I would say for the past probably 25 years, I have had in ground fish ponds in my back yard
Long before they were called water features, the kids and I had a large sunken Rubbermaid animal trough. It was heavy black plastic and about 2 and ½ to 3 ft deep. It was sunk into the ground and deep enough it wouldn’t freeze in the winter.
The kids and I had water plants and goldfish. We also had a bullfrog or two and toads who used it for spring time meet ups with other toads. The only reason we even knew about the toads was after being awakened on a Saturday by a horrible loud noise no one could identify. You could hear this screeching for blocks around. We finally found the culprit, and it was a huge toad proudly croaking out his need for a girlfriend.
This went on for several days till the lady of his dreams appeared..
We left that pond behind when the new house was built. I wouldn’t need a fish pond with a creek so close to the back yard. But I did. I missed the fish and the water hyacinths. I missed gazing into the water and waiting for the dragon flies to become creatures with wings.
I convinced my teen age son and his friend to dig me a new pond. A little bigger with side ledges and a little deeper. This one would have a liner and a pump. I also had water lilies and papyrus plants. Plus the good old goldfish.
I would watch the seasons change and even a heron would appear from time to time to check out the fresh colorful fish.
I left this one behind when I moved back to Gardner. I miss the pond and the creek and the house in Edgerton. But you have to be able to take care of all that stuff if you want to live there.
So when I downsized and moved back to Gardner, I decided I didn’t need my fish outside anymore. My back patio is small, and fishponds require some work. Well that didn’t last.
The first summer my daughter sent me a half whiskey barrel for mother’s day. I knew what it was for. I put a liner inside of it. Got a small water lily and set up my pond.
When you buy fish for 19 cents each you aren’t allowed to pick them out. You can however say “I want pretty ones” because you are not using them for bait or feeding them to larger fish.
So John, Paul George and Ringo came home last year to live on my sunny patio. They stayed the winter inside my garage with a small heater and are back outside now.
If kept below 50 degrees they don’t have to be fed, and they seem to live on the water plants and things in the over-winter tub. Apparently when I wasn’t watching, one of the Fab Four went from a guy to a “Caitlyn.” The warmer days have brought about much fishiness in my barrel and lots of chasing and splashing about.
The not so feral neighborhood cat stand with paws on the rim and watches the fish play.
My papyrus and water lilies are thriving, and there may possibly be little fishes at some point. I am still waiting to see a dragon fly and the preventatives keep the mosquitoes away.
I may have downsized but this is one thing I didn’t have to give up.
Backyard fish ponds or grow mosquitoes?