There are very few things you can construct in your yard that can be as peaceful and provide as much enjoyment as a backyard pool. Whether it be a small plastic insert with an electric fountain to keep koi fish or a series of large ponds flowing into each other backyard ponds mimic the peace of being out in the countryside.
Ponds have been fixtures in royal settings since before the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon. They were a way of bringing the vegetation and wildlife of the oasis into vicinity of the palace. The Japanese elevated the backyard fish pond into a space for meditation and rejuvenation and built their gardens around the water. The breeding of koi and other carp species revolved around this search for a backyard sanctuary.
In Canada having a backyard pond can mean a small place for goldfish to a large tank stocked with trout but most people go with the small option. It also can be the starting point for a re-landscaping job. In fact many landscape designers will put the water feature in first and build everything else around it. Because when you think of, isn't that what Mother Nature does? What a pond will do is attract birds and pest-eating toads. The koi or other fish will keep the pond clean of mosquito larvae and other unwanted pests.
When you begin the planning stage for your back yard pool walk to the windows in your home and check out an area which can be seen from the room where you spend the most time. If you are doing a complete landscaping project with a landscape architect he or she will guide you though this process. A deck will probably be in the plans because you want to spend time in the vicinity of the pond.
A fountain is not necessary but it sure adds to the splendor. There are kits available for some very impressive fountains complete with lighting for a night light show. A fountain will also aerate the pond and keep the water moving dissuading mosquitoes from laying eggs there.
You will also want a fairly level spot because building up a slope can get expensive and be time-consuming. This should be a flat spot with no overhanging trees or shrubs as they can shed leaves that may clog the fountain pumps if allowed to pile up around the intake. As well, too much shade produces algae that, unless the water is being regularly aerated, will give the pond a skunky, dirty appearance.
This is where you can really show your ingenuity and green prowess. With very little effort a cistern can be set up to feed rainwater to the pond system. This source will either take the place of tap water or, at the very least, supplement it. And if you live in an area where water is rationed this water storage can come in very handy. In addition, if you have fish tap water will have to sit for a couple of days to off-gas the chlorine.
The Pond Liner
A pond liner underlay is needed for a small pond otherwise water will perpetually seep out into the ground as water wants to get to the water table. Large ponds can be lined with clay but trucking it in can get expensive. It's better to use a liner:
Rubber or Plastic Sheet Liners: This is the simplest way to make a large pool provided you have a large enough sheet and it is think enough. These are costly because of the thickness and cost of transport. These work best for large, deep ponds.
Liner Shells: These are usually made from fiberglass and are placed right in the excavated hole. They do have to be leveled and this can be accomplished by spanning a board over the shell and putting a contractor's level on the board. The shell can be adjusted until it is level.
Flex Liners: Usually made from PVC plastic these are molded in many sizes like the fiberglass ones but are flexible and easier to put in. A simple example of a PVC pond is a child's wading pool sunk into the ground. It works!
Aquatic: This is where the backyard pond really shines literally. You'll find that water plants like lotus and water lilies will bloom for the duration of the summer. They require no maintenance and, of course, never need you to water them.
Marginal: Plants that can grow in around 6 of water make great borders for the pond and provide a frame for the aquatic bloomers. These include water irises, blooming rushes and miniature horsetail.
Bog Plants: Cranberry shrubs, bog asters, white lobelia and turtlehead love the spongy areas at the edge of the liner.
Deep Water or Oxygenating Plants: For those without a fountain for aeration placing in a hornwort or elodea will provide oxygen for the fish.
Fish and Other Life
Koi is the favorite but you can also buy snails, tadpoles and water insects to keep the pond clean. You will find that the old adage, If you build it, they will come, applies here as the pond will attract birds, toads and other small critters that will add to the ecology of your backyard.
You can also add features such as rock waterfalls and shelves to add to the enjoyment, along with ground shrubs which their mimic tropical cousins.Posted by: TrustedPros