Garden ponds stand out in real estate market

Garden ponds are easy, attractive, aesthetically pleasing and can add value to your home.

Garden ponds are easy, attractive, aesthetically pleasing and can add value to your home.

The National Association of Realtors reports a record 6.6 million homes were sold in 2004, and homeowners now more than ever are looking for ways to make their homes to be noticed.

Creative landscaping can add between 7 percent and 15 percent to a home’s value, according to the Gallup Organization.

With the majority of people adding plants and shrubs, one way to make your home more marketable is by creating your own garden pool. Homeowners can complete this project in one afternoon and be ready to fill the pool the next day.

The materials and tools needed to construct a garden pool include concrete mix, sand, chicken wire reinforcement, shovel, hammer, trowel and 11-inch wooden stakes.

Once you have all of your materials and your area chosen, follow these step-by-step instructions:

• Dig a saucer-shaped excavation for the pool with the center 24 inches deep.

• Mark each of the 11-inch stakes at 2 inches, 5 inches and 8 inches from the top of each stake, so the 8-inch mark is near the bottom of the stake. Drive them into the bed at square-foot intervals to the 8-inch marks.

• Fill the pool with 3 inches of sand or gravel, as a sub base, up to the 5-inch marks.

• Lay the chicken wire into the pool, supporting it about 2 inches above the sub base with small stones or brick bits.

• Pack the prepared concrete mix firmly around the chicken wire with a shovel up to the 2-inch stake marks. This should create a 3-inch concrete basin.

• After the concrete loses its sheen, finish it with a trowel. Keep it damp for 24 hours and then fill it with water.

• The perimeter of the pool can be built up with brick. The addition of plants and shrubs will create a cool, shaded effect and painting the bottom green or dark blue will make the pool appear deeper. A pump, creating running water, can also be aesthetically pleasing.

• Thoroughly clean and flush the surface of the pool before stocking it with fish or plants.