Please advise - a complete newbie

ibheriJune 1, 2011

Hello, I live in Texas and have a small backyard. I do some lasanga gardening and have some old garden , david austin's and earthkind roses with some companion plants. As an extenstion I want to build a small pond. There probably is just about 20 feet of space from the wall to the fence, so I would think a very small pond. I am reading up some info and talking to some friends on the TX garden web forum. Can you please suggest a good book to start with? I am googling for some info but thought a book or two may help. I work close to the public library, so definetly can borrow as many books as I can get my hands on :) I am looking to do this a long term project, not something I am in a rush for to get done over the next couple of weekends. I do have a 3 yr old and I want to be extremely cautious with what I want to build. Kindly advise.

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From one newbie to another, I didn't use a book... I researched online, including this forum, the pondlady (very good info) and other websites and picked the brains of pond guys at pond shops.

Keep in mind we started digging our first pond three weeks ago and the pond should be up and running within the next few weeks.

First you need to decide if you just want the water feature, a natural plant pond or a Kio pond. Depending on which type you want will give you a good idea where to start (BTW, Kio ponds need to be deeper with more filtration).

But as far as more specifics, there are a lot of knowledgable folks on here, I am sure they will chime in.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 6:31PM
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Pcan ! That's awesome in 3 weeks you must have got a lot of work accomplished. Great going! I will search for your entries, that should bring in a lot of info. Yes, I read about the Koi pond. I do not want a Koi pond. I want to keep it mainly for a waterfall, some aquatic plants and maybe a few goldfish which maybe will be the last addition. Thank you for your time, maybe we will talk more often. Happy ponding!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 7:14PM
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No problem. It sounds like your pond will be a lot like mine. I am not putting any Kio in it. I am going to do about 50% of the surface area in plants for filtration and add some goldfish and mosquitofish just to keep the mosquito population down. We have a sizable waterfall.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:39AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Look for books by Helen Nash.
The Complete Pond Builder is excellent.

I applaud your decision to have a water garden rather than a koi pond for your first pond.

Goldfish will eat mosquito larvae.

Here is a link that might be useful: Complete Pond Builder

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:44AM
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Buyorsell888: Thank you for your suggestion. The lib close by did not have complete pond builder but had other books from Helen Nash. I put a hold request on 3 of those. Pecan also suggested Amazing site and lots of information. Will be doing a lot of reading this weekend for sure.
Thnx and have a gr8 weekend :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:05PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Her books are all great.

A word of advice: After you complete your pond, try your hardest to restrain yourself from adding fish right away. Let your pond cycle for a few weeks and plants grow before adding fishies. I know it is hard but it is better for the pond water quality and for the fish.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:41PM
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I got 2 of them and am enjoying reading them. I will follow u'r guidance on not adding fish right away. Am in no rush. Taking baby steps right now. First research. Thank you for your time.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 2:47PM
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gardengimp(9B Seminole Cnty FL)


We are complete water garden newbies also. I read a lot on the internet, and here on this forum. Still, you will be finished and a few months later say to yourself "I wish".

We wanted a fountain sit in a surrounding still water pond. With water plants, mosquito fish, and super yummy water for the veggie bed. Who knew you could become so attached to .27c goldfish that you feel the need to buy a water pump just for them. We figured we would only need one electrical plug. Just one, so something as simple as adding another pump caused some headache.

Also, we planned our layout and starting digging the hole based on a fountain we found and liked. Several months later we went back to get the fountain .... company out of business. When we finally found a fountain we liked, we didn't rethink our layout. Duh ....

So, do lots of dry runs. Before you get everything in place and it becomes a hassle to make even minor changes.

Hunt out and find your source for pond plants long before you need them.

Get a pump double the size you really think you need.

Create hidey hole caves for your fishies.

Be prepared for every outdoor critter within a country mile to come find your pond during drought season.

Oh, and our .27c goldfish are just the cutest and friendliest low care fishies.

Our new pond:


    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:38PM
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Well at least you live in Texas so freezing shouldn't be a problem for you. Welcome to the joys of ponding! Your research plan is good read lots plan before you build keeping budget in mind as some equipment can be pricey. In the US you have lots of online pond supply sources that we don't have here in Canada. I would recommend that you don't buy a pond kit for your pond. The pumps are never strong enough for circulating and running a waterfall. There are all kinds of calculations for pond volume, pipe fittings, pump size to circulate pond and waterfall which can be mind boggling. I like the aquaart site as they have good info on calculating these things for you. I started out with a submersible pump but they are energy hogs and I hated getting into the pond to pull the pump to clean it so now I run my pond on external pumps. They can be pricey but mine runs on 175W pumping 4300GPH 24/7 and cost me $350.00 including duty as shipped from the states. The submersible I had was 350.00, 333W and only pumped 1900GPH.
If I was to redo my pond or build another one I would make sure I had a 8-10" coping shelf around the pond to hold down the liner and have the rocks just sitting at water level. I have that in some places but in most I have a plant shelf and had to stack rocks on the plant shelf then on top along the edge to hide the liner. The problem is that the rocks in the pond get full of crud and require alot of cleaning each spring. If you can afford it make your pond as big as you can, use the excavated dirt to make your waterfall and run your liner all the way from the top of the waterfall basin through the pond. That way you won't have leaks that frequently happen if you have a separate piece for the waterfall over the pond liner. Have fun! Patti

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 1:55AM
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Dianne: your pond is so cute, that wud be the perfect size in my yard. Can you please tell me how deep it is? What are hidey cave holes? How do we make them?
Patti: Yes, so glad I don't have to worry about freezing. Lived in Boston for a year and relocated at the first opportunity :) Can you please tell me a lil more about coping shelves? I will try and read too. Wud luv to see pics of your pond,please do share them at u'r convenience.
Thanks for all your support.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 8:48PM
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gardengimp(9B Seminole Cnty FL)

Indu, our pond is weaved amongst oak tree roots, and sewer pipe. We used a liner so we could free-form it around the obstacles. The deepest part is 2' the shallowest about 8" as it slopes up to the sewer pipe. I wasn't too keen in having deep water over the sewer pipe, don't really know why.

We created a big hidey hole by sitting an 8x8x8 concrete block with the sides open to water. It is what the fountain sits on. Also, clay orchid pots with part of one side knocked out and sit upside down.

I have a clay orchid pot sitting in the shallow end with some large gravel in the bottom. Going to be moving a marginal into as soon as it roots up. I was dinking around with the submersible pump and moved that pot out of my way ..... only to discover baby fish were hanging out inside it. Oh my, our baby goldfish had babies. That, or the pond plants we ordered had eggs. Shrug. So, I guess the little fishies could swim in the orchid pot holes but the big fishies couldn't or wouldn't.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 11:28PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Since you live in a warmer climate it would be possible to have an above ground pond. Eliminates digging,allows you to sit on the edge and keep pots arounfd the edge.
Also at least slows down some of the critters lol You can make one in a gazillion ways .I used stacked 4x4's with a fiberglass liner so it's 18 inches above and 20 inches below ground . This depth helps considerably with heat buildup. I put a window in the side because I got the glass for free. I wouldn't recommend it for several reasons but with the right location might work?? Anyway good luck. The best thing you can do is look around and decide what you want the pond for and design around that.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 4:41AM
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