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I would like to build a backyard pond. What do I need to know? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I would like to build a backyard pond. What do I need to know?

Q: I would like to build a backyard pond. What do I need to know?

Carolyn – Jackson, TN

A: Are you dreaming of summertime landscaping projects? Yep, we are too. With the cold season upon us, there’s nothing like some backyard pond planning to warm up those chilly days and get excited about diving in to your favorite hobby.

Whether you plan to build a half-acre pond with a recirculating stream and fish, expand on your existing feature, or install a petite 200-gallon in-ground aquatic water garden, you should consider these points as you design your backyard dream:

Start with a Budget

First of all, consider what kind of money you want to spend and develop a project budget. In most cases, the larger the water feature, the more expensive it will cost—but some of those top-of-the-line accessories for smaller features can cost quite a bit, too. If you need some help, call a pond-building professional in your area who can assess your needs and determine your budget.

Look for Higher Ground

Next, take a close look at your landscape and plan to position your pond on a high spot rather than a low spot. It might seem logical to locate your water feature in a valley, but it’s actually better to situate it on higher ground. This will prevent rainwater from running into your pond, which can cause water clarity and algae growth problems later on.

Size It Right

While you’re inspecting your outdoor space, consider what sized water feature will realistically fit within your existing landscaping. Do you have a large yard and want to go big? Do you have a small space that’s perfect for a preformed pond with a small fountain? Perhaps the area is best suited for a pondless stream or waterfall. Many seasoned pond hobbyists have admitted that, in retrospect, they wish they had gone bigger with their initial designs …

Consider Your Audience

Who will be enjoying your water feature? When planning your backyard pond, keep your audience in mind. If you have young kids running around the yard and safety is an issue, a pondless waterfall with no open body of water might be a good choice. If, however, you and your family have a passion for aquatic plants or fish, it would make sense to go with a traditional pond.

Go with a Kit

As you’re planning your backyard dream pond, make the process easier by buying a pond kit, which comes with everything you’ll need. Different kits are designed for different types of ponds. Here are three that we recommend:

  • For a large waterfall with big sound: The RapidFlo™ Ecosystem Pond Kit is ideal for those who want a large waterfall or stream, lots of sound to drown out nearby noise, and a system with the capacity to deal with heavy debris from nearby trees.
  • For fish lovers: The AllClear™ Ecosystem Pond Kit is designed for hobbyists who want their pond to be all about their fish, not a waterfall. It works well in yards with full sun exposure and few falling leaves.
  • For easy maintenance: The Cascading Falls Pondless Pond Kit is perfect for busy people who want to enjoy the sights and sounds of running water but have little time to maintain a traditional water feature. It’s also well suited for small yards or families with children.

Have Fun with It!

The most important thing to know about planning a pond of your dreams is that you should have a great time doing it. You’ll enjoy this backyard feature for years, so do your research, think through these points, and spend time designing something that you’ll love!

Pond Talk: When you built your first pond or water feature, what inspired your design?

Build Your Dream Pond - The Pond Guy(r) RapidFlo(rm) Ecosystem Pond Kits

Are there different steps for treating a pondless waterfall versus a pond? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: Are there different steps for treating a pondless waterfall versus a pond?

Q: Are there different steps for treating a pondless waterfall versus a pond?

Debbie – Johnston, RI

A: Easy care is one of the most attractive features of a pondless waterfall, particularly for those who have a penchant for ponds but no time to perform routine maintenance on them. You get all the benefits of a water feature—the sound of running water, the added aesthetics in your garden space, even the plants and wildlife that it attracts—but you don’t have to deal with those pesky seasonal chores.

As ideal as they are, pondless water features do require some attention. Here are three simple steps to keep your waterfall looking its best:

1. Keep Your Water Clean and Clear

With no body of water, your pondless feature may not require you to remove muck, fish waste, decomposing leaves or other collected pollutants, but you still should keep the water looking clean and clear. Plan to periodically add some beneficial bacteria, like those found in Liquid Clear™, to gobble through any fine debris that may discolor your water or feed algae blooms.

2. Remove Buildup from Your Rocks

Rocks and other surfaces in your pondless waterfall will no doubt become breeding grounds for string algae and other debris, so take time to remove any buildup with an algaecide, like Algae-Off® String Algae Remover or Oxy-Lift™ Defense®. These fast-acting solutions use the power of oxygen to lift and wash away accumulated algae and muck. For best results, plan to turn off your system’s pump to ensure the powder contacts every surface, restarting it after the product has time to work.

3. Check Your Water Levels

Because the water basin is hidden, you can’t always see how much water there actually is in your pondless waterfall. To prevent your pump from drying up, make sure you periodically check the reservoir — or, better yet, add an auto-fill valve, like the PondBuilder™ Automatic Water Fill Kit, that will refill any water lost to splashing or evaporation. It’s easy to install and can be adapted to any garden hose, ½-inch irrigation line or vinyl tubing.

If things have really headed south, try performing a partial or complete water change along with using some beneficial bacteria. They will get you—and your pondless waterfall—back on track and ready for summer enjoyment.

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite thing about your pondless waterfall or water feature?

Quickly Eliminate String Algae - CrystalClear® Algae-Off®

I don’t have a pond, just a disappearing fountain is there something I can use for maintenance other then products designed for big ponds? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

I don’t have a pond, just a disappearing fountain is there something I can use for maintenance other then products designed for big ponds?

I don’t have a pond, just a disappearing fountain is there something I can use for maintenance other then products designed for big ponds?

Monica – Chicago, Il

In the world of water features, disappearing fountains are in a category of their own. Because they don’t involve fish and plants – and typically don’t have filter systems – many people assume they’re maintenance free. But like all backyard water features, disappearing fountains do get dirty, and often gather debris that aren’t eliminated through simple recirculation.

As a result, disappearing fountains are susceptible to water discoloration caused by debris buildup. Fortunately, Pond Logic® FeatureFix™ Water Feature Cleaner is formulated specifically to safely eliminate accumulated debris and clear unsightly discoloration – often in as little as 48 hours.

To prevent ongoing buildup problems, a disappearing fountain is a prime candidate for regular maintenance. We recommend the regular application of Pond Logic® FeatureClear™ Bacterial Water Feature Cleaner, which contains natural, beneficial bacteria that digests organic debris to keep water crystal clear. It’s true. Disappearing fountains do require regular maintenance. But with FeatureFix and FeatureClear, it’s one item on your “to do” list that’s downright easy to check off.

Pond Talk: Do you have a disappearing fountain that requires regular maintenance?

Pond Logic FeatureFix

What is waterfall foam? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

What is waterfall foam?

What is waterfall foam?
Krystal – Howell, MI

When you build a backyard waterfall, it’s important to remember that, unlike a natural waterfall, every drop of water that cascades down the face of your mini-Niagara is delivered by a pump. In order to make that limited supply of pumped water – and your waterfall – look as dramatic and beautiful as possible, it helps to seal up the nooks and crannies behind and between rocks. And that’s just one of the places where Waterfall Foam comes in handy.

When applied carefully, Waterfall Foam seals the areas beneath and around rocks where water naturally flows. When those areas are sealed, water is diverted over the tops of the rocks, making the waterfall look fuller and more beautiful. In addition to its aesthetic benefits, Waterfall Foam also helps to secure and stabilize larger rocks, which in turn reduces maintenance.

But why use Waterfall Foam instead of hardware store spray-foam insulation? First and foremost, hardware store foams are formulated as insulation – and their chemical ingredients can be harmful or fatal to fish and plant life. Waterfall Foam is carefully formulated to be fish and plant safe. Second, hardware store foam simply isn’t designed to blend in – where Waterfall Foam looks natural, and works wonders to enhance the look and longevity of your waterfall.

Pond Talk: Have you used waterfall foam in your pond?

Waterfall Foam

I have a waterfall in my pond, is that enough aeration? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

I have a waterfall in my pond, is that enough aeration?

I have a waterfall in my pond, is that enough aeration?
Robert – Racine, WI

Waterfalls are one of nature’s greatest creations. In addition to providing breathtaking beauty and places for daredevils to kayak and – for some inexplicable reason – ride over in padded barrels, they serve as massive aeration systems, introducing fresh oxygen into the ecosystem that fish and plants need to thrive. In backyard ponds, waterfalls serve many of the same functions – but their scale is often inadequate to provide sufficient aeration. They also fall a bit short as places for kayakers and barrel riders to strut their stuff.

So, while your backyard waterfall definitely helps to keep water oxygenated, additional aeration is always helpful – especially when algae begins to grow, and fish are faced with warming water and reduced oxygen levels. To provide the aeration any backyard pond needs, we strongly recommend our KoiAir™ and PondAir™ Aeration Systems. With a wide variety of options available for ponds of every size and depth, these systems help to increase circulation and reduce stratification to provide the healthiest possible environment for fish and decorative plants.

For signs that your pond’s aeration is insufficient, look for increases in muck and debris at the pond bottom. When properly aerated, muck is broken up naturally, leaving the bottom clean and the water clear. If you have fish, and they surface regularly or gather beneath a waterfall, your aeration may be inadequate. If that’s the case, you’ll give your fish cause for celebration by installing additional aeration – and you’ll have the satisfaction of a clean, clear pond that makes your backyard the perfect sanctuary.

Pond Talk: Do you run a separate aeration system in your pond?

Pond Logic Pond Air

Pondless or pond? Why not have both! | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q&A

Pondless or pond? Why not have both!

Pondless or pond? Why not have both!
Alvin – Boulder, CO

One of the greatest elements of decorative ponds and water features is that each can be as unique and distinguished as the person creating it. The shape, style and implementation of your water garden is limited only by your imagination. It is this freedom to inspire and create that keeps pond owners incessantly engaged in the hobby.

In previous blogs we have discussed the different types of ponds and water features available along with some of the perks and drawbacks of each type. While any of these water features, waterfalls, and ponds are great on their own, you can also incorporate the different feature types to create a truly breathtaking water feature.

A great example of combining feature types into one functional display is the combination of an elevated pond that cascades down into a pondless waterfall. Think of this feature as a pondless water fall type water feature with a pond half way through the waterfall. Combining these two features opens up possibilities that may have been impractical with a certain feature alone. Pond owners with children are often drawn to pondless features as there is no potentially hazardous standing water body for them to wander into. By elevating the pond to a height that is out of reach you can still enjoy the freedom to incorporate fish and plants into your water feature while the pondless waterfall safely returns water underground and out of reach. As you will have to purchase the major components for either a pond or water fall feature, adding the additional parts to incorporate the two features together is easier and more cost effective than having to buy items for two separate features. Both Pond Kits and Pondless Waterfall Kits are available for purchase to eliminate the guesswork of what items your need to construct either particular feature. To simplify the purchasing process you can purchase a Pondless Waterfall for the main components and some additional 45Mil Rubber EPDM Liner and Seam Tape to construct the elevated pond.

Laying out and combining advanced water features and ponds may require expert advice or guidance. You can Chat Live, eMail, or call and pond guy or gal to help you choose the products that will need for your water feature. When constructing any type of pond or water feature it is imperative that you take your time and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable pond building process.

Pond Talk: What types of pond types have you combined in your water feature? Share your photos and stories for inspiration.

Pond Kits

I’d like to create a water garden or feature, how do I choose a size to suit me? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

I'd like to create a water garden or feature, how do I choose a size to suit me?

I’d like to create a water garden or feature, how do I choose a size to suit me? Maude – Frogsboro, NC

Water Features That Fit

Creating a water feature is a fun and exciting process consisting of endless designs and limited only by your imagination. Many people think they are have to have a large amount of land to create a great water feature. In reality, a beautiful water feature can be constructed in even the smallest yards or even indoors. Before you start purchasing materials for your pond project, sit down with a pen and paper and take some time to research and design the perfect water feature that fits your situation.

One of the more common ways people ease their way into pond building is by using a preformed pond basin. I am sure most of you have seen them when walking through your local home & garden stores. These plastic liners are available in a wide array of shapes, sizes and depths which appeals to customers looking to install a pond in a limited amount of space. These liners are great for people new to ponds as the shape and dimensions are already figured out for you. This does however limit your creative influence on your soon to be pond. It is for this reason that more and more brave newcomers opt to install Rubber EPDM liner instead. Using rubber liner allows you the freedom to create whatever size pond you desire, filled with curves, plant shelves and waterfall streams. The rubber liner is flexible and therefore is not prone to cracking like the harder plastic performed liners. Rubber EPDM liner can also be pieced together using a Seam Kit to accommodate a large array of designs. Pond Kits are packaged with 45Mil EPDM Rubber Liner to create ponds as small as 8’ x 11’ or as large as 21’ x 26’. You can also purchase rubber liner in 5’ increments for smaller or larger applications.

Those of us who enjoy the sounds and sights of flowing water but are not thrilled by the prospects of managing an entire pond, have other means of entertainment. Using a small basin and a pump, you can create a beautiful, streaming waterfall that disappears into a hidden reservoir underground. We call this a pondless waterfall. The great thing about pondless waterfalls is that they can adapt to smaller areas very easily because there is no standing water. For instance, if you don’t have much of a yard and would like to hear the sound of water, a pondless waterfall is for you. There are Pondless Waterfall Kits available that contain all of the parts you need to get started and are available in different sizes.

When planning to build your water feature, plan for a weekend, one preferably without rain of course. Most smaller Pond Kits and Pondless Kit usually need only a weekend to complete and right now is usually the most popular time to build. Just remember it is far easier (and cheaper) to work with your pen and paper in the planning stages than it is once you start building your water feature. Planning ahead helps prevent any unwanted surprises.

POND TALK: What type of water feature do you have?

Everything you need to build the perfect pond!

Why do people build water gardens? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Water Garden and Water Lily

Why do people build water gardens? Amanda – Clearwater, FL

More Than Just A Pretty Face

Maybe you’ve entertained the idea of constructing a water garden in your yard, but feel you are not quite up to the task. Perhaps you are one of those people who don’t understand what all of the “hype” is about when it comes to back yard waterfalls and pricey Koi. To those of you who have yet to experience the triumphs and challenges of owning your very own water garden, there really is more to pond ownership than fish, water, and rocks.

Thanks to the progression of the pond industry, both the process of selecting an appropriate type of water feature and the installation procedures associated with each style have been dramatically simplified. This broadens your selection to a wide range of water features from small pre-formed ponds for beginners, low maintenance and space saving Pondless Waterfalls, or large water gardens equipped with intricate streams and waterfalls for those of you with more experience or are daring. You can also take advantage of the cost savings of purchasing a complete Pond Kit which can save you the time and trouble of trying to purchase each component independently. Regardless of which type of pond you decide is best for you, remember to take your time and do your Homework. Being prepared will ensure that the entire pond process from design to finished product is an enjoyable experience.

When done properly, a water feature can become an outdoor retreat, providing soothing sounds and sights to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Your water feature will accent your home and the surrounding landscape creating an inviting appearance and an increased curb appeal. Implementing Aquatic Plants and Koi into your water feature is a great way to further increase its value. Having fish present in your water feature creates fun activities that you can do with friends and family. Witnessing a few fish antics alone provides a great source of entertainment, while feeding your fish is an excellent group activity that can create a little extra “together” time with friends and family. If you have children it is also a great way to teach them about the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Every person has their own unique story about how their water feature came to exist. For some it may just seem like a logical step and for others it starts with the gift of one small goldfish. Intentional or not, it is easy to fall in love with your water feature. While there is some time and expense associated with any water feature, it all seems trivial once you see the results of such a rewarding investment.

POND TALK: How has your water garden changed your lifestyle?

Pond Kits

What is a Pondless Waterfall? – Water Garden & Feature Q & A

Picture of a Cascading Pondless Waterfall.

Water Gardens & Features Q & A

Q: I really would love to add the sound of water to my backyard but I really don’t have the space for a full fledged water garden. I read a little bit about your pondless waterfall kits. Exactly how do those work? – Abby of California

A: Did you know you could have the sound of water without the pond? Well you can! A Cascading Pondless Waterfall is exactly what it sounds like…a waterfall without the pond.

Illustration of How a Cascading Pondless Waterfall Works.

How a Cascading Pondless Waterfall Works

The way it works is this: A basin is first dug into the ground and the waterfall is sculpted out of the land. The basin and waterfall will be covered with liner and underlayment to hole the water. The basin will hold a vault that contains a pump. Tubing will run from the pump to a waterfall box at the top of the waterfall. A Basin Matrix, rocks and gravel will fill the void in the basin. Once filled with water, the water will travel up from the basin to the waterfall box. The water will then travel back down the waterfall and disappear into the basin.

Benefits of a Cascading Pondless Waterfall

Besides providing the sights and sounds of a natural looking waterfall and stream, a cascading pondless waterfall feature offers many things a pond doesn’t:

Easier to Maintain: Because all of the water is contained in an underground basin, hidden from the sun, green water is never an issue. Also, no filtration (and the cleaning goes along with that) is necessary because there are no fish to care for.

Easier to Install: Since you’re digging a basin (basically a hole in the ground that will be covered with rocks and gravel) instead of a water garden (a well designed hole in the ground

with shelves and detailed stone work), it takes only a fraction of the time to build

Lower Initial Cost & Lower Energy Cost Potential: Cascading Pondless Waterfalls costs less than a full-fledged water garden. They actually start at $499.99 so this is very easy on the budget. Also most Cascading Pondless Waterfall owners choose to run the waterfall only when they are there to enjoy it, minimizing electrical consumption where with a full fledged water garden, the pump must run constantly for the sake of the fish.

Safer: With no standing water, children can safely play in the stream and waterfall – with adult supervision of course.

If you don’t have a water feature yet but have been thinking about getting one, a Cascading Pondless Waterfall is great way to get your feet wet. With all of these benefits and the low cost to build, you simply can’t beat it.

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