There is a need to decide before starting a Water Garden exactly what type of Pond you want, where are you intending locating it, is there enough room and has it enough shade from the sun.
Then you will need to decide what type of fish you want to keep, including taking into account the aquatic life you would like to see in the Pond. So, is it for koi or Goldfish, do you want to allow frogs and newts access? (Building a framed pond high up from the ground surface could prevent access for frogs, toads and newts).
Another factor is aquatic plants, which types as some need to be on the surface of the Pond, some higher up and some just below the surface, so some type of shelving would need to be created or provided.
What will the pond be made from? It could be a surface pond placing a Pond Liner into a hole, where you could cut shelves from the soil. Will it be a Pre-Made Pond or wooden or simply in pots or the like you can fill with water.
There are lots of container water garden ideas about, as a container water garden can be just as joyous as a big pond. Should you go down this route though, please make sure the container water garden fish are thought through, as the container size will dictate size and number of fish.
A mistake generally made, it making the Water Garden too small, thereby restricting how many fish you can add, or causing issues later when the fish breed. Make sure you take this into account and it will make life easier later on.
Waterfalls, Water Features, Pond Pumps and Filters all need to be considered. Will it be a natural Water Garden with simply water, plants and the eco system working it, or with Pond Fish that will probably need pumps and filters to add oxygen to the water.
Water Garden – Koi Pond
This will be a slightly different type of Water Garden in that Koi Fish will impact on the aquatic plant life you can have. Like most fish, Koi eat plants, but more so than normal Goldfish and will reduce a beautiful floral sight to nothing in no time.
A Water Garden featuring koi Fish also needs to have a water volume of at least 4,500 litres and at least 1.2 – 1.5metres in depth. Koi Fish grow pretty large over time, so think ahead on the size of Water Garden Pond you intend building.
Don’t forget though, you can actually keep Koi and Goldfish together, but make sure the size and volume is acceptable first. (See our guide to Koi Ponds for Beginners HERE).
Water Garden – General
A typical Water Garden will contain Goldfish and different types of aquatic plants. They also will need to be about 0.6metres in depth (I usually go 1metre plus) and in areas with milder weather this will help prevent all the water freezing. If you live in an area where it is much colder in the winter, go deeper, at least 1.5metres and this should be ok.
Water Garden – Location
To make life a little easier and give you more of an opportunity to enjoy it, most Water Garden Ponds are installed closer to your home. Basically, if it is nearer your home and placed in a visible position you will certainly get more benefit from it.
Your pond will without a doubt attract both wildlife, birds and butterflies to the vicinity, and that in itself should be a good reason to build it! That said, plan carefully and make sure no rain will run off the surface around it into the pond itself.
That water may have impurities in it, such as chemicals, fertilizers and more that has been used on your garden.
Also, try not to build it where overhanging trees and bushes will shed their leaves into it, since this will cause cleaning issues and problems with pond pumps and filters. A Water Garden will need good light to help the plants grow, and at least 4 – 6 hours of sunlight for some specific plants such a water lilies.
Do you want a Pond Pump and filter to move water around and give you that wonderful sound of running water? If so, you will need an electrical source close by, or cabling to run out to it (Seek advice from a qualified electrician first).
Your next decision will be to decide on a Pond size. (Please take into account previously mentioned dimensions and water volume depending on fish type you intend putting in the Garden pond).
If you are purchasing a ready-made pond (easy option), there are some lovely ones available – Click HERE to see our range. If you intend a surface level pond, there are some easy way to mark this.
First option if intending to use a Pond Liner is to simply pick up some old rope or a garden hose and lay it on the ground in the shape and size you require. (Once you have laid out the shape with rope or hose, if you measure the maximum length and width, then add the depth twice to these measurements plus approx. 30 – 60cm for an overlap and this will give you the pond liner size).
Peg it to the ground when satisfied, and start digging within its boundaries. Once you have finished and are happy, ensure all roots, rocks, stones and debris is removed. (Pond Liners HERE).
If you wish to use a Pre-Formed Pond, place on the ground where required, again, using rope or a garden hose, map out the base of the Pond (Make slightly larger and dig out inside markers.
When finished, either cover dug out area with a Pond Liner Underlay (Available HERE), which will help to prevent damage to the underside of either the Pond Liner or Pre-Formed Pond. (You can also use an old carpet to do this!).
A point to note when digging out your hole, if you wish to add plants to your Water Garden Pond it is a good idea to dig shelves so the plants can sit on these after the Pond Liner is added.
Pre-Formed Ponds normally come with these moulded into them, simply make sure you have support underneath, otherwise over time they will start to collapse.
You will need to decide where your Pond Pump will be sited inside the Pond, and if using a Pond Filter Box, where is this going? It’s good to disguise it by hiding in planting outside the Pond. If it’s an Internal, decide where you want it to go before finishing your hole digging.
If you intend using a Pond Skimmer, these should be buried to the proper level beside the pond. Dig a ditch for the plumbing from the pond to the waterfall or external pond filter. The Pond Skimmer should go in a ditch to the external pond pump and from the pump to the external pond filter or a waterfall, if being used. Should you be using a submersible pump in the pond skimmer, then make sure the ditch is from the skimmer to the external pond filter or waterfall.
When placing your Pond Liner over your Pond Liner Underlay, make sure it’s even and try and keep any creases down to the very minimum. Generally, once you add water the folds begin to disappear, but rub smoothly of them to give them a helping hand.
If you are going to make this Water garden pond with waterfalls or even go the whole hog and add a stream – It’s now time to dig these out ready. Place your external pond filter or waterfall tank to create the first waterfall.
It can be placed to flow directly into the pond and you will need to hold the Pond Liner up against the pond filter until you can stone stack from the Garden Pond shelf up against the Pond Filter to create your waterfall.
Now; if you have planned big and want a stream also, then dig this several inches deep and to your desired size and shape. Make sure the Liner Underlay and Pond Liner overlap several inches into the pond.
Put your plumbing in place from the pump to the start of the waterfall. Make sure your Stream is dug wider than the finished size in order to make room for any stone placed in and around the Stream as edging.
If using a Pond Skimmer, then connect the Pond Liner to this and place the piping in place, but make sure to leave a few inches extra to make your connections later. Then place all stone or other coping around the edge of the Pond or Water Garden.
It is now time to back fill with soil to make sure you hold the Pond Liner against the stone. It’s now time to fill the pond with water to within a few inches from the top and gauge or make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure that the pond is level.
The first thing to do now is add your Pond Plants, as they feed on all kinds of nutrients within the water that algae usually feed on. By depriving the algae of food, it will keep it at bay. What type of Pond Plants do this best: Anacharis, Water Hyacinth, Parrot’s Feather, and Bacopa to name a few.
You also need surface shade and Water lilies are great for this. They grow and depending on how many plants you have, their leaves can cover at least two thirds of the surface area, which in full sun is perfect. Always try and shade the Pond if too hot and Pond Plants will do this to some degree for you.
Now is the time to get the water in tip top condition. We supply numerous additives to do this HERE, but I have been using the Evolution Aqua Pure Pond Bomb in mine, which gives a fast acting boost of clarity for all types of ponds, breaks down ammonia and nitrite quickly to restore a biological equilibrium and cleans up organic waste to boost clarity of water. It was voted pond product of the year by the readers’ of Practical Fish Keeping Magazine, and for good reason too.
When you are happy the Water Garden is ready, you should begin adding your fish a few at a time over several weeks to allow the bacteria to establish in your water garden. Then sit back and enjoy!