Installing a water garden can seem like a monumental task, but it actually can be a fun project you can easily tackle. It is especially easy if you purchase a kit that includes everything you need. This is an excellent profit center for a landscape contractor. Installation can involve moving existing irrigation sprinklers. Once the pond is established it becomes another component of the grounds maintenance. There is much more to landscape maintenance than just mowing.

The first step in creating your water garden waterscape is to carefully select the site for your pond in a level area. If you are using a pond kit that operates on a 12-volt power supply, you can locate your pond up to 50 feet away from the system’s outdoor power pack.

Outline the desired shape of your pond with a garden hose or a rope. Consult your local nursery as to the recommended size and depth for your area. Also, check for local laws that may regulate the depth of your pond. Some localities require fences around bodies of water at certain depths.

As you plan your water garden, consider the aquatic plants you may want to include in it. These plants can be grown on different levels or “shelves” within your pond. Consult your local garden center for plant varieties and their growing needs.

Using the hose or the rope as your guide, begin digging. Dig from the outside of your pond inward. Level the top edge of the pond by using a carpenter’s level on a straight two-by-four placed across the pond. Repeat this process for the width and length of the pond until the perimeter is completely level.

Remove all roots, rocks or other sharp objects that could puncture the pond liner. Line the bottom of the pond with a 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch layer of sand or underlayment to provide a cushioned surface for the liner and to protect it from punctures. Lightly sprinkle the sand with water and tamp it down before installing the liner.

While digging your pond, open the liner fully and drape it across your lawn. As the sun heats it, the liner will become more flexible and will be easier to install. Once you finish digging the pond, drape the liner across the pond, making sure it overlaps equally on all sides.

Contour and smooth the liner to the inside edges and bottom of your pond. Secure the edges with bricks or other heavy objects. Begin filling the pond with water. Water pressure will allow the liner to sink into the pond cavity and contour around the inside edges and plant shelves. As the pond fills with water, pull the edges of the liner up and smooth out any creases around the inside walls of the pond. Some folds are inevitable, but the fewer the better.

Continue filling the pond while you install the remaining pond components. Fill to within 4 inches of the upper edge of the pond.
If using a low-voltage pond kit, mount the power pack near a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outdoor electric outlet. Route the low-voltage cable attached to the bottom of the power pack to your pond site. Place the low-voltage controller next to your pond site. Insert the two wires from the end of the power pack cable into the terminals on the bottom of the low-voltage controller and tighten the screws.

Set the pond pump in the pond, keeping the end of the cord out of the water. Insert the two wires from the end of the pump cord into the low-voltage controller terminals and tighten the screws.

A water garden kit should contain a fountain assembly. If you choose to have a fountain in your water garden, place the control valve from the fountain assembly onto the top outlet of the pump. Hand-tighten the telescoping extender from the assembly onto the control valve and affix the desired spray pattern head to the top of the extender.

Attach the inlet tubing to the side of the control valve that will face the site of the above-ground filter. Route the tubing to the site of the filter.

If you desire underwater lighting, make sure you select a water garden kit that includes it. Set the light in the bottom of your pond or on one of the plant shelves. If you are using a low-voltage water garden kit, insert the two wires from the end of the light cord into the controller terminals and tighten the screws. Weigh down the light base with rocks or pebbles to prevent it from tipping or floating.

Position the pond’s biological filter above the edge of your pond where you placed the inlet tubing from the pump. You will need to secure tubing in various locations on the pump. Make sure water will drain completely into the pond.

Trim off the excess liner around the edge of the pond, leaving at least a 12-inch lip.

Before stocking your pond with fish and plants, you must remove the chlorine from the water and allow your biological filter to mature. Your kit should include a bottle of chlorine and chloramine remover. Follow the measurement guidelines and add the correct amount to your pond water after filling it with tap water.

Allow your biological filter to operate for three to four days after filling the pond to build up the healthy bacteria needed to purify your pond water.

Use a floating thermometer to ensure the pond’s temperature is at a safe level before adding fish. Generally, most goldfish and koi can survive in temperatures about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but consult with your fish provider regarding acclimation procedures.

Aquatic plants perform many functions in a pond. Not only do they add to the beauty of your pond, they also help to establish the ecological balance of your pond by keeping water clear, especially if you have fish.

For more information on low-voltage pond kits and installing a water garden, contact Wayne Water Systems at (800) 237-0987 or visit www.waynepumps.com.