Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thinking about a Very Large Pond? Read this first.....

I have never met anyone who wouldn't want a pond somewhere on their property. The appeal isn't only aesthetic either, the sound the water makes is soothing to everyone. I have had a pond in every house I've owned, but they were small ones, usually only holding around 50 gallons of water or so. So when my husband and I bought our current home, I was very enthusiastic about having a very large pond. This one holds 27,000 gallons of water and is 4' at it's deepest level. There is a well made waterfall with a complete filtering system. The liner is heavy duty with a soft liner underneath it; the walls are made of shale and the area next to the patio is a 2' deep planting bed. This photo was taken late last fall when the cold had mostly killed all the plant material, but it looks wonderful in the summer when all is in bloom. We have several dozen feeder goldfish in the pond which have grown huge. I love to see them all on the top of the water, their color glinting in the sun. I have been able to incorporate water plants which do very well in this sunny location.
Now for the down side: If you think about it, 27,000 gallons of water is huge, if we didn't have our own well I would hate to think of what it would cost to fill a pond this size. Since this pond sits in a location that gets sun all day, algae is a big problem. The filtering system works well, but algae still grows even keeping the PH of the water at it's correct level. Every spring we must drain the pond and give it a deep cleaning, this is an all day project since it takes about 4 hours to drain the water. We then must catch the fish and keep them in a large bucket. Then on to the cleaning: we take our pressure washer and clean the liner of all the algae and whatever else has blown into the water and settled on the bottom. Once this is done it is time to refill the water, which takes 9 hours with only one hose running. The fish go back in and I add a aqua shade product, which turns the water blue and keeps the sunlight from growing too much algae.
The moral to this story is that while having a pond is wonderful, the bigger they are, the more work. And without a well it would be quite costly to fill. Also consider the cost of running a pump to circulate the water and provide power for the waterfall. I have estimated that it costs about $20.00 a month to run our pump. I consider this amount small considering the pleasure the sound the waterfall makes gives to my family and I. I also have the benefit of all the wildlife that comes to my pond to a sip of water. A huge variety of birds, squirrels, deer and all those nocturnal critter's that my dog tells me we have. The dragonflies are a treat as well.
So, if your thinking of building a large pond, please consider all these points of maintaining a large body of water in your yard. My next house will have a much smaller water feature: I'm thinking that a pond less waterfall is the way to go, a pretty waterfall without the body of water to maintain.....the less work the better!

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