If you have a garden that is set on many different ground levels it can be the perfect place to install a garden pond. Having a split level water feature or garden pond will mean that you can incorporate waterfalls and water courses into the pond design to really make something of your garden feature.
Whilst a garden pond on one level looks brilliant, having a sloping garden can mean you can have two or more pond levels and have streams or different types of interconnecting water flow between them. The overall affect can look stunning.
When installing a pond system on sloping ground you need to make sure that the pond design is done correctly and the ground can structurally hold the quantity of water you will add to the pond. This may mean shoring the earth in different locations and then backfilling or adding more earth around higher level pools to hold everything in place. You may even need to build retaining walls or get a structural engineer to oversee the construction if you have any doubts. But, when the design is finished the pond will certainly be the focal point of your garden.
After you have bought your new pond liner the last thing you would want to do is damage it during the installation process. If your new pond is large in size it can be difficult to lay the liner over the hole and fill the pond making sure you have enough liner around the edge. And, while doing this you need to make sure you do not accidentally puncture or stress the liner in any way.
The work you do in your initial pond design will be rewarded with less need for maintenance or repair in the future. Repairing a Butyl or Epalyn liner is not a too difficult job but it can be really frustrating to have to repair a new liner before it is used in anger. You can take these few steps when digging and designing your pond to prevent any future pond liner problems:
• After you have dug the hole, remove any stones or twigs that might pose future problems
• Putting a layer of sand at the bottom of your pond can prove to be a great base layer
• Use underlay before you install your pond liner. This will provide further protection to your liner and hence increase the time before your pond may need a repair
With all the rain that seems to be falling at the moment it can pose potential problems for pond owners. That is unless you have already taken preventative measures to make sure that excess water in the pond is dealt with before it becomes a problem.
Lack of water in your pond can also be a problem. If during the summer months your pond water level drops too far, the pond inhabitants may suffer unnecessarily. You therefore need to take steps to ensure you have a top up supply if the water level drops too far. Using tap water can be detrimental to your pond’s eco-system, so whenever possible you should use collected rain water.
If you want to take preventative measures to remove water from your pond if the level rises too high, there are some things you can do here also.
The best solution to remove excess water from a pond is to use a soakaway. You can incorporate an overflow pipe into the pond design at the upper most level you want the water to rise to. The overflow pipe can lead to an underground soakaway that can be dug at a level lower than the pond so the water can easily drain into it.
Making the decision to include a garden pond in your garden design can be a little difficult. There are many things you need to consider. Not least how much time and patience you will need during the pond’s set up period and future maintenance requirements.
Owning garden ponds can be very rewarding but you need to prepare yourself for a little hard work now and again. If you just want something to look at, why not try a water feature or other garden decorative feature.
The initial design and pond build can take some effort and then the pond needs time to develop its own eco-system before you add your fish. This is a time consuming process. But when done properly it can provide many hours of pleasure and satisfaction.
Important considerations before the start of the build include:
• Build a pond that fits with the size of your garden
• Decide positioning of the pond based on future water supply and electricity requirements
• Try not to build a pond under trees – the falling leaves can prove to be a problem
• Decide if you want to keep fish – and how many
• Look into the various pond filter and pond pump systems – you need to choose the right one for your pond size
• Take into consideration how your pond will affect the surrounding environment – be prepared to include an array of pond plants and incorporate features in your pond that will not only benefit you but also other animals and future pond inhabitants
If left for a few years with little maintenance the plants in your pond can become overgrown. If you have planned well in advance any plants that have been submerged in your garden ponds will have been installed in planting baskets. These are the perfect way to put plants into your pond and the easiest way to remove them if necessary.
Mesh pond plant baskets allow the roots of your pond plants to spread out but still keep the pond plant well contained so it can be easily removed from the pond if necessary. They also keep the soil around the plant roots and not clouding the water, adding pea gravel to the top of your baskets will also stop soil floating away for your plant.
Having your pond plants in individual containers also means that you can split the plants easily and also target specific plants with fertilisers or other treatments if necessary.
You can get many different sizes of pond planters in shapes including square, round and kidney shaped. So you will be able to find the right size planter for the size and position of pond plant you want.
Now might be the time of year you consider installing a heater to your pond. With the winter weather only round the corner, if you want to keep your pond ice free and keep your fish active you will need to stop the pond temperature falling as the air temperature drops.
The cooling of your pond temperature is a gradual process and the fish in your pond are well aware of this. They will adapt to their ambient surroundings and so when the pond temperature drops they will become less active and hence not need as much food. If you want to keep the fish in your pond more active than usual over the winter months then the only solution is to install a pond heater.
Depending on the size of pond you own you will need to buy a pond heater (or pond heaters) accordingly. Most come with a thermostat that can be set to your required temperature and the heater can be easily foxed to the floor of wall of your pond for ease of future access.
Pond heaters are the perfect pond accessory and a great way to make the most of your pond during the cold winter months.
If you own a particularly large or deep pond then you might want to add a pond air pump into your design to aid water oxygenation and hence improve the environment for your fish.
Most new air pumps now offer high performance levels along with the ability to pump air to a depth of several metres so your pond can stay fully aerated. The oxygen that is in garden ponds will be used by all the living creatures that inhabit it including your fish and the bacteria in your pond filter. The filter bacteria need this oxygen convert harmful fish pollutants like ammonia into nitrites then nitrates.
This conversion of pond pollutants is essential for the survival of your pond. Without a filter system or adequate oxygenation your pond pollutants will ultimately build up to uncontrollable levels resulting in the death of your fish and their habitat.
Adding extra oxygen into the pond using an air pump is a great way to add more oxygen into your pond which will ultimately lead to a better environment for your fish and your pond.
Choosing a filter system for your new pond can be a little daunting if you haven’t much experience. If you are buying all your kit from new it might be worth looking at some of the great package deals you can find online. These often come with several components that when purchased separately would cost you a lot more money.
The Oase AquaMax Eco CWS filter pump when matched with the Oase Filtoclear pressure filter is one such kit that is an excellent choice for any new pond starter. This system can either be installed above ground or below ground and with its unique easy clean system technology cleaning the filter has never been easier.
Due to the system’s small dimensions the system can be fitted into any garden environment and with the high quality materials Oase use, you can be guaranteed of brilliant results. The system has a pollutant level indicator and flow control built in and the pressure of the filter means you can add a waterfall or stream into your design to aid concealment of the unit.
The UVC rays produced from the PLS UVC bulb will remove flocculate algal cells and pathogens so they can be removed from the water and kits include a starter supplement for your filter to aid your initial pond eco-system start up.
One of the simplest things that you can do to your pond at this time of year that will take seconds is to add a ball to the pond surface.
It is the time of year when we start to prepare for the winter freeze. This does not however mean that the pond owner’s life becomes one of just staring through the window at the pond waiting for warmer weather.
If you haven’t already cleared the leaf fall from trees around the pond now is the time. You don’t want to alter the balance of nutrients in your pond by letting all the leaves in your garden blow into the pond during windy weather. Depending on the size of your garden this may take some time but it is definitely a worthwhile task. Remember to remove dead or dying foliage from around the pond’s edge as well. Any clearing now will make your life much easier come spring.
You should be slowing down the feeding of your fish around now. Fish are cold blooded so will be less active in the winter and will consequently not need to be fed as much. If your pond is likely to freeze, add a ball to the pond’s surface, this will stop it freezing and thus allow the pond to be fully oxygenated. If the pond does freeze it can damage the pond liner due to expansion and dangerous gases can build up underneath the ice surface. In such instances heat a pan and use this to melt the ice surface, don’t be tempted to add hot water to the pond to melt the ice or hit the ice with a hammer.
We discussed in the last article the devastating affects that a heron attack can have on your pond. There are quite a few ways you can stop this long legged bird, so hopefully these hints and tips will help you with your heron problem.
Add a protective barrier to the pond surface
The only sure fire way to stop a heron completely in its tracks is to add a barrier to the pond’s surface so that the heron can not reach your fish. This may not be the most aesthetic solution but it does work. You can either add fine mesh netting over the pond surface or if you want to try to retain some aesthetic feel why not try to stretch some fishing line around the pond or over the pond surface. Anything that may startle the heron is a good start.
Scare the Heron
You can buy heron scarers from online aquatic retailers that do a brilliant job at scaring the bird. The best ones have a PIR that detects movement, when the bird lands at the pond the scarer shoots a jet of water at the bird which has the desired effect of scaring the bird away. Other scarers emit an ultrasonic sound that deters unwanted predators. Most of these types of scarers will work as cat deterrents too so can be a great double pronged attack.
Herons are solitary feeders so if you add a heron decoy to the edge of the pond another heron will be less likely to land. These work well and are a cheaper option than movement scarers.