Back Yard Ponds

Backyard water gardens allow you to grow really cool plants you couldn’t otherwise grow. They also attract wildlife. We have birds and squirrels, and our cats and a local raccoon go fishing.

You want to put the pond a tiny bit up from the surrounding soil so it doesn’t get flooded during rainstorms. Also make sure it drains away from your home. The pump hoses will occasionally come undone and pump the water onto the ground. Be sure it has a safe place to go.

The USDA article recommends putting your pond in full sun away from trees. So you’ll have less leaves falling into your pond. Other sources tell you to put it in the shade so you will get less algae. We found leaves would get into the pond no matter what, the wind will take them there. Algae was a bigger problem for us.

You can buy plastic sheeting to line your pond or a preformed liner. We had good success with both methods. If you use plastic sheeting get it at least 10mm, the thicker the better. Double line it also. Be very sure to have the preformed liner level if you choose that.

Backyard ponds are small enough pumps are not an issue. We found they last about a year in New England. Down here in Houston they should last longer. We found the only successful way to treat algae and keep it under control is with a UV light filter. The pump will have a filter to catch small particles.

Plants will have to be weighted down with rocks. You’ll find a better selection online than you will at the local store.

For fish we purchased feeder fish at the local pet store. These are small gold fish at about 10/dollar. They get large quickly. They will winter over, even in NewEngland as long as there is some water in the very bottom of the pond. The top can freeze. No point in feeding the local raccoon pricey fish.

You can purchase a heater for your pond as well. The local pet stores usually carry them in the fall.