Providing for good Feng Shui, a garden pond will transform the atmosphere of a garden, adding life, colour and light. Sound and movement can be added by having a waterfall or fountain. It will make the garden a more relaxing and amusing place to enjoy. Birds love garden ponds and the reflective water fills the garden with light on a dull day. There are different styles of garden pond, and which you choose, will depend on your tastes and how you wish to stock the pond with fish and plantation. Square, rectangular and circular ponds are ideal for geometric gardens. Irregular shaped ponds, like the popular kidney-shape, look best in more natural spaces. A pond will attract wildlife, and if you build it with their needs in mind you can create a perfect home for birds, frogs, insects and other wild creatures.
Location and design of a pond
It is essential that a garden pond is sited correctly. A poorly sited pond will require additional maintenance to keep it healthy and looking good. Choose an open, non-windy, sunny site avoiding shady areas and overhanging deciduous trees. If plan to sink the pond into the ground, ensure the site you choose does not have underground obstacles, such as drainpipes and cables.
Think about how the pond will integrate into its surroundings. Opt for a place where there is space to add plants to at least one side of the water feature to provide a natural transition into the other parts of the garden. Stake out your ideas before you begin construction, by using canes and string in the shape of the proposed pond and check the effect from a distance.
Generally, the larger the pond the easier it will be to take care of, provided it has been placed in the right location. If you want a self-sustaining pond, filled with aquatic plants and fish, it needs to have a surface area of around 5m². The deepest part should be around 60cm and the remainder should have about 20cm deep shelves running along the edges where shallow-water marginal plants wil grow. For keeping fish, it is important to have deep-water zones in a pond to prevent rapid fluctuations in water temperature. If you want a smaller pond, then be prepared to maintain it on a regular basis or don't stock it with fish. Small plant only ponds can look very attractive and still be home to a wide variety of wildlife.
To create the base of the pond there are many options - Flexible liners, rigid liners, concrete and clay, with each having their advantages and dis-advantages.
A concrete pond must be planned and constructed properly, otherwise there will be many problems. Any shape desired can be created and it will have a completely smooth surface throughout. If built properly they can last longer, are easier to maintain and look better. However, they are more difficult to build and cost considerably more unless you are cabable of building it yourself. For the first few years they tend to have a higher than normal PH which can be overcome by painting or tiling it. Bottom drainage and water jets can readily be installed. Most professional pond builders prefer to build concrete ponds and a concrete pond is superior if you are creating something with longevity and superior beauty.
A rubber liner pond is not as permanent, if it has design flaws needing to be changed, a rubber liner is easier to work with. It is also cheaper to build and tends to maintain a more neutral PH. The rubber liner has a very soft surface for the fish but you will have a number of minor folds in the liner surface. Rock work along the edges of a liner pond can be a challenge to stop the liner edge showing. You cannot use mortar to fix rocks to a liner. If you plan to install bottom drains or jets it can be done with the proper drains and bulkhead fittings into a liner pond.
Plastic and fibreglass rigid liners are available if you can work with what is on offer. They are very strong and will last about 15 years. Otherwise they have similar benefits and disadvantages to that of a flexible liner.