By: Demi Fortuna & Caitlyn Winkle
Have you been wavering on whether or not to have a water feature installed? We know it’s a big decision and many factors go into making this decision. As Halloween rolls in this week, we wanted to take the fright out of water feature installation and debunk 5 scares of the water feature world!
Leaks are an enormous concern for people who are building their first water feature, but they can rest easy. EPDM rubber and PVC liners are super strong, and very easy to work with. A couple of quick guidelines will allay any fears about liner punctures. Always use a protective layer of underlayment to keep the liner from getting punctured. It will guard against tree roots, sharp stuff underneath the liner, and even critters.
The other common way that water features leak are at the edges of waterfalls. These are very easy to detect and correct. First, to be sure water loss is coming from the stream or waterfall area, turn off the pump and see if the water still leaks down in the reservoir. if the water is stable when the pump is off, the leak’s in the waterfall. Looking for a wet spot along the edge after a couple of dry days will usually reveal the problem, which is almost always at the edge of a waterfall. In the vast majority of cases, it’s just the liner has slipped down from the force of the water and can easily be fixed.
Many people are concerned about the appearance of algae in their water features. Algae is actually a sign that the water feature is healthy. A little green fur on the sides helps keep the water clean. An excess of algae is not healthy but it is easily dealt with. Because algae growth is a sign of high nutrient levels, the easiest way to control algae in a fish pond is to cut back on the amount of food that you’re feeding your fish. In other water features, the installation of an ionizer that puts a tiny amount of ionized copper into the water will completely control algae in your water feature.
Many folks are concerned about the animals that come to a pond or water feature. Most of the time, this is a great Boon to the natural community in the area. Especially in the wintertime, sources of open water are scarce and animals have a hard time finding enough to drink. A pond or water feature that’s running in the winter is a welcome resource. Some folks worry about mosquitoes in ponds, but in a typical fish pond, mosquitoes can’t survive the hungry fish. Mosquito larvae are much more likely to come from the stagnant rainwater in an old tire than any fish pond.
The idea that ponds and water features can be dangerous stems from an older method of constructing ponds in the shape of bowls. Slippery, sloped sides made getting in and out of this style of ponds difficult. It was easy to slip and injure oneself. Modern construction techniques advise building ponds with steps and flat platforms better making them easy to enter and exit safely. For the ultimate and safest option, Pond-free waterfalls and streams have no open water to fall into. All the water is recirculated out of a closed underground basin, limiting maintenance and chance of injury.
Some potential pond owners are deterred by the thought of the maintenance of a water feature. They may have heard about a poorly designed feature that was difficult to keep clean or looking good. A properly designed water feature requires very little maintenance. Fish ponds that have a balance of plants bacteria and animals require minimal maintenance. Hardscape water features with filtered or screened reservoirs require even less. When the feature is properly designed with the right equipment, maintenance takes no more than a few minutes a week, with a clean up no more than once a year.