Fall Pond Building Tips

If you are looking to install a pond then fall is the best time to plan and build. Autumn weather is dryer, cooler, and generally more predictable. Usually, there is less rainfall and the ground is easier to work. Enlist the help of friends to make it easier to construct and create an outdoor project that you can all look forward to working on together. Below are some fall pond building tips to aid you in your endeavor.

Fall is the perfect time for planting, landscaping, and creating a balanced aquatic environment. Planting marginal (bog) plants in early fall allows them time to get rooted since this is the season plants focus their energy on root development rather than leaf growth. When spring arrives they have enough stored energy for abundant, healthy development. Perimeter landscaping is always best completed in fall. Plants get better acclimated and will be more heat resistant by summer. Filling the pond with water in the fall allows the pond to settle and establish. The cooler fall weather enables the pond to reach proper bacterial balance making it less likely to have an algae problem. When the water temperature heats to the appropriate level in spring, your pond will be equipped to handle the incorporation of oxygenating and floating plants.

All these benefits listed above are convincing reasons to build your pond in fall, but starting your project can feel complicated and overwhelming. Pond construction can be easier if it is done in stages. The first step is planning. It is better to take your time and plan than rush your pond design. In the grand scheme of things, you save more time, money, and effort by taking extra time to research and carefully plan your water garden. Recognize that ponds require serious consideration to help streamline construction, product selection, and ultimately regular upkeep.

Become knowledgeable about ponds from excavating to plant selection to maintenance. For example, if you want to build a medium size pond then check out how to videos like Total Pond’s How to Build a Medium Pond. It will show you what you will need and give you a visual step by step from planning to construction. Also researching frequently asked questions may better equip you with basic information to help you start your project.

Next step we suggest is drawing your pond on paper. It’s not only fun, but it also helps you to visualize your design. Decide what shape, style, and size will augment the beauty of your water garden yet still keep the area easily managed. When devising your plan, site selection is extremely important. Make sure to pick a spot that has a minimum of six hours of sunlight across two-thirds of its surface if you plan to have flourishing pond plants. Too much sun, can make the water temperature too hot and decrease oxygen levels, as well as promote unnecessary algae growth. This is why shade is important especially during the hottest parts of the day and warm weather seasons. Locating your pond close to your home can provide additional shade and simplify electrical and water hook-ups. The main benefit of this location is that you can enjoy the view of your pond inside as well as outdoors.

Pond depth is another vital aspect to planning your water garden. Pond water depth is important because different plants and fish survive best in explicit water levels. Usually depths range from about 18 inches to 36 inches for water gardens and 3 feet to 6 feet for koi ponds. You should always check local codes for depth allowance and any fence requirements. Ponds that hold plants require sunlight so they should be kept in shallow areas.

Selecting your pond components is key to a thriving water garden. There are the live elements like high quality plants, perimeter landscaping, and fish to consider, but it is important to obtain high quality equipment as well. Total Pond has everything you need like pond liners, pumps, filters, water features, lights, spitters, and UV Clarifiers. Pond kits are a great option because they contain matched components and plumbing connections. Total Pond’s Complete Filter Kit for smaller ponds is a great example and this kit offers aeration and decorative features like a three-tier fountain nozzle.

Once you have formulated a plan for your pond, make a step by step to do list to create small obtainable goals that feel easy to accomplish. Installing a pond is not only fun but it can be therapeutic. Don’t let the complexity of the project get in the way of enjoying the process. To help you out we made an aggregate to do list for building your pond in fall:

  1. Buy all supplies and components.
  2. Visit a supplier to pick out your specific stones. Avoid stone that might have been treated or exposed to toxins.
  3. Make sure to contact your utility companies before you break ground. Damaging a line will delay your project and can even be fatal!
  4. After the utilities are pinpointed and marked, check your plan to make sure it is still feasible. Make modifications if needed.
  5. Break ground and start digging! This is where your friends can come in handy. As you dig deeper, create strata or layers of varying depths. These levels serve as "steps" or "shelves" that enhance planting opportunities. The first shelf should be 8 to 10 inches deep for marginal plants. The next level you want to be 12 to 18 inches deep for lilies or lotus. The deepest shelf should be 2 to 4 feet deep to avoid your pond from freezing solid during chilly winters and to offer a cool refuge for fish during hot summers. Get rid of any materials that could pierce the liner.
  6. Use a bubble or spirit level to make your edging and shelves as even as possible. Take your time during this extremely important step. As soon as your pond is filled, mistakes will be visible, unattractive, and very hard to rectify. Put aside extra soil for grading around the pond and for landscaping.
  7. Call a certified professional or install the electric line and filter yourself, along with any external plumbing connections.
  8. Install your liner checking again that there are no rocks or sharp objects.
  9. Put in any submerged lights arranged for in your plan.
  10. Assemble stones to firmly fix the liner. Form a border and construct waterfalls or other water features.
  11. Test your water source with a test kit. Once you get the results then fill your pond with water. Use water conditioners like a chlorine remover and pond cleaner tablets to treat tap water and rid it of chlorine, chloramine, water pollutants, and other toxins.
  12. Once the pond is filled and the water is treated, turn on your pumps and filters.
  13. Grade the ground around the pond and landscape the area to your desire. Here is an opportunity to get creative!
  14. Test your water quality each week with a pond water test kit.
  15. When leaves begin to fall, use a pond fish net to get rid of accessible leaves and cover the pond with netting. This reduces the risk of leaves and other debris building up and ruining the water quality.
  16. When the water temperature drops below 45°F, turn off your main pump and filter and remove filter media and pump to avoid damage from freezing. Drain and store pump according to manufacturer's recommendation.
Take advantage of the fall weather and the benefits of building your pond during this season. You will allow yourself more time to do things right on the first try and be able to sit back and relax come spring.