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3 Reasons to Attend the Moonlight Pond Tour


1. Inspiration

We promise, if you attend the Moonlight Pond Tour, you will walk away inspired. Whether you’re dreaming about a pond, already have one and want ideas, or you just enjoy beautiful landscapes, the Moonlight Pond Tour is a must-see.

Gazebo Over the Pond

2. It’s a Family-Friendly Event

We love it when people bring their friends and family, let the kids splash in the water, and roast s’mores around the campfire.

Roasting S’mores around the Campfire

3. Mark The Pond Guy

The Moonlight Pond Tour is a great time to ask Mark The Pond Guy’s questions about your pond project. Bring photos of your yard or project and he can give you ideas and direction.

Mark The Pond Guy Speaking at the Tour

Moonlight Pond Tour Gallery

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Aquatic Plants Inspiration Gallery


© 2012 Heather Harp

Four Before and After Projects


Nothing inspires a water garden lover like great before-and-after pictures! These are some of our favorites, as they show how a water garden can transform your space.

Want to see your water feature on our blog? Just email your photos and story to heather@markthepondguy.com.

Customer Photo Story


Thanks to our customers Rex & Marietta for sharing some photos of their fabulous pond!

“Whether walking, wading, or swimming, I forget about everything else…..my senses are overcome by it’s tranquility.  There’s something hypnotic about it, like staring into a bonfire”. – Rex

“It’s impossible to mention just one favorite thing about our pond…the peaceful sound of the waterfalls, the beauty that blends our garden into nature, the sound of the frogs that have made it home singing in the summer evenings, the multiple varieties of song birds that have decided it’s the best bird bath in the neighborhood or having the fish follow me as I walk the pond edges like puppies waiting for a treat.  I guess I can sum it up by saying that I can’t imagine our yard without it!” – Marietta

If you would like your pond featured on our blog, email, or Facebook, email your favorite photos and a testimonial to heather@markthepondguy.com.

Pond Winterization – Part II


Warning: Slow-Moving Streams

There is nothing more breathtaking than a waterfall covered with ice formations and snow during the winter. You must, however, be careful with ponds that have long or slow-moving streams. In such cases, ice dams can form and divert water over the liner.

A waterfall in the winter

Will the filters and pipes crack?

Most good filters are constructed out of rotational-molded polyethylene, and are designed to bow and bend with the freezing and thawing effects of winter. The PVC flex pipe is reinforced and will not crack unless water is left in the pipe over the winter and allowed to freeze. If you decide to keep the pump running all winter long, there will still be a constant flow of water traveling through the pipe, and the moving water will not freeze. If you decide to turn the system off for the winter, most of the water in the pipe will drain back into the pond when the circulation system is removed.

What should be done with the pump once the system is shut down?

Remove the pump from the system and store it in a frost-free location, ideally submerged in a bucket of water. The water around the pump housing will prevent the seals on the pump from drying and cracking. Since most submersible pumps are oil-filled, it is not suggested to let the water freeze solid.

Tip: To extend the life of the pump, it is suggested to clear the impeller shaft free of any debris before winter storage. It is also beneficial to spin the impeller a couple of turns by hand before turning it on in the spring. This will prevent any corrosion or debris from seizing the impeller and interrupting proper pump function.

What about the filter?

When preparing the pond for winter, remove the filtration media and rinse it down. It is recommended to store any such media in a frost-free location like a garage or shed. If left over the winter, all of the filtration media may freeze into a solid block, causing unnecessary delays during the spring clean-out.

What about the fish? Will they be okay?

Ornamental fish will do just fine in two feet of water, as long as some form of oxygenation is provided, and a hole is kept in the ice to allow the escape of harmful gases. It’s recommended to place the waterfall pump in a basket, bucket, or pump sock and surround the intake of the pump with stones to prevent clogging. Place the pump on the second or third shelf of the pond so the surface water is broken by the aeration. The agitation from the pump will prevent freezing and provide oxygen.

A pond de-icer

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for winterization is maintenance. Roughly 70 percent of pond owners in the colder climates decide to shut down their system because they don’t enjoy tending to their water garden during the bitter months of the winter. The aesthetic rewards of the “winter pond” are absolutely worthwhile, so by all means, don’t be afraid to keep the system running as long as possible. Shutting down a pond during the winter is also an option. Just be sure you take precautionary measures to preserve fish, plant, and pump life.

Pond Winterization – Part I


One of my water features

Let me start off by saying that winterization is not necessary for all ponds. Here in WA where I live, we leave our ponds running all year. Climate is a big factor when determining whether a pond has a real need for such seasonal maintenance. Debris cleanup from the fall may be inevitable in any part of the country, but only ponds that experience ice-cover over long periods of time will require winterization. 

 

When should pond winterization be done?Winter preparation should be started after the trees have ceased dropping their leaves in the late fall. Properly winterizing a pond at this time of year will make it easier for an annual clean-out the following spring. 

What should be done for ponds with heavy tree cover? 

Since a mechanical skimmer filter won’t catch all of the surface debris, and not all ponds have a skimmer filter, the use of a net may be necessary to remove the leaves and organics left in the pond during the fall. Debris left to rot in the pond will eventually decompose, producing gases that can be harmful to the fish. Physically removing the leaves and sticks from the pond will make a spring clean-out easier, and may even save the lives of a few dormant fish. 

Ponds surrounded by thick trees may require more maintenance during the fall, when the trees lose the majority of their leaves. Sometimes a net can be placed over the pond to keep leaves out. Be sure to check the pond’s debris net or basket daily during this time of the year to ensure the system functions properly. 

What about the plants? 

Cutting back plant material in the fall will prevent organic debris from decomposing in the water over the winter. Hardy bog and marginal plants should have all of the dead leaves and foliage trimmed down to 2″ above water level, and hardy lily leaves and stems should be cut back, leaving approximately 2-3″ at the base of the plant. Tropical plants can be brought inside for winter, or treated as annuals and replaced each season.

Tip: The ThermoPlanter is a great way to overwinter tropicals and lilies.

My pond running during the winter

Can a pond run throughout the entire winter? 

  

Maintenance is usually the determining factor in whether or not a pond owner keeps their pump running in the winter. The primary maintenance responsibility at this time is to make sure there is enough water for the pump(s) to operate properly. 

During the winter months, the usual water supply options are not available. Outdoor water spigots and automatic water fill valves should be turned off to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking. Therefore, pond owners who run their systems during the winter will have to find an alternate water source to replenish their pond. Water can be supplied via a hose run from inside the house or by making multiple trips with a five-gallon bucket. Generally speaking, it’s not uncommon to have to go out a few times a month during the winter to “top-off” the pond. 

Won’t the waterfall freeze solid? 

Pump size is important when determining a waterfall’s ability to operate during the winter. A pump that provides at least 2,000 gph can be operated throughout the winter without a problem, as long as it runs continuously.  Moving water will usually keep a hole open in the ice around the waterfalls and in front of the circulation system. However, repeated days in sub-zero temperatures may lead to excessive ice build-up and can cause the system to operate improperly. If the flow of water into the circulation system is unable to keep up with the pump because of ice build-up, it may be necessary to shut the system down. The system can be run again once the ice is melted and normal water flow is restored. 

Tip: If the pump is turned off during a heavy freeze, be sure to remove any backflow obstacles from the circulation system. Otherwise, the remaining water will freeze solid, and although this may not hurt flexible PVC pipe, ice may remain into the spring, preventing the start-up of the pond.

User-Friendly Guide to Fixing Leaks


Leaks are among the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed problems anyone can have in their pond. Understanding the basic principles of leak detection and repair will save you time, money, and headaches when solving your water garden problems.

First, let’s have a look at what evaporation is and what it isn’t. Evaporation is caused by water turning into a vapor and escaping from the pond. The amount of water loss will vary according to the region of the country and the time of year. Ponds that are located in areas of the country with moderate temperatures and high humidity can expect to see 1 to 1 ½ inches of water loss per week during the spring and summer. Most of this evaporation should be replaced naturally by rain. However, if you live in an area with high temperatures and low humidity, it’s possible to see 3 inches or more of evaporation in a week.

The quantity and size of your waterfall(s) will also affect the amount of water that is lost. Regardless of the climate, a 4’x 6’pond with a 20-foot stream and 5 feet of cascading waterfalls may lose as much as 2 inches or more every day! Why? Splashing and moving water has greater exposure to additional evaporation than does the still water in the pond. If that same pond was 16′ x 21′ pond, you’d probably never even notice the additional evaporation because it’s a larger pond.

What It Isn’t

Evaporation is not filling the pond up all the way one evening, and waking up the next morning to find the water six inches lower. That’s a leak! If your pond is experiencing a loss of water at a more rapid rate, you either have a leak, or the frogs are drinking the water. Seriously, let’s figure that it’s a leak. What do you do then?

Low Edges

Look for any low edges. Settling at the pond’s edge is the most common cause of a leak, especially in a new pond. Typically, the low edges are found around the stream and waterfall where settling may have occurred after a few rainfalls. These areas are usually built up during the construction of the pond using the soil from the excavation, and are prone to some settling.

Your first line of defense is to carefully inspect the edges of not only the stream and waterfall, but also the perimeter of the pond. As the dirt around the stream or waterfall settles, it can create low spots that may cause water to escape over the edge of the liner. Keep your eyes peeled for wet mulch or gravel, or muddy areas around the perimeter of the pond. If you find a spot that’s leaking, all you have to do is lift the liner up and push some soil under it in order to raise the edge. Bingo – leak fixed!

Another possibility is that water is splashing out of the stream. To fix a “splash leak,” all you have to do is adjust a few of the rocks under and around the waterfall. This will contain or redirect the splash and it will stop the splash leak. Once again, you’ve solved the problem the easy and cost-effective way … using common sense.

Low edges can be built back up by simply backfilling and compacting soil beneath the liner in order to raise the edge of the liner above the water level.

Obstructions in the Stream and Waterfalls

In addition to checking for low edges, you should also check the stream and waterfall. Rocks and excessive plant or algae growth in the stream or biological filter can restrict the flow of water and divert it over the edge of the liner. Plants and algae should be maintained by trimming them back in order to let the water pass freely. All in all, these leaks are extremely easy to fix.

Still Leaking?

You’ve spent 15 minutes or so following the suggestions listed above and you still can’t find the leak in your pond. What do you do next? It’s time for a little more work, and some drastic measures. You’ll have to shut the pump off for a day. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine the approximate location of the leak.

  • Make sure the pond is filled to the appropriate level.
  • Unplug the pump.
  • Let the pond sit for 24 hours.
  • If the water level drops, then you know the leak is in the pond.

When the Water Drops

  •  To find out where the leak is occurring, allow the water level to continue to drop. The level where the water stops dropping is the level where the leak is located.
  • Concentrate your search around the perimeter of the pond at the level that the water has stopped dropping.

Now the fun begins! In order to reveal the exact location of the leak, you’ll need to:

  • Remove any rocks around the entire perimeter at the level where the water stopped. You can then carefully check for some sort of puncture, or hole in the liner.
  • When you find the hole, you simply patch it with a liner patch kit.
  • Now you can replace the rocks, and then fill the pond back to the top.

Steady and Level

If the water level remains the same, then it is safe to assume that that the leak is not in the pond. Now you’ll need to check the pipe, the plumbing fittings, and the pump connections for leaks.

Another possible culprit is the faceplate of the skimmer. If the water level stopped dropping above the bottom of the faceplate you should investigate the skimmer. It may not have sealed correctly.

If the Leak Is in the Skimmer

  • Investigate the skimmer faceplate without disassembling it.
  • Simply move a few rocks around the front of the skimmer and slide your hand behind the liner, feeling for wet soil around the opening of the skimmer. If the soil is saturated, then the faceplate may not have been installed properly and might be the source of the leak.
  • Remove the faceplate, clean all of the old silicone off the liner, and refer back to the instruction manual on proper procedures for sealing the skimmer faceplate to the skimmer. Hopefully, you’ve solved the leak.

It’s not fun when your pond is losing water. It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process to locate the leak. Hopefully with these steps and tips, you can quickly locate the source of the leak and get right back to enjoying your water garden.