Trends in pond design ebb and flow: ponds for irrigation, water gardens, fish culture, recreation, hydro power, fire protection, geothermal heat and cooling. Today, add this trending topic: the search for water. Why? Naturally watered sites are harder to find, mostly because wetland regulations prevent construction in the boggy places ponds used to be dug. To learn about the variety of ways you can find pond water, click here.


When long distance makes it impractical to visit a pond or potential pond site, we offer personal phone consulting about your pond design or pond problems. Remote consulting is an effective and economical alternative to site visits. Discuss pond issues by phone, using photos, videos, drawings, maps, and research documents transmitted by email. This also works well for property owners who aren't on the land full time.

This summer I'm offering a 10% discount on remote pond design. For details about this offer, get in touch using the contact page, CLICK HERE.


Earth ponds are natural earthen reservoirs, often created by excavation and/or damming up a natural soil-based basin, sometimes with the addition of a clay or artificial membrane liner.

Earth ponds can be used for swimming, garden landscaping, raising fish, and more.


This site is designed to give you information as well as provide a way to get expert consulting services and consulting designs when planning or constructing your pond or garden pond.


Available again as an eBook after many years out of print. New 25th Anniversary Edition of Tim Matson’s prize winning stories of Rural Savvy, Skills, and Survival. Includes Smart Approaches to Water Issues, from Ponds to Dowsing a Water Well.

Download your copy today.

" Reading A Country Planet is a little like eavesdropping on someone talking to himself about pigs and hayrakes and listers, but talking in a wry, corner-of-the mouth style that makes the eavesdropper snort and whinny to himself… The general effect is to make you want to run out and buy a slice of Vermont hillside and start cutting trees to build your own cabin in the woods even if you’ve already done it years ago.”

Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize winner and author
of Brokeback Mountain


What's this guy all about? Writer? Pond designer? Father? Elder wisdom from Deadsville? Find out in this lifestyle article. Click here to read it.

There's more really. Vermont Digger digs a little deeper into the pond ponderer.


The Book of Non-Electric Lighting by Tim Matson is available as an eBook for your Amazon Kindle. Click here to check it out.


"Best guide to safe use of flame-based illumination." Read the entire review on Cool


Bringing Back a Swamp: Discover Ways to Naturalize Wetland Features for Your Pond Read the article.

A Win-Wind Solution: from Tim Matson's article for Backhome Magazine. Read an excerpt.

A Pond in the Woods: Read this article which appeared on the Northern Woodlands website.

Maintaining Pond Spillways:
Know the Basics of a Pond Discharge System:
Read Tim’s article on pond spillway construction and maintenance in Living The Country Life magazine.


The new 2017 edition of the Earth Ponds Sourcebook completes a pair of classic pond books now back in print. Thanks to our friends at Echo Point Books for making these books available again.

The Earth Ponds Sourcebook: The Pond Owner’s Manual and Resource Guide provides expert advice for pond building and maintenance, with lists of suppliers and bibliographies, as well as information on pond-related structures like rafts, docks, and gazebos. The Sourcebook covers ecological and legal issues involved in creating your own pond, including potential structural disasters that could turn your water feature into a financial headache. Plus:

  • How to deal with weeds and algae
  • Beach building
  • Raising fish
  • Attracting and controlling wildlife
  • Equipping ponds for irrigation and fire protection
  • How to prepare your pond for winter
  • Converting your pond to a cold-weather skating rink
  • How to build and maintain a goldfish pond
  • And much more

Praise for Tim Matson and The Earth Ponds Sourcebook

"Aside from some particularly thoughtful frogs and phragmites, no one on earth knows more about ponds than Tim Matson. His books have counseled and consoled me through the digging of two ponds, making a daunting process far more interesting and pleasurable than it deserved to be." - Michael Pollan, New York Times Best Selling Author

"(The Sourcebook) can help you avoid serious problems. Every pond owner should have a copy." - Newark Star Ledger

"With the Earth Ponds Sourcebook Tim has added another indispensible resource to the subject. It's easy to see why he is known as the guru of earth pond building." -- Helen Nash, author of The Pond Doctor and Water Gardening Basics

Click here to order

The 10th Anniversary Edition of Landscaping Earth Ponds, by Tim Matson, has just been published. Richly illustrated with color photos and diagrams, and jam-packed with inspirational ideas, designs, and examples, Landscaping Earth Ponds is the number one resource for sustainable and tasteful pond design. Topics covered include: How to create a strong aesthetic link between your house and pond.

  • How to encourage plant life and establish lush aquatic gardens.
  • How to avoid plantings that can harm water quality and pond structure.
  • How to accent your pond with winding paths and blooming hedges.
  • How to screen your pond for privacy.
  • How to build natural diving platforms.
  • How to select the best materials for fill, embankments, and sandy beaches.   

Selected as a Notable Book by Landscape Architecture Magazine. Click here to order.


Montauk 1968 by Tim Matson

The second season of the Netflix hit series Stranger Things began October 27. Tim Matson  connects the dots between the wildly popular series and “Project Montauk,” a secret Deep State project buried by the US government. Read interview with Tim Matson about his photo linking Project Montauk and Stranger Things. Click here.


In the 1970s, the big name brews like Bud and Coors ruled the roost, and homebrewed beer was as illegal as moonshine. But a small group of Vermonters - people like Tim Matson and Lee Anne Dorr - weren't the kind to let a little thing like the law stop them. They shared their intoxicating concoctions with friends and family, then published the first homebrewer's guide since Prohibition and sold it out of their Chevy Nova. 40 years later here is a new edition with a new introduction. MOUNTAIN BREW is available through Countryman Press - a division of W.W. Norton and Company. Click here to order your copy.


"A slim classic...Even before celebrity craft brewers came along, the hills of Vermont held ernest homebrewers who tackled lagers and ales with vigor. The strangely enchanting little tome offers a glimpse into that world...It might not be the definitive guide to homebrewing, but it's a sweet keepsake of another age."
Seven Days Magazine

"Set aside your dog-eared copy of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. Eight years earlier -- and two before the legalization of home brewing -- a merry band of Vermonters published their recipes and anecdotes. The book is a hoot for anyone who wants a glimpse of the cultural origins of this immensely popular hobby. These sound like great folks to have a beer with."
All About Beer Magazine

Brewery History Society
on Mountain Brew

A recent article in the Journal of the Brewery History Society surveys significant American beer books of the 1970s. Discussing Stephen Morris'Great American Beer Trek, author Gary Gillman comments on Mountain Brew, which Morris discovered on his beer travels: "His description of mid-1970s Vermont homebrewing culture is centered on an interview with Tim Matson. In 1975 Matson co-wrote, with girlfriend Lee Ann Dorr, a basic, but groundbreaking manual on homebrewing, Mountain Brew... Matson’s goal was to make pure products without great pretense or forethought. The book describes the personalities and often-improvised recipes of a group of 70s back-to-the-landers in a state later famous, not coincidentally surely, for innovating an influential style of I.P.A. The beer Tim Matson and his friends enjoyed ranged from canned hop-flavoured malt extract brew to exotica that sounds strangely contemporary 40 years on...Today, the megabrewers’ CEOs get it of course, a cultural shift Stephen Morris and Tim Matson helped both chart and pioneer." Issue 173.

To learn more about the Brewery History Society click here.

Click Here then scroll down to read a short review of the book.


The definitive book on Earth Ponds in a third edition to help celebrate it's 30th Anniversary.

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