|Creating your Garden Pond|
Garden ponds, when correctly placed, stocked and planned, can be a joy to have in your garden. They are pleasing aesthetically, offer an attraction for some local wildlife, and of course allow you stock a whole different variety of fish for the indoor aquarium enthusiast.
If you decide to build a pond rather than getting in a specialist, then the easiest and quickest way to put in a garden pond is to purchase a hard bottom moulded pond. The beauty of these is that you are very unlikely to experience the problem of a soft skinned pond: the dreaded leaks. On the other hand, the main drawback with a ready moulded pond is that you have a limited number of shapes and sizes you can acquire, meaning that you may be limited in what you are able to do, and you might not be able to fully utilise the available space in your garden.
Meticulous planning is key to building your garden pond when using a pond liner. Do not expect to build your pond in a day, which was the mistake I made, and resulted in a leaking pond with a brick wall and cladding which was loose and fell off. So, I had to go back to the drawing board and call in the professionals, landscape gardeners with pond building experience.
Part of your plans will include decisions on shape, size and depth. If you are considering the purchase of koi carp, the depth of the pond should be at a minimum 5ft. This is because the koi carp are not indigenous and require this depth to survive a harsh cold British winter. If however your pond is being built for gold fish the less depth is required - 3 ft should be considered, but of course there is no limit. Equally important is the shape of the pond. Use the space you have, and shallow ledges by the edge of the pond are necessary for plants or frogs, or even newts if you are lucky.
Finally, consider all the materials that you may need to purchase. Is your pond going to be surrounded by a brick wall or is it going to be built into your existing lawn? Either way it is likely that you will require builder’s sand and cement, but if you are building a wall then the purchase of bricks will be necessary. Pond lining is of course critical and there are several options to think about. The strongest but most expensive option is rubber and the least expensive PVC, which is probably also less likely to get punctured and leak.
Building the pond:
Firstly dig the hole. Depending on the size of the pond you are building you will probably require clearance of the soil from your garden, or, do as I did, which was to use the soil I dug out to build a rockery at the other end of the garden. Be aware that digging a pond even of about 1 metre cubed will create an awful lot of soil. You can use rubble bags from a builder’s merchant, which can be filled and carried easily, and can then be taken to your nearest rubbish tip. If however your pond is very large and there is no place in your garden for the soil, and you feel trips to the tip may be too much, you may want to hire a skip.
When you have finished digging the required sized hole, you should line the pond with sand, carpet liner or even cement to ensure a smooth surface with no protruding stone or roots to pierce your pond liner. Then place your pond liner in the hole, making sure that as few folds as possible are showing. Before then putting the cladding stones, paving slabs or timber decking around, and on top of the pond liner, you should fill your pond to its maximum water depth to ensure that it does not leak and that all folds are as perfect as practically.
At this point it is strongly advisable to then wait a day or two to allow the water pressure and pond lining to completely settle to its shape. Then you trim the lining to the correct size, and put the cladding or paving stones you are using to hide the edge of the lining over the top, ensuring that at least half of the slab is on top of the edge pond lining. Again wait a day or so for the cemented paving slabs or cladding to dry. You may need to empty and clean the pond if any cement has gone in the pond.
Preparation of your pond for fishes and plants:
If this is the first pond you have built and stocked, consult a good aquatics centre for advice. Determine how many litres of water your pond holds, no mean feat, but I did this by calculating how long it took my hose to fill a 5 litre bucket and then timed the amount of time it took to fill the pond.
Your first purchase from the aquatics centre should be fresh start pond liquid, which basically neutralises the chlorine in tap water, making the water safe for the fish. If your pond is reasonably small, say less than about 3,000 litres (which although doesn’t sound it, is quite small!) then you can purchase an all in one filter, pump and fountain combination. The pump and filter size required is determined by the size of your pond so advise your aquatics centre of the details and they will sell you the appropriate pond filter and pump. It is strongly advised that after you have filled your pond and switched your pump on that you should not purchase any fish (or even pond plants) for at least 7 to 10 days.
7 to 10 days later you are ready to buy your fish and plants, the numbers and variety of which again vary according to the size of your pond. Once again, consult your aquatics specialist, and then, for the time being at least, sit back and enjoy the ambience…
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Pond Design and Construction click here for a full list.
Water Treatments click here for a full list.