CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Anna and Pete Daily had an empty spot in their yard and a bad case of empty-nest syndrome. A 1,500-gallon pond filled both holes quite nicely.
Several viburnum bushes in their back yard had to be removed last year. That coincided with son, Brandon, leaving for the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.
"I left, and they needed a project," Brandon joked as he was home this summer between his freshman and sophomore years.
The Dailys are not new to outdoor projects. They have created a little Eden on their modest lot overlooking the city near Spring Hill Cemetery. A hillside garden leads to a flat spot where four Yoshino cherry trees grow.
"We planted those in 1994, when we built the house, so we could have hammocks eventually," Anna said. "The hammocks went up in 2000."
A deck with an overhead trellis sits next to a mosaic patio the couple created. The one thing missing was a water feature, and when the viburnums met their fate, Anna and Pete started to research koi ponds.
"We have two ecosystems here," Anna said, pointing to the series of ponds that fit neatly between the deck and a bamboo fence. "There are 11 small koi and four large ones. Two were gifts from neighbors."
Anna created habitats for the fish using 4-inch PVC pipes with glass bits and pebbles glued on using aquarium-safe silicon.
"The fish use them for shade until the plants grow in," Anna explained.
The pair agreed they have had an equal hand in the construction, but Pete jokes about the mosaic floor they created. When Anna said she created the floor, Pete laughed.
"She told you that?" Pete said. "When it came down to the hands and knees part, well ..." He trails off, smiling about his project-finishing labor.
Pond supplies, and advice, came from near and far. Bruce Foster of Landesigns, who created the hillside bed a few years ago, gave ideas on where and how to place ponds into the narrow, confined area. Tubing, lights, pump, biofilter, food, chemicals and many plants came from nearby Green's Feed and Seed. "One-man boulders" -- rocks that can be picked up by one person -- and Pennsylvania flagstone came from Peerless Block. Valley Gardens was the source for many plants around the pond, as well as great advice.