my first water garden

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by pferboy, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Green Gopher

    Green Gopher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    I don't want offend anyone who is a die hard aquascape user, so these are my impressions from my experience in my area.

    Disclaimer out of the way, the number one problem is:

    SIZE, These ponds are usually to small and the owners "out grow" them quickly. Also the more shallow a pond is and lesser the water volume the more maintenance. which leads to #2.

    MAINTENANCE, all pond require work. The amount of work depends on the quality of materials you use. Aquascapes ponds are much lower maintenance then those preform ponds, but after the novelty wears off the home owner stops. I can't tell you how many ponds I have been called out to "diagnose" a problem and you can't see the bottom of the pond because the water is green.

    EXPERIENCE, In my area three years ago the state fair and another large county fair were hit hard by the Aquascape marketing team. There was about three weeks that summer of daily "learn to build a pond in a day" classes. The next year every time I turned around there was a new ad for a water feature "contractor". I don't think it is a bad idea to sit through one of these classes as a start, but to think you will know all there is to know about responsible pond installation in a one day class is very misinformed. As green in Idaho stated it is an art, but also there is a great deal of science & engineering involved.

    AQUASCAPE, you need to look at who your experts are. Aquascape has done a great job of marketing an inexpensive all in one kit. How many of you have gotten what looks like a pond magazine in the mail and found a 16 page ad for Aquascapes. with 20 easy steps, done in a weekend. Their day classes are 80% sales and 20% how to. They expect that by putting on a "free" class that each person there will install at least one pond (i'm guessing here) at an average of $1200 each. If you buy into the side pitch that once you leave the class you can go out and have a great part time business building ponds on the weekend, then friends the hook is set. Just look at their web-site at completed projects and more than half are to shallow, placed in bad if not the worst possible locations, and rarely look natural.

    I don't want to come across as a know it all, because i'm not. I do feel I am responsible when I install water features and have done years of research before trying to sell a product to any customers. I went to who I felt the experts were, and started learning from them. I would suggest going to your local Koi fish clubs and asking pond questions. These people are not out to sell you anything, and this is their hobby not their job so they will talk for hours. Then ask to see some of the oldest ponds. I have see tons of 15- 20 year old ponds built by these guys. every one clean and healthy.

    If someone from Aquascapes can show me a 20 year old Aquascapes pond with fish that older than two years and maintained by a customer. Then I may start to change my mind about their product. Sorry this post is so long I hope it helps someone a little.

  2. kandklandscape

    kandklandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 341

    I think it looks very good my friend. it is your first system. when you get to your 20th ADI pond, you will look at this one, and tell them you want to give them there money back because you can do better! keep up the good work my friend!
  3. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Nice! But I dont know about the cross unless of course that is where they will bury there first dead fish
  4. earthtool

    earthtool LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115

    You meant to say "their", if I am not mistaken.

    Pond building is an more research on design.
  5. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    Not to offend you but putting rocks on the bottom of a fish pond might be aesthetically pleasing, but it is a BAD, BAD idea. When the pond building boom hit, it was the the popular thing to do, but since then most experts agree that it is not a good practice. Putting rocks on the bottom of a water garden (no fish) is fine though.

    When you have a fish pond with rocks all over the bottom, the gaps and crevices between the rocks wind up harboring everything from fish feces to rotting leaves, or anything else for that matter that falls into the pond. As this material breaks down, it provides a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria (bad bacteria). This is the kind of bacteria that makes your pond smell like a swamp if it's present in high enough quantities. It also pollutes your water. The only way to control it's build-up in a rock-bottom pond is to use a "muck mop," or other vacuuming device.

    Another problem with your rock bottom idea is the fact that rock bottom ponds greatly hinder bottom drain performance. In an effort to reduce pond maintenance, almost all fish ponds should have at least one bottom drain (one bottom drain per 10 sq feet of bottom area). A bottom drain system is not a mandatory thing, but the maintenance requirements in a drainless pond increase dramatically.

    The bottom of the pond should be smooth as possible and shaped like a bowl that slopes toward the bottom drain. This way debris at the edges of the pond bottom ends up close enough to a drain to be drawn in and sent to the filtration system (where it will later be removed from being in contact with the pond's water).

    When you build a pond for customers, you should design your ponds so that the maintenance is as easy as possible for them. The easier the maintenance, the better the chance their fish will stay healthy and their water quality will remain high.

    There really is a lot more to pond building than what can be taught in a build a pond in a day class. There are so many things that go into building a viable, well designed fish pond that won't require unreasonable amounts of maintenance that it's daunting at times.

    I think he did a great job for a first pond. Ponds don't have to be 100% formal, or 100% informal. Most ponds are a mix in between. To say that any pond that isn't 100% either way is inferior in quality is showing ignorance.

  6. localguy

    localguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    your pond/water garden/fish pond/water pond/water feature/water fall looks great for a DIY - always think in the future when constructing a water feature "what is it going to be?" choose from the list above and design accordingly.

    the liner edges need work and the falls is OK - it takes talent and a keen eye for detail from Mother nature to say what makes a waterfall/stream and garden look good.

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