Pond + fish + plants + a little spot to sit = serene backyard oasis. Twenty backyard ponds and water gardens will be open to the public May 3 & 4, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., for the annual Houston Pond & Water Garden Tour. Featured are everything from 300 gallon goldfish “puddles,” to multiple ponds connected by streams and waterfalls, to sophisticated tanks housing show-quality koi, all surrounded by beautiful landscaping and shelter for wildlife.

Pond owners will be on hand to answer questions about pond construction, filters, fountains, and pumps, fish care, water lilies, koi show competitions, gardening, and more. Pond Tour weekend is a perfect opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the fascinating water gardening hobby. Each location is different and unique, just like the people behind them – who love to talk about their hobby. Photography is encouraged – and so is sittin’ and lingerin’ a spell.

The self-guided tour fans across the Houston metro area, with half the ponds open on Saturday and half open on Sunday.

Tickets, good for both days, cost $10, and include a brochure with a description of the ponds and a map with driving directions to each home. Tickets may be purchased at any of the tour homes on the day of the tour, or in advance at www.houstonpondsociety.org or www.lonestarkoi.com, or at Nelson Water Gardens in Katy beginning April 26, 2014.

The 2014 Houston Pond Tour is presented by the Houston Pond Society and the Lone Star Koi Club. For more information, call Dan Cook, pond tour chairman, at (713)-822-5515.