Sometimes I think it would be a great idea to convert my pool into a trout pond.
The stock pond on our old ranch was not all that much bigger than the pool. Somewhere along the line, some old ranch hand had the bright idea to pour a bunch of trout fry in there. Amazingly, they survived. When my father was living, he would go up there and catch fish, which he would bring back to the house for dinner.
Hey! It would go with the chard patch! Who needs a grocery store when you’ve got trout and chard growing in the backyard?
Seriously: d’you realize it can cost as much to get rid of a pool as it does to build one? Around here, you can get a backyard pool installed for around $15,000 to $20,000. By the time you hire a licensed contractor to demolish the concrete walls, pull up yards and yards of concrete and Kool-Deck, fill in the gigantic hole, and relandscape the yard (pulling out and rebuilding your block wall in the process), you could easily spend that much to uninstall it.
A number of homeowners have converted their pools to what they think of as “natural,” chlorine-free swimming holes. I can’t imagine you could get away with that around here: it’s against the law to let your pool go green. Arizona is developing quite a West Nile problem, one that’s been aggravated by the large number of foreclosures, which invariably end up with a puddle of scum in the backyard.
On the other hand, it’s unclear that they’d do much to you if you actually turned the thing into a fish pond. With fish in it. Assuming you could keep them alive, they’d presumably eat the mosquitoes.
The pool already has a pump and a filter (though a DE filter might not be ideal for a fish pond…especially given its tendency to regurgitate DE into the water). Some people build an above-ground device that functions as a kind of biological filter. Besides having to build that and maybe install a pump designed for a pond (would it work with a 10- or 12-foot-deep pool?), you’d need to tear up the hideous Kool-Deck and redesign the landscaping to create a garden effect around the pond. A fish pond in the middle of a pad of Kool-Decked concrete would just look stupid: like a swimming pool you converted to a DIY fish pond. Even this guy’s pond looks silly, IMHO, because he left it in the middle of a surrounding wooden deck. Better than Kool Deck, by far, but still: obviously a repurposed swimming pool.
No. You’d have to get someone to jackhammer out the concrete, haul it off, and relandscape with xeric mulch (in our yard, that would be what we call quarter-minus), trees, and smaller flagstone or brick sitting areas, bordering the “pond” with boulders, stones, and plantings. Lots of desert bunch grasses: that would look nice.
Here’s what I figure one would have to do to convert my gigantic pool into a functioning trout pond:
• Replaster with Pebble-Tec or RiverRok, at the very least, paint or resurface the white plaster with something dark
• Build a filter basin
• Reroute the pool’s plumbing to feed water into the filter basin
• Disguise the basin with boulders to create a waterfall effect
• Build some ledges or lay some boulders inside the pool to create shelter for the fish
• Lay some soil on the bottom in which to grow water plants
• Jackhammer and haul the concrete all around it
• Regrade the ground around the pond
• Edge the pond with boulders, stones, and plantings
• Get rid of the endlessly aggravating palm trees
• Plant a shade tree or two in the area where the concrete was removed
• Build a sitting area near the tree and pond, using a compatible surface such as flagstone or brick
• Lay stepping stones
• Extend the watering system, which would entail…
. . . Hooking up a new valve to existing system
. . . Laying new pipe
. . . Setting up new irrigation tubes
• Plant ornamental grasses, shrubs, and small stuff
• Install water plants
• Spread quarter-minus
• Refill pool and adjust water
• Introduce fish
LOL! Wouldn’t that be a project!? And though you’d dispense with the endless application of pool chemicals and the chronically broken-down cleaning system, you’d still have a pump and filter to have to take care of. And one wonders whether the fish could survive in Phoenix city water: in some seasons it’s every bit as chlorinated as pool water! Our stock pond, after all, was fed by the Hassayampa River. You’d have to find a way to dechlorinate the water before you could refill the pond, which in the summertime is every. single. day.
Assuming you hold the koi and stock your pond with bass and trout, what do you have?
The most expensive trout dinner in the history of the world.