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Water Gardening

Ponds have become places where the beauty and tranquility of water amongst foliage can be easily integrated into your garden.

Water features, such as ponds and fountains, have become very popular recently. The sound of running water is soothing. An attractively landscaped pool with fish, water plants like the water lily and a waterfall or fountain can be a beautiful addition to your garden. Ponds have become places where the beauty and tranquility of water amongst foliage can be easily integrated into your garden. A pond will also attract birds to your garden. They are a super addition to gardens, as well as, they offer added colour and movement. In southern Alberta you’ll find that most songbirds gather near water, so if this suits your fancy it’s well worth the effort. This can be especially nice if you choose to run your pond in winter.

Your pond can be a place for contemplation that begins with deliberation. Water gardens are more than water holes in the ground and can have function, meaning and should be as individual as its surroundings. They can be slow moving, purposeful, geometric and formal, reflecting blooms that surround it or free-flowing, utilizing irregularly shaped rocks, and shoreline, inviting birds and offering a pleasing environment for fish creating its own ecosystem.

Whatever your taste, a pond can complement or contrast your existing garden. Consider its theme first. Will it be a single body of water or several? Will it consist of deep pools to magnify the colours of its surroundings? Will there be symbolism like in Japanese water gardens, with bridges, stepping stones and chimes?

It could be whimsical, tropical or a simple well. Perhaps it can have an oasis theme augmented with sand. Will statuary play a part in your pond? Spitters, fountains, waterfalls and even rivers can be built into your pond. These are things to consider before you begin.

Once this has been decided the next step is to decide where your pond is to be located, and how it is to be constructed. There are a couple of things to consider when building a pond. Pond size should be as large as the site and your budget will allow as larger volumes of water do not change temperature as quickly. This is especially important when you live in a climate with extreme temperature changes. You’ll find most water plants and aquatic animals do best in a more constant climate.

Locate your pond where it can be seen and heard from both inside your home and sitting areas of your garden.

Where the pond should be overview:

  1. It should usually be visible from seating areas in the garden and from indoors.

  2. It is best in the sun if water plants, especially lilies, are desired.

  3. It must be level (the water will be, even if the pond isn’t.)

  4. A short wall might be necessary on one side if it is on a sloped site.

  5. A waterfall needs a sloped site with a level pool at the bottom. A waterfall built up in the middle of a level garden looks out of place and contrived.

  6. Good drainage in the area is essential, if there is run-off from above.

  7. Be sure any run-off cannot contain lawn herbicides or fertilizer.

  8. Ponds do not do well under trees. The roots cause problems as they grow, and leaves fall into the pond.

  9. An electrical connection is necessary for a pump (cord can be underground or run along beds).

  10. Water is not needed continuously but should be easily available for replacing water lost through evaporation.

A pool 24 or more inches deep requires, by law, a lockable, 6-foot fence. Laws are different everywhere and you should check your local code. Pond on farms can be huge and deep enough to over winter trout. If plants, particularly water lilies, are to be included, at least 6 hours of sunlight daily is necessary. Locate your pond where it can be seen and heard from both inside your home and sitting areas of your garden. A grounded electrical supply is necessary for the pump and possible lighting scenarios. This is a consideration as digging a trench for power opposed to running and extension cord can be an expense but also big advantage. Remember to check for underground utilities etc. before you dig.

Choosing A Pond

Size, shape and material overview:

  1. A molded pond comes in many sizes and shapes and is easiest to install.

  2. Flexible liner gives more variation in size and shape but is a little more work to install. Buy the best quality you can afford – you don’t want a leak after you have it installed! Add twice the depth of the pond plus overhang to the length and width of the liner purchased.

  3. Cement pools are not practical in our area. Our rapidly changing weather causes cracks that are expensive and difficult to repair.

  4. Size depends on available space and your needs. Outline it in the area it is to go with a garden hose or thick rope to visualize it. Depth should be 18-23″ deep if you would like plants, especially lilies, and fish in it. A three foot deep pond is necessary if you are going to keep fish in it over the winter, but be aware that a pond in the city that is 24″ deep or more requires a six foot, locked fence around it.

Heavy butyl liners are more of a challenge to install, but give you unlimited flexibility and design. Recently, lighter but very durable pond liners have come on the market. You might want to look into them before you choose. We have 15mil liner that works as well as any.

-Greengate Garden Centres LTD. SPECIAL OFFER: 10% discount off purchases. Members must show Best My Nest VIP card at time of purchase. Exclusions: Stihl, Big Green Egg, Traeger or Department 56 products.


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