Tour puts North Idaho water gardens in spotlight

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A koi pond is the centerpiece of the water garden on the property of Scott and Kathy Rollins of Post Falls.
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If you go

North Idaho pond tour

When: July 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Eight ponds in Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene,

Dalton Gardens and Hayden.

Cost: Tickets and a map of all of the ponds on the tour cost $5 per person or $15 per carload (age 18 and under admitted free). Tickets may be purchased at the following three gardens featured on the tour:

• Jim and Kathy Walsh, 12519 N. Emerald Drive, Hayden

• John and Nita Mason, 3801 N. Tamarack Road, Coeur d’Alene

• Scott and Kathy Rollins, 509 E. 23rd Ave., Post Falls

More information: Contact Diana Lynn Rehn at


A pond can add both pizazz and serenity to a landscape. It becomes a focal point in any setting with its shimmering water, interesting aquatic plants and the birds it attracts.

A perfect example of this can be found in the backyard of Post Falls residents Scott and Kathy Rollins. As soon as one enters their garden, the splashing water and colorful fish are immediately captivating.

Their pond will be one of several featured during next Sunday’s pond tour sponsored by the Inland Empire Water Garden Koi Society (see information box for details).

Kathy Rollins has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of having a water garden.

“You find yourself mesmerized when you’re looking at the water,” she explains. “You go out to the pond intending to be out there for just a minute and the next thing you know, you’ve been watching it for a long time.”

Ten years ago, she originally wanted a little pond for some goldfish. But as visitors will quickly see, that idea grew into a 2,500-gallon masterpiece.

The pond’s dimensions are 16 feet by 9 feet, and it is primarily 4 feet deep. It has a rubber liner.

Before the Rollinses did anything, they joined the Inland Empire Water Garden Koi Society.

“We went to the meetings and listened to pond owners talk about the mistakes they’d made and the problems they were encountering,” Scott Rollins says.

“It really helped to hear about everyone else’s experiences. We were in the club for a year before I even turned a shovelful of soil.”

“Scott also talked to the local pond retailers to get as much information as possible,” Kathy Rollins adds.

It’s a good thing he is a plumber by trade, because he has put those skills to work when designing the stream and filtration system.

At the top of the stream that feeds into the pond, there is a 4-foot-deep bog into which the water percolates up through the rock. The water is then filtered by bog plants before entering the stream and heading back into the pond.

The stream looks very natural because at each level where the water cascades over the rocks, there’s a small pool of water. Visitors will enjoy the beautifully landscaped areas alongside the stream.

To keep the water circulating within the pond, there are four jets and two air stones. The pond also has a bottom drain and a skimmer to make maintenance easier. All of these efforts keep the large school of fish healthy and active.

Scott Rollins’ current landscaping project is the creation of of a Japanese-style garden in his backyard. This has involved a lot of research and careful selection of appropriate plant materials.

“Our yard is a lot like Disneyland,” he says. “It will never be done, but it’s been a labor of love.”

He has good advice for those attending the pond tour who are interested in building their own water garden.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he says. “Let the pond owners show you their filtration system and how the pond is set up.”

“We also encourage novices to join the club and to talk to the local pond dealers,” Kathy Rollins adds. “Their prices are just as good as the large home centers and they are so knowledgeable.”

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at Visit her blog at susansinthegarden. for gardening tips and information.

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