Gardens - Water Gardening

Build a pond in four days

Dennis Eveleigh
Photography by
Dennis Eveleigh

Watch your garden come alive by adding this fish and water plant habitat

Pro tips from Penny Arthurs of The Chelsea Gardener & Associates, Toronto

  • Decide what kind of water feature best suits your garden and follow through con gusto.
  • Strive for naturalness—make sure there are no ugly edges, no liner peeping out like utilitarian underwear.
  • Water shouldn't ooze from a plastic pipe or materialize inexplicably from behind a fence.

How to prep your pond for the off-season
by Orest Protch
Use the tips that apply to your situation.

  • Move fish to tubs in basement. If fish overwinter in pond, stop or drastically reduce feeding rate; goldfish and koi can survive one month without food.
  • Trim and repot pond plants. Some species can stay in cool, wet places indoors, while others can overwinter in deep ponds that don't freeze solid; consult a local nursery for hardiness details.
  • Drain water and cover pond with plywood or tarps. If pond is left full, float plastic jugs three-quarters filled with water to absorb ice energy.
  • Repair, replace or remove bird and leaf nets.
  • Use a small air compressor to clear water from hoses and tubing.
  • If pond is drained, replace pond sand and gravel; vacuum and/or hose-wash liner. Don't use soap or chemicals.
  • Patch any leaks in liners; put extra pieces of liner under rocks for protection—the weight of rocks can cause it to stretch and tear.
  • Install new air-stones and replace any cracked rubber diaphragms on aerators.
  • Check for frayed electrical lines, defective circuit breakers and ground fault interruption (GFI) units. Check wiring on submerged lights; replace bulbs.
  • Wash filters or replace them if they can't be reused; drain filters and cover to protect them against ice damage.
  • Replace filter and/or hose gaskets or repair them with rubberized glue.
  • Remove all leaves and debris from impellers, and intake and outflow pumps.
  • Replace bulbs on ultraviolet clarifier; clean quartz glass.
  • Seal any cracks in concrete; repaint surfaces with aquatic-grade concrete sealant.
  • Repair or replace any wood and brick edging that has deteriorated.

Orest Protch has been building, teaching and writing about ponds for more than a decade.


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