Our total cost was around $125.00 (including taxes and shipping charges where applicable), but it could have been done for less.
Solar pump with fountain $32.95
35 gallon plastic pond $32.75
(Both of these items were purchased via web stores)
Japanese willow tree 32.05
Annuals (48) $10.00
Mulch (5 bags) $15.00
The entire project took around 5 hours to complete - and we now have a small, bird and frog friendly habitat in our backyard!
The two up-close fountain photos were taken Jan 4, 2013.
Step 1: Choose the Right Spot
Step 2: Plant a Tree
We chose to plant a Dappled Willow tree http://www.midwestgardentips.com/hakuro-nishiki_dappled_willow.html, as we'd done in our garden back home. In our experience this is a hardy, beautiful tree, providing great color and cover in season, and a lovely silhouette in the winter. And they're the right size in both height and width (something you need to seriously consider when planting near structures). You will want to keep them trimmed up, or they'll get that 'Albert Einsten hair' look about them.
Step 3: Put in the Pond
We chose our pond spot based on it's proximity to the tree as well as the fencepost, where we wouild mount the solar panel. (We should have chosen a few inches closer to the fence).
At 18" deep and with a fat base, there was not a lot of digging required to place it at the depth we wanted. (My husband was happy about that). Once in, we back-filled around it with the excavated earth, and added enough water to make sure it was settled and level.
With a rigid pond such as this, you don't have to put in in the ground at all. Some people use these as "patio" ponds. We put ours in the ground to accomodate the toads we've seen (and we're hoping for some frogs and turtles as well).
Step 4: Add the Fountain
The solar panel* itself is attached to a flowerpot hanging bracket screwed into the fencepost. By using superglue to make this attachment, and only screwing in the top hole of the bracket, we are able to adjust the solar panel throughout the day with a simple nudge. It is decorative, matching the other brackets holding flower baskets along the fence and added an attractive solar light we previously owned to the bottom bracket
When finances allow, we intend to replace the solar panel with one that has a battery backup, allowing the fountain to run after dark.
Love grass and creeping phlox were planted pondside, and the area was mulched. We plan to add at least one aquatic plant to the pond, and in time, an underwater light.
*Why solar? We didn't want to add the cost of a continuously running pump, however small, to our utility bill. We didn't want to run conduit through the yard. We didn't want to dedicate our limited outdoor electrical socket to the fountain.
Step 5: Plant the Flower Bed
After the grass was removed we improved the soil with 2 bags of manure mixed in. Our soil was already in good shape - if yours is not it's well worth it to spend a few dollars on making it so.
We chose Impatiens for this planting. http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/flower/growing-impatiens-flowers.htm Though we plan to go with perennials later, these annuals were on sale and in terriffic condition. Impatiens prefer shade/part sun, but we have grown them in full sun by keeping them well watered. As we have to take special care to water our new tree daily, and are going to keep the pond at the proper level as well, a routine watering of the impatiens will be done while we're at it.
That's it - a backyard water feature on a very tight budget!