Garden water features whether large or small, complex or straightforward, infuse your outdoor environment with a certain kind of music. The sound of water trickling over rocks or splashing into a pond is charming and inviting.
While water features such as garden fountains, waterfalls, and ponds bring an additional layer of sensory pleasure to your garden experience, they also call for an additional layer of expertise from your landscape maintenance provider.
Routine inspection and cleaning by knowledgeable landscape technicians is required to ensure the proper functioning of your pumping and filtration equipment. And if one of your water features is a koi pond, that expert care can be critical to the health and longevity of your pond fish.
Water Feature Maintenance
Basic water feature maintenance means keeping the water clean, clear, and free of organic debris. Also, water levels must be monitored because water evaporates or splashes out. This can be accomplished manually or by installing an autofill device.
Of the several types of garden water features, ponds–especially koi fish ponds–demand the most attention and expertise from a maintenance standpoint.
Although pond maintenance can be intensive, starting out with the correct equipment significantly reduces the amount of time required to keep them running in top condition.
For a pond to function effectively, the pumping, circulation and filtration system must be adequately sized for the water volume. If a system is incorrectly sized, it will have to work too hard and may need to be replaced prematurely.
These guidelines apply to both simple garden ponds and koi fish ponds.
If you plan to grow aquatic plants in your backyard pond, you’ll need to locate it in a sunny spot because plants need at least five hours of sunlight per day to thrive. Also, aquatic plants do best in still water. So, if you wish to include a waterfall in your pond design, you will need to position plants far enough away so they won’t be subjected to turbulence. This is particularly important for floating plants such as lotuses and water lilies.
It is also important to note that plants don’t do well in the presence of fish–because the fish eat them! If you do want to combine fish and aquatic plants, the plants must be separated from the pond water by containers to keep the fish from nibbling on them. The use of floating islands for plants is another strategy for keeping them in the pond but separated from fish.
Koi Fish Ponds
Koi pond design and construction differs from that of a simple garden pond in three key ways:
Depth and Size
To keep fish healthy and safe from predators, a koi pond must be at least three feet deep and contain at minimum 1,000 gallons of water.
A koi pond requires two types of filtration systems: one extracts waste produced by the fish and other organic debris; the other houses beneficial bacteria that convert toxins into harmless substances.
Depending on the size and the number of fish in the pond, you may need an aeration device to circulate oxygen through pond water. Sometimes, incorporating a waterfall into the design can fill the need for aeration.
And finally, pond water must be treated because chlorine or other chemical additives present in straight from the tap city water can kill koi fish.
At some point, you may discover that your pond has developed a leak. Being able to diagnose a leak is a special skill in an of itself. Obviously, the need for professional maintenance on this type of water feature is imperative.
Maintaining Garden Waterfalls and Fountains
The role of garden fountains in landscape design for both public spaces and private homes goes back hundreds of years. Compared to other landscaping water features such as waterfalls and ponds, garden fountains can be less labor-intensive to construct and maintain. They require less space and there is an abundance of sizes and styles from which to choose. Fountains offer a comparatively easy way to introduce the pleasing sensory effects of moving water into your outdoor environment.
Fountains have filters or skimmers that must be cleaned out to ensure that water flow isn’t constricted by an accumulation of debris. Periodically, there will be a need to repair water pipes or replace pumps.
You may think water features are low maintenance. Typically, they are not. They require attention on a weekly basis. If you fall behind on maintenance, you can burn out a pumping system very quickly. It’s good to have a proactive approach with regular inspections by a knowledgeable professional because it takes the same level of passion and expertise to maintain water features as it does to care for plants.
If you’d like to talk about developing an integrated program of landscape maintenance services that covers all aspects of your outdoor environment including water features and garden care, feel free to schedule a phone call to speak with one of our garden management specialists.
Are you wondering how to bring out the fullest expression in your landscape and gardens? Our eBook: Choosing the Right Kind of Landscape Maintenance Firm, is full of valuable information to help you understand the fundamental differences between landscape maintenance companies.