possible, having a trench around the property seems unsightly and would add substantially to the work for the trimmer. Then, having seen the cost of the smallish plastic pool type water features my wife likes, it occurred to me – Why fight the waters determination to sit in that area? So the decision to dig a small pond to act as a receptacle to the water from the hill was born.
With thoughts of the dogs playing around it, some brightly colored lilies and even a pump to run a fountain on special occasions for decoration the task was started. Turns out you need a permit to dig a hole in your own lawn to make sure you are not going to dig into electric, sewer, gas lines (which is understandable in some areas but we live far out of the bounds of such municipal utilities).
The inspector came out to look and proclaimed that is was too wet in the area I wanted to dig a hole to catch the water from to properly assess the ground so call him back when it was dryer. Despite my mentioning that is why I wanted to dig, because it was underwater 1/3rd of the time anyway, we rescheduled and managed to get the permit after a fashion.
There are many options when putting in a garden pond like we did. Depending on the soil and ground you may need to use a pond liner so the water does not simply soak in and dry up. Needless to say that was not an issue in our case since the only thing that makes the water leave our yard is several days of sun. The pump we use is a large one but it is used to both make an ornamental fountain as well as to keep the water circulated so it does not become a rancid pool of mosquito larvae. Adding fish to it also prevents unwanted insects from overtaking the small pond.
We are going to attempt to use natural filtration like barley straw to prevent excess algae growth. While not fully grassed over yet it is a nice addition to the yard and allows the growth of water lilies, water hyacinth, and I may add some cattails to the back edge for a natural pond look. While we have a smaller yard than I would like to begin with, since this areas was unusable before, now it serves as an interesting addition as well as working well in the early days to catch the water from the hill and divert other water into with stone path water diversions instead of ditches or culverts.