Backyard pond planning is absolutely essential if you want to make sure that your pond requires minimal maintenance. The better you plan ahead of time, the less you’ll have to do later, so a few extra minutes now can truly save you a lot of headaches down the road. When it comes to planning your pond, there are a few important tips you’ll want to keep in mind that can help make regular maintenance a snap and allow you to get maximum enjoyment out of your backyard pond environment:
- Location, location, location – the first rule in backyard pond designing is to choose your location carefully. You want to build your pond in a spot that is visible, so you’ll be regularly reminded to keep an eye on it. Also, you want to choose a spot that has good drainage so that ground runoff won’t contaminate your pond water. There are many contaminants, including pesticides and other chemicals, which can be found in ground water and you don’t want these getting into your pond, where they could not only harm fish and plants but also upset the natural balance of bacteria. Another consideration of good backyard pond planning is making sure that you have accessibility to the electricity and water you’ll need.
- Be wise about your filters – Good filtration is the key to a healthy pond. Also, ensuring that you are using the right type of filters, such as a mechanical skimmer. A skimmer will make it easy to remove debris and by emptying the skimmer basket, it can make a big difference. And always make sure that you position your skimmer so that it is readily accessible. This will make regular maintenance that much easier. Good filtration should always include biological filtration as well. The simplest way to include biological filtration is with a Biofalls filter. A Biofalls filter includes biological filter pads in your waterfall so the water is filtered as it goes over the waterfall. These filter pads give the healthy bacteria a place to grow and colonize. Biological filters do not require cleaning or rinsing. It’s best to add your natural bacteria and leave the filters alone to do their thing.
- Don’t forget the plants! – Pond plants are not only attractive to look at, but they also provide a natural form of protection for the pond. Stocking your pond with the right plants is an important part of backyard pond designing, as they can help to combat the growth of algae both by competing with it for nutrients and by blocking sunlight from reaching the water’s surface. The less algae there is, the less work you’ll have to do to maintain a clean pond.
- Include a water feature – Like plants, water features are beautiful to look at and listen to and can provide a very important service, making them a key to backyard pond planning. Waterfalls and fountains provide a natural source of water agitation, which is essential for regularly oxygenating the pond. Highly oxygenated ponds have less algae growth and are a healthier environment for fish. They also promote the growth of good bacteria, which can help to keep the pond clean naturally.
- Don’t overdo it on the fish – It may be enjoyable to have lots of fish in your pond, but overpopulating can cause serious problems. This is something that many people tend to overlook in backyard pond designing, but it can’t be stressed enough. The theory is simple: more fish equals more waste, which translates into more work for you in terms of maintenance. For small or medium fish, the generally accepted formula is 1″ of fish per square foot of water surface area. For larger fish, obviously, each fish will need more room so the larger the fish, the more room you need to give them.
- Don’t overfeed! – Again this is a step often overlooked in backyard pond planning, but it is extremely important. Obviously, the more you feed your fish, the larger they will grow, and that can lead to an imbalance in your pond system, with more fish than the water can adequately handle. All of which means you’ll end up dealing with more algae, more waste and more cleaning time. You definitely don’t want that!
Of course, the more you can do ahead of time to reduce maintenance issues, the better off you’ll be. When working on backyard pond designing, choose a good quality liner and underlayment and make sure you install it carefully, removing any sharp stones, roots or sticks that could damage it.
Choose a location that has a good balance of sun and shade to help keep your water quality in check. And always use the best quality equipment such as filters, skimmers, and pumps so that you won’t have to worry about it breaking down over time.
Believe it or not, having a pond does not mean having to work on it constantly. And you can always consult the experts at Decker’s to help with planning your pond. A little backyard pond planning can go a long way toward giving you an outdoor environment you and your family can enjoy year round without having to do a ton of maintenance. And that’s really what having a pond is all about, right?