When you create the garden pond, you create the conditions for the water to later be home to a rich flora and fauna. With the right planning, the garden pond becomes an atmospheric oasis of calm, but at the same time invites you to observe and discover. Here a water lily is just opening its flowers, there a pond frog is lurking in the midst of duckweed and careless mosquitoes and on the leaf of the iris a dragonfly just hatched from the doll’s shell is waiting for its wings to dry.
Where is the right location for a garden pond?
If you always want to have a good view of your garden pond, it is best to create the water near the terrace or a seat. Animal-friendly garden ponds or near-natural ponds, which are supposed to attract many animals, are better kept in a somewhat more secluded place in the garden. If your property is not level, but a bit sloping, you should create your garden pond at the deepest point – this looks more natural than a body of water that was built into a sloping slope.
The right mix of sun and shade also plays an important role, because on the one hand the aquatic plants need a certain amount of light to thrive, but on the other hand the water should not heat up too much so as not to unnecessarily promote algae growth. A good guideline is five hours of sunshine per summer day. Place the water in such a way that it is shaded by larger trees or structures or a sun sail during the hot noon. Keep a sufficient distance from pipes for electricity, gas, water or waste water and be careful not to overbuild them with the water. If this does not cause problems during the earthworks, then at the latest when maintenance work on the lines becomes necessary.
Trees with a flat root system (e.g. birch or vinegar tree) as well as bamboo of the genus Phyllostachys and other expansive species should not grow near the pond. Especially the pointed, hard bamboo rhizomes can easily pierce the pond liner. Trees on the garden pond are not a problem as long as the wind blows the autumn leaves in the direction away from the garden pond – the trees should therefore grow as far east as possible from the pond, since there is a western wind in our latitudes. By the way: Evergreen deciduous and coniferous trees are constantly renewing their foliage and can also cause considerable nutrient input with their pollen.
Shape and size of the garden pond
The shape of a garden pond should match the garden design. If there are curved, natural contours in the garden, the pond should also have such a shape. In architecturally designed gardens with right-angled lines, rectangular, circular or elliptical water basins are preferred. Otherwise, the rule applies: the bigger the better! On the one hand, larger garden ponds usually appear more natural and radiate more peace and elegance, on the other hand, an ecological balance is established more quickly with larger amounts of water, so that the maintenance effort is limited. However, please note that you may have to obtain a building permit depending on the size you want. The regulations vary from state to state. In most cases, garden ponds require a permit only from a volume of 100 cubic meters or a depth of 1.5 meters. Such dimensions are quickly exceeded, especially with a swimming pond, so you should contact the responsible building authority in good time – in the event of violations, there is a risk of a halt in construction, removal procedures and fines!
What technology does the garden pond need?
With every pond project, the question arises whether you need a water filter or not. Basically, a garden pond that is not too small can be kept in biological equilibrium even without complex technology if the location is correct and there is no excessive nutrient input.
However, as soon as you use fish or other water creatures, the problems begin, because feces and feed residues inevitably increase the phosphate and nitrogen concentration in the garden pond, which can quickly lead to algae bloom at the appropriate temperatures. In addition, lack of oxygen often becomes a problem when the water is heated too much. Therefore, if in doubt, you should rather install a filter system straight away, as retrofitting is usually more complex. If you find that your pond water remains clear even without the technology, you can simply program the system so that it only runs for a few hours a day.
Step by step: create the garden pond correctly
A classically constructed garden pond consists of different zones with different water depths and step-like transitions. The marsh zone is about 10 to 20 centimeters deep, followed by the roughly 40 to 50 centimeters deep shallow water zone and in the middle is the deep water zone with 80 to 150 centimeters water depth. Depending on your taste, the transitions can be made flatter and sometimes steeper. Tip: If the ground is stony, lift the depression about ten centimeters deeper everywhere and fill in a correspondingly thick layer of construction sand – this will prevent damage to the pond liner from pointed stones.
Pond design – membrane pond or prefabricated pond?
Basically you have the choice between a foil pond and a prefabricated pond. Both have their advantages and can be perfectly integrated into your garden with careful planning.
Foil ponds are the ideal solution if you want to integrate a pond of your own individual shape in your garden. Deep and shallow water areas and swamp zones are already specified for the prefabricated pond pools or pond shells.
Ready-made ponds come in all possible sizes and shapes so that they have something to offer for every space and taste.
Foil pond – what to consider
Foil ponds are the premier class of garden ponds and the ideal solution if you want to build a completely individual pond. Ponds lined with foil look particularly natural, even large shallow water zones can be implemented as desired.
Make absolutely sure to use high quality pond liners. You will only enjoy your water object permanently with a durable, rot and cold-resistant film. From our experience, we recommend using the oasis pond liners Alfafol, Swimfol or Oasefol.
On the shore, these foils should be protected from excessive sunlight to a depth of 15 cm. Stones, special stone sheeting or embankment mats are best suited for this.
The foils are UV-resistant, but you should protect them for optical reasons alone. The larger the pond you are planning, the thicker the pond liner used.
Dark colors have the advantage that they improve water reflection. As a result, the water appears deeper than it actually is.
Please also think of a carefully prepared surface. This must be smoothed, free of pointed stones, lined with a layer of sand and covered with a protective fleece.
Prefabricated pond – what to consider
Pond bowl made of PE is filled with water using a garden hose.
Prefabricated ponds are built with preformed pond shells made of polyethylene (PE) or glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP). These pond bowls are extremely robust and almost indestructible, their installation is faster and easier than with a foil pond.
You only need to work exactly when digging out the pond and inserting the pool. There are now pond bowls in many different sizes and shapes, and with different surfaces.
Another advantage of these pond bowls is their mobility. When moving, you can simply dig out your prefabricated pool and reinstall it at your new home.
We have put together the individual steps for installing a pond bowl in our detailed step-by-step instructions.
After the decision for a foil pond or a prefabricated pond, the actual planning begins. First determine the size and location of your new pond. It should be planned carefully and not hastily. This saves you changes later, which are often time-consuming and costly. Think about the size and location of the pond. Basically:
Garden ponds with fish are best built close to the terrace so that you can watch your favorites in peace. If you prefer a natural pond, you should definitely use the width of the garden.
Design-oriented water features and architectural waters can be perfectly integrated into the terrace design.
The ideal location for your garden pond is sunny to partially shaded. Four to six hours of direct sun a day are ideal for the water quality and the well-being of any fish. In locations exposed to the sun, shading with a parasol, border plants and extensive deep-water zones help to prevent water heating and the associated increase in algae growth.
Foliage and conifers as well as strongly rooted plants should be far enough from the pond. Firstly, that the leaves falling in autumn do not immediately end up in the pond and negatively affect the water quality. On the other hand, tree and shrub roots can make it difficult to dig out the pond and may later damage a thinner pond liner. Rhizome barriers curb strongly rooted plants like bamboo.
Always plan a pond with fish stocks so that there are no thuja or other cypress plants near the pond. No amount of needles poison the water.
To protect your pond from frost in winter, we recommend a water depth of at least 80 cm. If your pond is shallower, it is advisable to place an IceFree oasis in the pond to counteract the freezing.
The pinnacle of your pond is an attached stream. This not only ensures a natural look and soothing splashing, its water movements also provide your pond with important oxygen.
A stream can be created with finished stream elements or individually with foil. To feed the stream, you need a pump that transports the water from the pond to the source of the stream.
Ideally, you combine the stream and the necessary pump with a suitable filter system.
Select fish for the garden pond
During the planning phase, think about whether and which types of fish you want to keep in your garden pond. Goldfish and smaller indigenous species do not need much space, while other species need larger ponds to feel good. The decision for or against fish also influences which pond technology you need.
Use pond technology effectively
Many examples in the great outdoors show us that basically every pond can do without technology. However, due to the interplay of natural conditions, there is a biological balance in the forest and on the meadow, which is not automatically found in an artificially created garden pond or easily gets out of joint, especially in summer.
Fortunately, however, there are now numerous technical auxiliary devices that keep the water in your artificial pond clean, combat excessive algae growth, remove excess nutrients and dirt particles and reduce toxins. With the help of test sticks you can effortlessly determine and control the water quality of your pond at any time.
Well hidden: The required pond technology is hidden in a brick shaft right next to the pond.
Choosing the right filter technology lays the foundation for sustainably clear water. A filter system basically consists of a filter pump for feeding the filter, a pond filter, which provides biological-mechanical cleaning, and a UVC clarifier to combat floating algae and germs.
The ideal supplement to a filter system is the additional oxygen supply with the help of pond aerators.
The use of a surface extractor / skimmer has a positive support. It reliably removes coarse dirt from the pond surface before it can affect the water quality.
Pond lighting: fine-tuning with great effect
Would you like to showcase your pond in the twilight and at night with special lighting effects? When planning and building your new pond, take into account that you need cables for all electrical devices.
You need both a connection from your house to the pond, as well as various cables that then lead to the individual devices. Plan exactly which devices will find their place where, so that you can implement the cable routing as cleverly and inconspicuously as possible.