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Building Natural Ponds (PDF)
Create a Clean, Algae-free Pond without Pumps, Filters, or Chemicals
Typical backyard ponds are a complicated mess of pipes, pumps, filters, and nasty chemicals designed to adjust pH and keep algae at bay. Hardly the bucolic, natural ecosystem beloved by dragonflies, frogs, and songbirds.
The antidote is a natural pond, free of hassle, cost, and complexity and designed as a fully functional ecosystem, ideal for biodiversity, swimming, irrigation, and quiet contemplation.
Building Natural Ponds is the first step-by-step guide to designing and building natural ponds that use no pumps, filters, chemicals, or electricity and mimic native ponds in both aesthetics and functionality. Highly illustrated with how-to drawings and photographs, coverage includes:
- Understanding pond ecosystems and natural algae control
- Planning, design, siting, and pond aesthetics
- Step-by-step guidance for construction, plants and fish, and maintenance and trouble shooting
- Scaling up to large ponds, pools, bogs, and rain gardens.
Whether you're a backyard gardener looking to add a small serene natural water feature or a homesteader with visions of a large pond for fish, swimming, and irrigation, Building Natural Ponds is the complete guide to building ponds in tune with nature, where plants, insects, and amphibians thrive in blissful serenity.
Robert Pavlis, a Master Gardener with 40 years of gardening experience, is owner and developer of Aspen Grove Gardens, a six-acre botanical garden featuring over 2,500 varieties of plants. A popular and well-respected speaker and teacher, Robert has published articles in Mother Earth News, Ontario Gardening magazine, a monthly Plant of the Month column for the Ontario Rock Garden Society website, and local newspapers. He is also the author of widely read blog GardenMyths.com, which explodes common gardening myths, and GardenFundamentals.com, which provides gardening and garden design information.
"I love "all things water," and I was thrilled to read the most comprehensive book on designing and building natural ponds. Pavlis has provided detailed, step-by-step instructions about all aspects of ponds. He even discusses large dams, rain gardens, bog gardens, maintenance and much more. What intrigued me was ways to build ponds that did not require any pumps or filtration, and could be set up by anyone with basic skills in shaping soil, placing stone and planting. A must-read for the garden enthusiast and designer."
Dr. Ross Mars, Permaculture Elder and author, The Permaculture Transition Manual and The Basics of Permaculture Design
"I've never put in a pond, but after reading Robert Pavlis' Building Natural Ponds, I am confident that I could do it. And, after reading the book, I will! The book is very thorough, with guidance for every step from planning to digging to stocking with fish to planting to...well, everything you need to know."
Lee Reich, PhD, author, The Pruning Book, Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden and Landscaping with Fruit www.leereich.com
"Build your own "golden pond" with this complete, authoritative and wonderfully illustrated guide. Robert Pavlis has a knack for making a complex, natural ecosystem seem both straightforward and accessible. Building Natural Ponds is the perfect book for anyone who wants a pond, or is eager to improve the one they already have by making it a healthy, functioning ecosystem without any pumps, pipes, chemicals — or algae. From small ponds to large, with a plethora of plant options and covering everything from planning and designing to construction, Building Natural Ponds covers it all. Pavlis is just the right person to lead us to some water in our backyards or on our homesteads."
John D. Ivanko, co-author, Rural Renaissance and ECOpreneuring
"There are many reasons to add a water feature to the landscape. Whether it's a tranquil stone lined goldfish pool, or a larger pond for swimming, fishing and irrigation, a pond can greatly increase the biodiversity and beauty of a landscape. They can help manage storm water and provide harvests of food and craft materials. Building Natural Ponds is a detailed guide to planning, designing and building ponds, enhancing both your landscape and your life with open water."
Darrell E. Frey, Three Sisters Farm, author, Bioshelter Market Garden and The Food Forest Handbook
"I've always warned gardeners that a pond, however wonderful for its contribution, will be the most maintenance-demanding aspect of the landscape. The dream is to create a balanced miniature ecosystem in which you don't need massive pumps and filters — after all, there aren't any such machines in a natural pond. How can that dream be realized? With nature's help, Robert Pavlis shows us how."
Ken Druse, award-winning author www.KenDruse.com
"As someone who has struggled with an assortment of pond challenges over the past 15 years, I can say with certainty that this is the book that every pond owner or wanna-be needs to read. It's always wonderful to come across an author who, like me, ignored all the people who said something couldn't be done — and learned how to do it."
Deborah Niemann, author, Homegrown and Handmade, Ecothrifty, and Raising Goats Naturally
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