San Jose CA Ponds

I consider these ponds to be my "test ponds". They were set up to represent as many building and design techniques as I could manage. From converted swimming pool to dug by hand. From raised ponds to totally in ground. From bottom and sides of exposed liner to completely rocked. From five feet deep to 3 inches deep. From 5,000 gals to 30 gals, ponds just for plants to ponds with no plants, formal to natural.

For me a big part of this hobby's fun is in the building, improving and figuring out how things work.

Landscape Plan

A - Filter

B - Upper Pond

C - Triangle Pond

D - Sonoma Pond

E - Conversation Pit

F - Stream

G - Stump Pond

H - Bog

I - Koi Pond

J - Skimmer

K - Small Pond

L - Kinder Pond

M - Waterfall

Upper Pond

1,700 gal, 11' x 7', 34" deep. 1st in series of 6 connected ponds which total 7,600 gal with a single Pet Mate, model 248US, 42 watts, 900 GPH pump. Raised pond, 4x6 pressure treated beams, lapped corners, 1/2 plywood inside sitting on a concrete slab that was part of the driveway. Threaded 3/8" rod anchored into the slab and screwed tight at the corners and mid point in each wall.

Triangle Pond

700 gal, 5' x 8', 2' deep. 2nd in series of 6 connected ponds. Raised pond, 4x4 pressure treated beams, lapped corners, 1/2 plywood inside on a concrete slab, 3/8" threaded rod through beam and into slab at corners and mid wall.

Sonoma Pond

300 gal, 6.5' x 3.5', 2' deep. 3rd in series of 6 connected ponds. Mostly raised, 6" wide concrete block dry stacked and filled with concrete. Sonoma Pink limestone veneer, sculptured rock cap using Golden Sandstone Color Kit.

Cap rocks hang down into water hiding liner, wall beneath water and floor are bare liner.

Raised Stream

50 gal, 20' long, 8" wide, 18' waterfall. Raised, 6" wide concrete block filled with concrete, Sonoma Pink limestone veneer, sculptured rock cap using Golden Sandstone Color Kit. Stump Pond in distance, bridge over stream going down into Lower Patio on the right.

Conversation Pit

Sunken patio about 2' below grade. Concrete block walls veneered with river rock. Completely surrounded by ponds, streams and waterfalls.

Trex plastic wood deck for additional seating.

Stump Pond

930 gal, 8' x 11', 18" deep. 4th in series of 6 connected ponds. Mortared river rock over liner.

After 2 years.

Rocks give an alpine lake look.


900 gal, 14' x 6.5', 1' to 2' deep. 5th in series of 6 connected ponds. Canna Wyoming, 8' tall, in 5 gal pots buried in gravel, crown about 1" above water.

At one time this was a shallow pond for plants. But string algae was a problem because the water was very shallow. So I filled in the pond with pea gravel so the water is about 1" below the surface.

Bird Bath

My smallest pond. Sedum, Irish and Scottish mosses. The mounted soil in the bird bath keeps the roots out of standing water but keeps the soil moist even though this is in full sun.

Koi Pond

3,000 gal, 14' x 11', 4' to 3' deep. 6th in series of 6 connected ponds. Angel Trumpet growing over pond.

Looking across Koi pond, wall of Sonoma pond in the distance.

Lower patio in foreground. The Koi pond is shallow end of gunite swimming pool converted into a pond. A concrete block wall was installed across the pool then liner and mortared rock bottom and 3 wall, one wall remains bare liner.

Looking down into the pond, all the fish in the picture are 6" Goldfish. Water depth here is about 3' on the left and 4.5' on the far right.


Waterfall catch basin keeps pond surface smooth for better viewing and keeps surface free of any foam generated by the waterfalls.

3' high waterfall, 6' long, 2' wide. Concrete block foundation, mortared rock over liner with sculptured rock.

Brown Stone Color Kit used to make cliff on either side of waterfall.

Sculptured rock cliff is hollow and filled with soil. Holes in the rock allow for plants.

Small Pond

30 gal, 6' x 3', 10-12" deep. Bare liner bottom, sculptured rock walls and cap. Beckett G210AG20, 190 GPH, 25 watt pump Plants are in pots buried in gravel so the water is about 1" below the gravel.

With water below the gravel string algae is much easier to control.

Kinder Pond

17'Stream. Note sidewalk on left and street on right.

Pond is just 3" deep, 10" in center, 100 gal pond including stream and pump house. Little Giant pump, Model PE-1-WG, 170 GPH.

12" waterfall.

Within minutes of turning on the waterfall the neighborhood cats showed up. This is Cotty.