How to Create a Breathtaking Water Garden
A water garden has the potential to be the best purchase you’ve ever made or the worst. An irate water garden owner called in recently, inspiring this piece. Everything she said sounded like the antithesis of a relaxing time in a water garden.
She first explained that the pond was leaking and that she had to replenish the water supply daily. There was a lot of algae, and the place smelt like rotting fish. Since she put it in the pond, her electricity bill has skyrocketed, and she has to remove the sump pump from the pond every three days to clean the algae and debris from its intake screen. She elaborated, “The grandkids were climbing on the waterfall, and the rocks slid around, exposing the liner everywhere.”
After she complained to the contractor, he fixed it so that it no longer leaked water, and she no longer had to add water every few days. She told her friend that her water bill had tripled and that she often heard running water, which she attributed to a stuck float in the toilet tank. The contractor installed a mechanical water level controller in the pond, as revealed by the friend’s inquiries. He didn’t bother fixing the leak because he thought the customer wouldn’t notice.
As if that weren’t bad enough, she finally asked me, “Can you help me out?” Inevitably, I ask, “How much did you spend on your pond and waterfall?” “$6,500!” she exclaimed. So I followed up by asking, “Before taking your money, did the contractor give you any of the negative aspects of a liner pond, such as dangers from gnawing rodents, tree roots, sharp rocks, and other such objects?” And she said, “No, nothing at all.”
The only answer I could provide was that we would have to rip it all out and start from scratch, as we do not attempt to patch or fix the mistakes of other contractors. To recoup their losses from dishonest contractors, I had recommended small claims court to at least a dozen of my clients, I said. My clients have prevailed in court thanks to our consultations and my work as an expert witness. One did not have a contractor’s license, and the client had to file a lien against his property to get her money back.
What I tell the people I’ve helped is summed up below:
One must first learn about all the facets of water gardening before beginning. It’s unlikely that a company selling pond liner kits or sump pumps will provide you with objective advice. Because they copied and pasted misleading or inaccurate information from each other, all of their “how-to” guides and pond advice are identical.
Look for a reliable builder.
Third, utilize concrete and rebar to construct the water garden’s pond and cascade. The history of pond liners is conclusive:
Within the first three years after being built, more than 37 percent of waterfalls suffer from significant structural deterioration. Most homeowners (57%) are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the finished waterfall.
Nine months after construction, one in three water features, such as waterfalls and ponds, leak water. Sixty-three percent of those who attempted a DIY project said they wished they had hired a professional or had more accurate information.
Use a centrifugal pump, as they are the most energy-efficient type. Sump pumps are not built to run nonstop and should only be used for short bursts. Furthermore, they require up to 60% more energy than centrifugal pumps and have limited warranties.
5. Set up an automatic water level regulator.
A water garden is not something to be invested in for the short term. In most circumstances, water gardens are the best long-term investment a person can make in terms of happiness and satisfaction. This is a product with a long lifespan. Concrete and rebar ensure a long lifespan for any structure. But liner building is a short-term solution at best. Listen to a seasoned expert. It’s not worth doing if it can’t be done correctly.
Take a look at a YouTube tutorial.
Aquamedia Corp. CEO and Master Waterfall Builder Douglas C. Hoover has designed and built over 2,000 waterfalls and ponds in California throughout his 30-year career. The writer of “Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual” retails for $49.00 in print but can be purchased electronically for $14.95 for a limited time. The “Ultimate Training Course” is now only $39.95, down from its original price of $149. The Digital Design Library is an excellent resource for learning about professional pond design and construction.