Adding water to your garden is a great way of bringing a new dimension to your space. These tips for water gardening will help the space to stay safe, clean, and functioning throughout the year.

De-stress yourself with the tranquil sound of moving water and see the glistening of the water in the sunlight. As well as benefitting you, having water in your garden can have positive impacts on the wildlife that visits your garden.

Winter woes

In winter, there are steps to take to stop your pond equipment from being damaged by ice.

For example, if you are switching the pumps and filters off for winter, it’s ideal to clean and drain the filter beforehand to prevent ice damage.

Then, clean and descale the pump, and store it wet somewhere where it will be protected from ice. Storing it in a bucket in the garage or shed will stop the seals from drying out and limescale setting like concrete.

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When washing the filters, always wash them using water from the pond to avoid killing off beneficial bacteria. It helps to think of a pond filter as a sewage works from a pond – the most important job is the bit you can’t see, using natural bacteria to break down harmful substances.

Through winter, you can slow down flow by 50% using an inline valve or pump flow controller and raising the pump away from the base. This will avoid overchilling the water in the pond because water is warmest at the base. Also, there are new models that have e lectronic flow controls to decrease the running costs over the colder months when you don’t need the full flow.

Ensure you never smash the ice on a pond because the shockwaves can harm the fish. Instead, what I do is use a kettle of boiled water in one area to melt the ice gently to create a hole in the ice so oxygen can get in and harmful gasses can escape.

There are other longer-term solutions such as products that were designed for this purpose that will work throughout winter to prevent freezing. For example, Oase IceFree 4 Seasons keeps an area of the pond free of ice in temperatures down to -4˚F.

Spring cleaning

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During this season much of your garden will burst to life with beautiful blooms for a sensory spectacle of colours, fragrances, and textures. This is a great time for a spring clean and a bit of pond maintenance.

If you are installing a pond, it’s worth investing in proper underlay to protect the liner during its life. It’s a small cost compared to the liner but it’ll protect and prolong the life of the liner.

Spring will also see wildlife making the most of your pond and garden. Through winter, wildlife appreciate it if you leave the foliage on reeds and marginal plants about water level because they can use it as cover or perches. Therefore, in spring it’s best to trim any dead stems down before new shoots come through.

This is also the perfect time to change UV lamps because it will ensure the bulb is at its full performance and efficiency during the spring and summer months as this is when green water is most likely to grow.

In addition, be sure to remember to clean and descale the quartz sleeve, otherwise the changing the UV lamp will be less effective.

 

Summer sun

Our gardens get a lot of use through summer and it’s a season where we see plenty more growth. But it’s not just our beautiful blooms that are growing, because in ponds, weeds and algae can cause issues.

Blanketweed can grow in your pond and can be removed using a bent coat hanger attached to a broom handle or bamboo cane to swivel in the water like a stick collecting candy floss to collect all the blanketweed.

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When doing this, be sure to check that there are no sharp ends of the hanger that could damage the liner when collecting the weeds.

Once the blanketweed has been removed, leave it on the side of the pond so any wildlife or aquatic creatures can make their way back into the pond. Then after a while it can be disposed of in your compost heap.

Autumn care

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With the change in season and deciduous trees shedding their leaves, this is another time to ensure your water garden looks good and is a safe space for wildlife. Autumn is a great time for pond care because juvenile amphibians will have left and adult insects will be hibernating.

Firstly, use this time to remove any dead plants and organic matter from the pond which could decay and lead to more algae problems the following year.

Then, add any plants and sludge removed from the pond into your compost heap which will rot down nice and quickly whilst enriching the compost that can be used as a soil conditioner in your garden.

When removing leaves and debris from the surface use a fine mesh skimmer net. Alternatively, for a more permanent solution, you could have a permanent skimmer installed to keep the surface clear.

This will reduce sediment and waste collecting on the surface and dropping into the pond as well as allowing better visibility into the pond.

Keep your pond perfect

There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to make your pond safer, more accessible to wildlife and keep all equipment in tip-top shape. It’s important to remember that you aren’t the only one to enjoy your pond, so make it safe and accessible for garden wildlife to encourage them to come back.

Your pond will attract wildlife, so use a plank of wood with bamboo cane struts to form a ramp which will assist hedgehogs and other wildlife to safely get in and out of the pond.

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Near the pond, amphibians will appreciate a bit of shelter too. So, plant terracotta pots sideways in the soil to create amphibian houses for any creatures who pay a visit to your garden.

Another addition to your pond can be to drop 4 inches of piping into the pond which will act as a safe haven for fish if herons come fishing. When dropping this piping in, ensure that any sharp edges are smoothed with sandpaper, so the lining isn’t damaged, and the fish don’t hurt themselves.

Keep your fish healthy by only adding wheatgerm food to the pond when the water is below 10 degrees and the fish look active. Otherwise, an excess of food will lead to the water being polluted as well as the higher protein foods not being digested properly by the fish which results in health problems.

Tips & tricks

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For a perfectly performing pond all year round, there are a few things to make the job of cleaning easier, and to ensure that you are making the most out of your pond equipment.

When you’re cleaning the fountain jets, get hold of some cocktail sticks and use these to get any debris out from small spaces. The Oase jets can be dismantled for easy cleaning which makes the task even more simple.

When adding something new to your pond such as a decorative fountain to bring a new dimension to your water garden it’s best to use a separate pump to the one that’s needed to run the filtration.

Using a separate pump that is designed for the specific purpose will last longer and require less maintenance as well as using less electricity.

With these top tips for caring for your pond through the year, your pond will continue to bring you joy in your garden as well as serving as a safe and accessible place for wildlife. For more products and advice on pond care visit oase-livingwater.com.

Find out how to create a bog garden here:

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