No matter your goal for your garden pond in the backyard, you will need to consider a few things here and there to make sure it turns out great. You may be building your own pond and digging it out, or perhaps you have opted for a pre-formed pond.
Whatever your preference, we would like to take you through a few basics so that it turns out great for the plants, fish, and of course, yourself and your family!
5 Things to Consider When Setting Up a Garden Pond
Consider Your Surroundings
Does your city allow the installation of backyard ponds? Be sure to check out your local zoning laws to make sure you aren’t violating anything. Do also check with your neighbors to ensure they are okay with a backyard pond.
And lastly, think about any hazards you may have around-if you have a particularly clumsy dog, for example, will he or she crash into the pond, injuring themselves or any fish? What about the children? Even shallow ponds can be dangerous for babies and little ones, so do be mindful of those around you. Bear in mind that water can sometimes attract mosquitoes, so if this will bother you or a pet consider it carefully.
Think About the Location
Your pond will do best in a place that is open and away from trees. Reason being is that trees drop leaves, berries, and bark, and these get into a pond and make it dirty or even clog the filtration system. Furthermore, tree roots can be hard and expensive to remove, and can even grow back into the pond.
Also consider the plants around your pond, as some of these are poisonous to fish. Black walnuts, for example, is listed on the Bonnies Plants website as being poisonous to fish, along with:
- Morning Glory
to name just a few. Be sure that if you make an investment on fish, you ensure they have a safe environment to grow. Also, be sure that you put your pond in a location in which YOU will be sure to enjoy it-that is, near the house and up close so that you can immediately see if anything needs tending to (heaven forbid that a fish did pass away and needed to be removed, or a plant died and needed to be taken out).
Consider the Supplies Needed
The good news is that all the supplies you need can be bought from sites like Aquacadabra, an online source of garden pond supplies, or you can simply go to your local home store or big-box retailer to get what you need. Ponds are popular, so the gear needed to build them is not hard to come by at all.
The not so good news is that this stuff will cost you some money, but it will be worth it when you finally have a nice backyard zone to hang out and chat with friends.
To start, you will need:
- A pond liner (a rubber liner and soft underlayer)
- Or a Pre-made pond container (they look like plastic pools, usually colored black).
You can also look for pond kits. These often come equipped with:
- Tubing that connects the skimmer to the waterfall
- A skimmer box
- A spillway box
A skimmer is a necessary tool to keep the pond clean and capture debris and leaves. It works a lot like a fish filter if you’ve ever owned an aquarium-it takes away impurities in the water to ensure a healthy environment.
You might also consider:
- A ground fault circuit interrupter
- Outdoor water tap
- Skimmer for leaves
- Rocks or pebbles for bottom
Sometimes you can get good deals by checking online, on local garage sale sites, or end of the season sales at nearby retailers. One friend I know of found a guy who did not want his pond anymore-all he had to do was take it down and it was free for the taking.
Fish and plants are wonderful to have in your pond, but it is very important that you know how to care for them. Be sure that you choose plants that are non-invasive. If you are not careful, the whole pond could get taken over by one plant before you know it. Some pond owners report them tangling with other plants in the pond and wrapping around rocks in the pond bottom.
Do check with a friend who knows about ponds or visits a nursery to ask the workers which plant fare best in ponds for your area.
Fish are another lovely part of ponds, and for those of you that live in cold climes, consider cold water fishes like koi or goldfish. And even though these guys love the cold, if it snows where you live, consider bringing them indoors so they can live comfortably.
You can comfortably house one goldfish per two cubic feet minimum so that they are healthy and unstressed. Koi need even more space. You can feed your fish pond pellets and they will thrive. Be sure to set up the pond and let it run for a few weeks before adding any fish-this sets the water up to be safe for the fish. Speak to your local fish store for advice about introducing fish safely.
Do you have the time and resolve to maintain a pond? Checking the pond daily is the best way to go about things, as it ensures everything is healthy and running as it should be.
You will need to make time to skim it, clean the pond skimmer, and add water-plus feed the fish, care for the plants, and verify the water makeup is healthy for the fish.
Do you have this sort of time?
All in all, having a pond in your backyard is a rewarding, fun and beautiful way to spend spring and summer days. Your friends and family will enjoy sitting around and listening to the water peacefully falling through the spillway as they talk, and children will take delight in feeding the fish and seeing them splash around. It’s not hard to set up your pond, but it will take some work. Good luck!