Article 2 - Backyard Ponds
A pond or water garden is the main focal point for your backyard. Add
a water effect, such as a waterfall or fountain, and you have a long-lasting
family treasure that will also add greatly to you home's resale value.
Where to put a backyard pond
Consider locating your backyard pond where you can see it from a deck
or patio, or sliding glass doors. Make an effort to have it blend in
with its natural surroundings. Be sure to elevate the soil around the
pond slightly so that storm runoff will flow away from the pond and
not into it. Be sure electrical service is available to run your pump
and filter. Try to avoind putting your pond directly under trees.
Pond liners keep water from seeping into the soil. Even in heavy clay
soils, a liner is necessary. You can buy rigid pond liners in a variety
of shapes. These are durable and may include built-in waterfalls. Many
are quite small. If you want a larger pool or would like to design your
own shape, consider using a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) liner. Use a liner
specifically designed for pools or ponds. There are other, cheaper,
plastics available but they are usually not resistant to ultraviolet
light and will break down quickly. Also, some plastics are actually
toxic to fish. Liners also come in different thicknesses. The thicker
the liner, the more it resists punctures. For the ultimate in pond durability,
you might consider having a cement pond liner poured.
If you use a PVC liner get one enough for your pond. To determine how
large a piece you will need, determine the maximum width, length, and
depth of your pond. Multiply the maximum depth by 3. Then add this number
to both the length and width. This will allow enough plastic to be securely
held down around all pond edges.
Installing the pond
Install your backyard pond anytime the ground is not frozen or water-saturated..
If you opt to use a pre-formed liner, dig a hole to the correct depth
and slightly wider. Insert the liner, making sure it sits level and
securely in the ground. Then back-fill around the sides, add water,
pump, and plants. Consider adding a water feature such as a fountain
or waterfall. The, for the finishing touch, landscape around the pool.
If you opt to use PVC liner, expect to spend at least one weekend from
start to finish.
Steps to install a pond with a PVC liner:
1. Decide on your pond's location.
2. Using a hose or rope, lay out the shape of your pond on the ground.
3. Start digging. Save excavated topsoil for landscaping around your
4. At least part of your backyard pond should be at least 18 to 24
inches deep although 24 to 36 inches is even better. This will allow
you to have a greater variety of plants and fish. Some people like to
make tiers around the inside of the pond, at different depths, and use
them to hold different aquatic plants. The tiers should be at least
12 inches wide to hold the plant pots.
5. Remove any rocks from the excavated area.
6. Add a one-inch layer of damp sand on the bottom of the excavated
7. Spread the plastic liner over the hole letting it sag gently into
the hole. Place some rocks around the edge to hold in the liner place.
8. Begin filling your pond slowly allowing the weight of the water
to help smooth out the liner. Remove rocks that you placed around the
edge of the liner and allow the liner to conform to the edges of the
hole. You can smooth out any wrinkles but be sure not to pull too tightly.
You do not want to change the shape or stretch the liner artificially.
If you need to walk on the liner, remove your shoes!.
9. Once the pond is full, place rocks around the edge to securely hold
the liner in place.
10. Install your pump and filter. A pump is absolutely essential for
your backyard pond;'s life-support system as they add oxygen to the
water. Also, if you plan to add a fountain or waterfall in your pond,
you will need a pump to circulate the water.
11. Let your new bond "breathe" for a few days before adding
fish and plants. This allows chlorine to evaporate from the water. Chemicals
are also available that will quickly neutralize chlorine and other harmful
12. Place plants at various depths and add fish.
For more information about backyard ponds, or adding a fountain, or
other water feature, please visit us at www.macarthurwatergardens.com
Until then - Happy Pondkeeping!
Brett Fogle, Owner
MacArthur Water Gardens
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