Pictured at the Villa d'Este at Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy, Alabama, United States
December 19
Founder, Director
Retired Medical/Pharmaceutical industry. Founder and Director Non-profit, CSG, Advocate. Veteran's rights; Veteran U.S. Navy.


Joyonboard's Links
JULY 9, 2010 1:19PM

My Sanctuary: Paying It Forward, With Koi Pond (Open Call)

Rate: 25 Flag

When my husband and I purchased our home it was sitting on 2 acres of what could already be called a quiet sanctuary.  We had the mountain, the trees and plenty of deer and other wildlife.  My husband and I would sit on our deck and talk about someday building a Koi pond and waterfall.  Our dream was to have the waterfall flow from down the mountain and as we sat outside: the sound of water would complete the setting.

 POND NIGHTEven at night, or especialy then, there is serenity.

The project began like most others, with a contractor to clear the trees, and dig the pond.  We were given a completion date, and were excited that we were on our way to fulfilling our place of refuge.  The contractor worked a day, and then disappeared for several days, at which time I called and told him to retrieve his equipment from our property.  Refusing to be a “victim” of his work schedule, I began to complete the work myself.  

I had just taken early retirement to do things which brought me more personal satisfaction, and this certainly fit the bill.  If you saw me, you would think that this little lady would never be able to complete such an enormous task.  I am all of 5’4” and weigh about 120 pounds. My son, Chris and I commenced to renting the heavy equipment and digging the pond. 

The stones used to build the pond, were delivered by truck and deposited on our driveway.  I carried each stone up the hill and began laying them for construction of the pond.  When I got to the waterfall part which required much larger stones, I called in a couple of professionals to help with the load.  These men showed me how to dig the hole in the side of the mountain to make it as though the water was coming out of the ground.  Perfecto! 

 POND BLOG 1Early Summer


100_6067Late Summer

POND FALL Early Fall

  FIREPLACE Early Fall. The fan shaped steps are to the left.  I called in a brick mason to build the fireplace.

Upon completion of the Koi pond, I began to use a shovel and bricks to create “fan-shaped” steps which would lead to a bench we had installed near the water.  Each brick in these steps was carefully and lovingly placed to make the walk to the oasis easy and inviting.  Once this was done, I looked around and knew that I wasn’t finished.  To make it all come together I began to take what was once unused and under-utilized areas of our backyard and make those areas part of our sanctuary.

POND BLOG 3 Koi Pond, early Spring. There is an iron mermaid sitting on right side of the pond by the main waterfall.

KOI Early Spring, the Koi emerge from below.  

SIDE YARD NIGHT The sound from various water sources fills the atmosphere.

PORCH When not sitting on the bench by the pond, we relaxed on the open porch.

BACK OF HOUSE 2 View [zoom] from the bench by the pond. 

Sometimes, we need to give Mother Nature a hand, and embrace and improve on what we are given. I had never been a brick-layer or landscape architect, but had a vision and determination to create something special.  If I can do it, pretty much anyone can. 

NIGHT VIEW Night view from back/kitchen exit of the house.

Our sanctuary is comforting and beautiful 24 hours a day. When we added a water feature on the back side of the house; the sounds of serenity began to echo around all who desire to partake. 

BROOKHILL SIDE YARD This was previously a wooded area. [side back yard]

SIDE YARD 2 View of side back; in the Summer, the planters were used to grow vegetables. Part of the previously wooded area.

This place is now one that I rarely visit.  We gave up this sanctuary when we sold this home to a larger family, deserving of all its glory.  The main reason this family wanted our home was the peaceful feeling they experienced while visiting – and not wanting to leave.  This sanctuary was a gift of love to ourselves when we, along with nature, created it…it was a gift of love to allow it to belong to someone else. 

Friends were stunned that I was willing to let go of the sanctuary which I had worked for many months to create.  We had enjoyed it for several years and it felt as though we were "paying it forward" for others to enjoy.  The new owners told me that they could have never created such a space.  Maybe they're right about that. What I do know is that my feeling of elation trumped my feeling of loss upon walking away. We can go there when we choose; but it feels better to have given them this gift of serenity, than to now go visit what is no longer mine.

We are now working on creating a special sanctuary at our new home.  It takes time, much preparation, and work.  I look forward to sharing this new place of peace.  This one is starting from inside the home.    



Copyright: 2010, joyonboard

All photos from personal library  

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
The process itself is a work of art in the making. Perhaps that is what makes us peaceful.
This was a beautiful post. I loved it for a lot of different reasons.
Very much Rated
Hey! I 'm first here!!!!
I have created such spaces in all my homes, for the same reasons you did. I promise you, you will find sanctuary once more.
The sanctuary is within you waiting to be reborn and infused into a new paradigm. Lovely masterpieces...your waterfall, koi pond, writing and musings. Thanks Joy! r :}
Yeah, Poor Woman. Isn't it fun to be first?

Askmeforwhatyouwant, I am working on it now...if I can stay away from my computer!

A Persistent Muse, You always have a way with words, just the right ones :)
What a great place, and associated story. Looks like a dream sanctuary to me.

What I didn't mention in the piece, is that so many of my photos were too large to upload. Also, that I ended up at the Orthopedist with tennis elbow, rotator cuff injury, and carpal tunnel. Other than that, it was a wonderful experience~
Joy: what a beautiful space and beautifully told. I envy you. I suppose we all have a "special space" inside of us that is just waiting to get out. R-
This is indeed, one beautiful sanctuary. Just lovely._r
How incredibly lovely and moving. Filled with grace.
Oh my goodness, Joy, your home is beautiful! I love the outdoor fireplace, actually all of it. Very artfully done. I am sure you don't think about all the work when you sit and view it all.
PS when you do the next project, post some pictures
It is art.
Well done joy
rated with hugs
You really created a beautiful work of art there. A friend lives in Queens coop building, and someone built a small pond in the courtyard, no koi, but a bubbler and aquatic plants and lovely stones. There's a bench next to it, and it's the most peaceful sit. You'd never know you're in the city. I think you could make something anywhere you go.
It looks like you put your heart and soul in that place. Sometimes doing something with our own hands makes it that much more special. I'll be waiting to see your new work of art. Great Post!
The new owners must be ecstatic. Lovely! (And "paying it forward" is lovelier still.) Good luck with the new sanctuary. Keep us apprised.
Pond good. And the process of making it . . . maybe even better.
Amazing work and truly you paid it forward. It is wonderful that the new owners (shall we say caretakers?) respect and cherish the sanctuary as it should be.
You did impressive, artful, spiritual work thrice--in the building, in the giving away, in the telling. I don't think you need a sanctuary; there is calm in your heart, which you generously share with us.
I get this. I like the way you feel about all the work you did and beauty you created. Where beauty springs forth is it possible to spring forth again, what you paid forward will make that inspiration possible. I believe that.. Well written. R
This is gorgeous. And so's the writing. Rated.
What Poor Woman said. About the process itself being a work of art, not about being first, which I never am. I loved this.
Gorgeous. All the more satisfaction from having done it yourself.
Joy, you are indeed a very special person for paying forward such an amazing space. So much work, such beautiful results, and then to share it with others and with us. I am in awe.
I find nothing more soothing than the sound of moving water. You did a fabulous job out there, Joy, you little pixie! I understand the joy you described in paying it forward. I just did it yesterday and it felt great.
Thank you for all your kind comments.
It would be so hard to let a place that beautiful go. I love that you are ready to start anew and actually look forward to it.
Lovely pond, lovely break for us.
So much love went into creating such serenity and sanctum. thank you for sharing these wonderful photos.
Very much like Monet... a private sanctuary turned into an artwork enjoyed by others.
What a wonderful act of creating and letting go! Not to mention inspirational in that when there's a will there's a way!
WOW -- SO GORGEOUS and such a giving and loving philosophy-- and I am so glad they appreciated what you gave them. I have two spots in my yard that give me this feeling but not two acres -- but still I have a feeling of tranquilty whenever I am in my yard. Loved this post.
Wonderful, Joy, in many ways.
Splendid. A labor of love. A work of art.