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.