How to Design a Water Pond

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DESIGNING,
SIZE, SHAPE AND DEPTH OF YOUR POND

By
the Pond
Lady

Once
you have settled on a potential site for your pond,
you need to decide on the size. If you want fish and
a variety of plants, it would be best to have a larger
in-ground pond. This doesn’t mean you would not be successful
with a half-barrel or other type of patio-deck water
container garden. Now is the time to get out paper and
pencils. Draw out a base map of your yard then draw
in the shape of the pond and then add plantings and
other features around it. Draw out several designs.
This is also the time to determine what kind of material
your pond will be constructed of. Preformed or prefabricated
shell, flexible liner or concrete. A pond does not have
to be round. You might want to consider a stream, or
more than one waterfall. Do you want a formal look to
your pond? If you do, then you might want to stick with
a square, circle or rectangle design. The geometric
shapes with balanced, mirror image plantings are very
tranquil and elegant to look at. Most back yard ponds
I have encountered have an informal design (ponds designed
without strict geometric form) and these tend to suit
most landscapes and home designs as well as the owners.
Plan your pond to harmonize with the surrounding area.
Using a flexible liner offers you an easy way to shape
a pond. Planning your pond in stages will be much easier
on your budget. For example, the first year – your largest
pond, the second year – a stream, the third year – a
bog garden.

Preformed
or prefabricated shell ponds can be purchased at almost
any local store that carries water garden supplies.
These stores include Lowes, Home Depot, Meijers and
almost any nursery just to name a few. You should look
for black or dark gray fiberglass that is at least 1/4
inch thick and will hold water when they are above ground.
They should come with a lengthy guarantee. AVOID POOLS
WITH FLEXIBLE SIDES THAT DO NOT MAINTAIN THEIR SHAPE
WHEN FILLED WITH WATER WITHOUT SUPPORT. These pools
tend to change shape as you backfill around them which
results in a top edge that is not level. Shapes and
sizes can vary. Depth varies from 13 to 18 inches depending
on model selected.

Flexible
Liners come in two types – PVC and rubber. Both are
sold in grades by thickness, measured in mils (one-thousandth
of an inch). Thicker liners cost more, but are more
durable and last longer. I would strongly recommend
the thicker synthetic rubber EPDM that has at least
a 45-mil. Check the guarantees and warranties. A 45-mil
liner should last 20 years. You can adapt a flexible
liner to fit a site because there are no preset sizes
or shapes to contend with.

The
depth of your pond should be taken into consideration
for these reasons. Deeper water helps maintain cool,
clear water and a more stable summer temperature. If
you keep fish year around, a deeper pond will keep them
from freezing. A depth of 18 and 24 inches is okay for
Goldfish and mosquito fish. Koi prefer ponds of at least
three feet. The Koi enthusiasts recommend as much as
five feet. Koi require vertical swimming exercise for
optimum health and they grow much larger than goldfish.
Goldfish and koi are cold-water fish. Warm water holds
less oxygen. In designing your pond you could make part
of your pond deep to keep the water cooler.

People
who might have problems with bending or kneeling should
strongly consider a raised pond and edges. These ponds
help to eliminate getting down on the ground to feed
and touch your fish, and make it easier to clean your
pond and skimmer.

Darlene
Jennings (pond Lady) President,
Mid-Michigan Pond & Water Garden Club
Advanced MSU Master Gardener

 

How to Choose a Pond Site
Designing a Pond
Edging for a Pond
Pumps
Spring Cleanup
Plants
Summer Cleanup
Waterfalls
Water Gardens
Winter

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