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Backyard beauty; pond, landscaping absorbs couple's time, enthusiasm, runoff water

by BOB GAETJENS | REPORTER Published: August 17, 2016 1:00 AM
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Aurofa — It all started innocently enough.
“In 1996, we were buying bird seed,” said Birchbark Trail resident Tim Ludick. “They had a little water fall kit that was about $125. It just morphed into a 3,300-gallon pond since then.”
The pond is the centerpiece of a reimagination of Tim and Dixie Ludick’s sloping, wooded backyard. What was once a swampy area has been transformed into a system of terraced paths, fountains, waterfalls, plantings in and out of the pond, and a bridge.
“This was not an overnight, magical transformation,” said Dixie.
All rocks, terraces and fountains were installed by hand.
“It’s a feat of civil engineering,” she said. “It demonstrates an amateur gardener can fight erosion in the backyard.”
The Ludicks won Aurora’s 2013 Neighborhood Gardening Award, when the backyard fairyland was up against the likes of Barrington’s entrance and other professionally done projects.
Last month, the pond was featured in the “Parade of Ponds,” a joint project presented by Hoffman’s Water X Scapes and the [Akron] Beacon Journal.
“There were 35 ponds, and ours was the featured one,” said Tim. “I really didn’t think anyone would come this far, and we had 100 people come. They were so nice and complimentary.”
The pond grew from 1,000 gallons to its current size in 2009.
“In ’09, I ordered this huge liner,” he said. “It took about 2 1/2 months of digging after work, mosquitoes biting me all the way, breaking two shovels and a pick.”
He did have help from five friends installing the liner itself, which is made of a heavy rubberized material.
“It was delivered on a truck that had a fork lift on it,” he said.
Underneath the pond, he dug a French drain. Altogether, the property includes 11 water pumps, only five of which are directly associated with the pond itself.
THE WHOLE system of tiers snaking around the pond and throughout the backyard have a purpose beyond aesthetics, he added.
“The tiers kind of slow down the water now, and I have mostly Ohio native rain garden plants in some areas,” he said. “They’re very hardy and suck up the water.”
His downhill neighbor likes the backyard trail system and pond so much he installed a trail connecting to it from his backyard, said Tim.
Dixie said Tim’s influences include golf course designers Pete Dye and Donald Ross, who she said work with the existing topography of an area rather than bulldozing it as the basis for their courses.
“Anything you see him do, he doesn’t fight the topography; he works with the topography,” she said.
During the fall, the whole area undergoes yet another transformation as the Ludick’s son uses the trails to build a haunted woods, which one can check out in more detail at www.thehauntedwood.com.
Amid the trails, there are several interesting features, including a “magic” faucet fountain, which looks like a faucet in mid-air streaming water from out of thin air.
There also are a couple of unique trees on the property, including a seedling of the tree in Appomattox under which Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. U.S. Grant, ending the Civil War.
The offspring of the famous sycamore is a young tree, but not exactly a seedling any more.
Nearby is a Dawn Redwood, a tree thought to be extinct until the late 1940s, when a grove was discovered on a hillside in China, according to Tim.
The Dawn Redwood is the oldest tree species, dating back 70 million years, according to Ludick, which means dinosaurs may have munched on it at one time.
Tim said he thought after the 2009 expansion, the project would be done, but he now admits it will “never be done.”
Dixie said he never seems to stop thinking of new additions and improvements.
“He’s constantly got ideas rolling around in his head,” she said. “It’s always a work in progress.”
Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188

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Bettina Sep 15, 2016 2:23 AM

I would say, this is a nice backyard pond to have. No wonder this pond gets featured in the different news outlets! Look at those plants they put in their garden, it's beautiful! Creating a water garden in your pond can really enhance its aesthetic appeal. Now if you're planning to put aquatic plants in your pond, ponddye.com has suggestions for you to make the right choices. Consider the size of your pond first to know how much plants you can put in your pond. Then, know the difference types of aquatic plants so you can choose what plants are appropriate to put in your pond. Floating or surface, marginal, deep water emergent, and underwater plants are some of the aquatic plants you can put in your water garden.