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Fish pond designs - Ideas

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When it comes to designing your fish pond one of the fist decisions that you have to make is which design is best suited for your garden or land available, are you a great fan of nature and prefer the natural fish pond design, once you have a rough idea of which type of fish pond that you require the rest of the design work should fall into place. Often the decision is also affected by the budget that we have allowed ourself for the completed fish pond project, some designs of fish pond such as an ornamental Koi fish pond will cost more money but the final effect will always justify that.

The simplest of the fish pond designs has to be the natural pond where nothing is regular, it should look like it has always been part of the landscape and any plants that are added to the fish pond should be locally sourced . The benefits of the natural fish ponds are the attraction to it from other species of wildlife such as amphibians like frogs or newts and insects such as dragonflies or even some species of butterflies will be attracted. Species of fish that are added should not be fancy as these fish ponds are usually shallower than the normal fish pond and in many cases the filtration of the water is dependant on the plant life added to it.

For such an irregular fish pond it is often best to use a flexible fish pond liner, this will soon be disguised as the plant life takes over and placing these fish ponds in quieter areas of your garden will attract more natural visitors. If you can choose an area where shade and sunlight will share the water surface even better, this will give an even more natural look, slope the edges of the fish pond gradually, a steep drop is not natural and will look out of place. Always make sure that there is one area of the fish pond that is deep enough for any fish that you do plan to add, they will use this area over the cold winter months. Bear in mind though that the fish pond does need to be safe for any human visitors, especially young children, if necessary you may have to supervise the children at all times, failing that some form of fencing may have to be added.

When first filling the fish pond try to collect some water from another natural fish pond, this water will be full of small wildlife and will kick start your own fish pond into life. The plants should be added randomly. You will not achieve the natural look instantly, it takes time for it to develop but after the first year you should expect to see natural visitors such as aquatic beetles or dragonflies, you may even have some frogs or newts decide to use your fish pond for their future tadpoles.

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If a natural looking fish pond is not for you and you wish a more precise design that is aimed for keeping pond fish as the main target you can easily work out a plan to suit the area of your garden that you wish to use. Flexible or rigid fish pond liners can be used with these fish ponds, the rigid fish pond liners will give you an instant design including shelving for your marginal plants whereas a flexible fish pond liner will allow you to create your own design. Any shape of fish pond is suitable for most species of pond fish, square, rectangular or even kidney shape, the important factors to ensure are that it is deep enough for your fish and that you use a suitable fish pond filter to keep the water quality high. I normally work to the general rule of 3 feet for goldfish and allow 10 gallons of water volume for each fish, if you are planning on keeping Koi fish then the fish pond will need to be deeper, at least 4 feet or preferably at least 6 feet to ensure they can overwinter safely. With a standard fish pond the edges of the pond are straighter giving you a depth of water instantly compared to the natural fish pond where the edges should slope gradually but this does allow for a greater water volume in a smaller space.

Extra features can be added such as waterfalls and fish pond fountains to create a better display, these will also help to keep the water well oxygenated and the species of plants do not need to be restricted to local species, the choice is entirely yours. You will need to stick to a budget and allow for any fish pond equipment that you require to run the fish pond, getting halfway through your project and then running out of money can be very disappointing, it is far better to ensure that the money for the project is there before you start so that the whole process can be completed without any resting periods.

The planting of the standard fish ponds tends to be a bit sparser than with a natural fish pond as well leaving more open water space for the fish to move around in, plants are usually planted in clumps and trimmed back on a regular basis as you do not want them to take the whole of the fish pond, this will reduce the swimming space for your fish. Shop around and see which extra features are ideal for your design by visiting the local garden centres, aquatic suppliers or even by checking through online suppliers as seeing a feature that you really like can affect the finished design for your fish pond, I know this from personal experience. Even though you may not be opting for the natural look, your design should still blend in with the chosen area so bear this in mind when designing and place the design on paper so that you always have a reference point. The edging of the fish pond can be finished with covering the edges of the liner with turf if you want it to blend in with a lawned area or you can lay slabs around the edges. Many fish pond keepers will add planting areas near the edge of the fish pond to break up the edges, some of these planting areas can easily be converted for marsh loving plants by placing cut offs from the pond liner underneath the soil to trap the water and prevent it from draining away.

Going one step further is the Koi fish pond, these are always larger fish pond designs as the Koi fish grow large and require a lot of swimming space, they also require a greater depth of water to allow them to overwinter safely. The budget for the Koi fish pond will also increase, the filtration systems are far more advanced than the standard fish pond filter and often bottom drains are incorporated into the actual design, the floor of the fish pond slopes towards the bottom drains and the water is forced up to the filters constantly. This may sound complicated but once you have looked at other fish ponds that house Koi fish it is really quite simple to comprehend and with a basic building skill you can undertake such a project, having the room and the money in the first place are usually the key factors. If you do have a large budget then you can really go to town with some extravagant ideas, most of us have heard of the Japanese Koi fish ponds and they are truly stunning if constructed correctly. These try to look natural as well as being practical for the fish and often are shaded by pagodas and such like, try googling some pictures of these to realise just how nice they are.

The most important thing to remember is that if you spend time planning the design of your fish pond and understand the needs of the pond and its inhabitants that you are planning to keep, the final result should please you, trying to take shortcuts simply will not work and can cause problems at a later stage, sorting out these problems once the fish pond is full of water and live stock is a lot harder than pre-empting the problems in the design stage, drawings can be altered quickly, emptying the fish pond takes time and hard work. The smallest of fish ponds still needs some thought putting into it exactly the same as a larger fish pond but it should be an enjoyable project that will result in a garden feature that you can be proud of!

Question left on Tue, March 13, 2012 10:41 by Oyekale Isaiah

Good article. But can one have a concrete block industry on the same site where you set up your fish pond?

Answer by staff: No need for the industry close by, the blocks are readily available from any builder's merchants and all of these companies also offer delivery options so the blocks are taken straight to your house.