More Budget Makeovers
Creating your own pond is an ambitious undertaking, but you needn't be a pro. Do your homework first, and the rewards will be sweet indeed.
Contractor estimates: $25,000.
Actual cost: $2,500.
Doing it yourself: priceless.
Contractors told Don Spillner it would cost $25,000 to build the Japanese water garden he wanted for his Fort Wayne, Indiana backyard. So he did it himself. After digging a 3,000-gallon hole, Don salvaged building materials like rocks, pea gravel, sand and railroad ties. He also built the pond filter, footbridge and bamboo bench. Out-of-pocket costs: A mere $2,500—one-tenth what he would've paid a contractor.
Taking Center Stage
When Joyce and Elmer Walters bought their farm 13 years ago, the sprawling yard was bare except for a stand of evergreens. "The space really called out for something dramatic," Joyce says. So she started digging-first by hand, then with a backhoe-to create this stunning pond, which she and Elmer surrounded with plants and seating areas. "It turned out to be the spectacular centerpiece."
Sticking with Stones
Flagstone edges help this pond blend in with Louann Korzan's backyard in Stratford, Oklahoma. Louann began building backyard features with rocks after watching builders put artificial-stone facing on her chimney. Her tip: Use only rocks that are small and easy to lift. "It takes more time and patience, but it's definitely worth the trouble," Louann says.
For the Birds
Larry O'Neal designed this two-level pool in Rockford, Illinois with birds in mind. The upper pool has shallow water where birds can bathe and drink, then cascades into a larger pond. "It's become the centerpiece of our backyard," Larry says. The birds like it, too—Larry and his wife, Betty, have spotted dozens of species drinking and bathing there.
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