Water features and backyard ponds add beauty to your landscape, provide a focal point for your outdoor living spaces, and increase the value of your home. There’s more to building a backyard pond than digging a hole and filling it with water, but it’s a project you can do yourself with a few installation and maintenance tips.
The way your pond is installed will have everything to do with how healthy it is, and how much upkeep it requires. Some type of liner needs to be installed to keep the water from sifting out, and to keep it clean. A concrete liner can be poured, or you can opt for a pre-fab hard or soft liner, which can be fitted in after you dig a hole. Lining the edge with rocks will hold the water in place and beautify the area. Standing water breeds harmful bacteria that isn’t great for other forms of life, so your pond will need to be fitted with a filter and a skimmer. These components will be buried under the earth, and won’t detract from the aesthetic of your pond.
Landscaping and Plant Life
Having a wide variety of plant life in and around your backyard pond will keep the animals there healthy, and keep your pond clean and inviting. Choose native species to avoid any hostile takeovers in your backyard.
- Underwater Plants: Submergent plants that grow underwater, rocks, and other additions to the bottom of your pond give the animals that you want living there places to hide, to hang out, and to make their homes. Underwater plants can be placed in submergent planters, keeping the bottom of your pond clean.
- Emergent Plants: Another form of plant life that can be grown in planters placed at the bottom of your pond are emergent plants. These beauties start on the bottom and extend above the water, providing shade and shelter for your pond residents.
- Marginal Plants: Having a prolific border of plant life surrounding your pond is a good idea too. Marginal plants work as a filter that remove dirt and chemicals from the water, and provide nutrients and shelter for wildlife.
Fish vs. Frogs
Everyone thinks of fish when deciding on who to house in their backyard pond, but this may not be your best choice. The food chain is king in any outdoor space, and fish don’t mix well with frogs, insects and other residents. If you choose to stock your pond with fish, they’ll be your only residents, and you may find yourself replacing them often. If you stand back and let nature take its course, you’ll soon find your pond home to frogs, salamanders, dragonflies, and many other species. You can introduce some wildlife to your pond on your own, but read up on how they will interact with local species if you’re going for the natural approach.