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Plants and Design

A Second Life For Swimming Pools

"A pool is a like a pyramid," writes Bill Lowe, "balanced on its tip. It wants to fall over and become a pond." His recent e-mail continues, "You work all the time to keep it clean, clear and blue. I quit trying."

And so another homeowner eschews the joys of backyard swimming and instead turns it into a habitat for a few large koi, a ton of goldfish and "a number of shebumpkins." Bill continues, "This is a real knee-slapper joke in the koi community; they're koi-goldfish crosses."

And what used to be his hot tub now has lotus, giant reed, papyrus, and a few water lilies growing, all of which seem to be faring quite well in our TP member's Shreveport, La. home. "It should have been a part of Texas," writes our irrepressible Louisiana gardener, "but isn't."

I can't imagine there could have been anything as gorgeous as this before the hot tub became a pond (no offense, Lowe family). "I like her little hook," Bill says about the bee. "And I also like the yellow of the pollen on the leaves; it had rained the night before." photo credit: Bill Lowe hide caption

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photo credit: Bill Lowe

This conversion from pool to pond has any number of precedents, but the one I'm most familiar with is in the otherworldly Montecito garden once the home of Ganna Walska. It's called Lotusland, and if you've never heard of it, this is your lucky day.

You may also think yourself lucky if you're among those who've switched from swimming pool to water feature. Or maybe you converted back? Do tell us your story.