A couple of weeks ago Dave was repairing a pond that a “professional” installed. We seem to see a lot of this type of service call these days, which got me to thinking. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate the work and Dave loves a challenge, but, so many of these repairs can be avoided if the pond is installed properly to begin with. If you are hiring a pond professional, make sure the person you hire is actually a pond installer. Just because your house painter says, “sure, I can install your pond for you”, does not mean he knows what he is doing. When choosing a pond installation company it is important to look at their portfolio and to talk to their customers. If the company is good at what they do there should not be any problem getting references from them. We also recommend you receive more than one estimate, being sure you compare apples to apples.
If you are installing your pond yourself, talk to the experts. Whomever you purchase your equipment from should be able to answer your questions concerning your new pond. For instance, they should be able to tell you what size liner you need, the correct size pump is best suited for your needs and the correct size hoses for that pump.
The company should have knowledge of proper water quality, pond plants and how to balance the ponds ecosystem as well as Koi health and how to care for your Koi.
This particular pond, although it had a nice design concept, had several mistakes. Not wanting to tear out the entire pond, the owner chose not to address all of the issues. He opted to have Dave fix what he could so the pond would hold water and be more esthetically pleasing.
Here are a few tips that will help the first time pond installer:
- Always lay the liner before cutting off any excess. The liner on this project looked cut prior to installing, with one side cut on an angle, making it fall below the water line. If you do happen to cut the liner too small do not think you can just throw another piece of liner (or in this case a blue tarp and some sand bags) over the top of the existing liner. It will not hold water. Instead, make your pond smaller to fit the liner.
- If you have a sandy yard you should use block as a substructure to help keep the sand walls from caving in. Level, level, level, even if you decide to skip the cement block it is important to level the ground from side to side otherwise it looks like your water is running up hill.
- You should not see your skimmer and waterfall weir. The equipment serves a very useful purpose but it does not look natural or pretty.
- Piling rocks in a steep pile with no support or bonding material to keep them in place is asking for a disaster.
- Decide before you start your project if you are going to keep Koi in your pond.
- Build your pond with straight sides to keep predators out.
- Your pond should be at least 2′ deep with 4′ being the ideal depth
- Filtration is very important. Your system should include a bottom drain, a filter that includes both biological & mechanical filtration and a pump that recirculates the water at least one to two times an hour. (ie: a 2000 gallon pond needs a 2000 gph or larger pump).
- Do not over stock your pond. The rule of thumb is 1″ of fish for every 10 gallons of water. Remember the fish will grow so take that into consideration too.
- Most important layout your pond plans then go bigger, 75% of pond owners end up enlarging their pond within a couple of years.