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Planning Your Water Garden

How to plan your pond

Top Tip: Don't start digging until you have thoroughly planned your pond. Good design is a key to a successful pond, whether a garden water feature or koi pond. There is a lot to consider before you start digging!

The more information you can gather before you begin building your pond, the more enjoyable the whole process becomes. A visit to any of our centres will allow you to see how many variations are available, discuss the advantages of each, and choose one that will best suit your needs. Whichever you decide to build, remember that they are difficult to move, so choose its position well, and design wisely!waterfalls.jpg

Where to position your garden pond?

Some people prefer to have the pond close to a viewing area near to the house while others prefer to keep it further down the garden, as a separate "room" to visit when there is time to relax.

Either way, try and position the pond so that it is sheltered from cold prevailing winds and receives sun light for at least half the day, as this encourages the growth and flowering of most water plants - especially lilies.  

Where possible, avoid overhanging trees as their leaves and blossom will fall in and need to be removed periodically. Particular attention should be paid to any willow, elder, oak, yew, poplars and laburnums trees in the area as their leaves are highly toxic. Additionally this will avoid tree roots piercing the pond membrane.

Any deep excavations next to structures such as walls should not be risked as ground disturbance could cause foundations and walls to subside.

Although an electricity supply can be added at a later date, it will cause less disturbance to the surrounding area if it is incorporated in the initial building of the pond.

Other factors to consider include avoiding areas where surface water tends to collect, or the presence of a high water table, as this water could easily push up under pond liners causing a number of major problems. Also avoiding these areas will reduce the risk of any pollutants being washed into the pond during heavy rain.

Tips on Positioning

  • Consider Safety factors.
  • Ensure exposure to sunlight for at least half the day.
  • Avoid overhanging trees.
  • Consider electricity supply for pumps and filtration equipment.
  • Avoid areas with a high water table or where water collects.

What is the best pond shape?

The shape and surface area are generally down to personal preferences but it is always best to create a shape that allows the “natural” flow of water. Using complex shapes should be avoided to alleviate construction difficulties and create less folding and wastage of pond liner. It’s always a good idea to take a rope or hose and spend time creating the shape of the pond you desire. It may be that a preformed pond will fit your requirements. Alternatively, measurements can be taken to calculate the correct liner size. Using the simple step-by-step guides throughout this site will help you to plan and budget the amount of materials you will require.

If you are considering a stream or waterfall, it is wise to keep it in proportion to the size of the pond, as a small pond with a large waterfall could suffer problems such as turbulent water flow or varying water levels when the pumps are switched on. These factors are undesirable for a balanced pond with plants and fish, but would be fine if you only wish to create a waterfall feature where the pond acts purely as a reservoir.

Tips on pond shapes

  • Avoid complex shapes.
  • Leave good access around the pond.
  • Avoid creating areas where water will have trouble circulating.
  • Consider planting areas

What depth should my pond be?

Ideally koi, ghost carp and other large fish need a depth of at least 91 cm (3 feet) in the deepest part of the pond to allow these fish, which can easily grow to over 61 cm (2 feet) in length, to over winter successfully.round-pond.jpg

Fish such as goldfish, shubunkins and sarasa comets can be housed in smaller ponds, with a minimum depth of 46 cm (18 inches). It is helpful in maintaining a healthy and balanced pond to have at least 40% of the pond area at the maximum desired depth. This will reduce the likelihood of temperature fluctuations, which can encourage algae growth and be harmful to fish health.

Tips on Depth

  • 90cm (3ft) or more for large fish.
  • 45cm (18in) or more for smaller fish.
  • Avoid overhanging trees.
  • At least 40% of the area at max. depth.
  • The deeper the pond the better the balance.

How to create pond planting areas?

Marginal plants like to be positioned in shallow water around the edge of the pond. This means that the marginal shelves should be at least 23 cm (9") deep to allow sufficient depth for the planting containers. It is useful to purchase planting baskets of different sizes before digging the pond to use as templates to dig the shelves at the appropriate depth. Remember that the more shelves available, the more plants can be used. Plants are the most important factor in creating a natural balance in the pond as they soak up nutrients that would otherwise encourage algae growth. Koi and other large carp can be destructive to plants, therefore in ponds specifically for Koi it is worth creating a separate planting area that the fish are unable to access. These can take the form of shallow water areas for marginal plants or moist soil areas for bog plants.

Tips on Planting Areas

  • Buy some planting baskets before you start digging.
  • Make sure the plant shelves are much wider than the baskets.
  • Consider the depth lilies and deep water plants require.
  • Use spare liner to create an adjacent bog garden.

Factors when choosing the best location for a garden pond.

  • Siting any ponds in areas prone to water logging or where there is a high water table must be avoided due to the risk of damage. This can be avoided by having a fully or a partially raised pond.
  • No sunken pond should be emptied if the ground is saturated with water. Ground water will fill the excavation from under the liner causing serious damage.
  • Partially raised ponds should not be emptied below ground level in wet conditions, as above.
  • Raised Ponds should be safe to empty in most conditions.
  • If emptying any pond ensure you drain the water well away from the pond. This will stop the drained water running under the liner and causing damage.
  • Damage caused by poor siting or external water pressure would not be covered by any warranty.
  • REMEMBER: - Should a liner or a preformed pool fail once it has been installed, the guarantee will only cover the replacement or repair of the liner, not the installation costs, so World of Water have made sure they only sell top quality liners. Care must be taken to avoid exposed liner showing above the water level once it has been installed. Not only does it look unsightly, but also sunlight can slowly degrade it.

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