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Setting up a pond – stage one
Setting up a pond step by step can be about personal taste as much as anything but there are a few things to avoid so as not to end up going off at the deep end.
Obviously flat land is preferable for a pond but if you have a complicated shape in mind you must consider how you are going to circulate the water. You also want your pond to get the right amount of sunlight so avoid shady areas underneath trees. This is also a good rule of thumb because falling leaves are a nuisance for any pond keeper.
When deciding the size of your pond, work out the total volume which will enable you to calculate how many litres/gallons of water it will hold. There is no point having a pond if you cannot afford the right sized pump and filter.
The simplest way to understand this volume is that length x width x depth (in metric) equals the volume. So for example:
Pond is 3 metres x 2 metres x 1 metre = 6 cubic metres
6 cubic metres = 6,000 litres.
When you have decided on the size of pond you need to dig your hole. But don’t just dig a square hole – leave some shelves for marginal plants. After digging the hole, get rid of any sharp stones that are going to threaten your pond liner.You should also add a layer of sand to keep it extra smooth.
When ordering your liner, be sure to get it a bit bigger so there is an overlap.
Lay the liner in, allow the liner to warm up in the sun briefly to make it more flexible and easy to handle. It is best to remove shoes and walk around on the liner in your socks to gently push it into place. then add some water to settle the liner into place.
Lay out heavy stones around the edge of the pond to hold the liner in place and continue to fill the pond with water.
Once the pond is full, trim off excess liner from the edge but be sure to leave an overlap of at least six inches.
Setting up a pond – pump and filter
A pump and filter is essential for a healthy pond. Basically the pump circulates water and the filter cleans it. Without these things the water will become stagnant, unhealthy and smelly.
In the past you would choose a pump based on the volume you want to turn over, over so many hours, but now the approach is to select a filter that’s suitable for your size of pond and then select a pump that’s right for your filter.
Setting up a pond – plants and baskets
Planting in a pond is not as simple as planting in the garden. You want your plants to stay firm, look great and also not lose their soil.
It’s best to first line your plant basket with a sheet of hessian to prevent the soil from all escaping. Drape the hessian over and push it into the corners then trim to fit.
Next put a layer of soil (an inch or two deep) into the base. Remove your plants from the pots they came in and plant them in your soil. Put another layer of soil over the roots and covered with a layer of gravel. The gravel is again to stop the soil from escaping.
You should then submerse the planter in water or water it on your lawn. If you don’t do this, air pockets will get trapped under the soil and then erupt in your pond sending soil into the water. It is also important to lower the planter very slowly and gradually into your pond so you do not upset the water.
When choosing plants consider marginals oxygenators and lillies. The beauty of lily pads is that they prevent too much sunlight from reaching your pond which will cause algae.