Water Garden Construction

Water Garden Construction -Water garden installation, Water garden.

Water Garden Construction

Water Garden Construction | Learn about water garden installation on your own. Tips on digging, installing the components, and getting your water garden up and running.

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By now, you should have established the location, size, and depth of your water garden. You're ready to move on to the water garden construction phase. If you haven't, visit the Water Garden Design section.

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Once your designing is done, it's time to transfer your designs and thoughts from paper to your garden. First, make sure that you have all of the materials that you'll need to install your water garden.

The last thing you want is to have to stop in the middle of working to run to the store for one small part. Start by outlining your pond on the existing grade (ground) with a water hose.

This will make it easy to change or alter your design when comparing it to other landscape elements. Once you get it just right, you can stake the hose or run a spray paint outline around the hose and then move the hose.

Digging the Shelf

Water Garden Construction - Digging The Shelf

Dig your pond to the exact depth + 2 extra inches, to allow for a sand layer in the bottom of the pond. At this time dig your shelf area as well, to accommodate your bog plants. This shelf should be from 8 to 12" in width and 6 to 8" deep.

Do not have this shelf around the entire perimeter of the pond, consider adding it just on the back and side(s).

Water Garden Construction Quick Tip: If you decide to add a shelf for bog plants for your pond it is easiest to dig the entire pond to the depth of the ledge first, and then go on to dig the deep part of the pond.

Clear the excavated area of all roots, sticks, and rocks. As a preventative measure, place 2" of builders sand in the bottom of the excavation. An alternative to the sand is to place a commercial liner underlayment. Smooth the sand with a 2x4 screen if necessary.

Make sure the sides of the excavation will maintain their shape. This will be governed largely by the moisture content of the soil and the soil composition.

Calculating Liner Size

You can easily measure the length and width of your liner. Liners are usually sold in 5 foot increments so if your pond measures 8' x 20' you would add 2 times the depth of the pond to each dimension. If your pond is 30" deep you need a liner that is 8' + 5' = 13' x 20' + 5' or 25'.

If the liner is sold in 5' increments you would buy a 15' x 25' liner. You may want to give yourself some leeway in the liner size to allow for overlap and trimming.

Laying Out the Liner for Water Garden Construction

Water Garden Construction - Quick Tip: Lay out the liner in bright sunlight. This will make the liner much more pliable and you will be able to form it to the pool contours much easier. Place the liner over the excavation and remove your shoes to avoid puncturing the liner when you walk on it.

Water Garden Construction - Quick Tip: Since pond liners are very heavy, you may need the help of several friends or additional workers. Stand in the excavation, on the liner and push the liner out toward the edges of the excavation, molding the liner to the contour of the pond.

You will get folds in the liner at the curved areas of the pond and will have to fold them into pleats. Try to fold the pleats away from your point of view to conceal them as much as possible.

Allow the liner to overlap the excavation at least 12 inches all the way around your pond. Now place bricks or stones along the exterior to hold your liner in place. If you are using skimmers install them and anchor the liner to the face of the skimmer panels.

This is usually a waterproof gasket connection with stainless steel screws surrounding the retainer face plate. Make sure to check the water level against the skimmer inlet often so your system will operate optimally. This is best done with a level on a long straight board or a laser level.

Fill your pond with water

Water Garden Construction - Time to Fill Your Pond

Water Garden Construction - Now Fill the Pond

The next step in your water garden construction is to fill the pond half way with water. As you fill the excavation with water the pond liner will take the shape of the pond because of the weight of the water.

Trim the liner to shape and prepare for installation of the coping around the edge of the pond. There are many different options including large smooth stones, brick and berms.

If you decide to mortar your stones or other masonry, be careful to direct the water on the coping away from the pond. At this time you can install your waterfall feature if you plan to have one.

Hook up all the skimmers and inlet nozzles and run everything through your filtration system

Manage Predetors

Managing Water Garden Predators

Items to Consider

Water Garden Construction - Predator Control Measures: If you live in an area with predators, you may want to reconsider the installation of a shallow area or ledge for bog plants. It is easier for animals like cats and raccoons to reach the fish in this shallow area.

Water Garden Construction - Piping Installation: Piping diagrams are usually available from pump manufacturers or pond supply companies and is beyond the scope of this article. Rest assured this is not a very difficult task though and you should have no trouble at all with the piping portion of the installation.

Water Garden Construction - Quick Tip: If you don't feel comfortable with installing the piping, hire a licensed plumber or koi pond installer to complete this portion of the task for you.

Consider the help of a professional

Ask for the Help of a Professional if you Need it

Consider the Help of a Professional

Get Some Help If You Need It: If you feel you can't handle all aspects of this installation don't be afraid to contract with a professional to help you in the installation. You may only need help with excavation or liner installation, or you may wish to hire someone to handle the entire installation.

If you do seek help, contact only qualified people and be sure to get either firm quotes or a maximum cost with a not-to-exceed price. Also make sure to nail down their exact scope of work so you know what you will be getting in the end.

Frequently Asked Questions About Water Garden Construction

Is Deeper Better? Many people claim that you should make your pond as deep as possible. I would agree with this for larger pond, but for the smaller ponds - like we are talking about here, 30" deep will suffice for a cold weather area.

Remember - the deeper the pond, the harder it is to get out debris and contaminates. Another problem with deeper ponds is that local building codes will prevent you from building deep ponds without protective fencing - you should also check with your homeowners insurance policy carrier as some of them will only permit a pond that is up to 18" deep without barriers.

If you do want a larger, deeper pond you will have to install fencing around the water garden area. If you do so, it should be aesthetically pleasing and tie-in with the architecture/landscape areas.

Is a Pond Liner Right For Me? I have herd other claims that the only pond you should build is a concrete pond. With today's pond liner materials you will get a long life from your pond liner.

Will I have to replace it? The answer to that is yes, at some point in time it will have to be replaced. I had a muskrat visit my pond one year and he cut out a 6" wide x 3' long groove out of my liner.

Thankfully I could drain the water and repair the liner with a patch and it is again water-tight. Pond liners are basically EPDM roofing material. This stuff lasts for 20+ years with full exposure to the elements without degrading.

Believe me, if installed correctly your pond liner will last a very long time.

Is a Bottom Drain Required? This question often comes up in Water Garden Construction. I would say that it would be nice to have a bottom drain. The problems with bottom drains is that they from a penetration in your water-tight liner and could possibly compromise it. Unless you have a really big pond, I would forget it.

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Here's Some Additional Water Gardening Articles

Water Gardens Home Page
Water Garden Design
Water Garden Construction
Water Garden Features
Water Garden Fish
Water Garden Maintenance
Water Garden Plants