Water Gardening, Building and Maintenance Tips

I'm no expert. I have several years of experience water gardening in a non-freezing climate. I have limited general construction experience. My tips are based on that limited experience.

Follow Manufacturer Directions

Generally I find manufacturers of standard building supply products to be very detailed and accurate. I've found following their directions the best way. I don't know why but people, myself included, tend to start to read directions and then decide we know a better way even though we have zero experience. That's the little kid brain in us yelling "I know how to do it". Resist. Use your higher brain gears if possible. Every time you buy a new can of PVC glue read the directions again. Maybe they changed somthing, maybe you forgot something. Sure has happened to me.

Follow Building Codes

Follow building codes. Many codes are based on tragic deaths and expensive property losses. Does a code seem dumb to you? Who's dumb, those code creator dudes who studied many horrific cases, put suggestion through long peer reviews and tested product improvements or you with zero experience? Use your high brain gear. Don't kill someone just so you can say "oh, yeah, now I see why code wanted it that way".

Building permits are the cheapest expert advice you can get.

Question Pond Experts

I found almost every bit of advice given by pond experts to be half right at best and very wrong at worst. It has also been my experience that beginner ponders will seek advice and then almost always go with the most expensive and most complex solution.

Example, I sold my San Jose home a few years back and the new owners decided to keep one of the ponds which I think is great of course. I kept in contact with them for awhile to give any details I could on what I had built. One of the things I had done was place the pump inside the skimmer. I did this because if there ever was a problem with a leak in the outflow pipes the water would draw down maybe 12" and the pump would run out of water and stop draining the pond. Sure, I'd probably lose the pump but better than the fish.

The new owners got advice from a pond expert to put the pump at the bottom of the pond and of course trusted the pond expert. Who wouldn't? I assume the reasoning for placing the pump at the bottom was to get that toxic dirty water off the bottom. I've read and heard this many times. Unfortuantely there was a problem with the outflow pipe and the pond drained and killed the fish.

For several years that pond held fish without problems, but this pond expert knew better. And the new owners had to pay for this expertize?

BTW, the waterfalls into the pond went into a catch basin which outflowed on the pond bottom. There was more circulation when the pump was high up in the skimmer. A true expert would have understood how the pond was working before recommending and charging for a cookie cutter solution to a non-existent problem.

That was not the end to the damage this pond expert did, but a good example.

There is no such thing as a pond expert. There's no license, no college training.

People who have a certain kind of pond who have been running it for a few years in your area might be the best place for advice. But keep in mind there are many different kinds of ponds. A Koi pond is completely different from a water garden. There are also many kinds of water gardeners. I liked bugs and some algae in one of my ponds but many ponders would think that a horrible situation that must be fixed.