By TOM YODER
Do you like the sound of running or bubbling water on a warm summer day? Me too!
To me there is no sweeter sound than trickling water when kicking back and relaxing — eyes closed, feet up and a soft breeze.
You may choose to go to a public park like Shanklin or Bonneyville or Ox Bow where streams create many of these pleasing sounds, or even to Lake Michigan where waves magnify the sounds. With a little ingenuity you may choose the alternative by creating your own trickling or splashing.
Some choose to go to the extreme by installing a pond with an elevated waterfall at one end or even the creation of a small stream adorned with pebbles and rocks that a pond pump can re-circulate the water from the pond and back to the top.
There is a formula to follow for the correct pump size when pumping to an elevation that any installer or pump retailer can provide you with. The length of the stream and/or the height of the waterfall or the stream will determine the size of pump necessary. Any reputable dealer will be able to provide you with pond liners, a pump or pumps, skimmer, biological filter, various spray patterns for a fountain, as well as plant baskets, clay or pond planting medium, and any plants and additives necessary to have a biologically balanced and crystal clear pond.
An elevated and dancing stream can be achieved by purchasing a pond liner large enough to be able to cut off an end and line the stream with this excess material.
Rocks and pebbles as well as flat sheets of limestone or slate can be used to create buffers and waterfall cliffs. Long runs may require a ‘weld’ of two sheets of liner and dealers should be able to supply you with this kit too. I’ve seen some very impressive installations and all it requires is a little imagination and some ‘real time’ labor. Available too are long narrow strips (some even with a pebble print as a design) for your stream. To get ideas, pick up a book at the library or a book store — this is a hot topic and there are many available to choose from.
Pond installation and maintenance as well as pond plants was my chosen topic when I became a master gardener and community talks and demonstrations were required of you. Working as a pair, another master gardener and I gave numerous classes on ponds and pond plants at the library and the ag building at the fairgrounds as well as a couple of surrounding cities.
Running or bubbling water doesn’t necessarily have to be large scale. Consider even a small pot with a very small pump to create this sound — one that could easily sit on your deck or patio.
I’ve seen many kits available just for this purpose. A simple urn or a fancy glazed pot may also be the perfect container to pump from the bottom of the pot to the surface. A 3/8th-inch hose (part of the kit) that runs from the pump to a surface bubbler or spray head may be regulated for strength with a simple clamp that can be tightened to the desired flow. Make sure that a tight cork is used to plug the drainage hole of an urn if this is your choice.
Impressive kits I’ve seen use a decorative shallow bowl where the pump is buried with pebbles. A glazed marble sphere with a hole drilled through it rests atop the pebbles. A small hose from the pump to the bottom of the sphere releases just the proper amount of water (with a flow regulator) so that a continual soft glaze of water over the shiny surface of the glazed sphere is obtained.
This is the epitome of “just a little trick(le) will do.”