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Swim pond is a family delight

A gorgeous and functional swimmable pond provides a fun retreat for this Minnesota family.
John and Barb Bauman, Maple Plain, Minnesota, built an elaborate pond on their acreage in 2005. It serves as a swimming pool for their three children, friends, and neighbors. The landscaping around the pond is still a work in progress.

Backyard resort

Barb Bauman used to look out the kitchen window and watch her husband, John, hat in hand, stand on the sharply sloping hill that was their front yard and ponder the landscape. "He'd stand there for the longest time, just staring at that hill. At the time, it was just a holding ground for small trees and some plants for our nursery and landscape business -- nothing real special," she says.

It's special enough now. Some neighbors dubbed it The Resort. One friend said, "John's going to be disappointed when he gets to heaven. It won't be as nice as this!"

The Baumans transformed the highly erodible steep hill into a working waterfall and 70x52-foot swimming pond. It is the crown jewel and centerpiece of their 5-acre property near Maple Plain, Minnesota. They've been on the property for 17 years, remodeled their house a couple years ago, and just completed the swim pond in 2005.

"I built a small pond up by the house a year earlier, and it was easy to keep clean with a little waterfall system," says John. "At first I thought about doing a strictly decorative pond below. But over the last few years of researching the project, I figured this swimmable pond would be doable."

It's a traffic stopper

"The kids are getting used to people stopping and taking pictures," Barb says. "It's become something of an attraction around here."

Squeals of delight from the kids enjoying the swim pond punctuate the air as she speaks. The swim pond is popular with the Bauman children (Reid, 10, Jaci, 8, and Blaine, 5), their friends, and neighbors. A large inner tube raft floats near the deep end. Swimmers can jump into the pond from the boulders that serve as a backdrop.

Extensive landscaping and flower plantings line the pond, driveway, and front yard of the property along County Road 6. The landscaping is relatively new and still developing. A few years of maturity will greatly improve the setting, says John.

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