Welcome to the
Austin Pond Society
Our Hill Country pond was begun in about 2006 after Sherry and I decided that purchasing a tractor with a front-end loader and a backhoe was a good idea. A portion of our front lawn was barren and nothing would grow there, so I, independently, and to Sherry’s surprise, decided to excavate the area and expose a rock shelf. We had only a little knowledge of the pond-building process, but that became the intention for the project. At that stage, the upper portion of the pond was totally owner-built. Years later, we added an adjoining spillway and created another deeper pond so raccoons couldn’t get our koi and other fish. We called in a pond builder and stone masons, and in four days, we had a beautiful 7-foot-deep pond with waterfalls, natural stone and boulder borders, a stone bridge from the pathway and a patio! Later, we added another stone bridge ourselves.
Over the years we have added more plants, including several varieties of clumping bamboo, Japanese maples, fruit trees, ground coverings and weeping ornamentals. Since the yard is sloped slightly, we used large stone slabs for walkways that meander through the landscape. The final addition came on Valentine's Day 2021, when I decided to build a creek for Sherry that would appear to be fed from the koi pond and run to a heart-shaped pond at the lower patio. Hill Country Water Gardens laid the pipes and helped get the liner and pumps in place.
Much of the motivation for this project has come from an admiration for beautiful Japanese gardens and landscaping. Generally Japanese maples make a striking visual impact, as do flowering plants and bamboo. Large rocks and boulders have made textural as well as color splashes possible. Japanese stone lanterns and the peaceful presence of a stone Buddha here or Guan Yin there, combined with wind chimes, bamboo fencing, water fountain features and stone pathways, have helped create a sense of calm, peace and beauty that we have found relaxing and restorative.
Last spring we had a celebration of life for two recently deceased family members. I had read about the use of animal imagery in Japanese gardens, so I made a turtle out of selected rock shapes in honor of Sherry’s two brothers. There are also a large cairn and a stone mother and child. My sculpture and metalwork is also present on the property. And Sherry has added her touch with stone placement, aesthetics and plants. It has been Sherry’s knowledge of plants, discretion when shopping for boulders and rocks, and color and design sense that have made this project a success. A long-awaited dual studio project is underway and should be close to completion by the time of the tour. We are happy to welcome fellow pond and garden enthusiasts, friends and neighbors to share their vision along with ours.