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Ponds for your backyard

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Everything you need to know about ponds

People are naturally drawn to water and many put a great deal of time and effort into recreating the beauty and tranquility of nature and its comforting sights and sounds. There are numerous goals of creating a backyard pond, and before beginning to transform your property, do your research to be sure you are meeting your needs and optimizing the pleasure of the finished product.

Location of your pond

Sun
The amount of sun that your pond and its ecosystem will receive is an important consideration. The more sun, the more prolific and sooner your aquatic plants will flower. Of course, since plants grow faster, so too will algae, which is one of the less favourable aspects of maintaining your own pond. However, although high sun is great for flowers, some fish species will not survive the heat of a pond in full sun during the summer.

Trees
The shade of a tree, and the possibility of its roots continuing to grow and damage the liner of the pond are also important to consider. However, a shady pond may help suppress the growth of algae, and keep the fish from growing too quickly.

Sound
If your plan is to hear and enjoy the gurgling of the pond, consider a suitable location in the early stages of your planning.

Access
Since you will need to occasionally add water to your pond, plan for easy access. Also, be aware of how easy the access is for wandering children and pets.

Landscape design and types of ponds

Formal or informal, you will be happier if your pond matches the theme that you have already established on the rest of your property. An informal pond will look like it was created by nature and a formal pond will look created by people, with obvious geometric shapes and well defined edges and corners.

Earthen
Best for a large scale pond, an earthen pond – digging out a hole and letting it fill in with water - has a very natural look, does not use elaborate filtering systems and is generally cheaper per square foot of surface (assuming no liner is used).

Concrete
This is generally the most expensive type of backyard pond. If not constructed properly, a cement pond may develop cracks as a result of the freezing and thawing of the soil around it during the winter months.

Preformed liners
Most liners are made of a thick, solid plastic and are great for a smaller, shallow ponds. There is no guesswork involved once you’ve chosen a preformed pond liner, since the shape you purchase is the shape you get. Although the thick plastic is excellent at withstanding wear and tear, there’s also the possibility that it can be expelled from the ground with the freezing and thawing of the seasons.

Flexible liners
Flexible Liners are the most popular and cost effective way of creating a garden pond. They are available in a wide range of materials and sizes and allow you to make a pond of any shape.

Container
Any container a foot to two feet deep is suitable for a small pond. This is an ideal solution for the homeowner with a smaller landscape with which to work. Containers can be moved around, are low cost and don’t require digging. Although relatively low maintenance, they still need regular attention replacing water in order to limit the growth of algae and mosquito larvae.

By Paula McKee

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