Koi Pond Development

The comments follow the photos 1 to 15 (top left to bottom right)

1. Select Location:Pond design should fit the surrounding landscape from both a size and shape standpoint. It should be located away from where leaves and other debris will fall into. Most importantly, the location should be such that the pond is easily viewed.

2. Dig the Hole:Once you have decided where and how big to make the hole for the pond - start digging!

3. Make Root Barriers (if needed):The location I picked was beside a Mulberry tree which had shot out roots in the direction of my pond. I cut off the major roots going that direction. Then I dug a hole 2 feet wide, 4 inches wide, and 18" deep. I poured cement in the hole as a physical barrier to root growth.

4. General Edge Leveling and Sloping Sides: The location I picked had a slight (5" from one side to another) slope to it. I had to build up the lower sides to be level with the high end. I then sloped the soil to blend it to the surrounding landscape.

5. Detailed Leveling of Pond Edges: The top edge of the pond must be level. Even an inch or so off can be clearly seen once water is put in. To do this I filled a watering bucket with water, placed a piece of plastic tubing in the water, and started a siphon so water was flowing through. I raised the bucket so the height of the water in the bucket matched the level of the edge I wanted for the pond. I then worked my way around the pond with the tubing above the edge of the pond. The water level in the tube will be the same as that in the bucket - nomatter where you go. Using this as a guide, add or remove soil around the edge to make it all level.

6. Prepared Hole:This is a picture of the finished - level pond and edge.

7. Sand Bottom: You need something on the bottom of the pond to prevent sharp rocks from working their way into contact with the pond liner. I used sand on the bottom of my pond. They also make fiber mats which can be used. If I were to do it again, I would use the mats because of their long life and ease of handling.

8. Put in the Liner and Fill the Pond:Now the fun part! Place the liner in the pond - being careful not to disturb the edge you just made level. Turn on the hose and watch it fill! It is a good ides to make note of the water meter readings before starting to fill the pond and after it has been completed. This reading will tell you the cubic feet of water it took to fill the pond.

9. Put Rocks Around Edge:Once the pond is filled (or during) you need to smooth out any creases which occur in the plastic. You can also neaten up the folds along the sides of the pond. Once filled, place the rocks you selected around the edge. These rocks will hold down the plastic.

10. Tuck in Extra Liner and Put in Plants: Once you are comfortable with the way the plastic is placed and all is in order with the pond you can roll the extra liner edge up and burry it under the soil. Place the remaining rocks around the edge. Put in the plants you have selected - both potted and free floating. A word of warning - the free floating water plants grow like weeds - buy a few and wait a few weeks. You will have more than you need!

11. Plant Around Pond and Put in Filter:This picture shows how the plants around the pond have matured. I planted needlepoint ivy in the back, a trellis covered with Jasmine as a backdrop. In the front I keep a variety of colorfull flowers (depending on the season).

12. Pond - One Year Old:I made a bird bath which I have propped up in the pond so just the outer edge is above the surface. I used 3" bamboo to make a pipe where water comes out of - into the bird bath. This not only looks and sounds great, but it helps oxygenate the water as well. In the summer I get lots of humming birds drinking out of the falling water. Other birds use the bath as you might think they would!

13. Pond - Two Years Old:Things are now in balance. I had to get a larger out-of-pond filter as too much debris was being created by all the fish and plants.

14. Pond - Growing, Growing, Growing:Here you can see I have let the iris get out of hand - you have to replant them each year - thinning them out or they take over!

15. Koi All Grown Up and Matured Vegitation:I started with about ten 5-6" Koi when I started - aside from a few that died while my neighbor was fishsitting for me - they have grown to over a foot in length. Every year they have lots of babies! I catch them and give them to neighbors. If you have too many fish for a given amount of space, they have trouble getting enough oxygen.

If you have any questions feel free to email me! I'm not an expert, but have had the pond for over five years now and have learned a great deal from my experience.