Water in Your Japanese Garden
To Pond or not.
Perhaps one of the most expected features in any Japanese garden is the pond. Do you want water in your Japanese garden? Yes, of course you do!
If there is any way that you have the space and resources , a pond is just about the best thing you can incorporate into your garden. It doesn’t have to be big. But it should be suited to your garden. There is just something, well, so relaxing about a water feature.
There are several things to consider before deciding on a pond. Firstly, it is work to put one in. Digging out for a pond of any size is an effort. If you have the facility to bring in a small backhoe to do the job, then that part will be easy. If not, be prepared for some hard work. Do you know what kind of ground you have? Is it decent soil or is it full of rocks? And do you have a place to put all that extra dirt? It always amazes me that when you dig out one cubic yard of soil that it takes up twice as much space when you move it!
What will the pond be used for? Will you try to keep fish in it? Water plants maybe? How will it be lined? Will there need to be some sort of aeration if you have fish? Make sure you have all the bases covered before you start.
Both fish and water lilies need a water depth of about two feet.
It could be a little deeper for larger fish. That means you will need to dig the hole about 2 1/2 feet deep to provide adequate water depth.
I still remember my first pond 35 years ago. All dug by hand and lined with concrete. Oh, what a job!
My current pond, being done as we speak, has one of these modern liners. Much easier to put in, and far less costly in the long run. It also has a small header pond with short connecting stream.
It does take considerable care for the installation of a pond liner.
The one thing that a liner is susceptible to is being punctured by sharp objects. You need to make sure that the whole area covered by the pond has all the rocks, both large and small meticulously removed. You will benefit from using something between the ground and your liner. There are special sub liners available which you can lay down first, although this will essentially double the cost of your liner.
I am using a combination of sawdust (I do a LOT of woodworking) and carpet for my underliner. Now I know the liner salesman will tell you that this will not work and that it will smell. But a recent visit to a friend on a neighboring island here would tend to say otherwise. Ray has had his pond in place for several years without any ill effects from the carpet.
Aside from the initial work of installation, your pond will require minimal maintenance. No more than any other part of your garden.
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