Do you want to build a backyard water garden or pond? If so, you need to know what you are doing but don’t be intimidated because almost anyone can do it with some careful planning. Backyard water gardens usually have fish as well as plants and plant life. If you have a Koi pond, it will limit the amount of plant life you can have in the pond.

Water gardens in most climates need to be at least two feet deep. If you are in a colder climate, you can provide about 12″ to 16″ of water below the freeze zone. One of the most important steps in creating your pond is to choose the right location. So how do you know where to put your pond?

Where to Put Your Pond

You probably want your pond close to your home so that you can enjoy it fully and you will be able to see it year round. You will also be able to see birds, butterflies and more that will be attracted to your water garden. You will also want to be sure that you put it somewhere so that rainwater runoff will not down into the pond.

Depending on the layout of your backyard, there may be some landscaping required to get this done. But it’s important that rainwater doesn’t get into the pond because it may have chemicals, fertilizers, etc that will kill life in your water garden. You also want to be sure you don’t put your pond too close to tress or leaves and other debris will get into the water.

If you want to have water lilies then you also need to have your pond where it will receive sunlight each day. About four to six hours of direct sunlight will be needed. If you are only going to have fish in your pond, than it is okay for you to put it in the shade. If you are planning on having a lot of fish in your water garden, you will also want some kind of water circulation with a pump. You might also choose to have a water filtration system although it is not necessary. You can look into the different types of biological filters that are available.

How to Build your Pond

When building your pond you need to know what size it is going to be. You can do this by using a rope or something similar to stretch across to see how big you will make the pond. The biggest mistake that do-it-yourself water gardeners make is to make the pond too small. If you have Koi, it should be at least 3 feet deep to accommodate the large fish. In fact, a larger pond will be more stable anyway.

You also need to remember that a finished pond is going to be about 30% smaller than the first mapped out plan is going to look. So go bigger or you will end up with a pond that is too small. You are going to dig the whole for your pond and then apply the lining. Then you are going to apply any pond filter, skimmers, etc to the proper level and location.

Next you are going to put the pond underlayment and the rubber pond liner. Now if you are going to have streams flowing from your pond, you can excavate them now. Now you connect the pond liner to the pond skimmer and place the coping stone. Next you are going to want to do the edging of the pond. Depending on the type that you have, you will have different types of edging. The next step will be to add a de-chlorinator to remove any chlorination that may be in the pond. You should then add plants as soon as possible. You will also add packaged bacteria to balance the life in the pool and fish should be added a few at a time to keep the balance right in the pond. Adding too much at one time may cause them all to die.

Now you have a beautiful water garden. If properly maintained it will continue to grow in beauty over time. Once you establish a proper balance in your water garden with fish, plant life and bacteria, it will maintain itself very well. If you also have filters, you will not have to do anything else except change the filters and remove any debris that might fall into it. Otherwise, the water garden will be pretty self-sustaining.

Published: August 24, 2005

Written by: Organic Gardening Staff Writer – Copyright Organic-Gardening.net all rights reserved