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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2004
John Cushnie On...

Positioning a Pond
2nd October 2007

Ponds may be as large as lakes or as small as a paddling pool but the site needs to be level. Where the ground slopes one side needs to be built up otherwise the water will be overflowing at the lower end before it is half way up the other side of the hole in the ground.

It is nice to have a pond in full sun where the light can reflect on the water surface but dappled shade will help prevent green water and algae that thrives on sunlight.
Positioning a tree or tall shrub on the south side of the feature will ensure that for part of the afternoon the foliage will cast shade on the water.

Before committing yourself to a sunken pond check the level of the water table in winter. If it is high, rising above the base of the hole, then the water will push up the butyl or plastic liner throwing the pond water, fish and plants out on to the surrounding ground.

Where the winter levels are high then the three options are to either use a rigid, fibre glass liner or shape the pond using a layer of waterproof concrete. Alternatively the pond may be built above the water table banking the soil to form a raised water feature.

Where the expanse is sufficiently large wind may cause water movement with ripples that catch the light. Where wind is a problem is when water is pumped to a high point and then allowed to cascade down to the lower pond. As it tumbles over ledges the wind will blow some of the water over the sides lowering the reservoir level. Tall water fountains where the water falls from several levels will lose water through it being blown out of the catchment area.

Ground that slopes to a level area may be designed with a lower pond on the flat. The water is pumped to a higher level and allowed to return via a “stream” built on a liner to retain the water.

Where there is to be running water then select a site close to an electric power supply to drive the submerged pump. For safety surround the pond with a fence to keep children away from the water.

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