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An Introduction to Building a Garden Fish Pond

Building a wonderful garden pond to be adorned with colourful aquatic plants and stocked with marvellously coloured and friendly fish these days is easier than ever. Developments in materials of construction, pump technology, bio filter design and biomedia choice along with highly effective UVC systems (ultra violet light clarifiers) make it possible for any pond of almost any size to be created and maintained with few hassles and ongoing problems.

It is the use of modern technology that has spurred on water gardening to be the most popular and fastest growing of all gardening pursuits. After all water is life and we all have a desire to get back to basics in our modern often stressful existence. Build yourself a water garden and pond and remove the stress. Add value to your home and make your family love you all the more for it.

The basics around building a pond ... make it easy on yourself. Map your ideas and design out. Complete a basic plan.

Once upon a time all ponds were concrete. Today unless you wish to have a large or special pond concrete is NOT the material to use. It is simpler, cheaper, better and quicker to use pre-formed ponds ideally made from fibreglass in natural rock finishes with matching waterfalls or streams.

If you want a pond whose volume is larger than about 500 litres then it is best and most economical to use a pond liner designed specifically for pond building. If you want to test the water as it were for a low cost consider buying a pond kit.

The cost factors and other initial landscaping considerations

Armed with the knowledge contained in this web site you will reduce the cost of building and looking after your garden fish pond significantly. You will choose your pond site wisely and do everything well from the beginning. Spending a little time reading and exploring the pond building and pond care articles on this web site will save you an enormous amount of wasted effort and frankly money too. Deep ponds cost more than shallow water gardening projects. Constructing a pond is more than digging a hole in the ground and finding a use for the excavated soil. Keep things simple ... uncomplicated shapes are always best for example. Use a line or hose to test different shapes on your selected site before digging up the area where you want your pond to be ... and that's where you'll enjoy it most. Don't put it in an obscure corner you never visit or sit around. The best idea is to see it from a common area in the home like the lounge or sitting room..

In our opinion important to buy branded pond equipment. The reason is not the brand itself it is the fact that such companies as Hozelock, Oase, Blagdon, Heissner and FishMate have been around for a considerable time; they have been at the forefront of technological developments that now make pond keeping such a wonderful past-time and their equipment and products have been tested thoroughly by real people in real fish pond situations. My advice is to stay away from "unknown" low cost pumps, filters and UVC equipment especially. The actual brand chosen is often personal choice although as you'll learn it's still important to compare ... take this pump cost comparison between 2 well known brands as an example and you'll see what I mean about being able to save money and stay in control of what you need to buy and why.

This web site will allow you to talk with total confidence to any retailer in any country in the world. You will feel confident in being able to specify exactly what you want - you will have some control.

Bradshaws as you know will also be here to offer you advice if you wish before making that final buying decision.

Avoiding garden pond problems and hassles ... learn, read practical books and then seek advice before pond construction is started

When you have finished your pond building research and if you are still not sure or would like some reassurance ask someone like ourselves who can provide the information and will give you sensible advice. If the advice is sound and makes sense and can be backed up by example or published information then it is good advice. However if something does not make good sense to you maybe seek further advice and certainly probe the advice given. A bad water garden installation is expensive to fix.

Some general water garden or pond building tips to start ... size always plays a role in water garden design and care

The most obvious and frequently encountered water garden problem is the dirty water pond. If you intend to put fish in your garden pond then be aware that you MUST install a biological filter (pond filter for short). If you don't install a fish pond biofilter you will almost certainly be disappointed. It will be a source of annoyance rather than a pleasure. You will then take one of 2 decisions ...

  • You will install a filter or

  • You will fill the pond in.

So do yourself a big favour. Plan to install the bio filter as part of the pond building project. Make it one of the first things to consider. Pond keeping is about enjoyment, not foreseen hassles and disappointments.

  • Do not buy a submersible pond pump until you know how to select the right one. Do you for example want a fountain pump, a filter pump or a waterfall pump? Many retailers do not fully understand what they are selling. The cheapest pump to buy is often the most expensive to run especially with regard to larger capacity pumps and running costs can be high. Every unit of electricity consumed by your pump will cost about 6 pence as of December in the UK. Some pumps if chosen wrongly will cost more than Pds100 per year to run

  • Pumps for use in ponds should have at least a 2 years guarantee and for ponds must have 10 metre cable lengths and 3-core cable.

  • If you want a fountain effect in your pond choose a pump that comes with a fountain attachment. They can be expensive to buy later. Such a fountain can only run well if the pump has a strainer device. This is normally a special open-celled plastic foam on the suction side of the pump. It prevents particles of dirt from blocking the fountain nozzles.

  • Do seriously consider spending a bit extra on an Ultra Violet clarifier (UV for short). This keeps your pond from going green in summer. It will make a dramatic difference to your enjoyment of your pond and is the secret to crystal clear water.

  • Do not overstock the pond with fish. For the gardener with a small pond of say 1,000 litres or less goldfish are ideal. They are hardier than koi, eat less than koi and so grow more slowly. They do not destroy plants as badly as many koi will do.

  • Do make access to the filter and UV easy and you will never regret this. When selecting hose keep the diameter as large as possible and minimise the hose length. Avoid piping that kinks and avoid bends and sharp corners because these can seriously affect the output from a pump. The ideal size pipe for most garden ponds of the sort we are discussing is 25 mm internal diameter.

  • Unless you really enjoy landscaping and digging buy yourself a preformed waterfall or stream and use excavated soil from the hole for building up the waterfall slope.

  • Do buy high quality food. It probably costs a bit more per packet but repays itself handsomely in water quality improvement and reduced filter maintenance.

  • Do put aquatic plants in your pond. They add a great deal to enjoyment and appearance to most garden ponds. They also provide shade and protection for fish.

  • Be aware that water lilies do not like turbulent water or too much splashing. Water lilies generally like water about 3 feet deep.

  • Oxygenator plants are good for any pond. Koi generally like to eat plants so protect them by using gravel on top of the soil after planting in the container.


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