Backyard goes from dirt to ponds

Published 7:59 pm Saturday, August 11, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – What started as a pile of dirt eight years ago has transformed into a backyard escape for Dee and Liz Capron.
"Literally, it was a pile of dirt – five truck loads. To save money, I tried putting tires and logs in the dirt to make it look fuller, but I found out the hard way when the tires started shooting out of the dirt," Liz laughed as she recalled the days when "I didn't know much about gardening."
Now, one couldn't tell there was ever a pile of dirt in the backyard, as two ponds, perennials, a pool, a big patio and four patio furniture sets make the Caprons yard a place for peace and quiet and a place to have fun.
"We enjoy coming out here, just listening to the waterfalls, but we also love having get-togethers with family and friends," Liz said.
The view from the patio is something you may see deep in a forest, as a big pond, which is four feet deep in some spots, is surrounded by boulders, a waterfall, flowers and features goldfish, koi and frogs.
"I haven't seen the frogs yet, mom has, but I only hear him. One has a really deep tone and the other one is kind of squeaky. But I do have names for three of my fish – Harley, Whitey and Lucy," Liz said.
She also enjoys the five different butterfly species she's seen flying around her flowers.
"I love watching them, they are so neat," she said.
Liz and her husband's love for gardening came when Dee salvaged broken up cement. "I came home from work one day and he had completely surrounded a garden with upside down broken cement. I really liked it and that was the beginning of our garden explosion," Liz said.
Every year after that, the two would add more and more to their yard. Four years ago, they started their first pond, which is a smaller one.
"Dee did that. He does all of the gardening. he spent the summer planting creeping plants, perennials, he put rocks in and we were very happy with the results of that pond," Liz said.
With the success of pond No. 1, Dee decided it was time for another.
"Another time I came home from work (I get surprised a lot when I come home, if you can't tell), there was a back hoe sitting in the backyard and he had dug a big hole. He actually wanted to put a tree in, not a small tree either," she explained.
The tree was damaged in the tornadoes that went through a few years ago. Dee saw it, and wanted to save it, so he got the tree from Hunzikers Nursery and brought it home.
"It was a huge tree. So, stuck it in the ground, tied rope around the whole thing to balance it and it actually did very well for about a year," Liz said.
As the Caprons were having some outside work done, one of the lines was snapped, causing the tree to lean. "Dee fixed it, but then it happened again not long after, so we knew it wasn't going to hold up."
That's when the two decided it was time for another pond.
"Dee wanted a bigger waterfall feature, so this is what has been created," she said as she pointed to the pond, which is not complete yet.
Some of the plants that surround the pond include cone flowers, a butterfly bush, weeping cherry tree, lavender and a variety of others. Around the yard, other perennials can be seen in different locations, including three pots of roses surrounded by a small water fountain. Giant sunflowers also add a nice touch to the back of the yard.
The Caprons three dogs also seem to enjoy the different scenes in the yard. Zipper, who was adopted from the animal refugee, was busy sniffing flowers and trying to catch bees.
"He's so entertaining to watch. All three of them like drinking out of the pond, but Zipper will actually get in the pond to take a drink. It's so funny," Liz explained.
"It's like their own little world out here too. I think they enjoy it just as much as us sometimes."
Liz stated that they aren't finished with their yard, as they keep adding to it every year.
"I think one of our next tasks is to finish a sidewalk that goes behind and all the way around the pond, that way people can see the whole thing. I also would like to line the sidewalk with cone flowers or something. It takes a lot of work to fill in the spaces, but I'm very happy with everything so far," she added.
On Aug. 18, Liz will celebrate something very special as she will be hosting an anniversary party.
"This year marks five years since my transplant and I can't even tell you how many invitations I've sent out. It's going to be a good time and I am going to be raising money for a good cause."
She explained that she is going to have a "Smash a Car" event, where people can donate money and take turns destroying a car with a sledge hammer. All proceeds will go to the National Kidney Foundation Kids Camp in Michigan.
"I'm excited. It's going to be a lot of fun," she said.
From the looks of this yard, people will enjoy more than just a party, but the overall scene as well.