Considering Your Kids and Pets when Planning for a Backyard Pond and Waterfall

Backyard PondImagine coming home from a long day at work and relaxing in your backyard next to a pond filled with plants and koi fish. It’s a great way to unwind without having to leave your home.

Water features – such as a backyard pond or waterfalls – do more than just enhance the look of your Southern California property. They allow you to enjoy a piece of nature at home and provide calming views even when they are seen from indoors. (more…)

Low Maintenance Pondlesss Water Features and Waterfalls for the Busy Los Angeles Homeowner

pondless water featuresPonds and waterfalls are a great addition to your Southern California property. The peaceful sounds of rushing water coupled with the beauty of natural plant life transport you right into nature without ever leaving your home.

However, not everyone wants a large pond or waterfall in their backyard. Maybe you’re afraid of how much maintenance it requires or you have small children and are worried about the safety risks. If you’re hesitant about installing traditional waterfalls or a pond in your backyard, pondless water features are a great alternative.

What are Pondless Water Features?

A pondless water feature is essentially a recirculating waterfall and/or stream without the presence of a pond. Pondless water features have an underground basin that catches the water and then it recirculates back to the top.

All of the beauty of a waterfall is there, only it doesn’t have the typical 12” – 18” deep pond. A pondless feature will only have water that is 2”-3” in depth, visible above the surface.

Pondless Water Feature Maintenance

pondless waterfall featureLow maintenance water features such as these are a great choice for busy Southern California homeowners who love the idea of a waterfall in their backyard but aren’t sure about installing a full pond or don’t have time for the maintenance of a fish pond. 

All bodies of water require some level of maintenance, but you’ll spend substantially less time on maintenance tasks for a pondless water feature. While a regular fish pond requires at least 10 minutes of maintenance per week, pondless water features require approximately one hour per year. This involves cleaning out the Biofalls once a year, and on occasion, removing leaves from the basin.

Types of Pondless Water Designs

There are many different types of water features, and they can be as simple or as grand as you’d like. This allows you to get creative and design a water feature that’s unique to your property.

A few popular pondless waterfall design ideas in Southern California include:

  • Natural waterfalls
  • Delicate stream beds
  • Cascading low-lying waterfalls
  • Streams under a bridge
  • Disappearing fountains, urns or columns
  • Streams that come right up to your patio

Building a Pondless Waterfall

Learn the benefits of a low maintenance water feature.Sometimes, pondless waterfall construction is taken on by homeowners as a do-it-yourself project. And while there are plenty of pondless waterfall kits available online, many things that can go wrong when building a pondless waterfall on your own. In many cases, it’s worthwhile to let a professional handle the design and construction for you.

Professional contractors have the experience necessary to design a pondless water feature that fits your style and property. They can make it look natural so it perfectly blends into the surroundings, and a professional knows how to choose the best rocks and properly set them. Plus, they’ll be able to guide you in the right direction when choosing plants to help complete the overall look.

Pondless waterfalls can take quite a bit of time to install if you’re doing it on your own, and it’s likely that you’ll need to enlist the help of a few friends and even a large piece of equipment, since some of the materials are heavy. In most cases, a professional can install a pondless water feature in one day and may only need to come back a second day to finish up some additional enhancements. Using a pro saves you a significant amount of time, allows you to enjoy your water feature sooner, and to have the peace of mind that the work carries some sort of guarantee.

If you’re thinking about adding a pondless waterfall to your Southern California property, the team at California Waterscapes can help. Whether you’re looking for a simple stream or a large, extravagant cascading waterfall, we’ll answer any questions that you have and work with you to design and install a low maintenance water feature that fits your style, property, and budget.

Want to Learn More About Pondless Water Features?

At California Waterscapes, we offer design and installation services for ponds, other water features, and pondless waterfalls. To learn more about how we can help you with your next pond project, check out our gallery and contact us today for a free quote.

9 Tips for Fish Pond Maintenance in Southern California

fish pond maintenanceAdding a water garden with fish to your backyard has been a growing trend over the past couple decades. Water gardens allow you to create a tranquil, quiet place right in your backyard. They’re also a great way to add beauty to your Southern California property.

By adding fish to your pond, you’re able to bring a piece of nature to your home. After a long day at work or during the weekend, you can go into your backyard, sit by your koi pond and enjoy the scenery. Another fun feature is that over time, koi fish will begin to recognize you, which makes feeding time fun for the whole family.

As with all ponds, fish ponds require some effort to keep them clean and healthy. There’s a common misconception that fish pond maintenance is time-consuming and difficult, but this isn’t the case. By following these 9 fish pond maintenance tips, you’ll be able to keep the work to a minimum, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your beautiful water garden. (more…)

The 6 Best Fish Pond Plants for Your Southern California Backyard

Water plants are a great way to beautify your pond. But fish pond plants don’t just add aesthetic appeal, they also play a very vital role in your pond’s overall health. Adding plant life to a koi pond is important in creating and maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Pond plants have many important roles within a pond’s ecosystem including purifying the water by reducing nutrients, filtering out sediments, breaking down toxic compounds, and digesting unwanted substances. Planting a wide variety of water plants will not only ensure balanced filtration, but will also provide a lot of visual interest.

There are a lot of options when it comes to selecting plant life, but here is a pond plants list that you might find helpful in narrowing down the field. Pond plants are an investment not only in the beauty of your pond, but in its health as well.

Best Hardy Pond Plants for a Koi Pond

Of course you’ll want some water plants that grow in your pond. Floating plants are those that grow in or near the water’s surface. While water lilies were probably the first idea that popped into your head, there are actually a lot more choices than that. Here are three others that you may not have thought of, but would make excellent fish pond plants both because of their beauty and their beneficial attributes.

Water Lettuce

This free-floating plant is among the world’s most productive freshwater aquatic plants. Its bright green leaves provide some attractive foliage to your water’s surface. The plant bears a resemblance to an open head of lettuce, hence its name. Once established it will grow easily, but must be controlled. In little to no time, water lettuce can take over your pond’s surface and choke out oxygen.

fish pond plants

As long as it’s under control, water lettuce can provide wonderful benefits including the absorption of nutrients as well as shade and spawning ground for your fish. It’s sturdy top also makes it a nice place for your resident frogs to hang out and sunbathe.  

Parrot’s Feather

The feathery blue-green foliage of this unique-looking plant helps provide shade for your koi. Because of its ability to take root in wet soil above the water, this floating plant can even be used in waterfalls and streams.

hardy pond plants

It provides a lot of vertical interest with its stems growing up to 10 inches high.

Water Hyacinth

The water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial plant that can grow as high as 3 feet. With delicate purple flowers and thick green leaves, it’s an eye-catching and attractive plant but it can also become invasive if not controlled. Often touted as the “world’s fastest growing plant,” water hyacinth can quickly take over the entire surface of your pond if you let it.

water-hyacinth

It is the roots of the water hyacinth that act as purifiers by absorbing impurities in the water. It is known to be very good at removing unwanted algae from your pondscape.

Types of Pond Plants For Around Fish Pond

It’s equally important to have plants around the fish pond as it is to have them growing within it. In order to achieve a truly natural look, you’ll want a nice blend of plant life around your pond’s edges in order to create a complete habitat. Choosing the right plants to put around the fish pond will also go a long way in making the pond look like it was always there.

Cattails

These tall plants provide a tremendous amount of vertical interest and can grow up to nine feet tall. Cattails provide an important wildlife habitat for local birds and small critters.

types of pond plants

They also provide many benefits to your pond ecosystem as the stems are known to catch and slow water and help trap sediment and silt. New research has also revealed that cattails can remove polluting materials from the water surrounding their roots.

Horsetail

This spiky green plant will also provide some vertical interest. Horsetail has a very similar look to bamboo and is characterized by its hollow stem.

Here are some great fish pond plant options in and around your California water feature.

There are 20 different species of horsetail and its final height is dependent upon its species, though most grow to be around one or two feet tall. Horsetail does not produce flowers or seeds.

Meadow Sage

This salvia plant is long-blooming and easy to care for around your pond. Flowering in a beautiful royal purple, Meadow Sage will provide a lot of vibrant color around your pond.

Here are some great fish pond plant options in and around your California water feature.

It will also attract both honeybees and is known to be a favorite of hummingbirds to truly round out the backyard ecosystem you’ve created.

Fish Pond Plant Maintenance 

These fish pond plants are all relatively easy to maintain. Like fish, your plants will need nutrients to survive and an expert can guide you in providing plant food and nourishment. A big part of the maintenance of fish pond plants is simply keeping a watchful eye on them to ensure they’re getting enough sunlight and that they aren’t becoming overgrown.

The more plants you have, the more important it is to keep an eye on their condition. You must always keep an eye out for overgrown or dead leaves as decaying matter can rob your fish of oxygen. Try to make it a habit to check on your pond plants’ health at least once a week. Keeping a good mix of plant life will also help you sustain the overall health of your pond as the varying root sizes will provide varying benefits.

An expert will ensure that your pond has attractive fish pond plants that are easy to maintain or can even maintain the pond for you. California Waterscapes offers fish pond maintenance that involves a total cleaning in order to get your pond back to pristine condition.

A pond expert will also be sure to include the right mix of plant life to help your koi thrive. Water plants are such an integral part of your pond area and are an investment that should not be taken lightly. A pond expert will know what mix of plants look right together, how to plant them so that they become established and thrive, and how to make it all look like a natural addition to your landscape. At the end of the day, it’s both an art and a science that makes it just right.

We love incorporating beautiful and beneficial plant life into our pond designs. If you’d like us to help you select the best fish pond plants for your pond project, schedule a pond design consultation or give us a call at 818-244-4000 for more information.

 

Image Sources:  water lettuce, parrot’s feather plant, water hyacinth, cattails, horsetail plant, meadow sage

How Much Does a Backyard Water Feature, Pondless Waterfall or a Fish Pond Cost?

There is nothing quite like the addition of a backyard water feature. From the sound of running water to the way it enhances your outdoor living space, a pond or waterfall brings a tremendous amount of value. Though a water feature might sound appealing, you may not have a lot of knowledge of how much it may cost.

There are many factors that influence the overall cost of your water feature project. Factors like the steepness of slopes and overall size are the biggest cost influences.

We’ve put together this article to illustrate a few price points of several projects we’ve completed in Southern California. However, every property presents unique challenges, and as your backyard water feature dream grows, so will the overall cost.

Whether you want to know pondless waterfall costs or the cost of a fish pond, we wanted to take some of the guesswork out of the equation and help give you some ideas to serve as a basis of your budget discussion with your pond designer.

When it comes to water features, there’s truly something for everyone. Here’s what you can expect as you start to consider your backyard pond project.

Low-Cost Backyard Water Features ($3,000 to $6,000)

Within this range is a basic pondless waterfall cost and even a small fish pond cost. Both of these can add a lot of value to your outdoor living space with their unique aesthetic appeal.

A pondless waterfall is basically just what it sounds like—a recirculating waterfall without a pond. It can provide a very unique look to any outdoor living area. A fish pond, on the other hand, is your own little backyard ecosystem. There is a lot of joy in watching fish and pond plants grow and change.

Since slope and size are the biggest factors that will influence cost, projects in this price range may be a small pond approximately 5’ x 10’, or a just a pondless waterfall of about 15’ in length. Another option, as shown below is a combination of the two with a smaller pond and simple stream feeding it.

backyard water feature

Simple Beauty: Even a small and simple pond will bring you a wealth of enjoyment.

Mid-Range Backyard Water Features ($6,000 to $10,000)

As the pond gets a little larger or you add a longer stream or higher waterfall feeding it, the cost of your water feature will increase. In this example, the trickling waterfall is almost 5 ft. tall, cascading over rocks as it empties in the fish pond below.

This fish pond and waterfall is also beautifully incorporated into the surrounding patio which extends over the edge for easy viewing of the fish. If you are adding a water feature such as this around an existing hardscaped surface, it can also add to the project cost since it will take more time to safely excavate soil and move materials for installation.

If by any chance you can include your water feature into the transformation of your entire backyard, this will help to reduce pondless waterfall and fish pond costs.

Pricing examples and costs of backyard waterfall, fish ponds, and pondless waterfalls.

Serene Scene: What better way to spend an evening than relaxing by your lighted pond.

High-End Modern Backyard Water Features ($10,000 to $20,000)

In this higher end price range, you can truly get a spectacular fish pond with a lot of bells and whistles. A 15’ x 10’ foot pond incorporates 2 longer streams feeding the pond, spilling over rocks to create the serene sound that we love in backyard water features.

modern backyard water features

Backyard Paradise: The lush green foliage coupled with multiple waterfalls gives this backyard a resort-like feel.

Dream Water Features (Over $20,000)

At the higher end of the cost of a backyard waterfall, are those amazing ideas that take your yard to the next level. A budget of over $20,000 will go toward transforming your entire space. Whether it be a stream and fish pond  that looks as though they have always been there, or a truly spectacular water feature that appears to be straight out of the pages of a magazine, within this budget you will be able to have the backyard water feature of your dreams.

In this example, a 20’ x 20’ pond is fed by a stream reaching another 20’ up a small slope. The pond is lined with large boulders to give it a natural look, and the large stones continue throughout the landscape around the home. This kind of detail helps ponds to blend into a property creating the illusion as they’ve always been there.
dream water features

Seamless Blend: It takes a truly artistic touch to design a water feature with boulder placement that appear as though they’ve always been there.

Getting Backyard Water Features Costs & Details for your Southern California Property

If you’re ready to get started with your water feature project, it’s important that you find a company that has the experience and the long-held expertise to install it. The proper installation from a skilled professional is actually even more important than the cost of a fish pond or backyard waterfall. Invest in someone who knows what they’re doing.

Finding the right professional will ensure that you don’t have headaches down the road. When installed correctly you can have the peace of mind that it will not only look beautiful but will function as it’s supposed to.

backyard waterfall

At California Waterscapes, we have completed many water feature installations, and that has also given us an artistic eye for unique designs. After making an investment in a pond, you want it to blend seamlessly with the rest of your landscape—not look like it was just plunked there with no attention given to detail. As pond professionals, we know how to complement the existing landscape, incorporate the right plant material, and utilize boulder placement to make your pond look as though it’s always been a part of your landscape.

Whether you want to know the cost of a backyard waterfall or what water feature is right for you, let us help you out. Having done so many ponds and water features over the years at various price points, California Waterscapes can work with your budget to find the options that work best for you. For more possibilities, check out our idea gallery. Or if you already have some ideas flowing, give us a call at 818-244-4000 or contact us today for a free quote.