Choosing a location is the most important initial decision in designing your garden pond. Locate the pond in an active area of your yard so that you can enjoy it throughout the year. It is important to situate the pond around your best view of your garden. For instance, if you have a deck overlooking your yard, set the pond in an area where you can see it from the deck’s best vantage point. Consider the winter months and situate the pond so that you can view it from inside the home. An attractive pond draws people to it like bees around a honey pot.
Visitors arriving at the house will make a detour to look at the pond. If you do not have a path, the grass would soon be worn away by tramping feet. If you put your pond out in front of your house, you will have passersby who will surely stop and take a look. You will meet a lot of people this way but this could also interfer with your peace and supper hour. Keep in mind the safety of people and pets. Ask yourself if children, elderly and handicapped people can freely and safely visit your pond. Make your pond easy to get to so that ALL can enjoy it.
It will be helpful to design your pond with a length of garden hose or rope, using it to alter the shape and size until you are satisfied. Bigger is better. Almost everyone I have talked to wants to make their pond bigger. Myself included.
Here are some other factors to consider when choosing the location of your pond————-
SUNLIGHT & TREES
Aquatic plants such as water lilies and lotus require a minimum of six hours of full sun, if they are to achieve their full beauty. If you think your pond would look perfect in that shady corner or under overhanging trees, then there are a few plants that will do well. Some even open their blossoms at night. (Will cover plants in future article)
Ponds that have overhanging trees will keep you busy with removing the leaves from your pond. Some kinds of trees like the black walnut can poison your pond and fish. Fruits trees are also a hazard for a pond. Overripe fruit, figs or nuts can fall into the water and begin to rot and pollute the water. It will only take a few days for your fish to die. The falling leaves could clog pumps and filters. You can cover your pond with some sort of a net. Tree roots growing under the pond can also cause damage. Silver Maples have roots that grow to the top of the ground. Many of us have hit these roots with our lawnmowers.
Whether you select a hard or soft liner pond, be sure to choose well-drained soil. Do not locate your pond in a hollow, because boggy or wet soil can shift and distort the shape of a liner pond. There also could be the risk of water collecting in the hole and cause the liner to float away from the base and sides, Sandy soil can cave in the side of a pond. Runoff during a rainstorm could fill a pond with mud and debris as well as pesticide and fertilizer residues-even if you don’t use them, they can come from the neighbors yard. If your only choice is a low area, consider a camouflaged ditch if there is standing water or install perimeter drainage to direct the groundwater away from the site. You can also construct the pond with raised edges to discourage runoff into the pond.
ELECTRICITY & WATER
Be sure that easy access to both of these resources is available. Make sure you measure the distance to your tap or you could find your hose to short to reach your pond.You could stand with your hose in your hand, hour after hour, spraying water upwards into the air so it would land in the pond. When you realize that it would take you all night, it’s off to K-mart or your closest hardware store to buy a longer hose. Yours truly has learned the hard way. Pumps, filters, fountains, special lighting and other accessories run on normal household currents. You will have to dig a trench from your electric source (house) to the pond in which a wire can be buried.
You might want to refer a local professional like the licensed electrician or if you are a do-it-yourselfer do it yourself.. Remember! Water and electricity is a dangerous combination.
Check with the zoning board in your area to see what requirements you will need to fulfill. Some localities may require a fence for a deep pond. Insurance companies also will have rules to be followed to insure you and your pond.
Darlene Jennings (pond Lady) President,
Mid-Michigan Pond & Water Garden Club
Advanced MSU Master Gardener