Garden Photo of the Day

A Pond, a Pergola, and a Pavilion

A place to sit. 

This must be what it's like to live at a park. 

"Hi, my name is Angela Norman and I live in Mahomet, Illinois. I love your magazine and have read it for many years. I always learn from you and am inspired to create new flower beds, walkways and plantings. I decided to send you a few pictures of what we've been doing the past few years. I live in on 5 acres. No, I do not have all of it planted yet. I am getting closer to that goal, but not there yet. In 2010, we put in a pavilion for our daughters graduation. We had planted red oaks, maples, a bur oak, a dogwood and a ginkgo tree around the space 15 years earlier knowing that there would be a pavilion in that space. Then I added spirea and hydrangea bushes.  I also planted hostas, sweet woodrift, ferns plants around the base of the trees and pavilion. It turned out beautifully. At that time I knew we would be moving on to putting in a pond and stream bed to view from the pavilion. I also put a few new heritage birch trees, a redbud and magnolia in by the future pond area to get it ready. By fall, I had added cappuccino weigela, lilacs, dwarf arborvitae bushes, and behind it all Colorado blue spruces. All this was to create a backdrop for the pond. 

So in 2013, the backhoe arrived to dig the hole for the pond. I was so excited; I had wanted a big Koi pond for 20 years. My dreams were coming true. (Sometimes it felt like it was never going to happen.) After the hole was dug and liner put in, I had a 25,000 gallon, 75 foot, 4 ft deep pond and waterfall. We hauled rocks and planted miscanthus grasses, rudbeckia, Asiatic lilies, daylilies, low growing junipers and cranberry cottoneasters, arborvitae's and more to build up the gardens around the pond. When we needed a rest from our joyous work, we sit in the pavilion and enjoy the views. I put 15 koi in the pond that year as well. That same year, my husband surprised me with another phase of my gardens by putting in a pergola along the edge of the yard, along the walking path. I planted a wisteria on it. Then we added golden arborvitaes, lilacs, variegated weigela and 'pink storm' quince bushes around  and behind it. 

In the spring of 2014, we started the stream bed leading from the edge of the pavilion to the pond. This now connected the whole space together. I planted hydrangea and birds nest spruce bushes, woodland ferns, hostas, coral bells and other plants along the stream and watched the koi swimming in the pond. At this time we found a farmer with some very big rocks he wanted to get rid of. We were happy to take those off his hands and place them around the pond and stream bed.  One of the problems we have encountered in our yard is how to deal with the uninvited wildlife that happens to show up. The fishing line strung over the pond and electric fence is to keep out the local blue heron and Canadian geese. We are still planting and tweaking our pond without feeding our koi to the blue heron.

We have held many events out there with our family, church family and friends. They say it's like going to a park. I wouldn't know, I spend most of my time in my yard. My goal was always to have a home that is peaceful and beautiful, where every day is filled with chirping birds and garden fragrances in the air. As you know, a gardener never stops planting and growing the garden. Currently we have many perennial beds, a vegetable garden, a fruit tree orchard, 2 ponds (goldfish and koi), a hedge line with trees, raspberries and bushes, and an area just for trees. The adventure goes on every year."

A visitor.

Back of waterfall.

Feeding time.

Hosta Sum & Substance by the pavillion.

Hostas, ferns, impatients.

Iris ensata Lion King.


Water hyacinth.

Waterfall and Pond.


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View Comments


  1. user-3565112 03/02/2016

    The long range planning ,dedication & hard work you & your husband have put into your gardens has produced an amazing result. Very inspiring to see what 2 people, in sync, working together can do. Beautiful gardens & craftsmanship. Good luck to you this spring, Joe

  2. user-4691082 03/02/2016

    It is like a park! There is nothing more beautiful than what our creator designed...your koi are just beautiful! I realized the fishing line is to keep the herons from diving down and eating the koi! Beautiful!

  3. diane_lasauce 03/02/2016

    Impressive! Stream bed envy! Would love to know how you built that.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/02/2016

    I loved reading your story as much as looking at your pictures, Angela. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your thinking and planning. All your projects and plantings are beautiful...hard to imagine what comes next! However, I totally understand that part of being an addicted gardener is the enjoyment in the act of creating so, of course, more additions and tweaking will happen. I am particularly enthralled with your Japanese water iris, 'Lion King'...what a sumptuous beauty.

  5. NCYarden 03/02/2016

    Wow. That is a park...of course everyone wants to be there. The wonderful thing is - it's yours.
    This has obviously been quite the undertaking, but certainly an exciting one. Nothing like seeing a transformation take place with your own hands, backs and effort. Well done. It's very beautiful. Love all the rocks.

  6. CCCDDD 03/02/2016

    The Canada goose is beautiful and stately, too bad they leave so many droppings.
    Garden is wonderful, thanks for sharing

  7. grannieannie1 03/02/2016

    Love your hot colored flowers around the pond which blend so well with the rocks, mulch, furniture. Great choice! Can see you've lovingly poured hours of work into your property.

  8. Quiltingmamma 03/02/2016

    What a lovely space. I envy your room to build ponds and streams of substance and more natural looking. I have a narrow suburban lot. Pond, stream and even pavillion are more of a mini size.
    I don't think I have ever seen water hyacinth in bloom. Very pretty. Do the racoons manage to get to it? I guess some survive, at least.
    Thanks for sharing your parklike garden with us. No wonder you stick to your own back yard. You should feel so proud.

  9. katieerb 03/02/2016

    Oh my, what a beautiful garden and a true labor of love, I can understand why you would spend your time in this tranquil space, thanks you so much for sharing, made me smile!

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/02/2016

    Really wonderful. I'm impressed with all of your foresight in planning, especially planting trees and shrubs. I keep moving back and forth between the photos of the koi and Iris ensata; sharp, crisp and refreshing photos. Love them.

  11. deborah_gleason 03/02/2016

    Alright, I'm movin' in! lol! Wow! So beautiful. I really enjoyed reading your story and couldn't wait to see your photos. Send more pictures soon please!

  12. GrannyMay 03/02/2016

    Wonderful! Angela, I am impressed with all you have done in a relatively short amount of time. Good planning and foresight to get the trees and shrubs in as soon as you knew what would eventually be put in an area rather than waiting and adding them later. I hope you will send more photos as the garden fills in and matures.

  13. sheila_schultz 03/02/2016

    Good morning Angela! When you mentioned that you live in Mahomet it brought back a flood of fond memories of my childhood in Rantoul... chasing the fireflies and riding my horses throughout the lush countryside. Thank you!
    Now to your beloved gardens... From what I can see from your photos, your dreams of creating a park-like setting for family and friends to gather, relax and enjoy nature have come true! I immediately thought of a family picnic in the shade on a Sunday afternoon watching my grandkids laughing and running barefoot on the lush grass and through the stream! BTW, I love everything, but especially your boulders!!!

  14. GrannyCC 03/02/2016

    I can see why you spend all your time in your own park. Love all the rocks and the beautiful landscape. Good luck with the wildlife!

  15. schatzi 03/02/2016

    Wow!!! No wonder you never leave! I wouldn't either. Everything is so beautiful - love the Lion King iris and that unusual rock in the first picture with the 'stripe' around it. An enormous labor of love, therefore an enormous amount of love (and effort) going into it. Congratulations and thank you for sharing both pictures and story. Enjoy.

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 03/02/2016

    Angela, you've created such a welcoming garden masterpiece. I love it all, but am most impressed that you planned out so far in advance and stuck to your plan. It's truly a gift to be able to visualize what you want to see in a landscape. It's a much better approach than our method of buying a plant and then trying to figure out where it will fit:)

  17. user-7007848 03/02/2016

    What a beautiful property! Your hard work really shows. Thanks for sending along such a detailed description of what you've done, it's so nice to read more than just a sentence. Thank you Angela!

  18. Meelianthus 03/03/2016

    Looks like you have really achieved your 'goal' Angela. Really beautiful, peaceful, and so well thought out. A tremendous amount of work but so well worth it - now you can hopefully spend some time just relaxing in your pergola and admiring all that you have done.

  19. eddireid 03/03/2016

    What fun you are having! It is all gorgeous. And still more fun in the future. Have a great time.

  20. user-7007940 03/04/2016

    Very nice and peaceful!!

  21. MNGardenGirl 03/04/2016

    Gorgeous! I would love to come visit.

  22. krissgandier 03/15/2016

    Your place is fabulous. It looks like a public garden or park with the pond and huge pavillion. I love the pond and the wonderful aquatic plants and those fish are so colorful.

  23. user-7045126 07/10/2018

    Interesting publish approximately boot container for fishing at the pond. Pond building and maintaining are simplest with Pondpro2000 without any risk because it is fail-safe. More details:

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