Garden Design
  PondStuff! Monthly Pond & Water Gardening Newsletter



ďLittle did we know when we put in the preformed pond and bought our first small koi that in three short years we would be digging another pond!"

Over the years this has become a common occurrence in the koi hobby! Initially, when buying the first lovely little fish, none of us really comprehend the enormity adventure and commitment of which we are embarking. The second pond is usually just slightly larger than the first, but by the third or fourth try, we really understand the needs of koi! We also have begun to realize how fast they grow. But by the third or fourth pond, most people are tired of digging and think about calling in somebody to do the dirty work for them.

That brings me to the construction project and the budgetary considerations. A number of years ago, even though I am severely mathematically challenged myself, I figured out that if I put in the last pond first it would have saved me half the expense and all of the back-breaking labor. It really cost me exactly the same amount to install the first three ponds (myself) as it did to have the fourth (and last) done by professionals. You see, I had already dug the pond down to almost four feet and had most of the rocks, perennials, shrubbery and trees. I had the filters and pumps, and one UV light. So, all it needed was a new liner, three more feet deeper, a few more REALLY NICE rocks, and their ingenuity. So, to be honest with myself, I should count those things into the final project costs. Anyway, I didnít realize I could afford it and in the end, I could. I took out a mini-home equity loan for my koi and donít anyone tell me they arenít worth it. In the end, I couldnít be happier and neither could the koi.

When people suggest you ďput in your last pond firstĒ, or once you have decided on the size of the pond, you should ďdouble the size,Ē I hope you are listening. It might not be a 50% saving, but even 25% saving is a worthwhile consideration. If you donít have the property to build a really big pond, donít worry. You can go much deeper than you every dreamed. Before digging the 3 Ĺ foot pond, I anonymously called the building department to see what zoning codes or laws there were and was advised not to install anything deeper than 18Ē without a permit. I took this into consideration and did what I wanted anyway, without their permit. I knew they just wanted to tax me on the pond if I went for the permit! Or they would send a man around to tell me I had to put a fence around the pond, inside my yard, obscuring the view of the pond--- NOT! No, I wasnít going to tell them anything about my pond. Iím not raising pigs, horses or chickens here; itís just a pond! I am satisfied that my yard is sufficiently fenced, private and safe from neighborhood children or pets. But if YOU want to get a permit, thatís up to youÖ

Some planning has to go into this pond because this is the FINAL POND, the one that you will live with and the one that will meet all the needs of your koi, even when they are fully mature and three feet in length.

You already know that deeper is better for a stable environment and temperature control. You already have figured out itís difficult to catch a fish in a larger area of water. You want to make some sort of corral to herd them into in case you need to pull one or two out (maybe to take them to a show or the doctor). You know that you need twice the filtration that the filter manuals call for and you canít figure the filter and pump on a koi pond according to the amount of water. You know it is the fish load that dictates all that and more. You know you will need bottom drains, at least one and maybe more for efficient filtration. You know that a stream will provide better aeration than a waterfall, but that you can have both if you like.

There might be other things you would like to change, such as bringing in some of the large boulders, changing the plants or trees, adding bogs, and things like that. Did you ever want a lotus bog? I wanted a lotus from the minute I put the first 4 x 6í preformed pond into my garden, and then was so disappointed when I had to drag it back to the nursery. I didnít know it needed at least 2í of water and my pond was only 13Ē deep. If you are going to do it you might as well do it all! And do it right because this is the final pond, the one you will live with. This is a major home improvement. It can be compared to adding a wing onto your house! Yes, this is an expansion project all right.

Remember to take lots of before, during and after photos, and send them to us. We like to see how this is going. After all, we already have out final ponds. Where is the thrill? Itís at your house!! Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect pond, but there is also no such thing as an ugly one either. All ponds are beautiful.

- Carolyn Weise

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