It’s even somehow strange that not long ago artificial reservoirs were a rarity in our gardens and in our backyards. A quiet water surface, a babbling stream, mischievous spray of fountains and a stormy waterfall – this is always a special flavor of a garden filled with sounds and even a rainbow on a sunny day. Modern materials make it possible to create a reservoir for almost any garden owner, while, in most cases, spending a minimum of effort and money.
The most common form of pond in recreational gardens are ponds, which vary in size and shape depending on the style of the particular landscape and the owner’s means..
The shore of the artificial pond is lined with large stones that resonate with the boulders connected in a spectacular rock garden
There are several ways to create ponds. Until recently, ponds of monolithic materials were arranged in gardens, most often with the use of concrete. This is a very time consuming method, and also not practical. First, climatic conditions can cause deformation of the concrete and, as a result, leakage. Secondly, everything that is monolithic requires large physical and financial costs both during construction and in the future if there is a desire to change the landscape.
When constructing large reservoirs, swimming pools, as well as if you wish to use materials such as concrete, clay, fiberglass mats, polyester resins for their construction, of course, it is best to turn to the services of specialists. Small ponds can be arranged independently.
A graceful wooden bridge connects the shores of an artificial film reservoir
A pond in the garden creates not only a special microclimate, but is also an effective decorative element. It has a very beneficial effect on the human psyche, allows you to better relax while resting by the water. In addition to a pond in the garden, you can arrange a stream, a swamp, a waterfall, a cascade, even an original water composition that includes a variety of water elements. Aquatic and coastal plants deserve a separate story.
After some time, you will want to update the look of your pond. And here a wide variety of fountain designs and decorative lighting come to the rescue. You just need to take into account that the fish living in the pond, as well as varietal nymphs, do not really like the noise of the fountain and its splashes.
In general, plan right away what you are building a pond for: just as a spectacular decorative element; for growing beautiful aquatic plants; for breeding ornamental fish; maybe you want to combine everything? Either way, you need expert advice. For example, for breeding koi carps, a pond depth of at least 90 cm is needed; to preserve most aquatic plants for wintering, a pond that does not freeze to the bottom is needed. And most importantly, you need to know exactly what mechanisms will be needed to maintain the pond in a state suitable for growing fish and, for example, rare varieties of nymphs (water lilies).
Attention! Any body of water can be dangerous, especially for small children. In some cases, the pond can be unsafe for pets. We recommend that you think carefully about safety issues and do not leave children unattended by the water..
Pond from pre-made forms
Perhaps the cheapest, easiest and fastest way to build an artificial decorative pond is to install ready-made forms of frost-resistant polyethylene or fiberglass. The shapes come in different sizes and depths. The most popular are pond forms with winding banks. They are perfect for landscape-style gardens. When buying a mold, you need to take into account the size of the site, and also remember that in the end the pond will be visually smaller than its shape looks in the store. The overall impression of the pond is highly dependent on the presence of separate planting zones in the form. It will be useful to remember that the larger the artificial reservoir, the longer the water heats up in it, which means that it is less susceptible to clogging and blooming..
A miniature pond is created on the basis of a ready-made polyethylene form
It is advisable to buy a form with a swamp zone so that you can place aquatic plants. If there is no such zone, then it is necessary to buy in advance special containers-baskets in which the plants are planted, then placing them in the pond at a depth corresponding to their requirements. Convenient to use for such purposes and coconut pockets.
The crucial moment in the construction of the pond is the installation of the form. It is very important to choose the right place for the construction of the pond. It should not only fit well into the overall design of the garden, but also be located in an open, well-lit place, preferably away from trees, the roots of which can damage the tightness of your reservoir over time..
A form is placed on the designated area, the contours of the future reservoir are marked with pegs and a cord, adding 15–20 cm each so that it is more convenient not only to establish the form, but also to make a bedding. A fertile layer is removed along the entire perimeter, which can later be used in the garden. The soil is dug out gradually, first to the depth of the first plane, then after marking in the same way until the very last plane.
The base of each plane and the slopes are carefully leveled and tamped. In this case, all roots and stones are carefully removed. To install the mold without problems, each profile must be dug wider than the mold. And the depth of the base is 10–15 cm deeper. The base is carefully tamped, adding sand. The shape should become even, the edges must be checked using a spirit level and a rule. Then fill the deep part of the pond with water by about a third and start pouring sand and soil into the side slots between the excavated soil and the mold. To make the mold tight, the filled material is washed with water.
The soil around the pond can sink, so it is regularly spilled with a hose for a couple of days. Only then can you start planting coastal plants, full water filling and planting aquatic plants.
By the way, in amateur gardens, metal containers and old baths are often used as forms for small reservoirs. This is not the best option, but with a creative approach it can become a garden decoration..
The banks of the pond can be decorated with decorative stones, pebbles, gravel, special film with glued pebbles. The main thing is that all the elements of your decorative pond and its plant environment are in harmony with each other..
For the construction of film ponds, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and more expensive rubber or butyl rubber films are used. It is very important to purchase a high-quality film, because its service life will depend on this. As a rule, high-quality films last 10-15 years.
The most common in our country – PVC film is produced in various thicknesses, it is cheap, easily glued, but from the point of view of ecology it is very dubious. For a pond with a depth of more than 1.5 m, a film with a thickness of at least 1.5 mm should be purchased. The best option is a film of black or marsh color. A more expensive, more durable and environmentally friendly film is rubber (butyl rubber). However, only specialists can properly lay it and weld it..
The oval shape of the film reservoir is emphasized by the wide coastline of pebbles
Unlike ready-made forms, film ponds are arranged only in the warm season, and on the day of laying the film, the air temperature should be at least 20 degrees Celsius, because under such conditions the film becomes more elastic and easily fits into any shape of the future pond.
Before buying a film, you should decide on the size of the future pond, which will help the seller or manager to correctly calculate the required area of the film. In addition, you may need geotextiles or special felts, decorative film for edges (sand, pebbles or rubble is glued to it), coconut linen, containers for aquatic plants, products for gluing and repairing the film..
For greater stability of the shores of the reservoir, the foundation pit should be dug in the form of a series of terraces alternating with slopes. The steepness of the slopes should not exceed 45 °, and the width of the terraces should not be less than 30 cm. Water bodies with a shallow coastal zone, as well as a swampy coastal strip, look very good. The depth of the pit should be 10-15 cm deeper than you plan, so that you can thoroughly tamp down first a layer of rubble, and then a sand cushion with a thickness of at least 10 cm. Choose stones and roots carefully. Only after this and tamping, it is possible to spread geotextiles or felt. They will protect the film from damage. The canvases should be overlapped. A film is spread over the geotextile. Previously, it must lie in the sun on the lawn for at least 2 hours. Today, the film is sold in a wide variety of widths, it is better to buy such that there is no need to glue the panels.
After laying the film, you need to carefully smooth out the wrinkles and start pouring water, for which you carefully lower the hose. First, fill the reservoir by 1/3. After 2-3 hours, continue filling the pond with water. Only after the water has stretched the film, it will be possible to start decorating the upper edge of the film pond. First, the excess of the film is trimmed, then its edges are closed, forming a roller, and only after that it is possible to decorate the banks of the reservoir with a film with pebbles or stones, sprinkling with rubble or coarse sand. Secondly, you have to populate the pond itself and the coastal zone with ornamental plants.
A small decorative pond, of course, can be arranged in the garden on your own, especially since today there is a lot of special literature. However, one cannot do without expert advice. A specialized store or company will help you calculate the amount of film and other building materials. And, just as important, they will help to determine exactly what technical devices and accessories are necessary for the normal functioning of a pond or other water structure in a private garden..
You will need a pump – at least to be able to pump out water (for cleaning a pond or for the winter), as well as for the recommended periodic partial water renewal. When choosing a pond pump, it is better to purchase a more powerful one. Alas, buying a low-power pump today, you will be forced to buy a new one if you decide to purchase a water purification system.
Pay particular attention to the tightness of all electrical connections. For reliability, special sockets are used in the garden, ideally a radio socket for controlling both the pump and fountains, artificial lighting. This is a very handy little thing, all garden lighting can be connected to it, so that you can control light and water without leaving your home. For a submerged pump, it is advisable to purchase a mounting plate. It is important to purchase high-quality hoses designed specifically for the construction of water structures, both ponds and streams.
If you intend to breed ornamental fish in a pond, you will have to seriously approach the issue of water purification. There are UV lamps, filters, and complex biofiltration systems.
However, in addition to biological water purification, devices are also needed to clean the pond surface, where dead plant parts, accumulated litter and leaves, waste products of fish and other representatives of the fauna that have chosen your pond accumulate. These are simple nets, special shears, pond tongs, and very effective skimmers. And there are also vacuum cleaners for ponds and bottom cleaners.
Attention! Observe safety precautions when using electrical appliances. To equip the pond, use only equipment specially designed for this purpose and having safety certificates. Strictly follow the instructions for use.
Decorative lighting of the pond
Decorative lighting of the pond and other water structures plays a special role. For this, both underwater and ground (garden) lamps are used, as well as very original floating ones. As a rule, light filters are sold complete with lamps, but their selection should be strictly individual, so as not to spoil the overall impression of the reservoir.
The previously mentioned mounting plate is used not only for fastening the submerged pump, but also for installing a fountain, fixing underwater lights at the bottom. At the same time, the cords can be easily hidden with decorative stones or pebbles. The ideal option is 4 underwater lights with different light filters. All that remains is to adjust the tilt angles to achieve the maximum decorative effect.
Decorative pond lighting
In an artificial pond, not only underwater lamps look good, but also floating ones: they sparkle like fireflies on the water surface, among nymphs and cattails.
The most successful option for illuminating the pond is special non-dazzling lamps. They are installed at the bottom, the rack has four heights, only the black cap is visible on the surface. The lamp itself illuminates the bottom and the inhabitants of the pond. For stability, the support plate is loaded with stones. If you remove the support plate and the rod, the luminaire will turn into a floating one, but retain its important quality – lighting only the bottom of the reservoir.
Of course, external lighting is also important for an artificial reservoir, for which the same garden lamps are used as for the entire garden..
It often happens that a decorative pond blooms, and if used improperly, it can spread unpleasant odors. The ideal option is to buy a water purification system. But this is expensive for many garden owners. You can get rid of algae in a simple old-fashioned way – put a canvas bag with high peat or special peat tablets in the pond. In addition, garden centers sometimes sell a special environmentally friendly preparation called Killer for Algae. In large garden centers or specialty stores, you can today buy means for the destruction of filamentous algae, preparations based on microorganisms that successfully purify water in closed reservoirs.
When growing ornamental plants and fish in a pond, one cannot do without an “Oxygen Stabilizer”, special means for changing the PH level, a biostability regulator and many other drugs that help keep the pond in good condition.
It is recommended to partially renew the water in the pond periodically, but not more than 15% – so as not to create stressful situations for ornamental plants and fish.
A small pond will have to be drained for the winter, and a larger one will have to be cleaned at least once every three years, having completely pumped out the water.
In order for water structures in the garden to bring joy, you need to organize regular care for them: timely remove debris, plant residues from the surface, maintain the water level. It is very important that the water features are safe, especially if small children are walking in the garden. In autumn, it is advisable to cover the pond mirror with a net to reduce the fall of leaves on the bottom. Aquatic plants overwintering in the pond must be lowered into the deepest part of the pond..
Preparing a pond for winter is a special job. If fish and aquatic plants will winter in the pond, then you need to purchase an aerator, in extreme cases, install a sheaf of hollow delphinium stalks, and as soon as the pond freezes over, make 1-2 ice holes.
In harsh winters, film ponds and prefabricated ponds can suffer from ice bursting. Therefore, throw plastic bottles with corks on the surface of an unfrozen pond.