This is a pond and stream designed and created by Ben Harris. Ben is an award winning, Melbourne based, garden designer and horticulturist.
Ben has an incredible eye for detail and a knack for incorporating water into the landscape. He’s a certified aquascape contractor (CAC) and has been featured on Greg Wittstock’s (The Pond Guy) youtube channel.
Ben has a website where you can view more of his work and get in touch. www.bhgardens.com.au
This is a pond and stream, he created in Donvale, which is an eastern suburb of Melbourne. I think the pond and stream are truly breathtaking. While anyone can create a pond, this is a work of art! It shows what a true professional can accomplish.
The pond on this project is 4m X 3m and has a 600mm depth. The stream is 4m long and has two waterfalls entering the pond. These waterfalls are only 200mm high but provide a beautiful sound (video below).
The pond and stream is lined with EPDM liner, these liners are incredibly durable and generally come with a 20 year guarantee.
Ben used the stream to hide the biofalls (where the water is delivered from the pond to stream), he maintained a low fall along the length of the stream to create a much more natural look.
These are the kinds of details a professional like Ben provides. Quite often us Diy’ers or less experienced designers, create elevation changes that are too much, this makes the entire project look unnatural and man made.
Ben has incorporated an island rock, this encourages the children of the house to explore and interact with the pond. There are also a few stepping stones scattered around the pond, these provide areas to get close to the pond and interact with the fish.
The rock used was a mix of Highland slate (Daylesford), Castella stone (North-East Melbourne) and Marbled bluestone. These rocks were sourced from Transrock based in Wonga park.
The entire project was done without the use of an excavator (pretty impressive, look at that ground!), it took about a week and a half start to finish.
Being a certified aquascape contractor Ben believes in “working with mother nature, not against her”. The use of rocks and pebbles throughout the entire pond and stream provide an abundance of habitat for beneficial bacterias and micro-organisms.
Allowing the bacterias and micro-organisms to thrive greatly reduces the need for maintenance. This allows the pond owner to spend time admiring their pond, not cleaning it.
Along with the rocks and gravel, further biological filtration is provided by the aquascape biofalls 2500. This unit is capable of filtering approximately 9500 litres of water!
Mechanical filtration is provided via an aquascape skimmer 1000 series. This unit can filter ponds with a surface area of up to 95m2. The skimmer has an easily removable basket, which filters any leaves and other debris that falls into the pond. It also contains filter pads that protect the pump from any large solids.
The pump is an aquascape aquasurge 4000. This pump can circulate approximately 14,000 litres per hour. It draws 210 watts per hour. According to our pump cost to run calculator this pump will cost about $1.31 per day to run, based on $0.26 per kilowatt. Not bad at all, considering the amount of joy I’m sure this pond brings!
Ben has also diverted a couple of the downpipes from the roof into the pond system. This will provide ample top ups and during significant rain events, water changes. Once again mimicking mother nature.
Plants are incorporated to add a natural aesthetic to the pond and also provide added filtration.
Ben is a certified horticulturist and I think he’s created a perfect balance of just the right amount of plants, to create a stunning landscape mixed with functionality.
The main plants used are irises and water lillies. Ben has also incorporated some water hawthorn. Water hawthorn is active from autumn- spring (it goes dormant in summer). The use of plants that are active a different times of the year is genius!
Scattered throughout the stream and along the edges of the pond Ben has used some bacopa monniera (money herb) and a couple of lythrum sallicaria. The bacopa is a ground cover and softens the rocks, while the lythrum adds some contrasting height.
On the bottom of the pond Ben has added some vallesneria (eel grass). Here Ben is again using his extensive plant knowledge to create beauty and a functional ecosystem. Eel grass provides oxygen, shelter and food for the aquatic life living in the pond.
The plants are planted directly into the rocks and gravel of the pond. This allows the plants to remove nutrients directly from the water.
The lilies and water hawthorn are planted into soil, the soil is contained in aquascape planter pockets.
When creating a functioning ecosystem pond as Ben has, adding fish is the icing on the cake! The fish play an important role in providing fertiliser for the plants, eating algae and stirring up the bottom of the pond (allowing the skimmer to capture the muck).
The outer suburbs of Melbourne can experience quite cold winters. In this pond the pond owner added goldfish and Murray river rainbow fish. Gold fish are well adapted to living in cold water. The Murray river rainbows are the most southern of the rainbow fish and can overwinter in a Melbourne pond.
Both species of fish are readily available through the aquarium trade.
The cost of this project was around $17k. When you think about it this is cheaper than most cars, requires less maintenance, will get better over time and will not loose value!
Ben has won 1st prize in the boutique garden section at the Melbourne international flower and garden show. Be sure to check out more of Bens inspiring work at his website www.bhgardens.com.au
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