Decisions and Supplies are the first step
You have decided that your garden needs a pond. This project is perfect for the cooler Fall or Spring, giving the pleasant weather, as well as providing time for the fish to acclimate.
Perhaps you have had the quiet trickle of a water feature all summer and now you want more. This page will show you how to add a garden pond that can actually sustain fish. Having fish splashing about in the garden takes it to a new level. Having a pond will also encourage more birds to visit your yard, as well as entice rabbits and turtles. When you plan this build, you will want to have at least a weekend to complete it without leaving it half-finished. Before the labor begins there are several decisions to make.
Size is important for several reasons. On consideration on size is the security of the fish. In order to protect the fish in a mild winter climate, you need to go at least 18 inches deep. Your local fish store will be able to tell you the depth needed to keep the fish alive in your growing zone. Before you dig you must check with the power and Gas companies so that you do not run into any dangerous electrical or gas-line problems.
Digging at Least Two Tiers for the Fish and Plantlife
Protecting the Liner and Filling the Pond
Now that the basic shape in place and the top is level, pouring sand into the bottom is essential. The sand forms a barrier that protects the liner from shifting rocks, roots and other sharp objects, that are still in the ground. Pour a smooth layer of sand on both the center section and the ledge. One inch is plenty and will form that protective barrier.
When placing the liner, it is easiest to fold it into a manageable size. Placing it over the exposed hole and pushing the center into the deepest section. Inching the liner into the center before laying it against the sides and plant tier. Once it is over the center, using a flat hand, the liner can slide into place. Walking in the center section will press down the liner and secure the shape.
Do not cut the liner until the water is completely added. The water will pull on the liner as it settles. Allowing for extra lining material to drape beyond the top of the pond provides play while the water pulls the liner into all of the crevices and nooks.
Placing the Water Pump and Plant Life
Once the water has filled the pond, the water needs to sit for twenty-four hours before adding any fish life. Most areas of the country add chlorine in the water and this will suffocate the new fish. While you wait for the water to become safe, the pump easily sits on the ledge with the cord hidden by the rocks that decorate the top lip. It is also a good time to place the water plants on the top ledge.
Aquatic plants are perfect for the garden pond. The containers that hold these plants are best suited for water areas and will not seep dirt like using basic houseplants and home potted plant life.
Reeds, lilies and other aquatic plants like water cress will thrive here. When placing potted reeds and plants, place rocks on top of the soil to keep them from floating to the top. Holding them in place while the water permeates the soil will keep the water clean. Floating plants like watercress will not cause debris to clutter the pond.
The beauty of using potted plants on the ledge, is that no dirt and sediment will clog the pump. Sharing the ledge with the plants provides the opportunity to use one of the variety of fountain heads that come with the pump to have the water churn as much or as little as you want.
Adding the Marine Life and Final Touches
Koi are not goldfish. They are part of the Carp family and these fish are known for living in Japanese ponds. They are colorful, hardy and thrive in cold water. Goldfish are also colorful, hardy and they can also thrive in cold water. The cost of the fish is something to consider when deciding on which fish to add to your garden. One option is, when you first build your pond, place goldfish in the water. Adding in Koi at a later date is an easy option.
Always wait the twenty-four hours for the chlorine to leave the tap water. Pond fish food is available at pet stores and in discount stores in the pet department. The food comes in pellets and will sit on the top of the water until the fish swim up for it.
Fish will learn the shape of your shadow and will usually meet you at the top of the pond at feeding time. If you place your fingers in the water and wiggle them, the fish will come to your hands once they become familiar with that sound. Fish will serve several functions in the pond. Sure fish are alive as well as ornamental, they will live there for a long time keeping mosquitoes from thriving in your pond. The fish will inspire conversations when noticed for the first time. Fish will intrigue neighbor cats and will dart about making funny sounds on a quiet still day.
Bringing in river rocks, flat landscaping rocks or ornamental rocks are another option that is available to you. Using different types and styles of rocks are also an option. Placing the last personal touches to cover the cords for the pump and using decorative items will give the pond a unique look. Never be afraid to try a look for a few days. The pond will take a while to start to look natural and during that time, adding potted plants, benches, and other decorations will create the feeling that the pond has always been there.
Little tufts of plants growing between large rocks implies that the pond has always been there. Lighting is one touch that will allow you to enjoy the pond at night as well as during the daylight hours. Chosing solar lighting will keep you from worrying about cords and outlets. Enjoy the decision-making process for these little details. These small last important touches are what will keep your pond looking as unique as the rest of the garden.