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Pondering a pond? Creating a water feature is not as hard as you think

4/15/2011, 3:43 p.m.

* Your pond is a living eco-system. If you'll be adding water plants, most need at least four hours of sun per day, so you'll need to choose a spot that gets plenty of sun.

* Avoid placing your pond near trees or plants with invasive root systems. Roots can grow under the pond liner and cause damage. And if it's under trees, falling leaves could block the filter and pump, and decomposing leaves are actually toxic to fish.

Designing and building pointers

Now that you know where you'll place your pond it's time to think about what it will look like, and to get down to the business of building it. Keep in mind that how you'll use the pond, where it's located and your lifestyle will all affect the design.

If you plan to have fish in your pond, you need to adjust the depth accordingly; goldfish are usually OK in shallow water but koi will need a deeper pond. If the ground in your area of the country freezes in winter, you'll want to make your pond at least 18 inches deep to protect it. If you live in a densely populated area or have small children, you will need to build a fence into your design for safety's sake.

Before you begin digging, check your community's bylaws and find out if any city ordinances govern pond-building. Also, be sure to contact your local utilities by calling 811 to ensure you don't risk hitting any utility lines while digging.

With planning, the right products and a little elbow grease, you can create a water feature in your landscape - and turn your backyard into a garden that you'll enjoy for years to come.