Platinum Ponds & Landscaping

4 Questions to ask when designing a Backyard Water Garden

Pond-less water feature

Water is the essence of life. It moves us and creates a sense of tranquility and peacefulness that we are drawn to. When designing backyard ponds and waterfalls its important to answer 4 major questions:

The first question is how do you want to interact with your Water Feature? Your outdoor space is an extension of your home and it should provide a space that you can enjoy life to the fullest. When thinking about designing a water feature its important to consider how you plan to use the space not only now but in the future. Do you want to feed fish, swim in the pond, or simply enjoy the views and sounds? Do you enjoy maintaining your pond or how would you handle maintenance? In Michigan, we have 4 very unique seasons. Designing a water garden that meets your criteria based on your climate should be considered if you want to swim in your pond or have fish. Different seasons bring different levels of possible maintenance which will bring me to our next question.

The second question when designing your backyard water garden is how much do you want to do? The amount of time you have to devote to your water feature on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis should be a major consideration when thinking about design and future maintenance. A Pond-less water feature or fountain is a much lower maintenance option, for example, compared to having a pond. The biggest maintenance factor with water features is controlling string algae, and this can be more challenging with Ponds. UV Clarifiers and Ionizers are a few examples of devices that can help control algae bloom, as well as the use of water treatments such as beneficial bacteria. Whenever we are designing a water feature we ask our clients how comfortable they are with maintenance. We design based on their maintenance preferences, however, most depend on us to handle the maintenance with their ponds. We also will teach our clients how to maintain their own pond if they prefer to do it on their own.

The third question is how do you want to feel? Water Gardens stimulate emotions and a sense of well-being when we come into contact with it. The sounds of moving water and sights of waterfalls and aquatic life offer a unique sense of calm and peace. Ponds can be designed to naturally filter with wetland bog construction which allow you to swim and relax in crystal clear water. The ambiance of outdoor lighting and aquatic lighting in your pond is magnificent, and underwater lighting illuminating under water falls offers an entire different experience at night.

backyard koi pond

waterfall aquatic lighting

Finally, and perhaps the most important question is what will my water feature look like? Water gardens are meant to inspire and reduce stress and anxiety. Designing beautiful, majestic waterfalls for our clients brings us a huge sense of purpose and and gratitude. We design waterfalls and ponds according to the space and setting of the property. We work with natural grades and slopes to create the perfect sights and sounds. When designing ponds, we typically don’t talk about the specific look, but rather the footprint. For example, we would discuss the dimensions and size of a water feature by describing a 15′ stream with a 16′ x 11′ pond at 2′ depth with a total head height of 3′. These dimensions allow us to calculate liner sizes, pump size, stone, and all of the plumbing. We then will spray paint the area where the feature is to be installed with the client so they can envision exactly where it will be as well as the size. That is the extent of the design we discuss with the client unless they want more input or have special requests. The boulder placement and waterfall construction is artfully inspired by our water feature builders as we progress with the project. The best part of our job is when we fill the pond up with water and turn the pump on and see the look on our clients face when they see their water feature for the first time!

water feature

If you are considering a pond, fountain, or waterfalls as a part of your landscape please contact us today! We would love the opportunity to design and build yours!