When Tammie Hawie married her husband, John, and moved to Baton Rouge from Massachusetts four years ago, she thought about putting a swimming pool in their yard. Then it occurred to her that, with her kids grown, all she’d do was clean it.
But, if a pool made no sense, a pond was another story. She hired Charbel Harb, of Harb’s Oasis, to install one. Now, it is the focal point in a yard that she has transformed from dreary to a visual feast, which is why it’s part of the 2016 Pond Tour on June 4 and 11.
“That was the beginning,” Hawie said. “I just haven’t stopped.”
Indeed, she hasn’t.
A yard that offered little more than St. Augustine grass is now filled with a variety of herbs and ornamental plants, paving stones and other landscaping features, including a separate pond she made herself as a place to grow American lotus.
But it’s the big pond that pulls it all together. Filled with koi, fantail goldfish and aquatic plants — all surrounded by a variety of flowering plants — its appearance and the gurgle of its waterfall are seen and heard from decks that extend from the side and rear of the couple’s College Town home.
The water feature and plants cost about $8,000, including hiring an electrician to install a line to run the waterfall pump. The Hawies also installed a triangular sun shade over the pond, and another one between the pond and the rear deck to make it cooler to visit the pond in hot weather.
“We sit up there with close friends and have cookouts or whatever during football season, and this is the centerpiece,” John Hawie said. “We have chairs that we bring and sit down here. The kids love to watch the fish.”
Tammie Hawie really enjoys the fish, who recognize her. When she turns off the waterfall to signal them that they’re going to be fed, they rise in anticipation to the surface near her.
“They recognize me because I feed them all the time,” she said. “So, in the afternoon, I’ll come out and I’ll just kneel down on the rocks, and they’ll come right over here to me. They love our dog, too. The dog will run around, and they’ll kind of follow it. … I like to be social with them.”
The ponds are not maintenance-free. She cleans the pond filter daily and takes apart the waterfall once a week to clean its filter.
“It’s good fertilizer for the yard,” she said.