backyard fish ponds

backyard fish ponds

Backyard Ponds

Creating Backyard Fish Ponds the Neighbors Will Envy

Backyard fish ponds can be hypnotic can't they? If you close your eyes you can hear that soothing sound of trickling water from a water fall. That makes for an enchanting addition to any backyard ponds or water garden.

A dazzling backyard pond filled with vibrantly colored koi fish and other aquatic life can add a touch of serenity to the most hectic life.

So is it any wonder more and more gardeners are installing escapes like these? Since backyard ponds can effortlessly help ease away the stress of the day?

Backyard Pond Craze

Water gardens are making a big splash. In fact a National Gardening Association survey found 14 percent of homes have a water feature of some sort.

While a poll taken by Taunton Press revealed that a water project like backyard fish ponds are the most popular home improvement on our wish lists

That's probably because a watergarden or outdoor pool is not only visually pleasing but comes with ear-pleasing sounds too. The splashing water adds tranquil background sound or can mask the noise of nearby traffic. Not to mention t backyard ponds are so darn relaxing to be around.

Is it so hard to imagine yourself surrounded by beautiful, lush plants, next to a tiered waterfall that cascades into a small pond filled with koi and beautiful water lilies?

You'll find what you need to make that happen on this site. So go ahead. Pull up a chair. Browse the helpful articles. Don't be afraid to get your feet wet.

But before you go how about a quick look at the

Backyard Ponds Blueprint: The 11
Phases of Pond Installation

When first looking into building backyard ponds it can all be a bit overwhelming. So let's break the entire process down into eleven bite-sized phases or steps that can give you an idea of how easy this really is.

Design Phase
Okay so you're thinking of what design to use and you need some ideas. If there's a tour of backyard ponds in your area take it in. This will give you ideas. As will looking online or in books at photos or videos of installed water gardens.

Answering some questions may point you in the right direction as well. Are you hoping to create a meandering stream bed? What about a waterfall feature? Is fish keeping high on your list so that koi ponds are to be considered?

Whatever you envision when it comes to building backyard ponds you can create it in your yard and on a scale that blends in with existing landscaping and fits your budget.

Site Selection Phase
After you have some design ideas in mind, start to scope out where you want this water feature sited. You don't want it directly under a tree unless you want to spend all your time fishing out fallen leaves, bits of bark, and assorted twigs from the water. Also consider any buried utility lines that run through your yard.

Liner Phase
During this phase of pond construction you'll want to choose an appropriate liner. While impermeable, flexible liners, such as EPDM liners, give you greater versatility when it comes to pond shape and size, preformed plastic liners take much of the guesswork out of digging the hole.

Excavation Phase
Obviously there will be some digging involved. With any water feature you are building that’s inevitable.

At a minimum you’re looking at 18 inches of depth. More would be better. Almost mandatory if your plans include goldfish or koi and you want them to overwinter at the bottom of the pond. Also don’t forget smaller volumes of water are more prone to temperature swings and can become stagnant surprisingly quickly. So bigger is usually better. But that still doesn’t necessarily mean you need to call in a back hoe.

Also before you dig learn what, if any, building codes in the area might apply. See if there are limitations on pond depth as well as any fencing requirements. Then call your home owners insurance agent. Typically ponds of this depth won’t require fencing or insurance surcharges, but you want to be sure.

Edging Phase
Once the liner is in place you want to turn your attention to making this look like nature intended. And having some of the rigid or black flexible liner poking out on the sides is not how it would look naturally. This kinda destroys the effect. So be sure to take pains to make this look au natural. Do so by placing decorative rocks and plantings to camouflage the edges and to blend things in nicely. All done easily enough to create the look you’re after.

Lighting Phase
There are special underwater lights you can add at this point. As well as night lights and spot lights to shine on any waterfall or fountain that may have been designed in. Eventually these will cast the fish and plants in a whole new light and give you another way to enjoy your pond that you might not have anticipated. Because a water garden can be enchanting after dark.

Establishment Phase
Okay you’ve added the water and any pond filtration is starting to filter, your recirculation pond pumps are recirculating the water, and whatever other pond supplies that were needed have been purchased and put in place. After you’ve got things set up you want to give your creation time to settle in. By that I mean you want to give the pond 10-14 days so you can start to establish a bit of water balance before introducing plants. And a bit more time for them to set up house then before introducing fish. And don’t be disappointed if you get an initial algae bloom. Algae in fish ponds, especially newly established water gardens, is not unusual.

Pond Tip: An all too common mistake DIYers make is to undersize the pumps involved.

Planting Phase
Water-loving pond plants need sunlight, oxygen and fertilizer. They can also benefit from specific bacteria. Get that right and their vigor will surprise you. Which is good since you want about three quarters of the water’s surface to be covered with plant life. Both to help control the water temperature and keep algae growth in check.

Pond Tip : You’ll want to buy the beneficial bacteria and give your new pond a fix once a week for the first couple of months and then maybe once a month thereafter.

Obviously there more to be said about aquatic plants. It goes without saying that a water lily or two should make your must have list. If you’re gone most of the day a night bloomer would be a nice touch. While tropical lilies can add some blossoming fireworks that can’t be beat.

Fish Phase
Aside from the joy they bring, fish can keep mosquitoes in check. So you won’t have to worry about that as much if you will be including any. Two common choices are koi or goldfish.

Koi are bred for color. They will cost the most and sometimes can cost a lot depending on the color quality. Being carp they can also be hard on plants. Yes, they are known to cause damage to plant roots and stems.

Goldfish cost less and are easy to keep. They can grow to maybe a foot long and despite their size then to cut the plants some slack.

But don’t do this with your fish. You want to avoid an all too common mistake. That is to put in too many fish. This creates all sorts of problems as they can overwhelm the filters and be too much for the plants to overcome when it comes to maintaining ecological balance. If you have to decide go with fewer, fish that grade out higher. You'll be glad you did.

Rule of Thumb : Limit yourself to two inches of fish for every square foot of water surface. So 10 square feet could handle two 5 inches fish. I know it doesn’t seem like much. But remember they’ll get bigger too. Much bigger. Both koi and goldfish can thrive in a backyard pond like you're envisioning.

Don’t forget to include overhanging rocks and other hiding places for the fish. That way they’ll have a safe haven should predators show up looking for a quick snack.

Ongoing Maintaining Balance Phase
If you’re a passionate ponder your excitement will grow with each phase you complete.

Do it right and you’ll be surprised how, once your pond is up and running, little maintenance is required. It might be work that a hot tub requires. But the key is balance. That is having plants, fish and beneficial pond cleansing bacteria in balance so each does their job to keep water quality high.

Ideally you want it so the beneficial bacteria break down any algae, which the fish eat. The fish produce waste that the plants feed on. The plants shade the pond to keep algae to reasonable levels. And before you know it you’ve got an ecosystem going strong and staying pretty much in balance.

Even better you might be able to DIY for less than $500 for just the basics. Or you can install you own home version of one of the Great Lakes and invest $10,000 or more.

Check back. There's more to come.

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