Whether you are dreaming about the sparkle of a stream, the sounds and splashing of a waterfall, the glimpse of fish coming to the surface, the beauty of water lilies delicate petals, and etc… all those reasons are great reasons to add water to your landscape and garden pond kits make that dream become a reality.
Water features range from small and simple to large and expansive, sometimes taking over an entire backyard! (No more having to mow the grass!)
It’s never been a better time to build a pond. You can use a pond kit on the market today like the Davin Paul Designs pond kits which features better materials like flexible pond liner that has revolutionized pond design and made installations easier.
In the past homeowners hired contractors to build ponds like they would a swimming pool using concrete which made them very expensive. But, now you can get a garden pond kit for $500-$1000 and install it yourself! Building a garden pond in this day in age is less about your wallet and more about your imagination.
There are a few different kinds of pond kits out there. The three main styles of ponds are koi ponds, water gardens (aka garden ponds), and container ponds.
Koi ponds are water features that are built specifically for koi. They are designed with a straight-down wall that is often 3-5 feet deep. This allows koi to hide from predators like a Heron. Where a Heron could wade into a garden pond and pick fish off at his will. This is because garden ponds are usually built 2 feet deep and have ledges along the sides the bird can stand on.
But, keep in mind with this type of feature you may need to fence the area off and go by rules for swimming pools since they are so deep. Check your local codes. If you have small children in the area make sure they have a way to escape if they fell in as well.
Koi ponds have pond filtration systems that are much bigger and involved than a garden pond. This is because they need to keep the water balanced due to fish waste. Think of them as almost a giant aquarium.
Cost, added filtration, safety, and building codes may sway you to building a garden pond.
Garden Pond Features:
The first thing you need to figure out is how much time, money, and what type and size space you have available. Each project will vary on cost and time it takes to install and maintain.
The more informed you can be before you install a garden pond kit the better your plans, find install easy, and best of all prevent frustrations down the road. Some great ways to learn how to build a pond is by going to pond tours, reading water gardening books, pond magazines, and pond forums online.
Pond Size and Site: You don’t want to put a large waterfall feature in a small yard. Make sure the garden pond you are thinking about installing is at the right scale to the space available. Check your local building codes to see how deep you can go without a fence, and limitations on size, lighting, electrical work, etc..
Small ponds are relatively inexpensive, but large ponds can be thousands of dollars. So figuring out the size will help you see if the size your thinking about also fits your budget.
Your time and strength also come into the equation. Small features are pretty easy to do yourself, but if you start getting into 3′ in diameter boulders for pond ledges.. then you are going to most likely need to hire a pond contractor for help.
Maintenance time should also be considered. A small garden pond should only take a few minutes a week. But the larger you go the more maintenance that is usually required. Water quality is the opposite though… the bigger you go, the easy it is to take care of. So there are more moving parts in a large garden pond, like a pond skimmer, multiple pond pumps, etc.. but since the volume of water is much greater it is slower to change.
If all this sounds overwhelming to you.. you may want to start out with something easy like a container water garden, or a preformed pond kit. The preformed pond kits are cheap and a good introduction to water features, but like most people, you will want to upgrade soon after.
The Material in Garden Pond Kits
Pond Liner and Underlayment – One of the biggest expenses in pond building is pond liner. Even though it is much cheaper than in the past when they used concrete.. it still is costly. And with the current state of the economy pond liner seems to keep going up in price rather than down.
Make sure the liner you buy is made for use with fish and plants. Some roofing liner that is similar has toxic chemicals that can kill fish/plants.
EPDM is the standard today and is very durable. It usually carries a 20-year warranty and will stay flexible in cold weather, is resistant to UV light, and is 45 mill in thickness.
You can place sand on the pond bottom for additional protection, but you should use pond underlayment to let gases escape and protect the pond liner.
Installation is pretty easy with liner and underlay. Depending on the size you may need help as pond liner size increases it can get very very heavy. So make sure to find some help to save your back.
Pond Pumps – While a water garden can have just aquatic plants.. mostly all homeowners install a pond pump. Moving water adds that splash, makes the stream run, fountains spray, keeps water moving to prevent mosquitoes, and sparkles to your water feature.
If you are installing a garden pond kit they usually will have a submersible pond pump that will install in a pond skimmer.
If you are installing a preformed pond kit or koi pond kit you may need a different style pump. Like an external pond pump.
The most important factors to look at when deciding on a garden pond kit are its size and warranty. Most pumps that are included with kits are already sized correctly.. you just need to make sure if you do any changes, or your project requires different things.. you may need to upgrade pumps.
Most warranties on pond pumps are 2-3 years. If you take care of your pump with regular maintenance it should last for many years though.
Pond Filtration – Your standard garden pond kits are going to include a pond skimmer and biological pond filter.
The pond skimmer is designed to suck in water to catch floating pond debris just like a pool skimmer. It houses the pump and a leaf basket and a filter mat.
The biofilter is a filter where water is pushed through filter media that is home to beneficial bacteria. This helps keep your pond ecosystem in balance by breaking down organic debris in the pond. If you had no filter on the pond it would start to build up pond algae very quickly.
Aquatic plants are also a very important part of a water garden. The plants will help balance the ecosystem and add beauty. Look into various styles depending on the depth of your pond ledges.. you could have marginals in shallow water, water lilies on the bottom, and submerged plants as well.
Putting it all Together
It may seem overwhelming when you look at all the parts in garden pond kits, but if you break it down into steps it is a very simple process. Just follow manufacturers’ instructions on how they say to install the products, and keep up with maintenance and you should have an awesome water feature for many years of enjoyment!
And be careful as once the pond bug bites you, you are going to be addicted. It is such a great hobby.. and everyone I know of that installs a garden pond kit will be adding pond lighting, fish, making it bigger, etc.. every year. But, it is all worth it.