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Ponds, streams can make real splash

If you want to take your landscape to a whole new level, consider adding a pond, stream or waterfall. The splashing sounds, reflections on the water and flashy fish are mesmerizing.

Next Sunday, the Inland Empire Water Garden & Koi Society will host a tour of eight Spokane Valley gardens containing different types of water features. They are sure to inspire you, and there will be plenty of club members on hand to answer questions about water gardening.

Longtime club members John and Linda Seifert will share their Spokane Valley garden, where visitors will see a large koi carp pond, a water lily pond with a stream leading into it, and colorful flower beds. It is located at 10304 E. Upriver Drive.

John was bitten by the water garden bug early on. “I had a friend who had a goldfish pond when I was a little kid,” he explained. “It always amazed me and I always wanted one. After we moved in here, we built a 1,200-gallon pond. I didn’t know anything about setting it up but I sure enjoyed it.”

That was back in 1984 and cost him a mere $25 because he used an old swimming pool liner. Because there was no filtration system, the pond had a lot of green water from the algae that grew in it.

John has since done a lot of research on how to build efficient and attractive water gardens.

“It was completely trial and error for the first pond,” he said. “For the second one, I did some studying and found some good books to read about it. Since then, I’ve learned a lot through the club and I’m also a member of the Pacific Northwest Koi Club.”

In 1994, he built his second pond, which holds 2,700 gallons. He specifically designed it to be a lily pond, which required a flat bottom and a depth of 32 inches. John added a filtration system later when he added koi to the pond.

In 2011, the Seiferts replaced the original pond with a huge koi pond. With a capacity of 15,000 gallons, it takes center stage right outside their back door. The pond is 7 1/2 feet deep and houses 15 large koi.

Visitors will have an opportunity to see and ask about the state-of-the-art filtration systems John has put together for this pond.

“Everything in our ponds is do-it-yourself which is the way John likes to work,” Linda said.

They both have learned three important lessons over the years about building ponds: Locate it near the house where it can be enjoyed, use a filtration system to keep the fish healthy, and install a bottom drain to keep maintenance to a minimum.

No matter what interests visitors have in water gardening, they are sure to be impressed by what they see.

“The tour features everything from a large pond like mine to very small ponds,” John said. “There’s such a variety, people will get good ideas and be able to pick and choose from them.”

Tickets can only be purchased at the following three locations on Sunday: 2207 E. Pacific Ave., 13710 E. 42nd Ave. and 10304 E. Upriver Drive. Tickets will have descriptions and directions to each of the eight water gardens.

Susan Mulvihill can be reached at her blog at susansinthegarden. for more gardening information, tips and events.

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