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.

 

3 Steps to a Gorgeous Pond Design or Pondless Waterfall Plan

Water features can make a statement in any backyard project. Whether it’s a fish pond featuring a dramatic waterfall or a pondless waterfall with gorgeous night lighting, these types of additions add a lot of value to your backyard both in terms of aesthetic appeal and enjoyment for the whole family.

But since no two backyards are exactly alike, having the proper water feature or pond design for your yard is of critical importance. It’s more than just fitting the space properly. The feature must also look like a natural addition to its surroundings. A good design will take into account many factors including your wants, the layout of your specific property, accessibility issues, and more.

Here’s what you can expect during the water feature design process:

1. Initial Consultation for your pondless waterfall

Before officially getting started with any design work, a free consultation is an opportunity to discuss the basic ideas of the project including simple details of what you’re looking for in a water feature or pond design for your Los Angeles home. Getting an understanding of the main features you’d like to have will help you get a good sense of what you can expect to pay.

pondless waterfall design

Of course, you should understand that this may change if you decide to add more features to your design. But an initial quote should at least give you a good starting point as you begin the process of designing your backyard water feature. The initial consultation for your water feature is absolutely free.

2. Design Consultation

After getting an initial quote and agreeing upon an approximate project budget, if you plan to move forward with a water garden design, the design consultation is the time to establish specifics. This is not a step to be taken lightly. Many would say the design phase may even be the most important step of the entire process. That’s because everything that follows will adhere to what was established with the design. In fact, a good design can be the difference between a water feature or pond installation that goes smoothly from start to finish, and one that goes astray.

pondless waterfall

During a design consultation, you should expect to get into project specifics. These are some of the features that will make your project one-of-a-kind. With a custom design the end result is a water feature that is specific to your backyard, with all of your personal wants and needs addressed. The last thing you want is a cookie cutter pond or pondless waterfall design that everybody else has, too.

In order to get to the bottom of what kind of water feature is right for you, be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Why do you want a water feature?
  • What features or additions are most important to you?
  • Who from your family will use it most often?
  • How much time do you have for pond maintenance?
  • What other plans do you have for the surrounding space?

Putting together a smart water feature or pond design is not exactly a small feat. There are many factors that designers consider during this phase.

These include:

  • Water feature placement
  • The shape of the pond or water feature
  • Size and depth of ponds or features
  • The size and accessibility of your yard
  • What plants will be used
  • What rocks will be added
  • Inclusion of fish (if a pond is chosen)
  • Lighting for the pond, waterfalls, etc.

With all of these elements to take into consideration, it’s no doubt that the design phase is important. Getting all those details down will make all the difference in the world when it’s time to move into the installation phase.

3. Putting your Water Garden or Pond Design into Action

Once you have the design complete, the fun really begins. A good design coupled with some detailed planning will ensure that the installation process goes smoothly. This is important as the installation is definitely a time when critical mistakes can be made that will impact the end result.

With so many steps involved in the design process as well as the proper installation, selecting a true professional is essential. You want to hire someone who truly knows their stuff. A lot of contractors claim to install ponds and water features, but if it’s not something they do a lot of, they simply won’t have the experience or the know-how to get the job done right from start to finish.

At California Waterscapes, we have both design and installation experience and expertise for ponds, and other water features such as pondless waterfalls. We can help you choose the right water feature for your home and guide you through the entire process from design to installation. Or, if you’re still in the brainstorming phase on what pond design options you might choose from your Los Angeles home, we have plenty of water feature and pond design ideas that you can browse.

When you’re ready to talk to California Waterscapes about a pondless waterfall, give us a call at 818-244-4000 or contact us today for a free quote.

4 Ways Garden Ponds are Helping the Environment

 

As Southern California embraces water conservation efforts, homeowners are encouraged to explore creative ways to make their outdoor living space sustainable.

True enough, an outdoor living space does not have to go against the environment. Rather, it should blend well with nature and still give your family a place you can enjoy for years to come. A garden pond is an example of an environment-friendly water feature in several ways. Here are few of them:

1. Consumes Far Less Water than Grass Lawns

While you need to fill your pond with water during construction and top it off occasionally, no water is wasted in the process. Water you put in is stored and recirculates. Runoff doesn’t occur and you can still recycle water for your other yard needs.

2. Promotes Plant Life

Ponds are self-sustaining. Plants thrive without the need for watering. Also, aquatic plants such as lilies use up nutrients, keeping the water clean and healthy. These plants also aid in controlling algae growth by providing shade and filtering sunlight, and at the same time work to keep the water temperature cool. This process works in favor of the cold-blooded fish that love cool temperatures.

Backyard Pond

3. Requires No Harmful Pesticides and Fertilizers

Ponds do not require the use of fertilizers for maintenance. And unlike grass lawns that need to be mowed and terrestrial plants that need everyday watering, natural ponds only require weekly checking of the skimmer box, and regular monitoring of the fish and for algae buildup as well.

4. Supports Wildlife

Garden ponds attract birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects and is a way you can let kids explore wildlife right at the comfort of your home. Also, contrary to the myth that ponds only breed mosquitoes, this outdoor water feature actually does otherwise. Ponds support a habitat for mosquito predators such as dragonflies. Mosquito larvae also serves as food for fish.

Koi Pond

Needless to say, a garden pond or water garden transforms your backyard into a sanctuary where you can rest after a long day, listening to the soothing sound of the water in motion, watching your fish as they dance and play around.

An outdoor pond build project offers several benefits not only to you and your loved ones, but to Mother Nature as well. Don’t take it from us though. Hear from our clients how keeping a pond has transformed their lives and made them appreciate staying at home even more.