Although they are incredibly beautiful and serene, there are a lot of ugly things about having a pond. The list includes cleaning out slimy, smelly muck each spring, dead fish, water slug/leechy things and ugly hoses and equipment. It’s not all sunshine and lily pads.

My pond is pretty basic. It’s literally just a hole in the ground filled with water.  I have a cheap pump connected to a length of hose that runs out the side of the pond, through an above-ground filter and then up to the top of the waterfall. The hoses are sneakily hidden under a thick carpet of sweet woodruff, but the pond filter sits awkwardly above ground in the corner of the yard. It used to be camouflaged by a lilac tree, but the tree became very spindly over the past few years. I’ve been replanting the corner to try to make it a bit more lush, but in the meantime, the pond filter sticks out like a sore thumb:



Because I’ve been slowly changing out the plantings in the back to make it more peaceful and tranquil – with a Zen or Japanese garden feeling, I thought it would be apropos to build a shoiji-style screen to hide the filter. (Full disclosure: I actually started this project last year after we put up the pergola, but never quite finished it. Whoops!)

Early last summer I bought a simple cedar trellis from Lowes and stained it the same cedar tone as the pergola.


Then I stuck it in the ground in front of the filter to make sure it fit.  It worked perfectly. Well, almost perfectly, except the one thing I couldn’t figure out to finish the project off right was what material to  use for the screen. I wanted something white and opaque, water resistant and cheap. I have white nylon lanterns hanging above the waterfall and I wanted the screen to accent these. I couldn’t quite figure out what would work on the cheap (although truthfully, I didn’t spend much time thinking about it after it got stuck in the ground).

The naked trellis stayed put all summer.


Yesterday morning I was sitting by the pond staring off into space thinking about some of the things I had to do inside the house, but didn’t feel like doing right now. One thing on my list is to take down the white fabric shower curtain liners and throw them in the wash before the get too stained from mildew. Its a chronic pain in the butt and I have to do it every couple of months.  I was thinking I should get some plastic shower liners instead. These would last longer because they are white and opaque, water resistant and cheap. This was exactly what I needed for my screen!  So feeling extremely proud of myself I jetted off to HomeSense to find the perfect shower curtain. I found one that was quite opaque with a subtle wave texture for $10. Brilliant.


After struggling for a year to figure out what to use for this, it literally took me 10 minutes from start to finish when I got home.


I used a board to make sure my cuts were straight.

Then stapled the crap out of it so it wouldn’t get loose.


I stuck it back in the ground and done.

So perfect. So tranquil. And so cheap. Sigh.


Here’s what it cost:

Pond Filter Shoji Garden Screen – Project supplies and budget:

  • 4’x4′ cedar trellis: $20
  • Cedar stain (already had)
  • Plastic Shower liner: $10

Project total: $30