4 Koi Pond Builder Must Do's

Article Courtesy of koipondtips.com

I will admit when I built my first pond, I spent only a few hours researching.  A bit on EPDM liners, some on designing a water fall, and that was about it.  Before my wife could stop the crime, I walked out my backdoor and commenced digging.  Three days, and a very sore back later, I had myself a purty fish pond.  No filter, a cheap pump feeding the pathetic, leaky, waterfall basin, and since I did little planning, the pump was powered via an extension cord buried under the sod and landscaping.  Every expense was spared, but regardless, we relished our accomplishment, and despite the dangerously flawed design, this hole in the ground provided us with great satisfaction and pleasure.

Outlets, Outlets, Outlets!

There is nothing more amateurish than a household extension cord buried in your garden.  Of course, one cord soon expanded to four, to accommadate landscape and pond lighting, a second pump for a fountain and no pond is complete without a spitter or five.  Even with this load, I neglected to plan for a power source when we expanded to add a new upper pond to our existing one.

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With our current pond, we finally saw the light!  During construction I hired a licensed electrical contractor to install twelve ground fault outlets, representing three distinct 20 Amp circuits.  Two weather resistant outlet boxes were placed near the filters, and the other behind the skimmer.  Life is good... except I sure would have liked a few more placed in the landscaping for all the other pond and garden toys to be added.  Next time.

Water Overflow (Standpipe)

In our part of the country, including just this last night, we are subject to occasional torrential rainfall.  It would not take long with our original ground-level pond, for surface water to flow into the pond, and soon our pond would be a foot or more deeper.  Contaminated with debris and fertilizer, it was a huge problem for us.

With the helpful suggestions from more experienced pond builders, we designed and built in a standpipe within our Savio Skimmer Filter.  IMG_0030_2IMG_2827Set a few inches above normal pond level, this pipe flows excess pond water into a 4" pipe that terminates at the street curb, a few feet from the sewer opening.  This has easily handled all that Mother Nature could send our way.  We now count this as one of the best pond choices we have made.  There are several documented ways to retrofit a standpipe into an existing pond.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comment box, and I'll be glad to point you in the proper direction for your pond.

Access for Maintenance & the Unexpected

This being our fourth pond iteration, we have fully appreciated the value of designing every aspect of our koi pond to be easily accessible for maintenance.  This includes, power outlets, filtration valves, external, internal and sump pumps, UV, and aerators.  We even designed our primary undersoil plumbing pathways to be accessible within the landscape in the event of a leak or freeze damage.  Every one of these has been taken advantage of since, including, access to underground PVC to connect in a new filter.IMG_2820

Pre-planning and simplification have made it easy for us to leave the pond to a caretaker for up to a month at a time.  Training a pond sitter for us takes only a few minutes and I can easily video a process such as filter cleaning or redirecting a pump flow to the sewer.

Plan for What's Next

Lastly, I want to address the all important...What's Next.  We are all the proof you need that a koi pond is never fully complete.  For a myriad of reasons: including, budget, technology enhancements and your progression within this hobby, you will want or need to make changes or expand your koi pond.  Examples of our pre-planning are:

  • Stubbed out a small PVC pipe for future auto-topoff system.
  • Additional valves in various plumbing segments to support tie in of future pumps, filters or my soon to be built bog filter.
  • Incorporated plant shelves in pond design, in the event we decide to emphasize water gardening over koi.
  • Placed extra conduit under patio and sidewalk for electrical expansion.

In the three years this latest pond has been running, we have made countless modifications to pumps, filtration and plumbing, as well as, kept up with the minimal weekly maintenance.  The enjoyability of this pond is directly related to implementing these suggestions.  We hope you too can take advantage of these tips in your pond.

Happy koi... Happy life

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