Ecology + Design

Pond Restoration & Native Bog Garden in White Plains

This adorable property features a stream babbling through the backyard.  At one point, probably in the 1930s, a concrete dam was poured to create a “natural” swimming pond that until now, held up fairly well, but had recently begun leaking in several spots.  Given the woodland setting, the pond had also accumulated quite a bit of debris from surrounding trees, which clouded the water and depth of the pond.

Above: process shot of suction harvesting.

The clients wished to restore the pond as much as possible to its swimming pond function.   GJL crew first manually removed large sticks and debris, then we partnered with Cooper Ponds to suction harvest the mud and muck from the pond floor. In the end we achieved a depth of 4’ at the deepest point, and a great increase in water clarity. Jay was swimming by the last day…but that’s nothing new.


Above: Pilings of sticks and leaves excavated from the pond floor.

We also repaired the leaking stone wall with hydraluic cement to ensure that water flow was constrained to the desired inflow and outflow areas, preserving overall depth in the swimming pond (above photo).

To promote lasting water quality, GJL also constructed two retaining walls, one forming a semi-circle within the pond, and one across a vacant area between the pond and bank. Both areas were filled with the extracted pond muck, and used as the foundation for planting beds. The bed within the pond became a bog garden, planted with native aquatic plants that help to clean the water when the bog is flooded. The second wall-turned-planting-bed became the terrestrial continuation of the bog garden, featuring flowering native perennials and ferns for a flowering forest vibe.

Above: Suctioned mud forms foundation for new planting bed, retained with a newly constructed wall using on-site boulders.

Above: bog garden & terrestial garden post-planting. Hay on the grass prevents run off as the seed germinates.

Above: access is key!  A simple flagstone stepping pathing leads you from the lawn, through the terrestial and bog gardens, and into the swimming pond.

Above: check out the finished water quality!

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