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Planning Retirement Online

Garden Ponds and Pond Safety

December 2004     


Rosemary Martin

Garden Ponds

Part Two

There are many points to consider before putting a pond or water feature in your garden, some of which I have noted in this series. Click here to see part one Covering Garden Ponds and Pond safety.


This month I shall cover the three questions on the list below:-



Q:  Is pond maintenance time consuming?

Q:  What sort of garden pond should I have?

Q:  What pond accessories will I need?




Q:  Is pond maintenance time consuming?

A:  Not necessarily.. For example, if you want a wildlife pond that attracts frogs, newts and dragon flies, it will be a very low maintenance pond that can be left to it`s own devices in many ways.. But even these types of ponds benefit from having the planting thinned out and the water refreshed from time to time, otherwise you could end up with just a muddy and very smelly swamp.

However, if you want a fish pond to display expensive Koi and other types of coldwater fish, then you will need a filter system in order to maintain the good water quality that enables your fish to thrive and this will need a lot of input to keep in tip top condition. There is more information about filtration systems below

Even a simple pebble pool or fountain will need regular maintenance to make sure the electric connections are in good order and the water has not become smelly and stagnant. I have a water feature on the patio at the bottom of our long garden.. It is surrounded by exotic planting and beautiful pebbles, with the electric switch in a shed at the end of the garden. Needless to say the novelty of remembering to switch it on and off soon faded and there it remains, a smelly embarrassment, but a good reminder that I wouldn`t be a good pond keeper these days!

Amazon book -  The Simple Guide to Garden Ponds It is well worth thinking then, just how much time you have, or are willing to spend maintaining your garden pond. If you are nearing retirement age you might also be planning to do more travelling away from home, in which case a simple low maintenance wildlife pond will be the sensible choice. These wildlife ponds can  be the most dangerous for young children though and should be protected by a pond cover or pond grid such as those I mentioned last week, made by this company, Safapond

Even if you don`t have young children visiting, your neighbours might have and these children could well stray onto your property!

I often miss my pond, but taking into account my busy lifestyle it would be an unwise decision to take on more work: besides my labrador has recently learnt to swim and it could be messy!

Q:  What sort of garden pond should I have?



A:   There are many considerations to choosing the right type of pond for you, and it does depend on whether you want a fish pond, an ornamental pond, a wildlife pond or even just a water feature..

A pond or water feature could be the focal point on your patio, or a feature of your lawn. It would also be a great idea to brighten a gloomy or neglected corner of your garden.

If your garden is suitable you could create a natural pond which will be a haven for all types of wildlife. This type of pond is not suitable for ornamental fish because of the lack of proper filtration and it's vulnerability to predators such as herons. Again you would be wise to think about pond safety by using a pond guard or grid to protect young children from drowning.

The next consideration is whether you wish to keep plants and ordinary ornamental fish in your pond or whether you are considering a specialist Koi set up, because the site and construction for both ponds are quite different. 

You could have two different styles of pond.. An informal pond has no straight edges and no symmetrical shape and may be designed to blend in with the contours of your garden landscape. Alternatively, a formal pond does have a regular shape and can be raised above the ground using brickwork to draw the eye to its symmetry. Both types of pond are ideal for keeping aquatic plants and pond fish. A waterfall and a fountain or other moving water feature would usually compliment such pools.

Then there is the fabric of the pond to consider. This can either be a pre-formed fibre glass shell, which come in all shapes and sizes, or it can be formed from a hole dug to your preferred shape and lined with either butyl rubber lining or concrete rendered brick, with a final coat of waterproof rubber aquatic paint.


Q:  What pond accessories will I need?

If you have chosen to have a koi pond or a pond with ordinary ornamental fish you will need a filtration system which is made up of the following three main items:

  • The pond filter, which works in two ways, mechanically and biologically. Mechanical filtration removes the solid particles that cloud the water. Biological filtration removes pollutants that can be harmful to plants and fish.

  • UVC or Ultra Violet Clarifier, which clumps together the algae that causes green water so that the filter can then remove it.

  • Pump - A solid handling pump that conveys the dirty water into the UVC and filter for treatment. It also introduces much needed oxygen and stops the fish gasping at the pond surface..

For an excellent website packed with information about filter systems have a look here 

Amazon book - A Practical Guide to Creating a Garden Pond and Year-round Maintenance If you have chosen to have a pond or water feature without livestock but with a fountain and plants, you will still need a pump to operate the fountain. You will perhaps want lighting by the pond too.

The outside electricity supply needed for all your accessories should be installed by a qualified electrician.

Next month:


Q:  How much will a garden pond cost?

Q:  What fish/wildlife should I stock the pond with?

Q:  Would a simple water feature be safer and easier to maintain than a garden pond?



   This pond safety product is a `must` if you have young children visiting and a pond in your garden:-

garden pond safety, pond cover, pond

Specialist suppliers and installers of garden pond safety systems. Designed with kids in mind. Protecting young children from the dangers of garden ponds and water features..


Garden Ponds - Part One

Garden Ponds - Part Two


       Alan Titchmarsh - How to be a gardener    Amazon Book - The Healing Garden    Amazon Book - RHS Plant Finder 2001 -2002    Amazon Book - "Home Front" in the Garden   


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