Monday, February 7, 2011


We decided to take advantage of today's balmy mid-50's temps and clean out our pond!

Ponds are fabulous design elements that add so much beauty and entertainment to a landscape without adding too much extra work! A healthy pond functions as a miniature ecosystem, all life forms contributing to the upkeep of the whole, and as such, a pond requires little outside 'help.' In fact, a typical pond simply requires a few quick, regular skimming sessions in the fall when leaves are dropping and a winter clean up in order to look its best!

Most pond owners would say that the relaxation and enjoyment they get from their pond far outweighs the minimal upkeep tasks!

Why Clean Your Pond?

Debris from leaf drop, plant material, and even animal bi-products can build up in a pond over the course of a year and become a great breeding ground for bacteria and algae. (Check out the muck on those waterfall rocks!) While this build up is not such a bad thing for the health of the pond, it does detract from the appearance of the water and rock materials. Cleaning your pond can help to improve the aesthetics of your investment!

It is best to wait to clean your pond until most of the season's spent plant material has dropped, but you do want it to be clean before plants begin their spring growth flush. Therefore, February is a great time of year to give your pond a thorough cleaning! (Unless, of course, February is like last year and remains snowy and icy for the majority of its 28 days!)

So, with the weather on our side, we donned our waders, jumped in (literally!) and started scrubbing!

The first step to cleaning a pond is to empty the old water. We used an electric pump with a pretty sizable hose get the water out of the pond and into the surrounding landscape.

Next is the 'scrubbing.' Once the pond was empty, we used a power washer to blast tough scummy growth off the rocks and boulders that make up the pond's structure.

We also removed the filter and cleared out all of the debris that had built up inside...

While the pond was empty, we decided it was a great time to re-pot our aquatic plants! Tom stopped by The Great Big Greenhouse and snagged some great fabric sacks in which to plant; apparently the sacks are better suited for aquatic plant vigor as they allow for more flexible root growth. He also stopped by Boulevard Flowers down the street and picked up some pebbly material to spread on the top inch or so of the potted sacks to prevent the potting soil around the roots of the plants from being pulled into the pond by nibbling fish and creating a mess. Rigo and Juan got to work nestling the plant roots in their new habitat.

With these tasks finished, the hard part was done! We grabbed the hose and a bottle of de-chlorinating solution and set to work filling the pond with fish-friendly water so as not to disturb our only 2 scaly chums that survived the blue herons and the neighbor's cat this summer!

Once the water has a day or two to settle, our pond will be prepped and ready to be looking its best as winter melts into a beautiful spring!

We can't wait until the pond looks like this again!