Want to know how we built our pond? Here's an overview showing how we built our pond and waterfall, including how we overcame common problems. Want to build your own backyard oasis? Get started with the links below:
How the Duck Cam works
View Timelapse (our first pond)
Building a pond is not all that hard. It is alot of labor and requires some research. There are many kits available online or in home improvement centers that take the guesswork out of most of the project. If you plan to introduce animals, especially ducks, turtles and fish, you need to find out in advance what upgrades you'll need to keep the environment healthy for the animals and your family.
You can use pool grade chlorine in small ponds as long as you do not have fish. It will not harm the ducks or turtles when used according to the manufacturer's instructions. Never use pool floaters or chlorine tablets in your pond if you have animals.
Ducks and turtles create alot of waste, usually alot more than a standard filtration system can handle. So you will need to use a commercial grade one or a combination of filtration devices to keep the water clean and bacteria free. Ask the people you are buying the filtration systems what they reccommend. Depending on where you live, what your weather is like, how big the pond will be, and how many and what kind of animals will be using it will determine what you need.
Labor of Love
While Greg and I had several years of enjoyment from our pond, it was alot of work and time, and as of May 2007 we no longer have a pond, and have no plans to have one in the future. If we ever did another one we would have it built and use plaster, much like how swimming pools are made. We'd also hire a crew to take care of it. But money isn't always plentiful, and that shouldn't deter you from at least having a small water feature.
A pond can bring many hours of relaxation and enjoyment and be a fantastic focal point in your yard. Our home appraised higher because of our pond. You'll find hundreds of websites on the subject of building and maintenance. Don't expect it to be inexpensive, because you can potentially spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by the time all is said and done. One of our 4 filters cost $2,000 dollars and it still didn't handle all the waste and algae created by the ducks and turtles.
Choose Plants Carefully
If you plan to have lily pads or other plants, keep in mind that many plants can quickly take over the pond and become a problem if not constantly trimmed back. We learned that the hard way, and the person who sold us the plants did not disclose how fast they grew or how big they'd get. It was assumed we knew what we were buying, so please research as much as you can and ask questions before you buy. Ducks and turtles love to eat expensive lily pads and other tender water plants. All of ours were gone overnight night after we added them. For that reason, I'd suggest doing a dual-section pond where the animals don't have access to the plants.
Why a Waterfall?
If you are going to go to all the trouble to create a pond, why not go the extra mile and do a waterfall? The sound is soothing and drowns out unwanted people noise. We have a small plastic pond in our yard now because once the in-ground pond was removed, we could hear every whisper from neighbors, kids, dogs... It aerates the water, acts as additional filtration while making the water healthier for your animals too!
Your pond can be an oasis from your busy life, and it should be designed with the people in mind, as well as the animals who will be inhabiting it.
CALLING ALL DO-IT-YOURSELFERS!
Whether you have a large or small water feature in mind, check out Tropical Waterscapes website and their 20 steps to pond building with excellent photos and intructions that'll make a pro out of the first time pond builder! (The link is located about halfway down the home page.)
Small Pond Resources
Step by step: How to build a small pond. On the same website is a really cute "build a virtual pond" page where you can drag and drop all the animals, plants and water features to make your own computerized water wonderland.
Big Pond Resources
How to build a big pond. This is the website you need if you are planning to use a pond liner. Features include a liner size calculator, volume calculator, and all sorts of tips and tools.
Just Liners - don't let the name fool ya, they have alot more than "just liners". This is where we bought most of our pond supplies and equipment - their prices were very good (we shopped around), plus, they answered our questions before we made our purchases.
Pond Solutions is another invaluable resource for pond construction and maintenance. Be sure to see their photo section, with hundreds of pictures guaranteed to give you inspiration.