Attracting wildlife is one of the reasons owners want a water feature installed in their backyard. And naturally, once the pond is all set up, chances are, you’d see visitors every now and then. However, some of them will do more harm than good to your pond, especially if you have fish. (more…)
Imagine 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…)
Ponds are growing in popularity in Southern California, and it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since there are many benefits of backyard ponds. Imagine coming home every day, walking into your backyard and relaxing by a trickling waterfall leading to a pond filled with koi fish. It’s a great way to unwind without having to leave your home!
If you’ve been thinking about adding a pond to your property, you can either do it yourself with a pond kit or hire a professional contractor to do the work for you. Pond kits are popular among homeowners who choose to do it themselves, but they’re also widely used by contractors as a starting point for a custom-built pond.
Pond Kits vs. Custom-Built Pond
Pond kits are pre-built and include all of the materials necessary to create a pond in your backyard. Pond kits vary from company to company, but many of the kits include items such as:
- Fittings and Sealants
- Maintenance treatments
The idea of a backyard pond kit is to take the guesswork out of trying to gather the right materials and assemble a pond. The kits come in a variety of sizes, however some common sizes include:
- 8’ x 11’
- 11’ x 16’
- 21’ x 26’
Professional Contractors utilize pond kits as well. In many cases, custom-built ponds start out by using the materials provided in a pond kit, but professionals take it one step further by bringing the aesthetics of a natural looking pond. After installing hundreds of ponds, the pros have discovered that the secret of the natural look of ponds is the creation of plant pockets and the placement of rocks and boulders in just the right way.
Large Pond Kits: Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?
Do a quick online search, and you’ll find an abundance of backyard pond kits available for purchase. For do-it-yourself homeowner, you can buy a pond kit and install it yourself with the help of the provided instructions. However, there are challenges involved, including elevation, choosing the right location, filling the pond and adding hardscape elements such as large stones which could easily weigh up to 100-150 pounds each.
Contractors have experience building ponds – both from pond kits and from scratch. They understand that building a pond is both an art and a science. Plus, a contractor can help you come up with a design that’s unique to your style and property while making sure everything is operating properly.
Here are some examples of homeowner built ponds that just don’t look quite right:
Whereas ponds built by pros look more natural and coexist with the surrounding context:
Reasons to Consider Hiring a Professional
If you want more than just a simple backyard pond, it’s often beneficial to hire a professional. A professional pond contractor can help you choose the right water feature for your property and customize it to your exact specifications.
Here are some other reasons to consider hiring a professional:
1. They Have Experience with Design and Installation
You can install a backyard pond kit on your own, and some people have done it with very few problems. However, if something doesn’t work right or you make a mistake, you may be stuck tearing up sections, spending more money, or worse, starting over. This leads to more work (and frustration) on your end.
Professional contractors have many years of experience both designing and installing water features. They can help you determine the right location on your property, choose decorative materials, or add safety features if you have children. This experience leads to a better product for you.
2. They Can Customize a Pond for Your Property
While professionals often start out by using a pond kit, they can mix and match items to choose the best materials for your project. Plus, they’ll be able to provide you with a more customized water feature by adding in additional landscaping and hardscaping elements. This allows you to create a pond or water feature that best matches your style and is unique to your home.
3. It Takes Less Time
If you’re installing a pond without the help of a contractor, it can take several weekends to get the job done, and you’ll likely need to enlist the help of a few friends. On the other hand, a professional contractor can typically put together a pond in one day, and they may only need to come back a second day for additional landscaping work.
Getting Started With a Custom-Built Pond or Pond Kits
There are many factors to consider when adding a pond to your Southern California property including sizing, placement, material selection, pond depth, planting, landscaping, fish and more. If you want a customized and unique pond or waterfall, it’s important that you work with an experienced company.
A water feature installation company, such as California Waterscapes, can help you choose the right type of water feature for your home and guide you through the entire process from design to installation. In addition, they’ll be able to oversee all aspects of your project, answer any questions you may have and ensure you’re satisfied with the end result.
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.
Adding 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…)
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.
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.
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.
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.
It provides a lot of vertical interest with its stems growing up to 10 inches high.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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