The first step in designing an ecosystem pond is to lay down some ground rules; let’s call them design goals. The design goals will give us an overall picture of what we’re trying to accomplish with the pond. These are generally high-level objectives that may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people will jump straight into construction without thinking about whether what they’re building fits the overall plan!
Here are the main design goals we’d like to achieve:
- Ecosystem. Create a pond that is able to function as its own mini-ecosystem. This means using designs, features and equipment that will promote healthy water through proper filtration and maintenance.
- Approachability. You want to be able to get up close and personal with your pond. Design at least one area to be easily accessible—you should be able to get right up to the water’s edge to have a look. Sometimes people put so much rock and landscaping around the pond that it completely shuts the pond down in terms of approachability.
- Natural/Believable Landscaping. Ever see a water garden that looks like it just belongs in the landscape? Almost like nature put it there itself? We’ll share a few tricks with you later that will help make your pond look like it actually belongs in the landscape. Simple tricks, like using larger rocks than you might think are necessary, can really help sell a pond as looking natural.
- Fish or no Fish? As we’ve mentioned above, this particular guide will only cover ecosystem-style water gardens, not dedicated koi ponds. That being said, a properly built ecosystem