Ponds are an excellent way to enhance your backyard and bring a touch of the aquatic to your landscape design. Many people believe that ponds – at least those active with aquatic life – must occur naturally on a property, but with today's technology, you can add a pond to just about any yard. In fact, a man-made pond may be even better than the real thing, since it allows you to control the size, shape and location of the pond, as well as the plants and animals that reside within it.
Perhaps the easiest way to add a pond to your yard is by purchasing a preformed pond and/or a pond kit. Preformed ponds are tubs that resemble small plastic kids' pools, only less colorful (they are usually black) a more durable (they are usually made of fiberglass, not plastic). They are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can also be enhanced with additional features such as preformed water courses and waterfall runs. Some also have internal features like ledges and contours to create variations in their depth and width.
Pond kits are assemblages of essential pond materials, including pond liners, pond liner underlayments, pond pumps, and the required valves and connectors. Some also include extras like PVC tubing, plant baskets, how-to guides and pond decorations or accessories. The exact contents and specifications of the kit depend on the kit you buy. Many pond kits can be used in conjunction with a preformed pond or by themselves to create a liner pond.
Once you've laid the foundation for your pond, you have to decide what's going to go in it. You may choose to add fish to create a fish pond, or you may decide simply to showcase a number of aquatic plants for a garden pond. Whichever you choose, you will have to ensure that your pond water is the right composition and temperature for the optimum health of its inhabitants.
Many people believe that garden ponds are low or no maintenance, but this is not necessarily the case. While garden ponds tend to require less maintenance than fish ponds, the level of care required depends entirely on the types of plants in the pond. Some aquatic plants require very specific temperatures and conditions to thrive, but even the hardiest aquatic plants require a certain amount of attention to ensure growth and survival.
Even the most low-maintenance ponds will require care to keep the water clear, healthy and beautiful. Pond filters are important to remove unwanted elements, and pond pumps are essential to keep water circulating. Features like waterfalls and pond fountains can also help aerate water and keep it from stagnating. Stagnant water is not only ugly but also dangerous. It is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can carry deadly viruses like West Nile.
The two biggest maintenance tasks for backyard ponds are keeping them clear of algae and winterizing them (if you live in colder climes). The exact steps for these procedures will depend on the type of pond you have, but they are both relatively easy. Most pond owners choose to complete their pond maintenance themselves; however, there are professionals you can call on for advice or even to perform maintenance services.