Keeping it Natural – Building a Personal Swimming Hole

When you think of a pond what comes to mind? Perhaps a tranquil little pool with water lilies floating upon greenish water, dotted with ducks lazily trailing around. Maybe you think of murky pools of water that crop up in forgotten corners, warm and stagnant, something you swam in as a child before you knew better. The Facciolo’s, however, beg to differ. On their sprawling property in Amaranth sits a sparkling watering hole, complete with their own little island and waterfall, perfect for a summer’s dip.

While a focal feature now, this pond wasn’t always that way. The pond that was on the property Nick and Katie first purchased was far from a source of beauty, natural or otherwise. As they were initially considering selling, it didn’t strike them as a big concern; however, once they decided to settle into this spot, making it their home, it became a problem that they had to deal with, along with the rest of the landscaping.

Like many of us, one of their first thoughts was wanting somewhere to pass the long hot summers with family and friends. So, they started looking into pools. However, during those conversations they ran into a couple of problems. The first was that the pool companies wouldn’t dig any deeper than seven feet. Amaranth is known for being quite wet and the fear was that if they tried to dig deeper, the pool wouldn’t be secure. While this was disappointing – they wanted something they could really jump into – it perhaps could have been accepted if not for a more practical concern: they could invest money in a pool and landscaping around it, then still be looking at this pond that could be called, by some, an eye sore.

Their solution was helped along by a friend who had already created a swimming pond on their own property. Far from appearing scummy or stagnant, this pond was filled with clear natural water – and required none of the work that a pool did to keep it fresh. The wheels started to spin. They could invest in a pool that would require maintenance and still leave them with a pond they had to deal with … or they could fill two needs with one deed.

It seemed clear cut, however there was one other matter that needed to be handled when it came to the pond – the island, or more specifically Gary and Lucy, the geese that had taken to nesting in the swath of land in the middle of the pond.  On paper, without Gary and Lucy, the easiest thing to do, when transforming the pond into a swimming spot, would be to remove the island all together. Not only does it save the workers from having to work around it as they dig, but it’d provide more usable water area. Katie, however, would not disrupt the geese. Laughing, she claims “if I got my island, then [Nick] could have his pond.” Katie won and Nick got his pond.

With the important details settled, and Gary and Lucy’s home secured, all that was left was the work – easy right? Nick and Katie certainly thought so, at least at the start. After all, they weren’t changing the size of the pond, merely the depth. They almost considered doing it themselves, before finally settling on a professional company – a company that had 5 to 6 guys with heavy machinery out daily for months to dig rock from the bottom of the pond, and relocate it to the side, creating the intricate and eye-catching parameter that exists on the pond now.  Once that was done, it then also took several months for the pond to fill, with water from their well.  Nick now laughs when he thinks he might have done it himself, saying that’d have probably taken him six years, not six months to complete.

Excluding the “beach”, a shallower portion near the front of the pond filled with sand for wading and lounging, the pond is now 15 feet deep, filled with that fresh water from their well. Unlike the pool they were initially considering, it requires little to no maintenance. The waterfall they added to Gary and Lucy’s Island to make it a feature point also keeps the water circulating; aerators installed during the creation process keeps air in the water, and the second well they built just for the pond provides a source of fresh natural water.

Although the Facciolo’s currently aren’t sure if the summer sun will be warm enough to completely heat up the deeper portions of the pond, they now have a feature piece to their home that provides all year-round entertainment, from skating (or polar bear plunges for the real brave) in the winter, to swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding in the summer.  It is a reward that is well worth the journey.

WRITTEN BY: JILLIAN KENT | PHOTOS: SYNERGY EXTERIORS

Author: LivingSpaces

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