Decorative outdoor ponds pricey, but soothing do-it-yourself project

Yard pools -- pre-made or do-it-yourself decorative ponds -- continue to be a hot item, as kits and supplies for these landscaping features will soon be dragged out of winter storage at many stores.

"It's like an addiction for some of these people," said Rainer Stammler, with MJK Sales & Feed/Ace Hardware.

"Some have two or three of them."

And they're as extravagant as your imagination and wallet allows.

"You can spend thousands on just the liners," said Stammler.

Choosing a liner is first key step. Hard liners generally cost around $50, while soft liners -- made of a more durable rubber protected against sun damage -- can run upwards of $200.

Then there's upkeep costs -- again hinging on personal tastes.

"It really depends on how compulsive you are to have clean water," Stammler said of various chemicals needed to kill algae build-up in the ponds.

Beyond that, components such as waterfalls, streams and statuary fountains -- or perhaps fish or plants -- gives a pond character.

Craig's Janet Martinez said her ongoing pond project is three-years-old -- now covering 25 feet of the family's backyard.

A manmade pond at a friend's house in Denver sold her.

"It's a habit," Martinez said. "I just like the sound of the running water."

It has grown to include several creeks and is also home to about 20 goldfish.

"We just keep adding to it," she said.

Utility line locations must be checked prior to excavation, while pond depths typically range between 18 and 36 inches -- deeper if aquatic life will be added.

"We dug, laid rubber lining and then put in some rock around it," she said.

At the digging stage, the site should be graded allowing for water to flow in the particular direction one wants.

Martinez said about $300 alone was spent on lining, while pumps for steams and fountains could add similar costs.

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