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STONE FOR YOUR GARDEN POND

Most stone native to our region is limestone. Urban legend has it that limestone is not good for water gardens. This is not always true, depending on the type and quality of the stone. Stone in the Lawrence area, known as "Oread Limestone", is soft, sprawls easily, and breaks down when exposed to weather and water. The softer, more porous limestone leaches lime into the pond water, making it difficult to balance and maintain good clarity. This problem does not occur when better quality limestone is used.

Stone adds both support and style to your pond.
Choosing Stone
Take a hammer with you. If you strike a stone and it "pings" or has a hollow ring to it, it is probably a solid stone. If it "thuds", or sounds dull, leave it where you found it.

- Beware of insects and snakes!
- Beware of roadside pesticides, as they will kill fish later.
- Always get permission to remove stone from private property.
- Also pick up shims- tiny flat pieces used to level larger stones.

When mixing different types of stone in your feature, a 1:2 ratio works well. Try to incorporate more of the same stone elsewhere near your pond... retaining walls, stepping stones, outcroppings and occasional boulders often blend well. This technique of "echoing" the stonework helps create a more integrated, pleasing look in the garden.

Local Stone Yards
Stone is most commonly sold by the ton. The price is usually somewhere between $80 to $380 per ton. Limestone, sandstone, and granite are available at the stone yards in our area in a wide variety of colors, sizes and shapes. Be sure the folks at the yard know that you are building a pond, and that some of the stone will be in constant contact with water. Ask which varieties do best in water gardens. They can help you figure out how much stone is needed for your project. Tell them about our "3-5 rock method".

House of Rocks
1725 Merriam Lane
Kansas City, Ks 66106
913 - 432 -5990
Native Stone
7820 SW 10th
Topeka, Ks 66615
785 - 478 - 9359
Kaw Valley Supply
1887 E 1450 Rd.
Lawrence, Ks 66044
785 - 841 - 3222
Riverview
78th & Holiday
Kansas City, Ks 66106
913 - 375 - 1414
Sturgis Materials
7th & Kansas Ave.
Kansas City, Ks 66105
913 - 371 - 7757
 
 

Working With Stone
Lay down some old plywood on your driveway to protect it from getting scratched or chipped by the stone. If you are offloading adjacent to the pond site, allow plenty of room to maneuver between the stone and the pond. As you offload, sort the stone. Save the largest stones for the waterfall and those with the most "character" for the final course. When laying stone, it is preferable to use uniform thickness in the first course, where the liner comes between the inside and outside stones. The rock should be dense and without striation, as the entire inside row will be under the water.

The Method
A diagram of our three to five rock method.Using the WATER'S EDGE "3-5 rock method" of bordering garden ponds, one ton will cover somewhere between 10' and 15' of the pond's perimeter, on a relatively level plane. These stones should be 2-4" thick. For ponds on an uneven plane, try to figure cubic feet of stone. 1 ton covers approximately 15-20 cubic feet. Be aware that this formula varies with different types of stone, and that hillside streams and waterfalls use more stone as they "step-up" the hill.

- Always allow for slightly more stone than you think you may need.
- For a small water feature, add 1/2 to 1 ton of stone.

Using this method, the liner is hidden behind the inside top course of stone. As normal evaporation causes the water level to drop over time, stone is exposed instead of liner. Top the pond on a regular basis to keep the water level constant. When water freezes and thaws, it can compromise the integrity of stone, causing it to sprawl and actually break off! Always lower the water level below the stone for the winter to extend the life of your margin stonework.

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