The Stream


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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.

Winterize Your Pond!

With Hallowe’en in the rearview mirror and the clocks turned back this can only mean one thing: WINTER IS COMING. Luckily here on the west coast all that really means is that it will probably rain a little bit more but nevertheless you should prepare to winterize your pond in the coming weeks. You never know what Mother Nature may bring so here are a few suggestions:

Once the leaves and needles have finished falling from the trees you will want to get in and remove as much of that debris as possible. If you have used pond netting this will be as easy as rolling the net up and discarding the leaves. If you have not used netting then you can scoop them out manually with your hand or a long handled pond net. This is an important step as the less decaying plant material on the bottom of your pond, the easier your life will be next Spring.

For the same reason listed above you will also want to cut back any dead or dying foliage on your water plants. Hardy lilies can be cut back just above the base of the plant. Maginals can also be cut back at this time.

Next you will want to add some cold water bacteria. This will ensure that your water stays clean and clear over the winter months. Cold water bacteria is designed to work in water 10C or cooler and should be applied regularly throughout the winter (read the label for exact dosage and frequency). This bacteria will again reduce Spring maintenance by breaking down any organic debris left in the pond.

STOP FEEDING YOUR FISH. If the water is in the 10-20 degree Celsius range then you can still feed but only with a cold water fish food. Once it’s below 10C you must stop feeding. Your fish are essentially hibernating at that point and they cannot digest food – continuing to feed them at that point can be very detrimental to their health.

Last but not least…. Out west we always recommend that people leave their water feature running throughout the winter. There really isn’t a reason to shut it down and your fish and plants will be much happier with the ecosystem running year round. You will want to maintain a hole in any ice that may form on colder days to ensure that the debris breaking down on the bottom can gas out. You can achieve this with a pond heater or more commonly by moving your pump closer to the surface of the water and simply have it churn away with no hose attached. This also adds oxygen to the water and will keep your feature a bit warmer as you’re not recirculating the coldest layer at the bottom of the pond.

Make sure to keep an eye on your water level as evaporation is still occurring during the winter. Also watch for ice dams that may form in your stream and divert water out.

Enjoy the Season!


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


Fall Maintenance

As the days become shorter and the temps lower we’re reminded that Autumn is just around the corner. While you will notice that your water is usually quite clear at this time, this doesn’t mean that your water feature will necessarily be maintenance free. Here are a few things to think about for fall maintenance.

With regards to your water plants, you can prune off any dead or yellow leaves. Your lilies will go strong until the first heavy frost, as will your hyacinths. Remember that hyacinths are essentially an annual so they will need to be tossed into the compost when they start to die off. The same goes for other floaters and oxygenators. You can also stop fertilizing now as your plants transition into their winter cycle.

If you have fish you should stop feeding them once the water temperature is 10C or lower. If you don’t have a pond thermometer I highly recommend one, they’re cheap and invaluable for knowing not only when to feed certain foods but also when to effectively administer treatments. If you must feed your fish through the Fall/Winter then make sure to use a low temp fish food that they can easily digest. Failing to do so can result in health issues and even death once their digestive systems slow down.

Lastly try to remove any leaves and debris that may have fallen into the pond. If you have a skimmer, you’ll have to empty the basket more frequently. If you have a pondless waterfall or bubbling rock type feature then manually remove any leaves and debris that you can see. If you have too much organic matter decomposing in your pond, particularly leaves, it can cause your water to turn brown. If this happens you can add activated carbon to clear the water.

Bonus Tip: If you don’t have lighting in your water feature this is a great time to add it! The days are getting shorter and soon your feature will be dark when you leave for work and when you return home! There’s nothing more magical then a well-lit water feature at night!

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