Peg’s Pond

A while back, I got a call from my sister-in-law Peg Johnson, who lives in Portage, Wisconsin. The conversation went something like this:

“Say, I was wondering…. I know you build ponds and water features, and, well, I think I’m ready for one myself. How ’bout coming over to Portage and putting one in my back yard? You’re free this weekend aren’t you? I’ll make it worth your while”

“I dunno, Peg. I just don’t know if I can make it over there so soon. Anyway, it’s in the upper 90′s. That’s a little warm for a weekend job, don’tcha think?”

“Ya know Doug, football season is coming up pretty soon, ya know. How ’bout if I trade you a big screen for your labor?”

“I’m on my way.”

I only had a weekend to do it, so my wife Mary Jo came along to help. Peg recruited 4 or 5 high school football players and her 2 daughters, Sydney and Elise. She also called a local backhoe operator to do the initial excavation for the pond, and rented a loader so I cDSCF0557.JPGould move the dirt and boulders.

Peg has a beautiful back yard which overlooks a large wetland that attracts a lot of wildlife, and is also a nesting habitat for cranes. I wanted to put the pond and waterfall where she could still enjoy it from her patio and living room, while at the same time taking advantage of the beautiful view. The photo at right shows the view from Peg’s patio during construction. You can see the wetlands in the background. (Click photo to enlarge)

Peg gave me a lot of creativeDSCF0559.JPG freedom, so I decided to put in 2 streams along with a small upper pond that cascades in to the larger lower pond. Because her lawn slopes away from the house, we decided to haul in several truckloads of dirt and build a retaining wall behind the pond, so the waterfall could face her patio and living room. It also made room for a higher waterfall, longer stream, and the upper pond. We used fieldstone that we found at a local quarry to build the wall. (See photo at left. Click to enlarge)

Several gallons of sweat, 5 sore backs, a scraped elbow, 2 black anDSCF0516.JPGd blue fingernails, and approximately 368 glasses of water consumed, (not to mention some prayers for a miracle mixed in with it all), we were able to get the pond, waterfall, streams and rock retaining wall finished by late Sunday afternoon.

That’s my wife Mary Jo and I after a long day’s work in the photo on the right (After we cleaned up!). The pond is finished, but the landscaping is yet to come. Notice the two streams and the upper, smaller pond cascading in to the lower, larger pond. I will update you with the on my next blog entry.

Even after all the hard work, we had to admit that we all had a good time. Sometimes the biggest challenge can be the biggest rewards. And family memories are the best kind to have, aren’t they? Thanks for the big scrDSCF0499.JPGeen, Peg.
That’s Peg in the back, “orchestrating the work”. Right photo: Mary Jo and Sydney hamming it up



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