Water Features

 

A gentle waterfall is one of nature’s most beautiful, rhythmic and tranquil sounds.  By creating a water feature in your yard, you can enjoy the relaxing sound of running water as well as fauna and flora that will be unique to the pond.  A pond can be any size or shape and does not have to be complicated to be beautiful or successful.

When designing a pond, think about what you want out of your water feature.  Do you just want the sound of running water, which can be achieved by a very small installation, or do you want lots of fish and plants which will require a larger pond.  No matter what size you end up choosing, you will want to have a small waterfall somewhere in the design to help aerate your water as well as to bring the dulcet sounds of nature to your backyard.

Before digging your pond, choose a spot that can be easily viewed from the house as well as the yard.  Once you are ready to begin, dig the hole to the shape and size that you desire.  The pond needs to be lined  with a pre-molded pond liner, a rubber pond liner or just plain concrete. The rubber pond liner is preferred because it can conform to any shape and can be repaired if necessary. You will need some sort of border for your pond and these can vary from putting down a few bricks to building a limestone wall.

In order to create a waterfall you will need a low pressure, submersible pump and electric to power the pump.  The pump will rest at the bottom of the pond and will pump water up through a small hose that you can position anywhere you like to have the water fall back down into the pond.  The water can simply fall directly back into the pond or it can cascade over rocks.  No matter how you design your waterfall, you need to make sure it does not leak or lose water.  Small pre-molded liners are available that can be incorporated into the waterfall design.  For safety reasons, an electrician should be contacted to oversee the installation of the electric to power the pump. Once you have electricity, you can also incorporate underwater lights.  It is a good idea to have the lights and pump on separate switches.

Once your pond is lined and your waterfall is set up, you can fill the pond with water. City water is fine, but you cannot put fish or plants into your pond for about 10 days as some of the chemicals in our tap water need time to dissipate. After the 10 day waiting period, you can begin to add plants. Water lilies are a great choice and need full sun to bloom.  Many alocasias can also work well as water plants. Remove the plants from their containers and use rocks to hold them in place. These rocks will combine with the roots of the plants to create hiding areas for your fish. You can add fish after the plants have been in the pond about 2-3 weeks. Start with a few mollies to see if your pond is in balance before adding more expensive fish like African cichlids. Coy need a very large pond and require a filtration system. You fish will need to be fed about once a day until the plants become lush enough to support the feeding habits of the fish.

Your pond may go through periods of intense algal bloom in the first six months. This will last several days and then begin to clear and may happen 4-5 times. You do not need a filtration system in your pond to control this. Once the fish and plants begin to balance each other out, the water will turn clear. The fish will feed on the plants and the plants will feed on the nutrients the fish add to the water.

You will find that your pond will attract many insects and animals. Birds will flock to your waterfall for a quick drink or bath. Dragonflies will lay eggs on your plants and their young will begin their lives hunting underwater in your pond. Frogs will come as well and may add an occasional tadpole to your mix.  

A well designed pond is something that will give you countless hours of pleasure.  A pond adds a tranquil influence to your landscape design while adding value to your home. Ponds do not need a lot of maintenance if they are installed correctly and the price of creating one is quickly paid back by the beauty and tranquility the pond adds to your yard.