Your garden can benefit significantly even from a small pond. It doesn’t only look good and boost the value of your property, but it can contribute to your and your family’s general well-being, as well as to maintain your small ecosystem in balance. It is possible to build it all by yourself even if you’re not much of a builder, but if you decide to do it, it’s essential for you to do it right. The first and the most important thing to do is to gather all the necessary equipment.
So what will you need for the pond in your backyard from the very beginning?
You will need a good and an appropriate pond aerator to keep your pond clean, properly oxygenated and healthy. Submersible pumps are perfect for smaller ponds and smaller backyards, as they create very little noise. The surface ones may be a bit more spectacular (if it’s something that you care about), but most of them will need more space as well. You should also rather aim for water-cooled pumps because the oil-cooled devices can leak oil into the water which will be harmful to your garden’s ecosystem and not at all environmentally-friendly.
If you don’t want to deal with cables and electricity in or next to the water, you may consider a pump with solar panels, but you need to remember that it may not work too well (or at all) if there’s no light. When you decide on a waterfall, make sure that the aerator of your choice is capable of sending the water up to the top of your construction. In the case of fish, you will have to choose a mechanical filter or a pump with a good filter, as there will be more debris in the water and toxic chemicals to break down by biological filters’ bacteria.
It’s essential that the liner of your choice is durable and waterproof as its main aim is to prevent waters from soaking into the soil around the pond which can cause serious damage both inside and outside a reservoir. If your pond is not in a more or less standard shape or size, you will have to choose from more flexible liner materials (as polyvinyl chloride, butyl rubber or ethylene propylene diene monomer) because they can be cut accordingly to your needs. Consider your choice thoroughly – for example, depending on the usage and the quality of the liner, PVC type can last from seven to even fifty years. However, it cannot withstand direct sunlight and it’s not always good for the fish, so if you plan to keep any animals in your pond, always check your liner for a fish-friendly label. EPDM types are more expensive but they can withstand a lot and for a long time. Fibreglass moulds are long-lasting as well, on the contrary to plastic ones. If there’s more sunlight in your backyard and you need something flexible (and durable, as it can last more than 20 years), butyl rubber can be your choice, but you need to remember that it won’t be healthy for any wildlife that might be drinking from your pond. Pond owners sometimes decide to use concrete because of its durability, but it may be more difficult to install and it will require more maintenance.
It may not be equipment per se, but they are much more than just decorative – plants have actually a huge role to play in keeping your pond safe, healthy and thriving. It’s recommended to cover around 50% of the pond with different plants, but they have to be carefully chosen and diversified in order to play their part, protect the liner, and prevent your pond from becoming offensive and stagnant. Algae produce oxygen and constitute food for aquatic animals, but you need to control their growth; you can do it with the help of floating plants that reduce algae’s expansion by shading them out. Submerged plants catch the sunlight and nutrients to produce oxygen which contributes to the state of the water, while marginal plants, who like shallow waters and muddy edges, protect the liner from the sun.
The most essential material for pond construction is sand. A layer of two inches between the liner and the soil should be enough to protect the liner from stones and other potentially damaging items. If you expect wildlife (or even people) to get into your pond, you may consider sprinkling sand to provide firm footing in the bottom. Now that you know what you will need, you can go shopping and start researching what would be best for your expectations, needs, as well as the climate you live in. Get to work – don’t get discouraged, make sure you do everything according to the instructions and enjoy your beautiful, soothing pond. Good luck!