by William Murphy
Location, location, location. Where should you put your garden pond? You may have an idea of where you’d like the pond to go, and where it would look best in your yard.
However, there are many factors that make a location a good location for a garden pond. Of course you want your backyard to look amazing, and we have put together some extra tips for you.
When functioning fully, a pond is its own ecosystem consisting usually of water, rocks, plants, and animals (fish and bacteria).
There are certain conditions that stimulate and support the ecosystem and it is important to consider these factors when building a garden pond.
In addition, the location will determine the amount of maintenance your pond requires. If you place the pond beneath a tree, for example, you will have to clean the pond more often, as leaves and other debris are likely to fall into the water.
There are three main factors to consider when choosing a location for your pond: aesthetics, maintenance, and access to sunlight.
You want your pond to flow with the yard. They call this feng shui, and this is so important. Is there a hill in your yard? This may be an opportune location to put a waterfall.
If the yard is flat, it is best to have the waterfall on the edge of the yard, facing inward so that it is visible from all angles, becoming a focal point.
Perhaps there is an unused section that can be incorporated into an entertainment area once a water feature is added.
If you construct the garden pond properly, a nearby patio should not be a problem in terms of too much moisture in the ground.
This new patio area may even warrant a stunning hard top gazebo or tiki hut being erected so that you can appreciate your garden pond all the more.
Read our article here about setting up a gazebo on concrete, grass, or pavers!
Ideally, the pond will be visible from the patio, if not right next to it. The steady sound of running water will provide a soothing, natural backdrop to any backyard party.
This will intrigue guests and provide a relaxing escape to a different part of the yard. Don’t forget that water has a reflective quality, so consider what image you might like to see upon the surface of your pond.
Check out this video for some great backyard pond design ideas, as there are many design possibilities to explore. You can go quite modern with your pond design, or create something that seems like its from a previous decade, or even a previous century, in a faraway land. Personally, we’re fond of a “English Garden” look, circa the Renaissance.
A pond should be wide as it is deep, for it is the surface that will create beauty in the yard.
Of course, if you are housing fish, they require at least a three foot depth, but a good surface dimension is at least six by six feet (if possible).
Remember that a pond will appear smaller once rocks, plants, and fish are added.
While ponds are a backyard feature, the yard is visible from the house, and a pond should be placed where it can be enjoyed both outdoors and indoors. Therefore, consider all vantage points and sight lines before you go ahead and make it.
A good sight line also helps you keep an eye on the pond to ensure no neighbourhood cats are going after your fish, and that no unwanted birds are bathing in there, or it as their personal bird bath/bathroom. We’ve seen birds like cranes become regular visitors at garden ponds and eat all the fish!
Back to the aesthetics… if only a part of the pond is visible from the house, this can add intrigue. A pond can turn an otherwise unsightly part of the yard into a beautiful oasis.
The bigger the pond, the easier it will regulate itself with stable temperatures. Ponds may look picturesque next to a tree, but trees have leaves and needles which fall, and branches that shed.
They also drop blossoms into the water, which absorb oxygen as they decompose. This will interrupt the careful balance of the ecosystem.
Trees also house birds which can defecate into the water and poison your fish. Trees create a lot of debris that is unsuitable for the pond’s ecosystem, and will create a lot of unnecessary work for you.
Of course, if you are up to the job, then go ahead and deal with the falling leaves.
Now, while there is a certain beauty to seeing fall leaves floating in your pond, you should just be careful not to let your pond get too clogged up with leaves.
You should treat leaves with the same diligence you would when raking your yard. This will affect the way the pump behaves, which we’ll mention shortly.
In addition, a garden pond should sit slightly above ground level or at least have an elevated perimeter.
When it rains, any chemicals or fertilizers that are present in the ground or garden may run; it is important to prevent these chemicals from entering the pond and upsetting the ecosystem. Try to avoid placing your pond in any low-lying areas of the yard.
Finally, to operate at maximum efficiency, a pump will help aerate and circulate the water. The pump will need to be connected to an electric power source, so keep this in mind when choosing a location.
You can use extension cords, but the cords will be buried underground and hidden in PVC piping for protection, so it is easiest and best to keep the cord as short as possible.
Finally, since ponds and waterfalls use water, it is important that your garden hose can reach the pond.
The pond must have access to approximately six hours of sunlight a day. Sunlight warms the water, stimulating vitamin and mineral absorption in fish.
This tends to boost the colours of the fish, providing them with health and us with a wonderful view! Sunlight also leads to the growth of algae, an important bacteria that is healthy for fish as it absorbs nitrate from the environment.
If you add plants to your pond, such as water lilies, they require sunlight.
Consider a location that receives morning sun and is shaded in the afternoon. You do not want your pond to overheat! An ecosystem operates by a careful balance.
Of course, there may be limitations on where you can put your pond, depending on the size and shape of your yard.
Ultimately, you will be able to design the layout that is perfect for your yard, as long as you remember that access to sunlight is integral to a pond housing fish and water plants.
If you do not plan to have fish in your pond, this makes it easier for you, but be careful to keep the pond in a location where it will be visible and easy to access so that maintenance does not become a chore.
With these tips in mind, you are on your way to building your personal oasis! Please comment below if you have anything you’d like to say or ideas you’d like to add! Thanks for reading!
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About William Murphy
William has worked as a general contractor in the city of Fremont, CA for over three decades. During that time, he's written articles about architecture, construction, and environmental protection for various publications. He is an expert on green building and sustainable design. When he's not writing or working, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.