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How to construct a water garden koi pond.

Jul 15, 2008
I decided to build this Koi pond after visiting Japan a number of times and admired their water gardens ponds and Koi. Our design has three ponds, the top pond has water hyacinths in it and is the filter for the pond, the water is crystal clear. The middle pond has a waterfall from the top pond where the water gets aerated. The bottom pond holds about a 2000 gallons of water and the koi.

We enjoy relaxing beside the pond listening to the water cascades over the waterfall into the pond. Dragon flies dart in and around the shrubs and plants, bees and humming birds are busy flying from flower to flower. We sit for hours lazily in our lounge chairs listening and watching while the Koi swim around in the water garden pond.

We have about 6 water lilies plants that cover almost all the pond. They grow pink and red blossoms in the crystal clear water in the summer time. They re-grow in the spring as the days get longer and warmer after they die off in the fall back to their roots.

I have about 40 Koi in the pond, it is hard to get an accurate count as they never stop swimming. I purchase small Koi, 2 to 3 inches long and place them in the pond. They will grow to over 10 inches long.

Egrets are the most frequent visitors to our pond. They will fly onto our roof or the neighbors roof then drop down onto our patio and wade into our pond. If we see the egret, we will let our dog chase them off. He hasn't jumped into the pond since he was a pup.

We have had raccoons play in the pond and sit on the water lily containers. I watched a mother and 3 baby racoons play and try to catch the Koi.

I used stakes and strings to outline the pond design for our do it yourself Koi pond. I placed 3" PVC pipes from the pump in the lower pond to the top pond. I used an asphalt paste on the block wall before I piled dirt against it. I placed 4 railroad ties two layers high in an L shape to make the front edge of the upper pond and the back edge of the middle pond for the waterfall.

I then made a 1/4 circle ridge from the ends of the ties to make a small middle pond where water would roll over the full 1/4 circle edge into the bottom pond. I dug the lower pond about 18" deep putting most of the dirt into the retaining walls of the upper two ponds. I covered all the ponds with a PVC liner that I cut and glued to fit.

I started with a 1/5 horse power above ground pump with a 2" inlet and outlet. This provided a good flow of water over the waterfall. Sometimes it would lose its suction and I would have to re-priming the pump.

I found a 1/3 horse power submersible pump that could be used in a fish pond. Some pumps cannot be used in a fish pond, check the fine print. I found this out the hard way when I tried to get a replacement pump.

I designed and built this water garden pond about 15 years ago and we have had good luck with it. The raccoons and egrets like it also.
About the Author
Do you want to build your own water garden or Koi pond? Go to Bruce Contryman's web site for advice on a do it yourself plan and build a pond. How to build a pond How to plan a water garden pond
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