Ponds 102

Chapter 1

Pond Location

Now that you are familiar with the basic components of the typical backyard Garden Pond, let’s talk about location. Just like in real estate, location is everything. The right location can minimize maintenance and maximize your enjoyment of the pond. Better be careful, though - it works in reverse too. The wrong location can make the pond a nightmare to maintain.

Ideally, you’ll want a site that is low in the yard, so it looks like a natural spot for the pond, but never at the lowest spot in the yard, since you never want runoff in the pond. Any water washing in from the outside can carry fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides with it, especially if the pond is adjacent to lawn areas, but even dirt is going to cause trouble, muddying the water and feeding algae blooms. Runoff screws everything up.

Sunlight can do the same. You certainly want some sun for flowering plants, about 6-8 hours’ worth, but full sun all day can lead to problems with algae. If possible, look for a site that gets some shade late in the day. Full shade isn’t ideal either, both because plants like water lilies won’t flower at all, and because full shade under trees is a maintenance nightmare, especially in the fall.

As you might expect, moderation is best. If you happen not to have any shade, you’ll want to think about creating some. If you’re planning on planting a full sun garden, you might use tall specimens or groups in appropriate spots to block some sun, or put in water plants with floating leaves to shade out algae. With about 60% of the surface shaded your water will tend to stay algae-free and crystal clear (unless you overfeed!). In the Sun Belt, tall plantings or shade structures like lanais or arbors may even be necessary to keep the water cool and algae in check.

Finally, think about visibility. You’ll want to check that the pond enhances the vista from the deck or patio, the living room or kitchen window, or even from a special vantage point in the yard. You’ll also want to make sure the pond isn’t an obvious attractive nuisance, in full view of a local park with unsupervised children or along a walking path, where unintended visitors could get into trouble.

Pond Siting

Choose the right location for your pond