Creating your Own Gorgeous Water Garden Or Pond
You’ve probably driven by homes with water gardens and enjoyed the lovely landscaping. After all, bubbling, cascading water and the backdrop of a beautiful pond, fountain, or waterfall can make any back yard more attractive, as long as it’s designed tastefully and well. You might have even considered having a water garden built into your own garden until you found out the price. Fortunately, you can do the work on your own water feature and save paying all the labour costs of a professional job. By following a few basic directions, you’ll be on your way to becoming the envy of all passersby.
You may be objecting, “But I’m not very handy that way.” The majority of us aren’t, but developing a water garden is more dependent on your creative abilities and hard work than it is on having a resume filled with building skills. If you can garden, you can build an eye-catching water garden at your home. A pond is a very popular choice for many people but ALWAYS ensure that it is safe for children. You might not have young children visiting but try to think what could happen if a child got onto your property. I know they shouldn’t but why take the risk!
Get started by discovering your town’s regulations about where you can build your water garden. There are most likely regulations outlining where your water feature can be placed as well as its size and depth. Some towns will have safety guidelines, such as how deep you can dig your pond without needing to fence in the area. You may also need to learn where pipes, wiring, septic system, or other subterranean utility features are buried, because you definitely can’t dig in those areas.
Choose your location carefully. After you comprehend what you’re working around, you’re free to choose a place where your water garden will be both prominent and work properly. If you are only going to be planting water plants in and around your pond, there will be no problem in placing your water garden in an area where there is no shade. However, if you want to add fish to the pool, you have to locate it where there will be some shade during the times of the day when it’s hottest.
Actually, the time you spend planning and shopping will most likely take you longer than building the water garden itself. You can begin the project with nothing more than a small pump, a pond liner, and a shovel. Over time, and as you can afford it, you can add onto your water feature and make it more complex and decorative so that someday you’ll have the water garden you always dreamed of, and you’ll have built it yourself.
Get your garden ready for the summer
Water features provide a beautiful focal point to a garden as well as the challenge of breeding fish and grow aquatic plants. Enjoy your new rattan garden furniture amid the sound of trickling water. The space surrounding the water feature can be enhanced by attractive pergolas, Japanese-style bridges over flowing water and other all weather garden furniture.
One of the advantages of the cold winter weather is that this is the time when water in garden ponds is at its cleanest. Fish are tired and quiet during the winter months and nothing stirs up silt from the pond bottom. But this is not a good time for algae and water quality can deteriorate if too many leaves and autumn debris are left in the water.
As organic matter rots in water it consumes oxygen in the process. This lowers oxygen levels for fish and algae alike. So the best strategy is to remove as much of the debris as possible. Make sure that the water is clear and cold at this time. Cleaning the bottom of a deep fish pond can be a nightmarish task. This is the occasion to use a pond vacuum.
The cleaning and renovation of pumps and filters are easier tasks. Sludge and residues that have dried over winter inside machinery and around rotor blades need to be removed. Any rust must be scraped away. Dirty pumps and filter can’t go back into service immediately as they will poison the water and cause pumping mechanisms to stall. Make a small ramp from compacted earth around the rim of the pond. This will stop rainwater runoff from flowing into the pond water. Garden chemicals that may have dissolved in the rainwater could poison fish and aquatic plants.
It’s tempting to put out the new rattan garden furniture around the pond during the first warm days of early spring or even late winter. But don’t be fooled. The weather may turn cold sharply again and be too severe even for all weather furniture. Even plants and birds are fooled by changing weather patterns in early spring. You can keep all of these items in your summer house or garden workshop when not in use.
As the weather warms, test the quality of the pond water. Fish thrive in alkaline water in a pH range of 6.5 to 8.0. But do not let the pH exceed 9.0 as, at that level, the water becomes toxic for the fish. This higher alkalinity is caused by ammonia, itself a product of rotting fish waste in the water. Clean away the waste to keep the koi and goldfish healthy. Avoid over feeding the fish as they wake up after winter. Just trickle a little low protein feed at a time into the water.
Relax on your all weather furniture at nightfall in an oasis of sparkling cascades. There is no need to extend a mains electricity supply into the garden either to light up or to power a water feature. It is a dangerous undertaking for an electrical amateur. All you need is a small, six by twelve inch photovoltaic panel.
Even self-contained power in a water feature needs safety guarantees. Ensure that there is a cut-off switch to turn off the pump if the water evaporates during a rare warm British summer. Ensure that the solar panel is positioned in full sun and work out some creative water designs such as fountain arches and sprays. The height of the water will vary with the intensity of the sun. Sit back in your new rattan garden furniture and enjoy the show.
Everything You Need To Know About Putting In A Waterfall And Pond
If you are planning to install a waterfall or pond in your yard, it is essential to carefully select a location. The pond should have at least 4 hours of sunlight a day, but will benefit from some shade also. Make certain that landscape drainage will not flow into the location you choose. Most of all be sure that the pond is located in an area that you and your family can enjoy.
The next step is to measure and plot out the area where the pond will go. The basic shape of the overall design should be lined out. Spray paint will work better for this than chalk, which can be rubbed away very easily. It is also possible for the area to be flagged. Consulting with your gas and electric corporations is a very vital step before digging starts.
It is a good idea to dig several tiers in the pond, so that the sides are sturdy. It will also a better appearance this way, and be more healthy for the plant life. Place the removed dirt onto the area where the waterfall will be. Use a level to check the pond’s floor. Dig up the bed of the stream too, and put the soil where your falls will go.
Once the pond and stream have been dug out, you will need to put in the liner. First, pour sand into the pond area and cover the entire bottom evenly. It will take two or more people to set the liner in place, because it requires that you unfold it and then approach the area with it. Moving the liner along the ground is not acceptable. Be sure to purchase a good quality liner, as this is not the best place to skimp. It would be very unpleasant to have to redo all of your work just to replace a cheap liner.
Putting in the equipment is the next thing you need to do. This is when you add the pumps, water filters and a skimmer. Since you cannot utilise a normal extension cord to run to the water for these items, it is best to employ an expert electrician to install an outside outlet which is safe near water.
The next step is to add gravel and rocks. It is a good idea to place a protective overlay on top of the liner, and then add a few large rocks to weigh it down. Putting in different sized river rocks and gravel to the floor of the pond will make it look pretty and will encourage plant and animal life. Utilise the garden hose to clean the rocks, and then suck the dirty water from the pond.
After all of the rocks have been placed; double check to be sure there is no dirt left over. Next it is time to add the clean water. A product to take the chlorine out of the water is necessary at this point, except in cases where well water was used. Otherwise, the chemical can harm any wildlife you may add to the area.
Adding your fish and plants will complete the DIY project. Plant life will help to maintain and clean and healthy pond. You will need to wait a few of weeks after placing the plants before putting in any fish. Doing so will give the plants time to add nutrients to the water, causing the fish’s start to be healthier.
Garden Ponds – They Are Not To Difficult To Install
If you’ve got a big garden, then it can be difficult to decide what to put in it. A shed? A swing? A hammock? A little vegetable patch, maybe? What you might not have considered, though, is that you could make part of your garden into a pond.
A garden pond is not too difficult to install – in its simplest form, it’s just a big hole that you’ve dug out and then filled with water. One you’ve got a pond, though, you can put all sorts of things in it, such as all kinds of aquatic plants and ornamental rocks.
If you put in a simple filtration system to keep the water clean and oxygenated, you can even keep some kinds of fish in your pond. Goldfish are a popular choice, but any fish will do as long as it is nice-looking and can survive in a wide variety of climates – most fish that can survive in a non-temperature-controlled tank will be just fine, but do check. You may also find that other wildlife starts to turn up on its own after a while, especially frogs and small turtles, although this is much more likely to happen if there are already ponds nearby.
One thing to beware of, though, is larger wildlife that might turn up uninvited and spoil your fun. Fish in garden ponds can attract all sorts of animals, especially fish-eating birds like herons. Even domestic cats can sometimes be a danger to your pond fish!
Apart from animals, you can lots of other interesting features to your pond, particularly if it is a large one – waterfalls are very popular, as are fountains. You should consider, however, what effect these features could potentially have on your pond wildlife, and check that they are safe before you install them.
Can Pond Slop Be Used as Topsoil For a Home Lawn?
I was recently asked by a reader the following question;
“is pond soil supposed to be good for use as topsoil? The previous homeowners apparently used pond soil and my lawn does not drain very well at all. The surrounding neighbours all have very sandy soil and they do not seem to have this problem. Any advice?”
Yes, I do have some advice. Call up the previous owners and politely ask them what on this green earth they were thinking when they laid that slop on top of your property. Of course, they may not answer so politely, so allow me to expound upon your issue and direct you in a more constructive approach.
The soil at the bottom of ponds can have a whole host of problems that do not make it ideal for a home lawn situation. Aside from fish poop (my 7 year old son dared me to work the word poop into a column. Now he has to let me beat him in a video game just once), there are problems with iron, clay, and anaerobic bacteria (my 9 year old dared me to work the word anaerobic into a column. He is just strange). But at the basics, ponds exist because the soil at the bottom does not drain. Why someone would get the bright idea that this impermeable (my wife dared, oh forget it) muck might create a good lawn growing medium is beyond me, but I have heard of this issue before.
Given that the neighborhood seems to be a sandy one, I am going to conveniently jump to the conclusion that the pond slop was spread on top of sand. That would bolster your description on non-drainage nicely. Whenever you lay a finer textured soil (like the scientifically named slop) on top of a coarser textured soil like sand, you create what is known as the Sponge Effect.
Take a sponge and get it nice and wet. Now lay it on top of a cooling rack so it is essentially suspended in air. What happens? The sponge holds onto the water pretty well. In fact, most of the water will eventually leave the sponge through evaporation, not drainage. The pond soil on top of the sand acts in exactly the same way. Now, make a stack of five or six wet sponges. Aside from garnering strange stares from the rest of the family, what happens now? The top several sponges will drain down into the lower ones, at which point the lower ones become over-saturated and drain out onto the counter and drip down the front of the cabinets onto your shoes. This is the ideal drainage you want to have in your lawn, and it results from having a nice deep, uniformly textured soil layer.
So, what to do? The first option is to just have the lousy stuff scraped off and carted away. Since I do not know the dimensions of your garden, I do not know just how feasible this option truly is. It may end up being pretty costly. The other, less expensive option would be to simply roto-till the pond soil into the underlying sand. This way, you will not have that defined layer difference that is the root of your drainage problems. Instead, you will have a more uniformly mixed up blend of 1/2 pond soil and 1/2 sand. The water really should not have a problem draining through that. Once you have fixed the layering problem, you can either re-seed or sod to get a new lawn in place.
Article by C.J. Brown is a lawn advice columnist.