12 December 2010

The Pond Design Wheel of Confusion

Building a pond in the first place is difficult enough, but building a second pond can be just as trying if not more difficult. I'm not talking here about the physical side of the pond build - the actual part where you put the required materials and substrates together to "build" the pond. I'm actually talking about planning your new pond and deciding what to include, and more often than not what to actually exclude!

There's so many decisions to be made - it's actually difficult knowing what to do for the best! With so many different systems and configurations to choose from and "essential" pieces of kit it's any wonder that anyone ever makes it to the building stage at all. And this doesn't include the differences of opinion of those that are actually building the pond or the ones that hopefully will be sitting back and enjoying it when it's finally completed. So where on earth does it all start? Decisions, decisions ........

First of all, are there any parameters that we need to work with (or within) when designing/building our new pond? The answer to this question without a doubt is "yes". The problem is, once you start thinking of the different parameters you can soon go off on a tangent again and get bogged down in the decision making process again - the Pond Design Wheel of Confusion. Knowing what's best to do for what and you just end up going around and around and, yes you've guessed it ..... around. So time to pull those creative (or destructive) thoughts back in again and concentrate on the first stages or parameters that we'll need to contend with. These we'll call the Primary Parameters, all of which have a direct affect on one another.

In no particular order ....... (sound like an X Factor judge now):-
  • Finances/Cost
  • Position
  • Dimensions
  • Wish List
Let's now look at the individual Primary Parameters listed above :-


Depending on your disposable income, this could either be as costly as a Sunday afternoon visit to the garden centre or a major, major financial undertaking only shadowed by your mortgage or possibly car (although many will admit their pond cost more than their car ... but only in secret). Careful planning can obviously help you form an accurate estimate of the costs involved, but as always there's things that crop up so even the best laid plans can be put to the test. Help and advice from pond building professionals can never be ignored, and if affordable their knowledge and services could be employed to carry out the work for you.


Yet another minefield which you can easily get bogged down in. There's many an article or chapter written on the subject all offering very sound advice which again should be taken on board. However it's not always practical to position your pond in the ideal spot according to literature, especially when other elements of your garden are in residence. At the end of the day though it may be a simple case that you want your pond to be in a specific area. Provided there are no physical elements or any dangers in siting your pond there, take stock of any lesser issues such as leaves from trees etc and provided you plan for these eventualities you should be fine.


We're talking here about size, shape and depth. Again there's such a diversity of information and recommendations which offer you practical advice and "industry standards" regarding the issue of shape, size and depth that you could spend hours, days, weeks or even months trying to establish the exact recommendation. What it boils down to is the size of the area available for the pond, any sub surface issues which may be present and therefore prevent sufficient depth being reached and the finances available - both in terms of affordability for excavation/building materials, labour etc and also the purchase of sufficient filtering equipment.

Wish List

Then there's your "Wish List" - all the features, pieces of equipment etc that you'd like to incorporate into your project. These are often items viewed in books & magazines or on DVD's and more often than not when visiting Koi dealers. Of course the other major source of wish list items and essentials is from visiting other Koi keepers on club visits etc and viewing their set-ups and finding out which configurations work for them. This is where much of the wish list inspiration comes from for the second time pond builder - all the elements which they've identified after saying "I wish i'd done this on my pond" or "I wish i'd had one of them on my set-up". Yet once again, the incorporation of these wish list items and features has a direct affect on the position & dimensions of the planned pond and of course, the cost!

So how do these Primary Parameters fit in with our current plans I here you ask. Well ......

With regards to finances - we simply don't have any saved at this moment in time and we certainly don't plan on borrowing! However the plan is to first establish a pond plan. The site of the new pond has already been determined in that it's going to replace the existing pond. With regards to dimensions, pretty much the same shape as before however we'd like to increase the length a little and certainly the depth to a minimum of 4' if possible. Digging down further would be our preference to increase the depth however if something prevents us from achieving this, then there's always the possibility of building higher - if we can afford to do so.

As we already own many pond filter components we're trying to increase the overall volume of the pond whilst staying within the parameters of the equipments capabilities in order to keep costs down. Simply adding to the system where possible rather than replacing for the sake of it.

Now we've got our Primary Parameters sorted out it's time for the next stage.