So your wife has been on Pintrest and now she wants a water feature in your backyard. You have a choice, hire the pros or do it yourself. This may at first seem like an easy option but there are many things you should consider.
The work may be hard, but everyone who has come into the store and bought a kit,
thought it was one of the funest projects they have tackled.
Building a pond can look simple … but these overlooked elements are important for successful pond building. So take some time before putting your shovel to the ground.
Location: Starting with the design, ponds are too often placed in an unused area of the property or in a low spot that collects water. Both of these locations cause problems. Unused areas of the landscape are unused for a reason and it's a waste to put a key feature in an area that won't be seen regularly. Out of sight, out of mind … meaning nobody will care for it. Low spots that collect water are challenging to build in (high water table) and water quality can suffer from too much runoff and pollutants entering the pond system. Look for an area that you like to look at and enjoy, beside a patio or deck. It is great to look from inside out, watching your waterfall from a kitchen or dining window is a great way to get even more enjoyment.
Labour: Do not underestimating the amount of physical work involved with a pond installation. We are often called to complete ponds that are partially excavated by a homeowner. Unless you dig for a living it's tougher than you think … and digging the pond is the easy part!
Creating Sides and Shelves: Do not dig a deep pit with no provisions for shallow areas makes stacking stone on the inside of the pond very difficult. The excavation will then be unstable and since there aren’t shallow areas, it is difficult and dangerous to get in and out of the pond for maintenance. Also, make sure you add ledges for aquatic plants, the majority of which grow in less than 12" of water.
Depth: A shallow pond is obviously easier to dig than a deeper one, but if it’s not deep enough, than fish won’t be able to over-winter. We often here of clients having to take their fish inside in winter! In our area, a pond that is 2' at the deepest point will give you enough depth to successfully house fish in the winter.
Rock and Stone: An installed pond is disguised with rock to give it a desired naturalistic appearance; a typical feature will use several tons of stone. A common mistake is to decide this to be too much work and choose small, manageable stones that are easy to move and place. While the work might be easier, this results in the pond falling short of aesthetics. Also, there is structural importance provided by the larger, more difficult-to-move boulders. We have also seen th novice pond installer who will just eliminate the stonework altogether, which can look bad. Without rock and gravel, the system fails to function properly because stone not only lends to the aesthetics of the feature, but it also functions as a habitat for colonization by a variety of benthic organisms from bacteria to crustaceans … all critical to the success of the feature. If you are building your pond, please contact us and we can work out the amount of stone you will need and give you some contacts for suppliers.
Size: Typically a small pond is easier to construct (less digging and rock placement) but it’s actually harder to maintain. A small feature is less stable than a larger volume of water and most people end up making the water garden larger later down the road because they not only love it, but their plants and fish outgrow a small feature. An 8x11 pond kit is a great starter if you want to stay small, but still have room for some fish and plants.
Proper Filtration: Pond kits make it simple now to have exactly what you need already put together for you! No longer do you have to purchase components “a la carte". Everything now is matched and designed to work as a unit. Efficiency and simplicity will create a better system for your pond.
Access: Before you get started, think about where to place your rock and gravel when it’s delivered or where you want to place the dirt during excavation. Poor planning can lead to having little to no room to get in and out of the property during the construction process.
Berm Size for Waterfalls: If the mounded or bermed area for the waterfall is too small or too steep, then the waterfall will look out of place and more like a volcano than a waterfall. The berm and waterfall need to be scaled according to the size of the property and feature. Many people want a big waterfall that looks and sounds great, but it can become difficult and expensive to build and it can overpower the space. The waterfall needs to fit with the property and lifestyle of the pond owner.
This is just a basic list of 10 ten things to think of for you pond installation. So go ahead and grab your shovel and get digging! You may have to endure hours of sweat, but you’ll reap years of relaxation by your beautiful backyard oasis. Please come into the store and we will get you setup to give you the help to build your backyard oasis!
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