Koi in pond

You may consider DIY garden projects to be a lot of hard work, but building a koi pond can be a lot of fun. It is not just about the construction of the pond – or installation if you use a preformed pond – but also the pleasure of discovering what koi fish are all about, and learning how you can attract other types of wildlife to your pond.

Of course the first step will be to construct or install the pond. This means you need to decide exactly where the pond will go and what method of construction or installation you are going to use. This will depend partly on what fish pond supplies are available to you, as well as on your personal skills and your inclination in terms of how much you want to do yourself.

If you have never built any sort of pond or water feature before, you should do a bit of research to see what it involved. Many first timers feel more comfortable buying a fish pond kit, with everything they need including some type of liner and a pump or filter. But if you have created water features previously and done a bit of DIY, then you may want something more challenging.

The first step in any pond building project will be to decide where you are going to put the pond. That in itself can be a lot of fun. Remember that all gardens are for people – and your garden should be somewhere that you and your family will appreciate and enjoy. Largely this applies to how close to the house you want the pond to be. It also applies to the size of the pond.

Since we’re talking here about a koi pond, it is important that you plan a pond that will be big enough, and deep enough, for the fish you intend to keep. Generally koi ponds are deeper than goldfish or lily ponds, and because koi keep growing until they reach full size (which is up to three feet long), they are generally bigger as well. If you crowd koi they won’t develop their full potential in terms of color and shape, even if they grow to full size.

The next step will be to decide what materials you are going to use to build your pond. Since this is intended to be a pleasurable project, don’t be tempted to choose something you can’t manage – unless you are going to call someone else in to do the actual construction. You can use flexible liners for koi ponds, including popular EPDM, but rigid, preformed ponds are general too small unless you are only going to keep a handful of fish. Concrete is a popular material, although it can be really heavy work mixing concrete if you decide to do it by hand. Digging the hole can also be quite hard work, depending on the soil conditions in your garden.

Once the pond has been installed or constructed, planting and finishing can start – and this really can be a lot of fun. You can arrange rocks around the outside of the pond, leaving pockets between them to plant later on, or you can use the type of edging you might choose for a swimming pool. Often people opt for a combination of both.

The last step is to fill the pond with water, install the pump and filter, and then introduce your new fish. When introducing fish into water you should try to avoid a sudden temperature change. A good way to do this is to put them in a plastic bag or some other container with water from the pond or tank where they came from. Float the bag on the surface for a while, then open it and let the fish slip in and swim away. Empty the water into the pond.

Last of all, you can be sure that enjoying the fruits of your labor will be even more enjoyable.

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Born in the United Kingdom, he has lived in South Africa for most of his life, and has a wealth of experience that spans a wide range of different media types and styles. He also launched his own advertising-powered publication, Cape Home Care, which had a circulation of 100,000 copies and was distributed free. His first book commission was Penguin Random House Publisher’s The Complete Book of Home Planning in South Africa, published in 1986, which was followed by Owner Building in South Africa the following year. His passion for DIY and renovation established him in the field of home maintenance and improvements, and he went on to illustrate dozens of home orientated books written by his wife and business partner, author Penny Swift (as well as one about horses). These also include Water Features for patios & Gardens, Step by Step Ponds Pools & Rockeries. Together they also owner-built three houses, and renovated several more, and both confer that their most successful book to date is the recently updated Owner Building in South Africa.

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