Garden pond design and tips
Ever dreamed of having your own garden pond like the ones you see in Japanese gardens and
other tourist spots? While these artistic structures of water and
greenery are more known to be seen in gardens for the public, garden
enthusiasts in the Philippines wish to build their own pond in their
backyard as well.
ponds are sophisticated, aesthetic
landscaping structures that bring life to any homeowner’s garden.
Not only does it hold a tasteful appeal to a Filipino home but it
also benefits wildlife and plants that need a chance to live in this
world. Whether you’re an environmentalist or a naturalist, a garden
pond is the perfect addition to your lovely home! There’s just a
magical quality that the combination of water and plants give to a
typical family garden, and that’s why we’re here to bring you
ideas if you’re planning on putting up your own garden pond.
1. The garden pond and
its amazing benefits
There are many benefits of
small backyard ponds for both people and the
environment. Freshwater habitats of all kinds are currently
experiencing a great decline through direct destruction, pollution
and alteration. From the standpoint of conservation and permaculture,
building a pond is immensely useful and beneficial.
Small ponds are incredibly
useful to a wide variety of wildlife, including insects, spiders,
fish, and small amphibians, to name a few. Even very small ponds,
such as those no more than a meter squared can still provide
considerable value to many small animals.
Ponds are an excellent
asset to those who wish to practice permaculture, even on a tiny
scale. Even a small pond can help create a more ideal microclimate
for growing many plants as they help to moderate the temperatures and
add moisture. Also, many edible plants can be grown in small backyard
ponds such as wild rice, cattail, and lily.
Among the many utilitarian
uses, a small backyard pond can provide water storage. The presence
of the water can help create a microclimate in your garden that can
be beneficial to plants growing nearby and can help keep your yard
more moderate during those hot summer days. A small pond can also be
a source of water for small-scale urban permaculture practices and
can be used to water plants in your yard, whether they are decorative
roses or vegetables.
Educational value and
enjoyment of small backyard ponds
Small ponds can be things
of great beauty and wonder. A pond can really add to the appeal and
look of a backyard. It can also provide a great opportunity for
interaction and education about the natural world, both for children
and adults alike. Even a very small pond is a rich habitat for a wide
assortment of life forms. Such a micro-habitat can act as an outdoor
classroom for those interested in learning more about the natural
world and relationships with it. The magic of watching dragonfly
nymphs and tadpoles grow and transform can positively impact children
for a lifetime and even inspire a new generation of naturalists.
2. Building your own
First things first;
consider deciding on what type of pond you want to build. You should
consider what type of aquatic life you want in the pond. Is it going
to be a home for goldfish or koi? Or is your main concern for the
aquatic plants? Perhaps you only want the pond for the sound of a
waterfall? Each type of pond will need to be planned for its specific
features. Keep in mind that the most common mistake water gardeners
make when building their first pond is making it too small. A small
pond limits the number of fish and plants you can add.
A koi pond is different
from a water garden because koi limits the amount of plant life
available to be grown. Simply put, koi eats some plants. A koi pond
should also be larger because koi gets large despite the size of the
pond; thus, it is recommended that a koi pond needs to have an area
of the pond at least 3 feet deep.
On the other hand, a water
garden typically contains goldfish and a variety of aquatic plants.
Water gardens in the Philippines usually need for an area of the pond
to be at least 2 feet deep.
You have to establish a
new pond to select the proper location. Most ponds will be enjoyed
more if they are installed at your backyard where you can see the
pond year round. Moreover, avoid placing a pond too close to trees.
Falling leaves and other debris will need to be removed from the
pond. You will want to place your pond where it will receive at least
4 to 6 hours of direct sun if you want to grow water lilies. Shade is
fine for fish-only ponds.
A pump is required to run
a filter, fountain, or waterfall. In addition, most ponds will
benefit from the use of a biological filter. This is essential if you
are keeping koi or more than a few goldfish.
Determine the size of your
pond or water garden. Once done, dig the pond or water garden to the
desired shape. If you are keeping plants, dig a shelf around the
perimeter of the pond about one foot deep and one or more feet wide.
Position any external pond filters or pond skimmers and level
these in their proper location. Skimmers are a type of mechanical
filter, which means that some sort of net, basket or screen is used
to capture debris as the water passes through. Pond skimmers should
be buried to the proper level beside the pond.
Place the stone or other
coping around the edge of the pond or water garden. If using small
stone or if people will be walking around the edge, mortaring the
stone for stability may be required. Fill the pond with water to
within a few inches from the top and then make corrections if
necessary to ensure that the pond is level.
To finish, add aquatic
plants as soon as possible after constructing the garden pond. Many
aquatic plants are great at using up the nutrients that would
otherwise feed the algae. Some of the most effective plants include
Anacharis, Water Hyacinth, Parrot's Feather, and Bacopa. Water lilies
and other plants with surface leaves can be added to provide shade to
approximately 66% of the surface area if in full sun.
3. Little aquatic
creatures for your pond
To most people, a water
garden simply wouldn't be complete without fish swimming through the
water. Whether we keep fish for their bright shimmering colors, the
movement in the water, or for the more practical reasons such as
mosquito control, fish are an important addition to a pond. Some of
us name our fish and care for them as we would any other pet.
Although it can be as
simple as picking the fish that looks the prettiest, to the true
enthusiast, selecting the fish species is much more involving.
Considerations should be made when planning the pond as to what type
of fish are desired. This plays a big role in determining the size of
the pond and especially the filtration needs. Adequate filtration is
very important when keeping fish.
Goldfish are the most
popular choice of fish for a water garden. These fish are well suited
for almost any pond size and can be varied to a number sizes and
If you have a larger
backyard, Koi can be a potential type of fish for your big garden
pond too. Koi normally attain lengths of approximately 2 to 3 feet
and weigh up to 35 lbs. Due to their large size, they should only be
kept in large ponds of at least 1000 gallons. Koi need very good
water quality to remain healthy. Sophisticated filtration systems
should be used to maintain this water.
The two types of fish
mentioned above are the most common fish suitable for your garden
pond. Other options that will survive in the Philippine climate
include the Golden Orfe, Plecostomus, which is a type of catfish, and
4. Plants that bring
life to your garden pond
Growing plants in your
garden pond not only provides beauty and naturalization but also
helps in balancing the pond ecosystem. Doing so opens up another
landscaping dimension for you. Furthermore, establishing an aquatic
garden gives you a chance to create a mini-ecosystem entirely
different from your existing garden beds. It's an opportunity to
experiment with plants you otherwise might not be inspired to bring
into your life.
Some of the most common
attractive plants found in any Philippine garden include Water
Lilies, Water Hyacinths, Sweet Flags, Thalia, and Water Clovers.
These plants are all low-maintenance and can withstand the harsh
elements of the country’s climate.
If you’re thinking of
more options, Water Lettuce is an easy care aquatic plant that floats
in your pond, quietly soaking up nutrients helping to prevent the
excessive growth of algae. You’ll also love Creeping Jenny’s
bright green color against the cool waters of the pond.
5. Maintenance is a
A well-maintained pond is
a healthy one that will be the focal point in any garden. The key is
to keep the water clear and ensure that plants do not take over. A
pond with an established balance between plant and animal life
requires less attention than one where there isn’t harmony and
where there is a resultant surge in algae growth.
Keep algae under control.
Rake away long filamentous algae from the water surface. It is
reiterated that you should always check and clean the filter
regularly. It is also a prerequisite to feed fish regularly with a
high protein food to encourage growth. The warm water temperature in
the Philippines stimulates metabolism, so little of the food eaten
will be excreted. Koi fish are omnivorous eating both plant and
animal matter such as algae, aquatic plants, worms, larvae and
crustaceans – therefore can supplement their diet with what is
available in the pond if required. Top-up water levels regularly
during the hotter periods. This will avoid undue weathering of an
exposed pond. A significant drop in the water level would, however
affect the amount of oxygen available for fish. Ideally, fill-up with
rainwater from a water butt rather than tap water, which is full of
nutrients and will cause algae growth.