Water Features

Building a Pond:

A backyard pond can turn a ho-hum property into a thing of absolute beauty. It can be the perfect finishing touch to a landscape or the centerpiece of a yard. Backyard ponds are increasing in popularity, as a variety of inexpensive kits and products hit the market. For years, backyards ponds were a luxury that only the very wealthy could afford. Today, it seems, any homeowner willing to put in a little effort can add a pond to his or her property.

Unfortunately, in the mad rush to integrate ponds into home landscaping, many do-it-yourselfers make mistakes. There are a number of important factors you should consider before and during the construction of a backyard pond. Let’s look at some guidelines for building your backyard pond the smart way. Keeping these points in mind will allow one to avoid several common pitfalls associated with do-it-yourself pond construction.

First, integrate the pond with your existing landscape. In many cases, amateur landscapers simply find a convenient open area and get right down to work. The finished product? Well, it looks just like a backyard--with a pond in it. The pond just doesn’t seem to fit. It seems “forced” or somehow incongruous with overall look and feel of the property. In these situations, the presence of a pond can actually detract from the beauty of a yard and can serve to diminish curb appeal and resale value.

If you are considering adding a pond to your hard, take the time to select a design and a location that flatter your overall landscaping. Don’t simply “plop” it down somewhere in hopes that it will look great. In many cases, it won’t. If you don’t feel as though you can trust your own design and aesthetic judgment on the matter, seek the opinion of others to guide the location and shape of your new pond.

Second, think about the elements. If you place your pond in complete shade, you might have a problem providing adequate warmth to maintain a fish population. If you place your pond near a tree, you may find yourself constantly working to keep leaves out of the water. The environment surrounding the pond will have a large impact on both its appearance and overall well being. Think about your property and the elements before starting work on your backyard pond.

Third, size matters. You need to make sure your pond will be sized correctly to meet your goals. Those with limited space may wish for a pond with a large fish population, only to find that the space available won’t support enough finned friends to satisfy them. Others may want to experiment with a variety of aquatic plants. These also have specific space requirements that you should consider. If your pond is too shallow or too small, your range of options will be limited.

Another example of considering size carefully has to deal with the depth of the pond. This is particularly true in colder climates with ponds containing fish. If the pond is too shallow, it can freeze completely. It should come as no surprise that a total freeze is likely to cut down on the number of fish in a hurry! Proper pond depth is essential in many situations to maintain a healthy fish population.

Adding a backyard pond can be a great way to make outdoor living more attractive and enjoyable. If done correctly, it can add a certain luster to a property and can even serve to create a substantial net increase in the property’s value. However, a poorly conceived backyard pond can be incredibly frustrating.

Today, almost anyone can add a pond to the backyard. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing that. If you are considering adding a pond to your property, be aware of the factors you must keep in mind in order to do the job right!

Garden Fountains:

Water features such as a pond, fountain or waterfall are almost always the first thing that catches the attention of your guests.

That's why these are one of the most popular ideas for landscaping today!

Water is naturally very relaxing, so it makes sense that people would want to have water in their gardens. Waterfalls are especially desirable because you not only get the look of a garden pond, but also the serenity of the sound of splashing water.

Garden fountains can make a nice addition to your landscaping if you don't have room for a full pond or a winding waterfall and stream. They are often less expensive to setup and require less maintenance as well.

Water Falls:

An outdoor waterfall is a water fountain, with the fountain head hidden behind tubing and a collection of rocks. They all operate similarly, with water current being lifted and recirculated by means of a pump and tubing. Many enjoy the natural look of a waterfall, and so put one near their garden, complete with fish and aquatic plant life. (It sure beats an aquarium!) Ponds require digging, however and so for many homeowners who do not want a heavy project to worry about, they may choose to buy pools and fountains. Water fountains can come in a variety of designs, featuring animal likenesses like dolphins or seals, or even mermaid creatures. If you want to liven up your pool party, install a specialty fountain and turn your pool into a water attraction!

Benefits of waterfalls and water fountains include visual and aesthetic beauty, along with the wonderful aural sensation of running water. Rushing water helps people relax, and ionize a more positive atmosphere. This form of sound therapy may even help with Feng Shui, which is the Chinese art of keeping your room and yard in easy flowing harmony.

Narrow Space Water Feature:

What to do with this oddly placed bed?  Make it the site of a new water feature!

Dig a trench about a foot and a half deep. leave about four inches of soil as a wall on either side of the trench. This reservoir will be able to hold a lot of water while also being deep enough to stabilize the tall columns.

Once the trench has been dug, Pull out a heavy-duty pond liner purchased from the local pond supply store. Always buy more than you need so it reaches and covers all the edges.

On top of the liner, place some flat pieces of limestone. This stone will serve as a support base for the basalt columns while also protecting the liner from tearing during the columns' placement into the trench.

Now the reservoir is ready for the columns to be placed. The three columns range in various heights and weigh several hundred pounds each. The columns have pre-drilled holes running their entire length. We intend to use a pump to push water through these holes so that it will bubble out the top and run down the sides of the columns.

Gets a sheet of plywood and places it between the limestone bases and the pond liner against the house wall. Then, take a second sheet of plywood and lays it on the ground on top of the pond liner. By doing this, you will protect the liner and the side of the house from any potential damage during the move.

Carefully place each stone so that they are balanced on the limestone base and so that the pre-drilled holes are easily accessible at the base of each column. Dump the pre-washed river rock over the limestone bases, just enough to make a solid carpet of rock in the bottom of the trench.

Feeling comfortable, with put together a simple tubing system that connects the pump to the pipes for each column. Use PVC joints, check valves and flexible tubing to create this manifold.

Water Feature Types:

There are several different types of water features out there: large, small, deep and shallow ponds, streams, waterfalls and Pondless® Waterfalls. But what are the primary differences? And how do you know which one is right for you? They are all aquatic ecosystems, and each is a beautiful sight to behold in your backyard. The main consideration is to pick which type of water feature is best for your lifestyle. In this series, we’ll talk about different aspects of owning large ponds, streams, waterfalls, and even Pondless® Waterfalls to help you make your decision. In this first article we'll discuss large ponds, streams and waterfalls.

Large Ponds:

You might already have a pond and are looking to get a larger one, or perhaps you just like the idea of a large pond. When it comes to larger ponds, you’re probably going to want to hire a professional to build it so that it doesn’t take up the next three months of your time. Next, you need to know what goes into owning and maintaining a large pond.

Although it may seem surprising, larger ponds are actually much easier to maintain than smaller ponds. The larger volume of water in a large pond will create a sort of a buffer. In other words, it takes much more to affect the conditions in a large pond than in a smaller pond.

A great example of this phenomenon is the pH level. Having a fairly stable pH level is important for fish. Smaller ponds can experience very rapid pH swings due to such things as adding water, rain, and runoff. In a larger pond, it takes much more of an outside influence before the pond is affected. This is not to say that you should not consider smaller ponds. It is simply a reminder to always go with the largest pond that your space allows. Once set up it will easier to maintain in the long run.

Waterfalls and Streams:

Waterfalls and streams really capture the imagination. Many people go on exhausting trips into the wilderness just to see a beautiful river, waterfall, or stream.

A man-made waterfall is simply water pumped from one body of water to an area above that body of water, and then allowed to flow back in. If you do it right, it’ll look good, sound good, and you won't lose any water in between.

You need to think about the effect you’re trying to achieve. Do you want a peaceful trickle or thundering rapids? Are you trying to drown out traffic noise from a nearby road or are you looking to mimic the sounds of nature with a pleasing gurgling water sound? Drowning out traffic will generally require greater water volume going through your stream or waterfall than just creating gurgling water sounds in a relatively quiet setting. These decisions will help determine the type of rock that you choose, the width of the waterfall, and the size pump that you need.

DIY Water Feature Types:

As you design and build the stream portion of your water garden, there are a few tips to keep in mind in order to create the most natural stream possible.

Water in a natural setting runs downhill as quickly as possible, and along the way it hits objects that are harder than the surrounding soil (large rocks and logs), and sometimes it goes through sharp elevation changes. The goal is to copy these phenomenon as much as possible in your man-made waterfall or stream.

  1. Your stream should twist and turn as it makes its way toward your pond, which will increase the water sounds, and the number of viewing areas.
  2. A large rock should be placed at each turn. At elevation changes, place additional larger stones, or a series of stones, to try to duplicate the look of the erosion process.
  3. Your stream should get narrow in areas, then widen out and slow down in others. If your stream narrows in one place, open it back up downstream. Incorporate areas within your stream where the water can pool.
  4. Always slope the streambed toward your pond.
  5. Make sure you use a good mix of stone and gravel to create a natural look. Fill the streambed with aquatic plants.
  6. Leave several inches of soil and liner above the water level in the stream.
  7. Remember that high water flow rates need a wider stream and/or higher edges

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