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5 TIPS FOR PLANTING YOUR POND

Landscaping your pond isn’t much different than landscaping your backyard. Similar factors should be considered, with the same design principles applied in both. Follow these 5 tips for planting your pond to maximize beauty and minimize maintenance.

1. Keep It Natural

The goal is to mimic Mother nature. When you add aquatic plants to a pond, you’re helping to blend it in with the surrounding landscape. In nature, marginal plants are typically found along the perimeter of ponds, lakes, and streams. In a man-made pond, these plants soften the hard edges of the rocks and provide a smooth transition from the water in the pond to the terrestrial planting area that surrounds it.

2. Ensure the Best View

Just as the signature waterfall faces the house or viewing areas, be sure that the amazing waterlily or lotus is easily seen from the nearby patio or kitchen window for the greatest amount of appreciation.

3. Vary Plant Heights

To maximize a natural look in the ponds you build, place taller plants like reeds, cattails, and cannas toward the back of planting clusters. Then, add medium and shorter plants on the viewing side of the taller plants.

4. Play with Colour

Random placement of plants with different textures and colours will give the pond a natural, unstructured appearance. Choose colours that you like best and let your creativity take care of the rest. Emphasize primary colours with larger plants, and add some daring contrasts of texture and other colours around the edges.

5. Know How They’ll Grow

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the mature size and habit of your plants, how they grow and spread. To create a truly low-maintenance pond, allow sufficient room for future growth.

Plant Your Pond

Employ these tips when designing and planting your pond, and you’ll achieve the pond of your dreams. A pond doesn’t fully mature until about the third year, so don’t be concerned that it may look a little sparse at first. You will love watching your water garden grow!

Pond Water Quality

The importance of good pond water quality is not lost on most pond owners. However, understanding how to achieve and maintain water quality can prove to be a challenge for even the most avid water gardeners. The water may be perfectly clear, but several factors may indicate that conditions may not be ideal. Before you decide on a treatment plan for your pond’s water, consider the following questions:

Are there too many fish in the pond?

10 fish for every 100 gallons of water is the absolute maximum. If there are too many fish, consider finding some of them a new home. Better yet, build a second pond for the overflow.

Are the fish overfed?

Excess, or leftover food can affect water quality. Feed the fish no more than once per day, and no more than they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes – then remove all remaining food from the water.

Are there too many plants?

Too many plants can cause oxygen deficiencies at night due to the photosynthetic process, where the plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. Ensure that no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area of the pond is either covered or shaded by plants.

Is the pump size affecting water quality?

The entire pond’s volume should be circulated, or turned over a minimum of once every hour. Ensure that the pump’s flow isn’t restricted by any debris, or that it isn’t exceeding its flow limitations. Refer to the side of the original packaging for specifications.

Is the correct filter in place?

Most manufacturers rate their filters based on the amount of water in the water feature. If the filter is too small, it will be less effective at removing debris and fish waste. Always use a filter rated higher than necessary in order to guarantee effectiveness, and be sure to clean it at least once per year, as well.

Is the temperature too high?

Direct sunlight, or inadequate circulation of pond water can lead to higher temperatures. Water exceeding 75º F has a more difficult time retaining acceptable levels of dissolved oxygen, and can promote algal blooms. Again, ensure that no more than 40% to 60% of the surface area is shaded, though.

Contact Streamworks Designs for all of your water feature maintenance needs.

3 Reasons Why Your Water Garden Needs Plants

Aquatic plants are essential for any natural looking water feature. Water is beautiful in and of itself, but it’s the flora makes your water garden truly special. They’re not just aesthetically pleasing either, plants in your pond are an important part of the overall ecosystem. Here are 3 reasons why plants are so important:

1. Pond Plants Add Natural Beauty

Waterlilies, lotus, and other flowering aquatics provide lots of colour to your water garden.  Impressive plants like taro and horsetail provide structural variety. Floaters, like water lettuce, add whimsy while laying on the pond’s surface. And marginal plants like sweet flag help to soften the edges of the pond.

Aquatic Plants in an Ecosystem Pond

2. Aquatic Plants Provide Shelter and Protection for Fish

Fish gain shade and shelter from pond plants. Consider the waterlily that spreads a multitude of leaves across the pond’s surface. This natural umbrella helps keep the pond cool in warmer months and provides a cover for fish from the dreaded heron. Plants also provide an area for fish to spawn and a safe place for frogs to lay their eggs.

Aquatic Plants and Fish

3. Plants Balance the Ecosystem

Aquatic plants play a critical role in balancing your pond’s ecosystem by providing valuable biological filtration that removes nitrogen, ammonia, nitrates, and other minerals from the water that algae love to feed on!

Plants are essential to the Ecosystem Pond

You’ll find a wide variety of aquatic plants available, either online or at your local garden centre. The options for mixing and matching plants are almost endless. Be sure to follow planting and growing directions for the plants you choose, and you’ll be on your way to creating a true jewel of a water garden.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air!

Well maybe not quite, but soon! Soon enough that it’s time to start thinking about waking that water feature up from its winter slumber with some spring cleaning. Spring is one of the most exciting times of the year for pond owners, and there are a few things you should do to ensure your water feature starts the season off on the right foot!

First off you will want to assess the situation. Is your pond water quite dark and is there a thick layer of debris on the bottom? If so you will want to think about a full clean out. However, if the water looks decent and there’s minimal debris, you maybe be able to simply stir it up and clean out the debris with a net. The other determining factor will be the water temperature. Ideally you will want to do your clean out BEFORE the water temperature reaches 55F or about 13 degrees Celsius. This will ensure that you are not disturbing the delicate bacteria colonies that create your ecosystem once your feature kicks into gear.

If you’re doing a full clean out on an average sized pond (11’x16’), budget for 4-8 hours to do everything properly. If you have a pondless waterfall, a clean out will take much less time. Here are a few items that will make life easier during the clean out:

  • Cleanout pump with 20+’ of hose
  • Garden Hose with Nozzle
  • Pruners (scissors may do the trick)
  • A couple of buckets for leaves and debris
  • A large vessel (children’s pool or similar) to contain fish if you have them
  • A fish net
  • Pond Detoxifier
  • Cold Water Bacteria

Place the cleanout pump at the deepest part of the feature and pump the dirty pond water into your landscape. It’s filled with nutrients so don’t be shy to water your shrubs with it! If you have fish, pump some of the water into the large vessel for storage later. Once the water level is down to 1/3 capacity it will be much easier to catch your fish with the net. Gently transfer them to the vessel filled with pond water and cover in a shady area so they don’t jump out. Make sure not to leave them there for more than a few hours – if you have to leave them for longer make sure to aerate the water.

Now you can take your hose (or pressure washer if you have one) and spend 10-15 minutes rinsing down the inside of the pond. Working your way from top to bottom, try to blast heavy debris from the rocks and stir up what may be left on the bottom. You can periodically turn on the clean out pump to drain the dirty water. Please note that you DON’T have to get every little bit of algae – in fact leaving some behind will be beneficial later on as it will help re-establish your ecosystem.

As far as any filters go, you can manually remove any debris from the skimmers or snorkel vaults and clean any media nets or filter pads that may be present in the biofalls. You can now gently rinse these out in pond water. Again – leaving a little algae on your filter pads etc is a good thing. You don’t need to boil them!

You’re now ready to fill your pond back up but make sure to include Pond Detoxifier to take the chlorine and chloramines out of city water. This is very important for the safety of your fish. Also important is acclimatizing the fish to their new water. Scoop up your fish into a bucket of the old pond water in their holding tank; float the bucket in the pond for about 15 minutes and then splash a little bit of the new pond water into the bucket. By now the temperatures should’ve equalized and you can pour them into their new home!

PRO Tip: While your water feature is drained for spring cleaning, it’s a great time to prune and fertilize any deep water plants (like lilies, for example). It’s also a great time to reposition lights or change bulbs if need be and if you don’t have lights at all….. Well, get them in there now!

Contact Streamworks Designs for all of your water feature maintenance needs.