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Guest Articles

Ponds & Waterfalls: Water Living

By | Guest Articles
We can’t live without it. Water is the very source of life That is why we are so strongly attracted to it. Maybe because we cannot live more than a few days without water, we want to have it close by. Most people would like to live next to it, whether in the form of a stream, river, lake or ocean.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough bodies of water to go around for everybody, even for those who can afford living near them. The price of beach front property reflects the fact that it is scarce and in high demand. Even for those fortunate enough to own such property, there is a major trade-off and a good share of disadvantages.

Who wouldn’t like to have a water garden on their property, or a flower and vegetable garden, or even a wonderful orchard with oranges, apples, plums, peaches, lemons and avocado? Maybe a corral with a horse or two. So much for thinking about a garden with most ocean front property. You’re lucky if you have enough land to be able to walk between the houses!

We can now see why water gardens with waterfalls and ponds are becoming so popular. If you can’t take your home to the water, just bring the water to your home!

Why is it so peaceful, yet still invigorating at the beach? Is it the sight or sound of the ocean waves, the smell of the salt water? You may be surprised to discover that the actual feelings of peace, relaxation, stress, and anxiety release has little to do with the sight or sounds or smell of the ocean. Extensive research has shown that moving water puts additional negative ions into the air. Breathing this supercharged air has an extremely positive effect on our body. The ocean creates the greatest quantity of negative ions of all moving water.

Therefore, it has the most beneficial effects on our moods while drawing the largest crowds. For the same reason, waterfalls create such pleasant and relaxing environments. You have probably noticed how wonderful the air smells and feels just prior to, during and after a rain storm – again negative ions.

For a fraction fo the cost of ocean or lake front living, almost every homeowner can reap the benefits of a waterfall and pond in their back yard. Ranging from an atmosphere of intimacy to one of grandeur, it’s whatever the budget can endure. Virtually everyone can own a portion of the best that nature has to offer. There are as many different varieties, shapes and sizes of waterfalls as there are rocks. Consequently, with a pond design of your choice, no two ever look the same and they provide a natural individuality for each homeowner.

Waterfalls can cascade into koi ponds, a stream, swimming pool, spa or simply spill through a rock-covered grate into a subterranean catch basin, from where it gets pumped and recirculated. This type of backyard pond design is great for someone with small children, since it eliminates the need for a hazardous pond. It’s also perfect for someone with a very small yard or for those looking for little or no maintenance.

The soil removed in excavating a pond can be utilized to create a mound or berm to provide elevation for a cascade. A waterfall can pass through terraced retaining walls on its way down to a pond at ground level. By passing through rather than over the top, it will give the impression that the waterfall always existed and the retaining wall was constructed later on either side.

A backyard pond not only provides allure and charm to your property, it is as though you own a part of the Discovery Channel. The pond’s occupants provide a never-ending and forever changing source of entertainment and education. From the antics of a pair of acrobatic turtles to the male crayfish, claws clashing and gnashing over the prize of a fair lady, each day becomes a new chapter in the life of your pond. Are you the type that might say, “I don’t ever want to own fish!” and then eventually end up with several, even giving them all names? I’ve seen this happen over and over again, because pond owners become personally attached to the inhabitants of their water garden pond as if they were family members or pets.

At night a well-designed backyard pond becomes a whole new adventure, especially if you have built-in lighting. The cascading, splashing water against the lights create an amazing symphony of light and sound. Dancing light reflected on the surrounding rocks, plants, fence or house becomes hypnotic and mesmerizing. Most people only experience this atmosphere at expensive hotels or resorts. Now you can own the same experience in your own back yard..

If you are considering a water feature as an investment in your property, may I add several words of caution. Down the road, these may save you the heartache, sorrow and aggravation of dirty, murky, green, smelly water, sick or dead fish, leaky pond or waterfall, or high maintenance and energy costs.

1. Take your time.

2. Plan it out.

3. Research the subject thoroughly.

4. Seek out an expert in the field. A few years of experience are important.

5. Make sure the expert is licensed and bonded.

6. Accept only concrete and steel rebar construction. Never use a pond liner. Proponents of pond liners will claim there is a 40 or 50 year warranty on the liner. Not true! It’s only true if you leave the pond liner in the box. It would work only in a perfect world – where there were no gophers, squirrels, chipmunks, rats, tree roots, sharp rocks, pebbles or other such objects. Once you have a hole, it is impossible to find. Even a pin-hole will allow 5 gallons of water per day to pass.

7. Do not use submersible pumps. They are inefficient and expensive to operate and are difficult to maintain. Debris collects in them, requiring frequent cleaning. Submersibles can leak oil that may kill the pond inhabitants or, worse, short out and create a shock hazard.

8. Use a biological filter to help eliminate nitrates and nitrites from the water. (I recommend a pressurized back-flushable filter, not a gravity flow.)

9. Install a skimmer for removal of surface leaves and debris.

10. Use two anti-vortex drains on the bottom of the pond for suction line to prevent whirlpools and fish or turtles from being ****** into the drain.

11. Make sure your pond is a minimum of three feet deep to regulate water temperature in the summer months and to discourage herons and raccoons from dining out.

12. Build caves and ledges for turtles and fish to hide in.

13. Install an ultraviolet light to kill bacteria that cause smells and pathogens that kill fish and algae spores that create green water.

14. Do not use mechanical auto-fill valves; only use an electronic one like the AquaFill System. It does not stick or malfunction – thus preventing pond overflow and dead fish from chlorine poisoning.

15. Use plenty of water plants in the falls and pond. They provide extra oxygen and food for the fish and act as natural filters, utilizing the nitrate nitrogen in the water.

16. Use a high-efficiency, out-of-pond pump that conserves energy. By operating it 24 hours a day, a high-quality biofilter (such as one made by Aqua Ultra Violet) will receive a continuous flow of oxygenated water, which the anaerobic bacteria require in order to live. The bacteria are essential for breaking down hydrocarbons, nitrates and nitrites in the water.

17. Make sure you have proper drainage around the pond and waterfall so run-off from the rain storms does not enter the pond and contaminate it with silt, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.

18. Learn basic pond maintenance. (An ounce of prevention is worth a [pond] cure.)

When I say “everyone should have a waterfall,” I’m not simply promoting my life’s passion. Considering how much enjoyment a water garden and waterfall can give you, dollar for dollar, cubic foot for cubic foot, hour for hour, it is your best buy for many long, healthy and happy years to come.

From my experience with hundreds of pond owners in San Diego, I have discovered that the money spent on a well designed garden pond and waterfall will surely bring you more long term pleasure and joy than anything you ever purchased in your life.

Living is not truly living without water.

Ten Steps to a Thriving, Self-contained Pond

By | Guest Articles
Creating a beautiful pond in your backyard with fish, a fountain, waterfalls and aquatic plants is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling hobby. By following a few fishpond guidelines, you can enjoy a private, secluded getaway that will melt away everyday stress with each passing fish. The bubbling sounds of the water running over rock invites you to relax and let out a much needed exhale.

Many requirements for proper pond maintenance are similar to that of an indoor aquarium. The main difference is that a pond is not a self-contained, artificially controlled environment like an aquarium. Instead of a see-through habitat with a lid, the pond is an interactive part of an uncontrolled environment that is affected by all of its natural surroundings. Assuming your pond is now constructed and ready to run, here are some basic tips that will keep your head well above water and your toes away from the sharks.

Ten Steps To A Thriving, Self-Contained Pond

1.) Give a lot of thought to placement when building your pond. Avoid areas where direct sunlight is the rule and not the exception. Seek out an area that is at least partially shaded by trees or other objects. If the pond is in direct sunlight, the temperature will be higher than recommended. On the other hand, if the pond NEVER gets sun then you may have a never-ending battle with algae and chemical imbalances.

2.) Aquatic plants are a NECESSITY with a pond. A pond functions its best when nature’s balance is replicated. Aside from natural beauty, aquatic plant life will control algae and also assist with oxygenating the water. No matter how diligent you are with your pond maintenance there may be the occasional algae outbreak. Fortunately there are many products available to the everyday hobbyist and they work quite well. But remember, it is wise to use these chemicals sparingly; Mother Nature always does best in the long run.

3.) Although a fish pond is a much larger body of water than an aquarium, the same rules still apply when stocking fish. In almost all scenarios, you will be stocking your pond with either goldfish or Koi, both of which can grow quite large and have a VERY long life span. Since both varieties of fish are well known for being messy eaters mechanical, chemical and biological filtrations are required. The basic idea, when choosing a variety of fish, is to pick species that have the same fin type, body shape, handicaps and impairments. For instance, a Black Moor Goldfish and a Comet Goldfish would not make good pond mates. Moors are infamous for having enormously flowing fins and an awkward style of eating due to its eyesight and round body shape. A Comet on the other hand has much better sight, is much quicker and will consume the food before the Moor will get anywhere near it. An ideal pond mate for a Koi or Goldfish would be a Rudd, Orfe, cold-water Minnows and Plecos, Tench and Stone, Hill Stream and Weather Loaches.

4.) The amount of food that is fed to your fish should be based on water temperature. During the warmer seasons your fish should be fed more often due to increased activity. Yet, during the colder months, they may not eat very much at all. Overfeeding during this time is very easy to do. Due to their inactivity in near freezing water, much of the food will go uneaten and will contaminate the pond.

5.) Goldfish and Koi can acclimate themselves to a wide range of temperatures, as long as they are gradual temperature changes. Pond fish are so durable they can even survive cold winters, as long as the pond water freezes on the surface only. This is easily accomplished by maintaining a continuous water flow and proper filtration.

6.) Not only does adequate water movement prevent freezing, but also helps oxygenate the water and aides in removing chemicals and contaminants due to the surrounding environment. By maintaining a gentle current in the pond the nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the water and prevents the water from becoming stagnant and infested with insects. This is paramount, stagnant water will become a breeding grounds for both harmful algae and disease carrying insect larvae. By placing an aesthetically pleasing waterfall or fountain in the pond not only adds a beautiful oriental-like atmosphere but also aids in the goal to create maximum water flow.

7.) As was stated earlier, the same rules apply to ponds that apply to home aquariums, which means a pond MUST be cycled as well. When a new pond is installed, the filtration system is immature. Regular ammonia, nitrite/nitrate and pH tests must be done for 4-6 weeks BEFORE any fish are added to the water. Once the cycling process is complete and the fish are added, you will still need to practice regular water testing for optimum living conditions.

8.) One of the MANY advantages of a fishpond is the regularly scheduled water changes are, for the most part, handled by everyday weather conditions. One of the few times water changes may take place is during a drought, where evaporation plays a large part in chemical imbalances. Needless to say, when water levels are low, more MUST be added to keep water volume ideal for plants and fish.

9.) Remove visible debris from the pond with a net on a regular basis. Do not let dirt, mud and rocks fall into the pond. Keep leaves and other foreign objects out by placing a rock like path or border around the pond. This will cut down on the amount of debris that could be accidentally kicked in by an admirer or neighborhood pet attempting to grab a quick snack.

10.) When all of these guidelines are utilized, a healthy growth of aquatic plants will flourish on the surface. This will provide your fish with shade from excessive heat and offer coverage from predatory birds and animals.

Creating a beautiful pond in your backyard is an extremely fulfilling hobby. Simply implement a timely maintenance schedule and you can enjoy a private, secluded getaway that will melt away everyday stress with each passing fish.

The Importance Of A Pond Pump

By | Guest Articles
A pond pump plays a major role in any man made pond, with out one the risk of the pond becoming stagnant is greatly increased due to the water standing still over a long period of time with little or no movement.

A pond pump not only helps to drive a filter and keep the water fresh, it is also used for many water features such as a waterfalls, pond spitters or statues.

Depending on what you require the pond pump to achieve you need to select it wisely, choosing the wrong pond pump could result in your water not being filtered properly or you may have insufficient flow to your water features which will stop them working properly.

There are many pond pumps available both in stores and over the world wide web, if you have a specific job in mind for the pump then you can choose one that suits that specific need, if you require it to for fill more than one purpose then there is always the option of a multi purpose pond pump.

Pond Pumps are categorized by the quantity of water they pump. This is based on the gallons of water a pump can move in an hour. It also must pump this quantity at least one foot or higher for the same amount of time. Pump manufacturers offer simple to use charts that give details of each pump and how much water they move.

Some of the combined pond pumps offer great value for money, look out for those that have advanced design filter housing eliminating the need for a filter sponge, if the pond pump has wrap around filter housing you will greatly reduce the need to clean the pump itself resulting in less damage being made to the motor.

Water garden pond pumps are ideal for water features such as running waterfalls and filters, choosing a well known make and model will deliver the high performance needed by modern pressure filter systems to run spectacular waterfalls and features.

Having a garden pond especially if you have designed and created it yourself, add so much to a garden, watching the plant and fish grown and seeing what you have created develop slowly over time gives a remarkable sense of satisfaction. To stop your pond turning stagnant or even worse into a man made bog it is worth spending some time considering which pond pump will suit your ponds needs best.

If you are unsure what you require then just ask, most garden centres or pet shops will supply a wide variety of pond pumps that will suit your pond.

Always try and take as much information with you if asking advise, generally the size of the pond will be paramount but if you have a rough idea how many fish you have or what percentage of the pond is filled with plants then that will help too.

Creating Koi Fish Garden Pond – Important Tips

By | Guest Articles
Are you thinking of building a koi pond in your garden? Bringing these gorgeous fish in your garden is an interesting hobby and it is not as complicated as you might think. With the proper pond maintanance decorative koi fish have a long life span and some can become almost a meter long. Follow these tips to build your garden pond for fish properly so your beautiful fish will live long and happy life.

Make your pond deep

Depth of your pond is very important. You pond should be at least 4 feet deep, however it is best to provide for your fish six or even 8 feet deep pond. This will ensure that your fish are protected from raccoons, cats and other animals who can empty your pond. Deeper fish pond also helps to maintain water temperature in the middle of summer

Koi really love a lot of room to swim

Small ponds are no good for koi. Remember, with time they can grow quite large and they will need a big space. Also there are so many color variations of koi, that as time goes you will probably want to add more fish to your pond. So it is better to create a large garden pond from the start than rebuild it later. About ten thousand gallons is a good size for a garden fish pond, bigger would be even better.

Provide some heating in colder months

Unlike tropical fish, koi don’t suffer much from cold; however you should never let your pond freeze completely. Installing a proper heater for backyard ponds will always keep an opening in the ice. Also keep in mind, that like most fish koi only grow when the water is warm, so with a heater your fish will grow faster

Plan some shade for your koi

When selecting where to place your pond, make sure it is out of direct sunlight. Also keeping water plants like water lilies in your pond makes sence – not only they add beauty to the overall look of your pond, but they also provide shade for the fish. However, you should avoid building your pond under trees. Cleaning a garden pond of fallen leaves is a nightmare.

Plan to install a bird net

There are many birds of prey that will enjoy eating your koi. Don’t give them the opportunity; plan your pond location so it is possible to protect it with a net.

Keep insecticides away from your pond

When planning your pond keep in mind that you should not use any insecticides or herbicides near the water. Even a small amount of common garden poison can destroy your beautiful fish.

Pumps, filtration systems and other fish pond accessories

Several accessories are nessesary for healthy garden fish pond. Ideally you should get a water pump, filtration system, pond water aerator and an ultraviolet sterilizer. If the water in your pond is still, your pets might feel unwell. Koi pond filtration systems are pricey, so as an alternative you can make your own homemade filters.

Tips On How To Build A Pond

By | Guest Articles
A pond is not only a stunning garden feature but is also a wonderful wildlife habitat, attracting birds, insects and many other animals.

Building a pond from scratch can seem a daunting task however it need not be, having the correct equipment and understanding what form of pond will suit your needs is half the battle.

The first thing to consider when you build a pond is where it will be located, try to view where the pond will be from many different angles, try looking from an upstairs window also, use what ever you have to mark out a make believe pond so you can see it from different angles.

You need to consider the size of your pond, this will be affected by the size of your garden and what you are considering to have in the pond. A larger pond would be needed for larger fish such as koi carp where as a smaller pond would suit goldfish or if the pond was just for newts and frogs.

Once you have defined the parameter of the pond (this is often done with string or hosepipe) and you are happy with the size and positioning you will need to excavate the area. Dig out the turf and keep going until the required depth is achieved, remember to remove any sharp stones or large lumps of mud.

When digging the pond it is recommended that you leave one side with a slop so any animals that accidentally fall in have a way of getting out, it is also a place where you fish can bask in the sun.

Once you have dug the pond you will need to lay a base, if you decide to use concrete then you will need to add some sort of wire to it to bind it together and prevent it from cracking, sand is another option, lay a layer of sand around the hole you have dug, this will protect the pond liner and help to prevent it from being punctured.Adding a layer of old carpet adds to this protection.

Once the base has been laid you need to position your pond liner, this will require some help depending on the size of your pond. Ask a friend to help with this part, hold each end and lay over the hole you have dug out, take care not to damage the liner by dragging it over rough ground or sharp stones.

Once the liner is in place secure the sides with some bricks and most importantly leave plenty of overlap.

Once the liner is in place it is time to start to fill your pond, as the pond is being filled it is important to pull the edges of the liner so it fits neatly in the contours of the pond.

Keep adding water until the pond is full then cut away any excess liner leaving an overlap large enough to lay slabs or turf on to keep in place.

Stand back and have a look at what you have created!, Now you have the job of decided which fish and plants you will add and position around your new pond.

Koi Pond: Filter Vs. Fish

By | Guest Articles
There are many different types of filters available today for koi ponds which require regular cleaning. The decaying fish waste and pond debris need to be removed from the filter, flushed and cleaned with a garden hose – a labor intensive, stinky, filthy, disgusting job if there ever was one!

Biological filters are designed to filter out particulate and organic substances. By utilizing anaerobic bacteria-laden filter media, a bio-filter breaks down harmful toxic substances into harmless by-products. Busy koi ponds without a bio-filter will develop an environment harmful to its inhabitants as a result of the build-up of fish waste, decaying pond creatures and leaves and other debris that have settled to the bottom.

The size of the bio-filter used in a koi pond is in direct proportion to the number of fish per gallon. The more fish, the more waste and the bigger the filter that is needed. Do you really need a filter? Not necessarily on the small ones — not if you follow nature’s guidelines. Natural lakes and ponds don’t have mechanical bio-filters and they are home to many healthy fish.

If, however, the koi fish begin to overpopulate the lake and start running out of food, they would thin out naturally until the population was small enough to be sustainable by their environment. Such a hypothetical overpopulation would cause an imbalance in the nitrogen cycle by producing too much nitrite from the koi fish waste. Then the increased pH of the water would create an algae bloom that could fill the lake and choke off the koi fish.

Man-made koi ponds can be controlled mechanically and chemically to allow for larger numbers of koi fish per gallon than would be found in nature. Many formulas exist for dictating the proper number of koi fish a pond can hold, whether you calculate koi fish per square surface foot, koi fish per cubic foot, koi fish per gallon, pounds per gallon, or pounds per cubic foot. The bottom line here is: healthy water equals healthy koi fish. If your water is fish-friendly, the number is insignificant, within reason.

If the air were pure, and if you had plenty of food and water, and a healthy way to eliminate, you could live in a small house with 30 other people and stay reasonably healthy, were it not for one thing: stress. Koi fish are like humans in that respect. If it gets too crowded, the koi fish will try to leave the koi pond and some actually do, but they do not get far. If koi fish are jumping out of a koi pond, it is not because they have an exploring nature; the koi pond is either too crowded or the quality of the water is less than desirable.


Man-made devices stretch the natural parameters set by nature, allowing the koi pond to support more life than it normally would. The biological filtering system is the best way to accomplish this. The more advanced the technology, the more effective its ability to treat water. There are as many different types and configurations of filters as there are people wanting to get rich off manufacturing and marketing their own filters. Almost every koi pond or water gardening magazine contains more advertisements for filters than any other product. Which one is the best? First, let’s discuss the various types that are available.

The most common filters are the up-flow, down-flow, submersible, recycling and pressurized types. The most common problem plaguing the operation of any filter is channeling. Water will always take the path of least resistance. Filters use a variety of filter media or material for the water to pass through. Pond water contains a large amount of suspended matter that collects in this filter media, eventually blocking or plugging the spaces between the material. As this occurs, the water will divert to another available path until it, too, clogs. Eventually, the water flow will find a permanent channel, avoiding the filtration process altogether until the media is removed, cleaned and replaced.

In the case of a down-flow filter, it operates on the principle of gravity, as opposed to pressure or up-flow. So when the media begin to clog, gravity is not sufficient to force the water through the available channel at the same rate that water is being pumped through, so it spills out the overflow drain back into the koi pond, unfiltered.

The most efficient and maintenance-free filters are pressurized filters that have a backwash feature. A bio-filter contains filter media on which nitrifying bacteria reside, and which break down the toxic nitrites into less toxic nitrates that can be used by the water plants. Consequently, the more surfaces that are available per square centimeter of material, the more effective the filter.

Recent technology developed by Aqua Ultraviolet produces special hexagonal beads for their pressurized filters, which possess the greatest maximum available surface area of all existing filter media. They are tapered so that the beads are less likely to group together. Back washing forces water through the filter in the opposite direction, breaking loose solid material and flushing it free down the drain outlet. Or, with the use of a flexible ribbed hose, it will direct the nitrogen-rich waste-water onto the lawn, trees or flowers. Maintenance involves a simple turn of handle for about one to two minutes.

Down-flow or upflow and submersible filters require disassembling and washing of all enclosed media, and then returning it to the filter — a very messy and dirty process. Unfortunately, pressurized back-washable filters are costly and are designed for larger projects for use with out-of-pond pumps which are needed to adequately back-wash the filter. Thus, it is necessary to settle for the high maintenance, less effective down-flow or up-flow filters for smaller koi ponds of up to 300 gallons. If you are one of those people who now have, or are thinking about building a small koi pond, I have great news for you! Twenty-five years ago when I started in this business, there were few small pond filters available. However, with the advent of the liner pond in the early nineties, everybody and his brother-in-law started manufacturing down-flow filters in their garage. With no marketing plan, capital, or quality craftsmanship, most all the fly-by-night-by-the-seat-of their-pants back alley filter hopefuls faded out.

A filter for a 250 gallon koi pond will range from $160-$200; for a 1000 gallon koi pond, $300-$400; and for a 2000 gallon koi pond filter from $500-$600.

Now for the good news. I’ll give you the diagram on how to build an up-flow bio-filter for up to a 2000 gallon pond for less than $65 using common items that can be purchased at your local Home Depot. I had one in my koi pond for years until I got sick and tired of cleaning it. Download parts list and instructions at: homepage.mac.com/doughoover/

Happy koi, peace & joy.

Koi Pond: Liners Vs. Professional Construction

By | Guest Articles
Why is there so much talk about pond liners? Which ones are UV protected, or stronger, or last longer? I am by no means an expert on liner technology, nor have I ever used them in my 26 years of designing and building waterfalls. If you’re a “liner guy” disciple, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh no, here he goes.” To tell the truth, I have been minding by own business for over two decades, just watching, reading and listening to all the “experts.”

I’ve listened to how “pond liners are simple to install,” and “pond liners are inexpensive compared to concrete and steel,” and “pond liners are quick to install.” Or “pond liners last for 50 years,” “pond liners bring higher profits to pond construction and waterfall construction,” and “liners don’t contaminate the water with alkali as does concrete construction.” Yes, I’ve almost sold myself on listening to the facts of the “experts.” Well, not quite, due to a few facts of my own.

So, a pond liner is guaranteed for 40 to 50 years? I would have to agree with that, as long as you leave it in its box the whole time. Too bad a liner manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t include damage from gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rats or mice. Or tree, plant and weed roots. Or from stretching and punctures in the liner due to heavy rocks and other sharp objects. Startling fact: a puncture only the size of a pin hole can cause a pond to lose one drip per second, or 5 gallons in just 24 hours. That’s a pin hole, not a hole made by a pair of buck teeth on a burrowing mammal.
Imagine along with me for a minute. You have spent $350 on a pond design and then $8,000 of your hard-earned money for a pond and waterfall. This water feature is impressive. They dug a big hole, piled up some dirt at one end, draped a large rubber liner over the whole thing, and placed giant boulders all around the fish pond and on the dirt mound. Smaller rocks fill in between the boulder and additional rocks cover the liner in the pond. Now, it’s two years later and you’ve just come home from a two-week vacation to find the pond half empty (or half full, if you’re a positive person).
There must be a leak! How did this happen? Where is it? No problem, you think, I remember the salesman’s pitch: “If you should ever get a leak, just clean off the area around the hole, dry it off, and using the directions enclosed in the patching kit, apply this patching material.” But there’s only one problem: Where is the leak? or leaks? How do I find them? And if I do find them, and I’m successful in patching them up, what’s to keep it from leaking again?
Okay, I’m going to snap my fingers and you’ll wake up. “Snap!” Surprise! That was only a mental exercise with a happy ending. It wasn’t real! Or was it? Yes, it was. The short story you just heard was true. One out of every eight projects we do involves replacing the leaky liner for an angry fish pond/leaky liner owner.
Why am I finally speaking up now, after 26 years and well over 1,900 waterfalls and fish ponds? Because I’m angry, too! Not at the “liner guy” who sells the pond liners, but at his disciples around the country who are bragging how much money they make in just one or two days. I’m not upset at the fact that they make in two days what takes me six to seven days to make in constructing my fish ponds of rebar and 3000 psi concrete.
My ire stems from having to charge $8,000 to replace a $6,000 liner pond that lasted only two years. (A pond liner with padding didn’t stop a tree root which traveled 25 feet to do its destructive work.) For only an additional 16% in cost, that client could still be enjoying his original pond, stress-free, for his lifetime and that of his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The main features touted by pond liner promoters are simplicity, low cost, quick installation, and extremely high profits. In an article published in his catalog/magazine of liners and accessories, the “liner messiah” has obviously taught his disciples well, as you can read in this excerpt:
“If you hire us to install your pond, you get a choice of buying it with or without a stream. We offer no other choices! The pond we build covers an area of 11 by 16 feet, has a maximum depth of 2 feet, and a beautiful waterfall. We’ll build your pond in one day. The basic pond costs $5,100 and if you want to connect the falls with a stream, you’re looking at an extra $1,000. That’s it. End of story. No mas.”
That’s what Ernie Selles, president of Patio Ponds and disciple of the “liner guy,” said. Another quote from Ernie in the same catalog is, “I get out of bed every morning and look forward to going to work in a way that I never had before.” I noticed he didn’t mention how well he slept.
Let’s do the math on Ernie’s installation. The pond, stream, and waterfall cost is $6,100. The actual retail cost of the kit is only $1,000. $5,100 profit for only one day of labor. Notice: unlike our package, they offer no lights, no autofill, and the pond is only two feet deep. Yet three feet minimum are required for koi fish. A two foot pond affords no protection from predators such as raccoons and herons, and the shallow depth is affected easily by rapid temperature changes, causing undue stress on the pond’s inhabitants. They do not like to construct ponds over two feet deep, because they are more susceptible to cave-ins.
We would build the same pond with a depth ranging from 3 to 3 ½ feet, with no shallows for dining predators. It is constructed of rebar 18 inches on center with a shell of 3000 psi concrete (sidewalks and driveways are typically 2000 psi). This 7 sack, 60% pea with fiber mix is so dense that it’s waterproof. However, we still coat it with ThoroSeal. The pond is equipped with two anti-vortex bottom suction drains, a skimmer to remove surface debris, and an out-of-pond pump that produces 5000 gallons per hour at only 2.6 amps, compared to the liner guy’s pumps which are only 4200 gallons per hour at 7.6 amps – over twice the cost of energy! In addition, you have to pull his heavy cast iron monster pump out of the water to clean out debris.
We would also include a state of the art Aqua Ultraviolet filter and UV light – the best money can buy. The liner guy’s filter needs to be disassembled in order to clean it by hand. The Ultima II filter requires the simple turn of a handle to back flush the debris. This system has been operational in my water features for six years with no problems. We include an ultraviolet light in our system that kills the bacteria that create smells, kills pathogens that cause disease and algae spores that turn the water green. This light has a wiper arm that cleans the internal lens without the need to open the light.
We also offer an automatic electronic water level control system, the “AquaFill” by Aquamedia Corp.com that keeps the water level of the pond constant. Pond liner installers use floats that are mechanical like the float in a toilet tank. Mechanical fillers can corrode and stick, causing overflows and even poisoning the fish with excess chlorinated water. However, the AquaFill does not stick or corrode.
Not only are all our ponds designed a minimum of three feet deep, we build caves for the turtles and fish to hide in. With pond liner construction, rocks cannot be cemented to the liner and consequently many are loose, creating a hazard if someone were to step on them. Kids will be kids and I promise they will eventually be running up and down the falls. We have no loose rock because they are all cemented in place with Aquamedia Mortar Mix, which is not only three times stronger than regular mortar, it is very dense. As a result, alkali will not leach out into the water and create a pH problem. Regular mortar mix is porous and water passes through the joints of the rock, carrying with it cement residue. This in turn creates stain trails high in pH, easily poisoning the fish.
In conclusion, as an educated customer, would you pay $6,100 for a rubber pond liner or spend the same amount or a little more to get a shell made of concrete and steel that not only would never leak, but would last for decades. So what are we as contractors looking for? Exorbitant profits or peace of mind with long-term, happy clients?
It is more enjoyable for me to get a call eight years down the road from a content client than to get a complaint of a leaky pond. What does the “liner guy” disciple say? “Sorry, we only have a one year warranty”? Or do they go back and remove all the rocks, pull out the pond liner, clean it, repair the leaks, and replace all the rocks and equipment at no cost? Liners or professional installations?
You say pond liners are professionally installed.

Then why is the very same liner kit sold to homeowners and do-it-yourselfers? The reason is, it doesn’t take an experienced professional to install one.

All you need is “a garden hose and a shovel”!

Look before you leap, and ponder before you weep. Happy koi, peace and joy.

Pond Aerators Vs Pond Fountains

By | Guest Articles
Have you ever walked past an office building and noticed a pond on the property? If so, have you also noticed water fountains in the pond? You have probably also taken a mental note of how these fountains add a unique visual allure to the pond. That is why so many commercial and residential properties incorporate their use. They just make a pond look exceptionally unique.

But who says looks are everything? Water movement not only provides added visual benefits to a pond, they also allow the pond’s ecosystem to thrive and survive. This is where pond fountains pond aerators are so helpful – these devices greatly facilitate expanded water movement. Stagnant water is exactly that – stagnant. Obviously, stale and stagnant water does not always provide the best environment for plants and fish life. When a fountain or aerator circulates water around in the pond it will vitalize the pond’s environment. Specific benefits of this movement include better oxygenation of the water, reductions in the presence or harmful bacteria, and a slowing of the algae growth process.

Yes, pond aerators and fountains have their different purposes. Understanding these differences is necessary in order to always purchase the right fountain/aerator for your needs. But what are the main differences?

The most basic differences bring us to the two purposes of moving water in the pond: visual appeal and ecosystem support. In particular, a fountain is designed mainly with aesthetic qualities as the primary purpose, with aeration and water movement secondary. Aerators are the opposite. Improving the pond’s ecosystem is the focus with aesthetics taking a back seat.

Just because a pond fountain is primarily built on visual appeal doesn’t mean they do not benefit the pond environment. The splashing effect of the water shooting up and returning to the surface of the pond helps with the transfer of gasses and the mixing of the water at the surface, which adds oxygen. Now depending on the spray pattern of the fountain, some fountains do a better job of that. Basically the finer the spray of the fountain, the better it is going to be and venting gases and mixing in oxygen. From an aesthetics standpoint, a pond fountain can be used with ponds of any depth, however if you are wanting to provide any appreciable aeration benefit, they will be best suited for shallower ponds of 8 feet or less, unless paired up with an aerator.

Pond aerators operate two ways. They can aerate from the bottom up or just at the ponds surface. The depth of the pond can help determine which type of system will be best, but a rule of thumb is if the pond is under 8 ft deep, then a surface aerator would be the best option. Some surface aerators are actually very similar to fountains in that they have an attractive spray pattern. The main difference being is that the display pattern on an aerator is developed to provide excellent aeration and water mixing at the surface as opposed to a typical pond fountain and its stylistic appeal. Then there are aerators that you position in the bottom of the ponds that are injected with air and release air bubbles that eventually work their way to the surface. These systems are the best and oxygenating and are the ideal approach to aerating deep ponds because they work across the entire water column and help with aeration and the elimination of stratification.

Both fountains and aerators provide great benefits to a pond. To select the right one for you pond simply depends on defining your needs. Regardless of which one you select, both visual and functional aspects of the pond will improve dramatically.

Koi Pond: Oxygen Levels

By | Guest Articles
Adequate oxygen is essential for the health and survival of your koi fish and other pond creatures. As pond life utilizes the oxygen content of the water, it needs to be replaced. Oxygen enters the water where these two contact each other – primarily at the koi pond’s surface. That is why a waterfall is such a vital adjunct to your water feature.

As the water passes over and splashes against the rocks, it picks up large quantities of oxygen, aerating the water. Aeration can similarly be achieved with a fountain or water pump. These methods increase the area of water coming into contact with the air; in addition, the resulting circulation prevents stagnation of the koi pond.


• Koi fish gasping at the surface for extended periods of time.

• Overnight death of fish, especially the larger, more sensitive ones.

• Water that appears murky black and emits an unpleasant odor.

• Koi fish are attempting to or actually do jump out of the koi pond.


• Oxygen is being consumed by large quantities of decomposing debris on

the bottom of the koi pond.

• Excessive amounts of algae are using up the oxygen during nighttime

hours with shorter daylight hours.

• Too many fish for the size of the koi pond.

• Surface covered over with lily pads.


• Remove debris

• Decrease algae growth

• Decrease number of koi fish

• Decrease number of lily pads.


Oxygen is also produced by submerged “oxygenating” aquatic plants and algae. Plants not only help regulate the oxygen levels of your koi pond; they cool off the surrounding area as well. Plants that normally would not survive in direct sunlight or desert climate thrive in the immediate vicinity of a waterfall due to the high evaporation rate. The water splatters and thins out as it rolls over rock, increasing the surface exposure. The resulting evaporating water becomes a heat exchanger, cooling the surrounding air by as much as 15 to 20 degrees. The evaporating water increases the humidity protection to the plants from the harsh rays of the sun.

When adding plants to a waterfall, there are many places that can facilitate plants, such as baby tears and different types of moss. Places that would not be conducive to actual water plants could be flat or craggy areas that receive splashing, providing the necessary moisture for the moss, baby tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) or Isotoma fluviatilis. Other water plants that do not require a specific root base can be placed almost anywhere in a waterfall such as water pea, parrot feather and watercress.

An attribute of moss or baby tears is that it does not require a large quantity initially to look great. If it receives the proper amount of moisture, it will spread and grow rapidly, even climbing up rocks and other areas of the koi pond.

It is important to plant the proper type of vegetation to prevent overcrowding when they become mature. A good example is two common pond plants, Papyrus and Horse Tail (Equisetum fluviatale ). Both of these plants need to be contained, either in a planter pot or a separate pocket built right into the koi pond or waterfall.

Consider creating a bog pond or bog planter on the perimeter of your koi pond. A bog pond is a raised, shallow (6 to 8 inches deep) pond filled with bog plants. Here is one of the best lists I have found to date with more information on the subject: ( HYPERLINK “http://www.plantideas.com/bog/index.html” http://www.plantideas.com/bog/index.html). Flood this area with a portion of the unfiltered waterfall return water and allow it to trail back into the koi pond. You have now created a very effective natural biological filter. The fish waste, as it is absorbed by the bog soil, is broken down into ammonia by aerobic bacteria (using oxygen). These aerobic bacteria reproduce at higher rates than do the beneficial Nitrosomonas bacteria, which actually break down the ammonia. So aerobic bacteria compete for oxygen with the Nitrosomonas and use so much of it that the area they inhabit becomes anaerobic, or oxygen-deficient.

The ammonia by-product of fish waste being broken down by aerobic bacteria is now “attacked” by Nitrosomonas. This further breaks it down into toxic nitrite. Then the nitrite is broken down by other aerobic bacteria called nitrobacters, which convert nitrite into beneficial nitrates in the form of food for the plants.

Smaller bog planters can be created at the koi pond’s edge, in much the same way as the larger bog pond was. As the water passes through these bog planters and goes through the process of being cleaned, it picks up oxygen before returning to the pond.

One of the most effective ways to add large quantities of oxygen to the water is by the use of Venturi injectors. For a complimentary instruction sheet on how to construct a Venturi injector, download at homepage.mac.com/doughoover. Happy koi, peace & joy.

Easy ways to build home ponds

By | Guest Articles
Having a pond in the backyard will definitely be an eye catching sight for everyone. The sound of water, beautiful fishes and exotic plants all makes your mind cool and relaxed besides feeling fresh. So if you think you can feel fresh, relaxed and cool by making your backyard beautiful, now is the best time to start it.

Having a pond in your backyard is not a tough job. It can be easily done with some proper planning and implementation. This article deals with various techniques and strategies that you can make use of while building a backyard pond.

Finding the best suited pond

Before starting pond building the first question you have to solve is in relation to the type of pond that you want to build. Solving this question will help to find answers for where to locate the pond, what features to include, how much depth and width to keep etc.

Generally home ponds are of the following kinds

1.) Basic ponds2.) Water gardens3.) Koi ponds4.) Wildlife ponds

Basic ponds

These are ponds that have been built to include basic water features. Such ponds may not have any exotic pond plants or pond life. These kinds of ponds are easy to build and the calculations involved in building is also less.

Water gardens

Water gardens are ponds having water falls, pond plants and pond life like exotic fishes. The depth of these ponds should be at least 2-3 feet with a view to keep the fishes and the water plants healthy. This kind of ponds can be located in open spaces away from deciduous trees so that the maintenance can be reduced.

Koi ponds

Koi ponds are ponds that are specially designed to keep koi. The water capacity of these ponds depends upon the number of koi fishes that you are planning to introduce It is advisable to locate koi ponds in shady area away from direct sunlight.

Wildlife ponds

These are ponds specially designed for keeping wildlife. Such ponds include frog, turtles etc apart from fishes and pond plants. The specifications for this pond are similar to that of water garden.

Techniques to be followed while building ponds

In simple words any one of the undrementioned techniques can be used to your pond. The first two techniques can be managed by yourselves while you have to opt for professional labor if you have to go for the third one.

Making use of a flexible pond liner

The use of proper pond liner is highly appreciated, especially you are a biginer.This process includes finding out a best suited spot for the pond in your backyard. Even you can make use of garden hose or clack to mark the spot and at last measurements have to be taken for buying the flexible liner. You can have the liner from any shop dealing with pond products making sure that they deal with high quality products.

If you have got a shovel, you can start digging the marked spot. The depth of the dig depends on the type of pond that you are planning to make. After that the liner has to be placed into the excavated part and the edges are to be covered with decorative stones. The next step is to fill the water by garden hose. Pond filters can be introduced with a view to keep the pond water neat and clean.

Proper use of performed garden ponds

In order to make things simpler you can make use of preformed garden ponds that are available in the market in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can get them ready made and make use of them as wished by you. If you are interested in a below ground pond, then you have to start the digging process as mentioned and lay the performed pond.In this case with a view to help it settle down well water can be introduced into the pond at the time of laying. At that time you have to make sure that no dirt is inside the pond to prevent damage.

Proper use of concrete

If you are planning to make use of concrete, it is better to take professional help, because the process involved. After the concrete pond is ready, first fill it with water and wash it to remove all the chemicals. You have to repeat this for two weeks if you are planning to introduce exotic fishes and plants.

By properly following the above mentioned techniques it is possible to make your back yard colorful and attractive. Cool Pondscaping

Heating your Koi Pond

By | Guest Articles
There are many reasons for heating your koi pond,maybe you just want to see your enjoy your pond in all seasons.Whatever your reason we just want to give you some insight to make it easy to accomplish. There is now new technology,enery efficient heaters being developed for pond heating.Therefore we recommend electric koi pond heaters,submersible heaters,heat exchangers and floating pond heaters.Pond heating Considerations: First you must determine whether you want to de-ice or actually heat your pond to a specific temperature .Deicers melt the ice to provide an opening for harmful gas exchange only. Heating your pond to obtain a specific temperature can be a bit technical, so if your not sure about the heater sizing we recommend that you contact our koi pond heating specialists. The outside low temperature is the key to your kilowatt requirements and unfortunately it can vary. Your heater output kilowatts are calculated based on your low ambient temperature and if your geographical area drops far below that normal low temperature a safety factor should be included in the calculations.We recommend submersible pond heaters for small to medium size ponds and energy efficient heat exchangers for large ponds.

* Pond Heating: There are conditions that effect pond heaters and make it more difficult controlling pond temperature.

* Pond Waterfalls are used for aeration and beauty,but they cool the water and work against the heating process.

* Pond Water Depth a good designed koi pond should be at least three foot in depth,shallow large exposed surface area ponds are easily effected by wind chill factors and require larger pond heaters to maintain temperature.

Koi Pond Information: One period when koi keepers traditionally have their most difficult time with health problems is during the transition from winter to spring. As waters begin to warm up, pathogens are able to multiply at a more rapid rate than koi can defend themselves leading to an increase in the likelihood of disease. If a pond is heated over winter, then this risky period is removed from the koi owners.

Do not raise the koi’s water temperature too fast. Parasites and bacteria can also grow more quickly in warm water. The fishes system takes time to adjust but the disease organisms do not. Raise the temperature from ambient at 3 – 5 degree intervals every 24 hours to 80 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain a stable temperature with less than 2 degrees variable per day Treat with 0.3% salt and parasiticides or antibiotics during the adjustment period, and continue with medication if necessary until cure is affected. Maintain temp. for 4 – 6 weeks after cure, then slowly drop the temperature to match that of the pond water. This will ensure a stronger Koi and ease the fishes transition back to the pond.

Making a Garden Pond With a Pond Liner

By | Guest Articles
Making a Garden Pond With a Pond Liner A pond liner is a flexible waterproof membrane that covers the floor and the sides of a pond excavation. There are several different kinds to choose from. Polyethylene is useful when sandwiched between two layers of soil, while PVC, composition and rubber liners are the types to use for a clean pond lining when the aquatic plants are to be grown in containers.

Most ponds can be constructed from most pond liners, but in some circumstances one will offer particular advantages over another. Where no part of the liner is exposed, then polyethylene is perfectly adequate. It need not be a specially manufactured pond liner, any heavy gauge polyethylene will be sufficient. That commonly used by builders is ideal.

Composition liners and those manufactured from rubber are necessary where exposure is inevitable, especially in formal features where there is limited planting and the water is the main attraction. Not all pond owners are plant enthusiasts and often water is a design element which is introduced for its reflective qualities. Certainly in formal circumstances where a fitted liner is desired it is more practical to use a material like rubber as it can be manufactured neatly welded to the shape desired and provide accurate wrinkle-free corners and curves.

For most gardeners though, it is a case of digging a hole to the required shape and then putting in the liner. However, it is important to never buy a liner and then dig a hole. Always finish the excavation first and then calculate the size of liner required to fit. Irrespective of the pond’s shape, profile or size, calculating the liner size follows a simple formula. Take the length and then add to it twice the maximum depth. Then make the same calculation for the width. This will provide a liner that will suit the excavation and have sufficient overlap for the edges with a minimum of wastage.

It is necessary to mark out the shape of the proposed pond before digging commences. This not only permits accurate excavation, but gives an impression of how the finished pond will fit into the garden landscape. It is quite likely that original ideas will change somewhat when the proposal is seen in reality on the ground. Use stakes and string to create the outline of a formal pond, or a length of rope or hosepipe to give some guidance for an informal pond shape.

When creating an outline for an informal lined pond, take into account that while it is perfectly possible to line almost any shape or excavation, there is a limit to what can be achieved without significant folds and creases appearing in the liner. Whatever the final shape of the pond, marking out should be from a fixed point. When a building or path is used as a base-line this is straightforward, but if the pond outline has been created by eye, then create a point at one end using a stake knocked firmly into the soil as a marker.

The installation of a pond liner is the same for all materials except polythene. This needs molding completely to the shape of the excavation before water is added as it has little flexibility. Other materials used for pond lining are very flexible and when carefully installed mold to the contours of the excavation with the weight of added water. When digging ensure that the walls of the excavation remain as solid as possible. Replacing or filling with soil and attempting to compact it once disturbed is very difficult. Ideally the excavation should be carved out of the soil in rather the same manner as cutting cheese, that which remains behind being firm and solid.

Dig the whole of the pond down to the marginal shelves. Mark out the deep area of the excavation and dig down again. This helps to ensure that the hole is accurately produced with a solid base and walls that will remain firmly in place when the liner is laid and water added. During the digging process, make sure that the pond is level from end to end and side to side using a series of wooden stakes and a board with a spirit level. If the edges are not level, then when the liner and water are introduced there will be parts of the pond that will flood and other areas with large expanses of bare wall.

Irrespective of how tough the pond liner is believed to be, it will benefit from some form of cushioning in the hole. Make sure that there are no sticks or sharp stones in the excavation that may puncture the liner when the weight of water is added, and then add a generous layer of fine sand. The kind that is used for bricklaying is ideal. If damp, it can be smoothed around the excavation and will even adhere to the sides. Fleece also provides a useful protection, as do thick wads of old wet newspapers or pieces of discarded carpet.

Spread the liner across the pond, weighing down the edges with bricks or rocks, then run water from a hosepipe into the center so that the liner molds to the shape of the hole. As the liner molds to the contours straighten out any wrinkles and where necessary make bold folds to create corners. Spread the liner across the pond, weighing down the edges with bricks or rocks, then run water from a hosepipe into the center so that the liner molds to the shape of the hole. Once installed, finish the edge with a neat arrangement of tiles, paving or stone.

Water Ponds – Diatribe of Redundancy

By | Guest Articles
Regrettably, no one coming from the interior design and gardening world ever gets its terms they use approved by an English major. We could then point out that the “water ponds is just a little redundant. It begs the question; do we really need the “water” part? Wouldn’t that be implied? The ashes of all English BA degrees?

Deep Breath Before The Plunge

If you look for do it yourself stores and businesses, you will discover that ponds are very often referred to as “water ponds”. If you wish to have someone to comprehend your question, you may have to swallow your grammatical pride and inquire about “water ponds”.

Some professional people break “water ponds” down into specific categories, for instance “garden water ponds”, “fresh water ponds”, “standing water ponds”, but still there are those two words glaring back at you in the face “water ponds”. You may as well call Mark Spitz a “water swimmer”.

Okay, I’ve Got a Theory

Granted, there are more subjects in this world to become worked up over, yet if you are in the communication field and the need to communicate in an effective way it is imprinted in every cell in your body. The phrase “water ponds” makes the entire cells shake and go. “Ack!”

Where and when did you begin to call “ponds” “water ponds”? Could it be that the majority of kids nowadays grow up not realizing what a pond actually is? Possibly. The Department of the interior has estimated in 1997 that over 17,000 acres of wetland were lost each year. And that’s only in the United States.

The reality is the loss of wetland happens everywhere, except possibly Antarctica, which is having it’s own issues of glacial loss, but that’s a different article. Can it be that the word “ponds” is steadily becoming just as rare as what is represents?

Ponds used to be thought to be an everyday word. This takes into account that it was before the skincare cream of the same name appeared on the market. Everybody knew of a nearby pond. Heck, every kid and his brother knew of what a “pond” was. However, now the word “pond” appears to be departing from the collective unconscious. The fact that if you go and Google “water ponds” you will come up with over 17,100 web pages showing some linguistic tide has turned.

English is a living language that thrives and lives completely on living things. As living things, we all grow, change and adapt. What was self-explanatory the day before now requires reclassification today, and vice-versa.

So, in conclusion, the prominence of the term “water ponds” in daily English should be a warning that we are about to loose a significant element in the real environment as well as the subliminal environment – the pond.

Essential Tips on How to Build a Pond

By | Guest Articles
I found that prevention is better than cure! A garden pond must be constructed correctly to prevent a load of problems later on. This collection of tips covers pond construction, some ideas to copy nature, pump selection and even something on a bog garden.

These ten tips on how to build a pond have been acquired through experience. I have had my fair share of fixing leaking ponds. During these difficult times I have found some excellent solutions on how to build a pond that copies nature and which is durable.

1) Dig the pond hole slightly larger than the required final size. Avoid steep sides else all your lining materials will slide down to the bottom. This is an allowance for all the layers of material that will be placed in the hole. Line the hole with underlay or a thin layer of sand before you place the pond liner. This will prevent any sharp stones or roots from penetrating the liner and causing a leak.

2) Make indentations in the bottom of the garden pond hole where plants will be planted. Put down the underlay and pond liner. Place the plant pots in the preformed indentations and line the pond with a layer of washed river sand (sharp sand). Finally place the pebbles on top of the sand. Although your plants are still in pots, it will appear as if they are growing through the pebbles.

3) Make a ledge around the garden pond approximately 3 inches (75 mm) below the final water level. Build your rock edging on this ledge and backfill with soil. It will appear as if the rocks form a natural barrier keeping the water in the pond.

4) A sandy beach which gradually slopes into the water provides an excellent area for wildlife to get safe access to the water. Also make sure that there is a clear view for the birds from this beach. They will not feel threatened and will stay longer and possibly have a bath as well!

5) A durable garden pond is created by plastering the liner with a 25 to 35 mm layer of mortar. Mix 1 part cement with 2 parts river sand and one part building sand add a waterproofing agent. Use only enough water to make the mixture workable. Line the pond in one go.

6) Natural rock and mortar have different temperature expansion rates. This means that with time, cracks will appear between any rocks built into the edge of the pond and the mortar lining. Your pond will eventually leak. This is how to build a garden pond using a natural rock finish on the rim:

a) Line the pond with mortar.

b) Place a thick layer of mortar on the rim where the rocks will be placed.

c) Place a layer of plastic cling wrap on top of the mortar.

d) Firmly push each rock into its position on top of the cling wrap. The mortar will take the shape of the rocks.

e) Remove the rocks and cling wrap after the mortar has dried. Temporally store the rocks so that you will be able to position them back in exactly the same position later.

f) Apply silicone sealer to the mortar and “glue” the rocks into their correct positions. The seal will not be visible. Ensure that you use a non-toxic sealant or else your fish will surely die. When dry, the joint will be permanently sealed! Please wait until the silicone has completely dried before filling the pond with water. This procedure requires patience, but is well worth the effort. Doing it right at the start will save you time and expenses later – Guaranteed!!

7) Use the correct size pump if you are going to filter the water and or have a fountain. Take the loss of head in the filter into account when choosing your pump. Also choose a pump one size larger than you think you will need. It is easy to throttle the flow back a bit if it is too much, but you cannot increase the flow if it is to slow!! Do not reduce the size of the pipes. Use the same diameter pipes as the pump inlet and outlet. Rather increase these diameters to reduce the friction in the pipes. High friction will reduce your water flow. Protect your pump by placing a nylon stocking (ladies pantyhose) over the pump suction. This will prevent dirt entering the pump and prolong your pump life. Replace the stocking often.

8) Hide your pump behind something in the pond. Pumps are unsightly and detract from the natural look and feel of a garden pond. Similarly hide the source of your water outlet. Let the water bubble out from beneath a few rocks or pebbles, or use large leaves to conceal the end of the pipe.

9) Choose different sizes of pebbles to line your pond. In nature pebble sizes differ. Three different sizes will suffice. Try and copy nature by putting a few larger rocks here and there. Having a rock protruding out of the water will also provide an ideal landing place for birds. Just don’t over do it. Nature is the best teacher on how to build a pond.

10) Keep your pond healthy by replacing some of the water every week. An excellent idea is to build a bog garden at the pond overflow. When you put fresh water into the pond, the overflow will keep the bog wet. A bog garden is made by digging a hole and lining it with pond liner. Push a few holes in the bottom of the lining with a garden fork. Fill the hole with special bog garden soil.

Now that you have a basic idea on how to build a pond, why don’t you give your garden a face lift?

Creating My Backyard Water Feature – Building a Wooden Pond

By | Guest Articles

This article is about a 70-foot-long water feature I built.  It has 3 ponds and 4 waterfalls.  You can see my photo diary of the building process.

My pond will not hold water
I did just about everything right.  However, I made a few mistakes.  One of those mistakes resulted in a number of pin holes in the lower pond.  As a result, half of the volume of the pond is drained every week.  This article specifically tells how I plan on replacing the leaky pond liner with a properly-built wooden pond.

I contacted Butch, the Pond Armor guy who maintains this blog.  He very kindly gave me suggestions on what to do about the lower pond.

What I will be doing is building an 8’ x 8’ x 4’ high wooden box and painting the inside with Pond Shield.  This article tells what Butch told me about how to build the box.  There are more detailed instructions on my Yard Gardener web site.

I will be making the box out of a good 3/4″ exterior grade plywood.  (Exterior grade has water resistant glue.)  The plywood will be butted together using about 10 biscuit joints for each 8′.  (You may need a Lamello or some such grinder tool to make the pockets for the biscuit joints.)

Strengthening the wooden pond
The pressure of the water can cause the boards to bow over time.  That will cause leaks even if I plan on having the boards flush against the earth.  With rain seeping into the earth & other types of shifting, I have to assume that not all of the boards will always be flush against hard-packed earth.  It will be necessary to make lots of wooden ribs (3 – 4″ apart).     The ribs around the sides and the bottom should be held together with some type of angle iron.   (That is like the iron bands that hold the staves in a wooden barrel together.)

Because plywood can delaminate over the years, I will line this box with a half inch concrete board (Hardie plank).  Hardie plank joints will be covered with fiberglass tape.

Then the outside of the box will be painted with tar.  Otherwise, over the years, I will have insects & rain water eating into the wood. Sealing the rubber liner to the wooden pond      The water course leading to the pond is lined with rubber.  The seal where the tank is attached to the rubber liner must be absolutely water proof.  The board that will attach to the rubber will have dried Pond Shield on it.  The rubber in that area will be abraded to resemble 60-grit sandpaper so that the Pond Shield  will adhere.  Bolt holes will be drilled.  The rubber will overlay the board and be attached with stainless steel bolts.  Attach it so that there are no perceptible pin holes.

It is hard to find paint that will adhere to stainless steel bolts.  So, go to an auto store and buy a quart of self-etching primer.  Prime the bolts that stick out and then apply the Pond Shield, making sure that there are no pin holes whatsoever.    I will be working on this project later on this month.  Look for a photo diary of it in my website.


Written by Peter Enns ~ Peter currently owns and operates the Yard Gardener.  This website grew out of a passion that Peter & his wife have for landscaping, especially water gardening.  The Yard Gardener is a great place to learn a wide variety of pond related information as well as cash in on some great deals at our online store. Come visit us and see how you can make a beautiful water garden.