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Most water gardens I see are kidney shaped, is there a reason for this? | Decorative Pond & Water Garden Q&A

Most water gardens I see are kidney shaped, is there a reason for this?

Most water gardens I see are kidney shaped, is there a reason for this?

Frank – Queens, NY

Just as variety spices up life, interesting shapes give a boost to the appeal of any backyard water garden. Because the kidney shape curves conveniently to form a perfect vantage point – where the entire pond is visible – it’s especially popular. It’s also a simple feature to install, starting with our custom cut Firestone 45 Mil Pond Liner. Using this 45 mil EDPM liner and some careful preparation, you can have your own custom-shaped water feature up and running in no time.

During your planning and preparation, you’ll want to consider the kidney shape, which allows much more than a convenient point to view your water garden. It also adds a touch of style without sacrificing function – while keeping the pond healthy by ensuring a generalized flow of moving water. That flow, of course, is best achieved by the use of pumps, skimmers and filters, which draw water from one end of the water feature to the other.

For maximum circulation – an immediate boost of visual interest – we strongly recommend the installation of a waterfall at one end of your water feature, with a skimmer and pump at the other. With the use of our Atlantic™ Pro Waterfall Filter Falls Box, your waterfall with double as an efficient filter designed to establish and maintain a balanced ecosystem for both fish and plants alike.

Pond Talk: What shape is your water garden?

Waterfall Filter Box

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

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 eMail, or call and a pond guy or gal will 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

Waterfall Foam – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Waterfall Foam

Foam Sweet Foam

The key to constructing a quality water garden, or anything for that matter, is to use the proper tools. While you may be able to fashion a lot of your own components or incorporate random on hand materials into your pond build you can miss out on potential benefits that result from years of product testing and development as well as functional design. While this holds true for anything from skimmers, filter media, and waterfall boxes, it is also true of small scale materials like waterfall foam.

Waterfall foam is primarily used to aid in the placement and retention of stone in your water garden and to seal gaps between these stones to manipulate the flow of water down the waterfall and along the streambed. Simply put, the foam expands between your rocks keeping the water from flowing behind them. As the foam dries it also holds the rocks firmly into place so you don’t have to worry about stones washing downstream with the flow of water, rock collapse from seasonal shifting or the displacement of loose perimeter rocks.

12oz cans are available for one time use and include an application tip. You simply place the tip between gaps and crevices and pull the trigger to release product to the desired area. You can also use it as an adhesive to hold stones in place. Any excess foam that protrudes from between the rocks can easily be trimmed away. Another great aspect of using waterfall foam is that if you mess up, or decide to change the location of some of your rocks, you can still cut away the foam and re-arrange them. The foam is black in color to blend in with the surroundings and is plant and fish safe. For contractors, or those of you who change your minds a lot, and use a foam gun. You can use 24oz cans which can be used in more than one application. If you need to maintain your foam gun, you can clean it with Foam Gun Cleaner between uses.

POND TALK: Have you used Black Waterfall Foam in your water garden? Have you used it to create any unique rock formations or incorporated other natural materials into your stream?

Hold rocks in place with ease!

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup?

How can I keep my waterfall free of algae and buildup? Renee – Heber Springs, AR

While the warm sunny weather is great for enjoying the outdoors this summer, it can also create some headaches in your water garden. A lot of you may notice that your stream and waterfalls are growing a nice coat of green algae as we continue through the warmer summer months. In a lot of cases, especially if you are using beneficial bacteria such as Nature’s Defense® your water is clear but algae and debris is attaching itself to your stream, waterfall and rocks. There is really simple fix to this green monster, in less then 15 minutes you can have amazing results.

It’s simple, use Pond Logic® Oxy-Lift™ Defense® direct to your waterfall, stream, or anywhere you have debris or algae accumulating. When used on damp areas, the Oxy-Lift™ Defense® will lift stuck on debris and algae off their attached surface so they can be easily rinsed away avoiding the need for a pressure wash or tough manual labor. Simply shut down your waterfall and quickly remove any debris or algae with your hand, then sprinkle on the Oxy-Lift™, you’ll be able to hear the Oxy-Lift™ working to break the debris off the rocks. After 10-15 min restart your waterfall. You can scoop the loose algae out of the pond or let your skimmer do the work. We recommend applying Oxy-Lift™ later in the day when you will not be viewing the pond as the pond may become a little cloudy or foamy for a short period of time. Regularly cleaning your waterfall will ensure that maintenance is short and sweet keeping you from having to spend hours trying to wrestle your stream and waterfalls into submission.

If you are having issues with algae not only on the stream but also in the pond itself you can also apply a dose of TetraPond® Algae Control to quickly kill undesirable growth in the pond even if it contains fish and plants! Using the proper products to maintain your pond will save you time and money in the long run and ensure a faster turn around process should your pond find itself in an algae attack? While algae blooms can not always be prevented the duration and intensity of their visit can drastically be reduced when your pond is properly kept. For best results consider the DefensePAC® it includes everything you need in one simple package such as Nature’s Defense®, Oxy-Lift™, Clarity Defense®, Muck Defense®, and Seasonal Defense®.

Pond Talk: What is your favorite part of having a water garden?

Keep your Water Garden Clear!

Can I create a Waterfall in my large pond too? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Can I create a Waterfall in my large pond too?

Can I create a Waterfall in my large pond too? Jason – Grand Junction, CO

You don’t have to own a water garden to enjoy the sights and sounds of a waterfall in your backyard. Although they are built a bit differently, it is completely feasible to construct a waterfall in your large farm pond.

Unlike a water garden, your waterfall feature does not have to boast filter media pads, lava rocks, or bio balls. Your farm pond waterfall focuses more on sound and appearance than it does productivity. All is not lost however; your waterfall will provide a small amount of aeration and circulation in the pond but not enough on its own to sustain the entire water body. Since your pond is not dependant on the waterfall for filtration or aeration you can turn it off and on at will and there is no need to run it 24/7. This is great as it can save you money in energy costs and wear and tear.

The materials required to construct your farm pond waterfall are similar to those of a smaller water feature with a few exceptions. You will obviously be building at a larger scale in comparison to a water garden so large high flow pumps are the weapon of choice to deliver water to the top of your falls. Professional quality pumps like the Norus® 7,000 or Tidal Wave 9,300 are perfect for high volume, high head pressure applications. Instead of using a skimmer box to house your pump you will want to rely on a Pump Vault for protection. Available in multiple sizes, a pump vault will not only prevent solids from entering the pump but it will shield swimmers, boaters, or fishermen from coming in contact with the unit. You will want to put the pump in an area that is generally unused for recreation as well as in an area not in danger of running dry if the water levels drop in the warmer seasons. Just like a Koi pond, you will want to install a Pond Liner and Underlayment, for your water fall and stream to direct flow and prevent water loss. Your Black Waterfall Foam will come in handy for creating sealed areas between rocks and water fall boxes to further aid in flow direction. You will also still want to use a large Waterfall Box, or a couple smaller ones to provide a basin to collect water so the waterfall will spill evenly over the rocks instead of looking like a fireman’s hose. Because you will be dealing with a higher flow rate, a larger diameter tubing will be needed. Each diameter can handle a certain amount of flow; here is a handy chart to help you choose the best size tubing for your particular scenario.

Finding Proper Tubing Size for Optimum Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

Pump Size Tubing Size
500 GPH 1/2”
900 GPH 3/4”
1,500 GPH 1”
2,700 GPH 1-1/4”
3,600 GPH 1-1/2”
5,400 GPH 2-3/4”
13,500 GPH 3”
21,000 GPH 4”
42,000 GPH 6”

Maintaining your waterfall is as simple as using Oxy-Lift™ Defense® to break debris free from the rocks and then rinsing the stream off with a hose or by running the waterfall pump.

Pond Talk: Have you installed a waterfall in your farm pond? Has it created any unique benefits or challenges in your pond?

Atlantic™ Tidal Wave Superflow Pumps

What does filter media do for my water garden? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Savio Skimmer

Q. What does filter media do for my water garden? – Debbie in Illinois

Keep It Clean
With all of the pads, balls and nets in this blog you might think The Pond Guy has hung up his waders and opened a sporting goods store. Not to worry pond guys and gals, we are of course talking about filter media in your water garden.

Hey! Nice Pad!
When you look inside your filter, whether it’s a waterfall filter or pressurized filter, you may notice there are assortments of pads, balls, etc. These are called filter media. This filter media serves a vital purpose in any water garden.

Bio Blox Filter MediaFilter media are specifically designed to help colonize a ton of natural bacteria in a small area. As fish excrete waste, ammonia levels began to rise. Without enough natural bacteria, ammonia levels can become so high your fish will become stressed which can eventually to death. Natural bacteria will grow in a water garden without filter media, but unfortunately it is very minimal and never enough to keep up with high ammonia levels.

Less IS More
Many pond owners often think that a clean filter pad will lead to a cleaner pond. This is not the case. As it takes several weeks for nitrifying bacteria to colonize, many pond owners often clean their filter media as soon as it gets dirty. This unfortunately defeats the purpose of the biological functions of the filter media. Some of our readers have written in telling us that this buildup is even blocking or restricting water flow. It is most likely debris or algae being picked up from the water, not the bacteria causing this issue. If necessary, to clean filter media we highly suggest removing the filter media from the filter and placing into a bucket of “pond water” and gently swish the media back and forth. Do not scrub, or use tap water to clean the filter pads. Again, this will cause a loss in natural bacteria. If you accidentally do clean your filter pads, you can use PL Gel on your filter pads to colonize the bacteria faster. It is known throughout the pond industry to reduce colonization by up to 80%!

To prevent blockages to your biological filters use a pump pre filter or a skimmer which includes a net or debris basket along with its own filter pad. This will prevent large debris from getting to your filter. Vacuuming will pick up debris and muck from the pond floor also preventing clogs. Placing these “pre-filters” as buffers will ensure a shorter, easier cleaning time as well as make certain that your beneficial bacteria are left alone to flourish and protect your water garden.

POND TALK: How have you tackled filtration in your water garden? How often do you find yourself cleaning your filters?

Filter media is a must for healthy ponds!

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