Water Gardens & Pond Water Features
Beauty and the Bog
When Steve and Nori Haverstock started to plan the landscaping for their new home, the one must-have was Nori’s “dream pond.” Nori, a master gardener, wanted to create a water garden where she could grow a variety of native water species and tropical plants.
Her previous ponds were mostly do-it-yourself projects. So Nori knew from experience exactly what she wanted: a gardener-friendly design that would make it easy for her to care for her plants. She also knew what she didn’t want. Every spring, when she went to clean her ponds, she’d find rockslides. The sides of her ponds were constantly collapsing and she’d spend countless hours restacking the rocks.
So she called Jack Dorcey, a Landscape Designer with Bever Landscaping. To prevent rockslides, Jack designed Nori’s new pond with walls made of midsized limestone boulders that would be too heavy to slide. Ledges of sandstone create natural-looking steps to give Nori sure footing as she tends her plants. The combination of sandstone ledges and limestone boulders provide nooks and crannies for darting fish.
Nori’s previous ponds were designed with traditional plastic skimmer and spillway units. To avoid these unsightly necessities, Jack proposed a natural bog. A bog system is essentially a gravel basin with a vault that houses the pond pump. The pump draws water from the bottom of the bog, while water skims off the top of the pond into the bog. As the water circulates through the bog gravel , millions of microorganisms feed on algae and nitrogen in the water. Because the gravel has so much surface area, it can filter water better than any commercial filter.
Instead of using a plastic pond spillway at the top of the pond, Jack designed a small bog at the start of the falls. The boulders for the falls were built right into the bog, at irregular intervals for a natural look. The bogs do an excellent job of keeping the water clean and suppressing algae blooms without chemical treatments.
Nori planted her bogs with marginal plants that prefer shallow water. She rooted hardy plants into the gravel to create a natural-looking shoreline. The deeper waters provide a showcase for a glorious display of hardy and tropical lilies.
In the fall, Nori simply removes the pump from the bog vault, sinks her hardy lilies to the bottom of the pond and transfers her tropical lilies to her heated garage for the winter. In the spring, she partially drains the pond, cleans the leaf debris from the bottom, puts the pump back in place, and resets her lilies. No heavy lifting required.
Nori and Steve have been pleasantly surprised by how much wildlife is drawn to their pond. The birds use the shallow bog water as a birdbath. Butterflies are attracted to the slow-moving shallows. And chipmunks dart in and out of the natural boulder outcroppings.
By incorporating bogs into her pond, Jack saved the Haverstocks countless hours of maintenance, created a healthier natural ecosystem, and achieved the beautiful pond of Nori’s dreams.