A Hand-Dug Backyard Pond

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Photo by Wayne Johnson
When complete, this backyard pond will be a backyard oasis and a rainwater reservoir.

I’ve always wanted to have a backyard pond to store rainwater on my property and to enjoy as a beautiful oasis. I’m also interested in experimenting with an aquaponic system.

I plan to fill my in-progress pond with rainwater collected from my house, so last fall I rerouted all of the downspouts to drain from one corner of the house. The underground pipes I’m going to install will travel about 60 feet from my house to the pond.

I recently discovered that my city has a stormwater-quality grant program for people looking to establish rain gardens. I applied, and I was awarded up to 50 percent of my project cost! That’s significant, because the 30-by-40-foot pond liner was expensive, and I had to purchase pumps, piping and more components. The grant program is a fantastic incentive to help people get away from their computers and TVs and start digging. No gym fees required!

Wayne Johnson
North Liberty, Iowa