1.) Have you thought about a water feature? Is it true that a water feature adds value to my home? What about a swimming pool? Doesn’t a pond need a lot of care? What is the average cost? Do I need a building permit? do i have to have fish … we travel a lot!
American Society of Landscape Architects
Landscape architects identify trends for 2007
WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “Sustainable design is more important than ever, and both homeowners and commercial building owners are striving to make even more use of outdoor spaces. The New Year will bring a number of exciting and creative design solutions from landscape architects.
Homeowners require landscape architects to design complete outdoor spaces like kitchens and bars for entertaining purposes. Water features like koi ponds, waterfalls and fountains remain popular (with no signs of slowing down), according to a new poll of senior members of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).
The American Nurseryman Association reports that “Water features are the fastest growing trend in landscape design since 1990 (2007 should break all records).”
Regionally, inground pools will add about 5 percent to a home’s value 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 the home’s value.
Adding a $35,000 pool to a $300,000 home is unlikely to recoup your initial expenses. However, you still have the high maintenance costs and you have only limited future buyers of your home to those who want a pool. Therefore, you have actually reduced the equity in your home. On the other hand, everyone loves a nice water feature, young and old! Therefore increased equity!
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 achieved through due diligence and a variety of chemicals. Unlike a pond, the joy of a pool comes from its use; and for most regions of the country, the climate dictates a very short period of time for pool use. If you don’t heat your pool, you’re throwing more money into your pool.
A pond requires minimal attention compared to a swimming pool. Once a properly landscaped pond is created with the right proportion of fish, plants and biological elements, a pond will take care of itself and the rest is fun, year round. You don’t have to use a pond like a pool, it just has to exist for you to enjoy.
2.) What do I do for the safety of my toddlers or grandchildren? how big should it be Can I do this on my own or do I need professional help with pond construction?
Unlike a swimming pool, ponds can be childproofed with very little effort. However, a swimming pool requires special self-closing gates with special latches. Another required code requirement is 95 decibel alarms on all exit doors leading to the backyard.
And for your added security, you can install an unsightly, removable, lightweight fence that costs hundreds of dollars. Then you can constantly get angry about whether you or someone else forgot to close the fence gate.
However, a pond can be filled with large stones that can later be removed when the children are grown. Or you can build a waterfall without a pond first. Now you can still enjoy the sight and sound of cascading water without worrying about safety.
An additional benefit of a pondless waterfall is that a pondless waterfall costs less to build and maintain. A pondless waterfall can be added to your front yard, meet all building code requirements, increase curb appeal and thereby increase your home’s equity and resale value.
“Water feature size” is a relative term. There are many factors that need to be considered. Far more than can be discussed in the space I have allotted to this article. I will cover it in my next article. A few questions to ask yourself: How big is your garden? Where do you spend most of your time? what is your budget How does the size, shape and topography of your garden relate to certain building code restrictions? Does the existing water table affect your water feature? Does your property currently have adequate drainage? Do you have underground utilities? If yes, where are they located? What are the local building codes regarding pond depth? Do you need planning permission or a licensed contractor? … just to name a few of the topics covered.
Whether you need a professional contractor is another article. What kind of access do you have to your property? Want big boulders? If so, is there clearance for a crane or bobcat? How do you find a qualified contractor? How do you qualify them? Are they properly licensed? Insured? Tied together? workers compensation? liability insurance? hospitalization? referrals? background checks and much more. Do your homework and do your research properly before you start, it could save you thousands of dollars.
3.) What is the most important first step in building a water feature? What about the equipment? Should I get koi fish and a turtle? Where should I place my pond and waterfall? All of these questions can be answered in two words: plan & design!
First, decide where you will spend most of your free time… family room, living room, patio, etc. Your waterfall and pond should be in close proximity to this location. Not in the furthest corner of your property. Sound and visualization are two of the main benefits of a waterfall and pond. 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 phase is to consider a digital design. There are companies that can create an incredibly digitally designed virtual photo of your garden simply by providing them with a digital photo of the area where you want the water feature to be. You can choose to design your own digitally. There are digital design programs that you can easily master yourself for less than a hundred dollars. Just search the web by typing digitally designed ponds or waterfalls.
The type of equipment you should use depends on the size of your pond. Your budget is another factor. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to design a small pond. Also, check out the available building material options.
You can purchase a rubber liner kit and install it yourself or have a rubber liner kit installer install it for you. The bottom line is there is no guarantee either way that hump-toothed mice, rats, ground squirrels, ground squirrels and groundhogs will burrow under your expensive rubber liner and chew a hole in it. Concrete (3500 psi) and rebar is the best construction method and will last for generations if done properly. Concrete ponds only cost 10 to 20% more to build than liner ponds.
Your pond will require less maintenance when you let the nitrogen cycle do all the work. This means you must do your part by providing the elements necessary for the nitrogen cycle to function. The fish provide the waste that produces nitrates and ammonia. Certain essential bacteria break down the nitrates and ammonia into safe by-products that are used by plants and other organisms.
Once this process has been started using a biological filter and possibly ultraviolet light, future maintenance is minimal and routine. An above-ground, high-efficiency pump produces more water flow at half the energy and less initial cost than a sump pump used with liner ponds. The savings in electricity costs alone could easily cover the additional costs for professional concrete construction in less than three years.
4.) Where can I find the equipment and building materials I need for my project? How do I know what size filter, pump or UV light I need? If I want a concrete pond and waterfall bowl, where do I start?
The internet is the best place to start looking for devices. Local pond shops are usually more expensive due to the overhead. Most internet retailers are familiar with sizing pumps, filters, and UV lights for any size pond or waterfall. However, keep in mind that most online retailers try to sell pond liner, sump pumps, and pond liner-related filters and accessories.
Look for energy efficient pumps first and these retailers carry products for concrete ponds such as bottom drains, pool skimmers and pressurized backwash biological bead filters. Also, liner dealers sell the cheap mechanical autofill devices because of a high profit margin.
Make sure you invest in a reliable electronic autofill system that is less prone to failure, such as B. Leveler and Aquafill systems. A stuck float could result in the death of all your fish from chlorine poisoning and potentially thousands of dollars in flood damage.
Acting as your own project manager allows you to obtain competitive bids from local concrete contractors for the pouring of your pond and waterfall housing. Also find a stone mason to build your waterfall with mortar. For liner ponds and waterfalls, the rocks sit on the liner and can easily move if adults or children step on them, causing serious accidents.
Trying to save hundreds up front could potentially cost you thousands later. You get what you pay for.
Penny wise and [pond] foolish? Happy Koi, Peace and Joy.