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Koi Pond Or Pondless Waterfall – Where Do I Begin?
1.) Have you ever wondered about water features? — Will a water feature really add to my home’s equity? How about the swimming pool? Don’t ponds require a lot of maintenance? What is the average cost? Do I need a building permit? Do I have to eat fish? …we travel a lot!
Landscape architects identify 2007 trends
WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ — “Sustainable design is more important than ever, with homeowners and commercial building owners looking to make more use of their outdoor spaces. The New Year will bring many exciting landscape designs Solution architect.
Homeowners ask landscape architects to design complete outdoor rooms, such as kitchens and bars, for entertaining. Water features such as koi ponds, waterfalls and fountains continue to be popular (with no signs of slowing down), according to the latest survey of leading members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). “
The American Nursery Association reports that “water features are the fastest growing trend in landscaping since 1990 (2007 should break all records.)”
Regionally, in-ground pools will add about 5 percent to home values in the Northeast, about 6 percent in the Midwest, and 7.5 percent in the Southeast and West. In the Southwest, a swimming pool will add nearly 11 percent to a home’s value.
If you add a $35,000 swimming pool to a $300,000 home, you’ll only barely recoup your initial cost. However, your maintenance costs are still high, and you’re just limiting future buyers of your home to people who want a pool. Therefore, you have effectively reduced your home’s equity. On the other hand, everyone loves beautiful water features, young and old! So increase your stake!
Swimming pools require constant attention and maintenance. Unlike ponds, pool owners cannot rely on the nitrogen cycle to help keep the water healthy. This can only be done with due diligence and a lot of chemicals. Unlike ponds, swimming pools are fun to use. For much of the country, the climate dictates that swimming pools be used for very short periods of time. Unless you heat your pool, you’re going to be dumping more money in your pool.
Ponds require the least amount of attention compared to swimming pools. Once the pond is properly built with the right ratio of fish, plants and biological elements, the pond will take care of itself and the rest is enjoyment, year-round. You don’t need a pond like a swimming pool, it just needs to be there for you.
2.) How should I handle the safety of my young children or grandchildren? How big should it be? Is this something I can do myself or do I need professional help building the pond?
Unlike swimming pools, ponds are child-resistant for a fraction of the cost. However, swimming pools require special self-closing gates with special latches. Another required code requirement is a 95-decibel alarm on all exit doors leading to the backyard.
For extra peace of mind, you can install an unsightly, removable, lightweight fence that will cost you hundreds of dollars. Then you’re constantly agonizing over whether you or someone else forgot to close the fence gate.
However, ponds can be filled with large rocks that can be removed when the child grows up. Or you can start by building a waterfall without the pond. Now you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of the falls without worrying about safety.
Another advantage of poolless waterfalls is that poolless waterfalls are less expensive to build and maintain. A pondless waterfall can be added to your front yard, meets all building code requirements, increases curb appeal, and thus increases your home’s equity and resale value.
“Size of a water feature” is a relative term. There are many factors to consider. Much more than can be discussed in the space I have allocated for this article. I will introduce it in the next article. Ask yourself a few questions: How big is your yard? Where do you spend most of your time? What is your budget? How does the size, shape, and topography of your yard relate to certain limitations of building codes? Is the existing water table affecting your water feature? Does your property currently have adequate drainage? Do you have underground facilities? If so, where are they located? What are the local building codes regarding pond depth? Do you need a building permit or a licensed contractor? …to name just a few of the topics covered.
Whether you need a professional contractor is another article. What type of access do you have to your property? Do you want big rocks? If so, does the crane or bobcat have proper clearance? How do you find qualified contractors? How do you qualify them? Are they properly licensed? Are you insured? Bonded? Workers’ Compensation? Liability Insurance? Hospitalized? refer to? Background checks and more. Do your homework and proper research before you start, and it can save you thousands of dollars.
3.) What is the most important first step in building a water feature? What about equipment? Should I Keep Koi and Turtles? Where should I place ponds and waterfalls? All these problems can be solved in two words: planning and design!
First, decide where you will do most of your leisure time…family room, living room, patio, etc. Your waterfalls and ponds should be close to that location. Not on the far corner of your property. Sound and visualization are two of the main benefits of waterfalls and ponds. These decisions are part of the planning process. Once you have decided on these questions, the design process begins.
The best way to approach this stage is to think about digital design. There are companies that can make incredible digitally designed virtual photos of your backyard, just provide them with a digital photo of the area where you want your water feature to be. You can choose to do the digital design yourself. There are digital design programs that are easy to pick up for less than a hundred dollars. Just enter your digitally designed pond or waterfall to search the web.
The type of equipment you should use depends on the size of your pond. Your budget is another factor. If you have a small budget, you will consider designing a small pond. Also, check out the options available for building materials.
You can purchase a rubber backing kit and install it yourself, or have a rubber backing kit installer install it for you. Either way, the bottom line is that there’s no guarantee that buck-toothed critters like mice, rats, ground squirrels, gophers, and groundhogs won’t burrow under your expensive rubber liners and bite a hole in them. Concrete (3500psi) and rebar is the best method of construction and will last for generations if done correctly. Concrete pools are only 10% to 20% more expensive to build than lined pools.
Your pond will require less maintenance if you allow the nitrogen cycle to do all the work. This means you need to do your part by providing the elements the nitrogen cycle needs to function. Fish provide waste that produces nitrates and ammonia. Certain essential bacteria break down nitrates and ammonia into safe byproducts that plants and other organisms use.
Once the process begins, future maintenance is minimal and routine with the help of biofilters and possibly UV light. Above-ground high-efficiency pumps produce more water flow with half the energy and less initial cost than sump pumps used to line ponds. In less than three years, the savings in electricity costs alone easily covered the additional cost of professional concrete construction.
4.) Where can I find the equipment and building materials I need to complete the project? How do I know what size filter, pump or UV lamp I need? Where do I start if I want a concrete pond and waterfall enclosure?
The internet is the best place to start looking for equipment. Local pond stores often have higher prices due to overhead. Most internet resellers know what size pumps, filters, and UV lights to choose for any size pond or waterfall. However, keep in mind that most online dealers are struggling to sell pond liners, sump pumps and pond liner related filters and accessories.
Start by looking for energy efficient pumps, these dealers will offer concrete pond related products such as bottom drains, pond skimmers and pressurized, backwashable bio-bead filters. In addition, Liner dealers sell cheap mechanical automatic filling equipment because the profit margins are high.
Make sure you invest in a reliable electronic autofill system that is less likely to fail, such as spirit levels and Aquafill systems. A stuck float could kill all the fish from chlorine poisoning and potentially thousands of dollars in flood damage.
If you act as your own project manager, you can secure competitive bids from local concrete contractors to pour your pond and waterfall enclosures. Also find a mason who will use mortar to build your waterfall. Lining pools and waterfalls, rocks are on the liner, easy to move when adults or children step on it, causing serious accidents.
Trying to save hundreds of dollars up front can cost you thousands of dollars down the road. You get what you pay for.
budget-conscious and [pond] madness? Happy koi, peace and joy.
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