Design Your Pond
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Now that you've selected a location, it's time for the real "design" of the pond itself.  This
would be a good time to contact J.U.L.I.E. and have the site marked for existing utilities.  
You will need to do this anyway before you pick up a shovel, and it's best to do it BEFORE
you cut a utility line.  J.U.L.I.E. will then contact all the utility companies in your area
and have them come out and mark the site within 3 business days of your phone call.  
Request to be notified if a utility company does not find anything.  You are required to
start digging within 14 days of your request to locate.  If you do not, or if the markings are
destroyed, you must call and have the site re-marked and they will charge you a fee for
the second relocate.

To contact J.U.L.I.E., call 1-800-892-0123.

Now that you know where the utilities are, you can officially design your pond.
SIZE DOES COUNT!!  Almost everybody I talk to who wants a pond initially thinks that they
want one that's roughly 8' x 10' and that that's a pretty big pond.  That IS a pretty big
pond, if you're going to put it in your living room, but when you put it outside in your
yard, it can easily become dwarfed by the openness of the surroundings.  Don't be
deceived by preconceived notions and keep a couple of things in mind here.  
Second, you are going to be supporting life in this water world, and a small water volume seriously limits the possibilities of
including everything you will want to include.  

Third, you will want to fill the area you are working with so that it doesn't look like an afterthought.  If you want something
under 300 gallons, get yourself an aquarium.  If you have to mow it or weed it, you dug your pond too small!  (Just kidding.)  
You will never be unhappy with a larger pond.  You will always regret installing a pond that is too small.  You, or your fish and
plants, will outgrow a small pond within a year or two.

Now is the time to determine just what the end purpose will be for your pond.  Do you want to just have it for the water
movement and a few plants?  Do you want to actually keep fish in it?  If you decide you want to keep koi, please keep in mind
that these fish can grow to a whopping 30" in a garden pond and live for 30+ years.  If you seriously want to keep them this long,
you will need to make your pond big enough and deep enough to house these pets comfortably for many years to come.  It is an
urban legend that koi will only grow as big as their environment allows.  Koi will grow as big as they want to or die trying.  Take
of information on this site, and there are links to other sites as well, so take a minute or two to determine what you're goals are.

Another consideration that I always take into account is the possibility of you eventually selling your home.  You may not plan
on moving, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.  If you're going to sell your home, your pond should be able to support a
sufficient amount of life with the minimal amount of maintenance for the new owner.  Otherwise, it's a huge minus instead of a
huge plus when it comes to resale appeal.

If you are bound and determined to start small, make plans now to expand.  Be aware - a small pond is more difficult to
maintain than a larger pond.  I'll discuss this more in depth later, but it all has to do with water volume and the toilet principal.
Write me at:  pondgal@gridcom.net
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Step 2:
<<<GO BACK TO STEP 1:
SELECT A LOCATION
Audio sounds provided by www.Freesound.org
38391- volivieri water flows over rock.wav
72722 - Manuel Calurano - Conversation
between a nightingale and a frog.mp3
Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that you want to keep plants and fish in your pond.  Assuming you have your pond laid out
with a garden hose of the pond edge, you may want to give it a twist or a turn to give it some character.  The entire area INSIDE
your hose mark will be filled with water.  The rock edge is on the OUTSIDE the hose marker.

From your viewing area (patio, deck, etc.), look at your pond and imagine water inside that hose area.  Can you see into the
water area, or is it too narrow for a good sight line?  You will want to be able to see your water lilies blooming and your fish
swimming about, so (and this is really important) it is best to make the longest dimension of your pond from the viewing area
back and the narrowest from side to side.  You will be placing your stream or waterfall at the far end of this viewing area.

Once you have the best shape and size determined, it is time to measure it up.  Measure from the longest points.  You may be
surprised how big your pond has become, now that it is actually laid out in your yard, but don't let this scare you off.  It's not
THAT much harder to dig it a little bigger, and it's not much more expensive, and you'll be a lot happier with it in the long run.

To determine your liner size, take your measurements and calculate as follows:

  Length + (2 x Depth) + 3' =  
             [Example:  11' + (2 x 3') + 3' = 20']
  Width + (2 x Depth) + 3' =  
              [Example:  7' + (2 x 3') + 3' = 16']

Liner is sold in 5' increments, so if you wanted a finished pond with 11' x 7' x 3' deep dimensions, you would need a 20' x 20'
piece of liner.  (By the way, the additional 3' at the end of that calculation is to ensure that you have 1.5' left over all the way
around to work with under your rock boarder.)

I don't often draw up an actual site plan because I can see what the pond is supposed to look like in my head, where it's
supposed to be, and visualize it's dimensions by walking the site, and almost all of my clients have trusted my instincts when it
comes to this, however there have been a couple who can't visualize what I am talking about, so I draw it out for them. If you're
doing all the work yourself, it's a good idea to draw something up, if for no other reason than to see how your plans change
from paper to the finished product once you get digging.  It's also a good idea to keep a photo journal of your work.  In a
couple of years, you won't remember how your yard looked without your pond, and a photo record will give you that satisfying
"WOW!" factor.

When designing your pond, also keep in mind that you will want to plant around the pond, and give yourself room for any trees
or large shrubs you might want to add to the landscape.  Plan for the trees and shrubs to get to their full size, just like you're
planning on your koi getting to their full size, and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches later.
First, if you dig your pond too small, you will be dissatisfied with it in the end and always wish you had a bigger pond.  Dig it as
big as you can reasonably afford to and you won't be forever wishing for something more.
Around these parts, most pond installers will tell you that a pond doesn't need to be more than 18" deep to house fish over the
winter.  In my personal opinion, you should NEVER dig a pond less than 3' deep if you plan on keeping fish in it.  There are a
number of reasons for this:

1.  Digging to 3' (or more) increases your water volume substantially.  This will allow you to have more fish later on.

2.  Your fish will be healthier.  We are creating a confined environment here, but it is one that imitates nature.  Don't be
fooled!  In nature, a fish population is controlled by disease, predators and natural selection.  The fish you are selecting for
your pond are fish you want to keep.  Therefore, since fish swim in their own toilet, it is important to give them as much water
volume as possible to dilute the toxins from their own waste.

3.  Your fish will be healthier.  There will be far less fluctuation in temperature in a deeper pond.  Ornamental koi and goldfish
can't stand big swings in temperature.  A larger volume of water will help to prevent a sudden increase or drop in temperature.

4.  YOUR FISH WILL BE HEALTHIER!!!  he-he!  Most people stock their ponds with ornamental koi and/or goldfish.  These are
NOT wild fish.  They are bred for their beauty, not for their stamina.  The more beautiful, colorful, unusual, or exquisite a fish
is, the weaker that fish is.

5.  Did I mention about the fish being healthier?  Koi need to be able to swim up and down and not just around and around.  If
you have a shallow pond, the koi will not be able to exercise all the muscles they need to be fit, and you will end up with short,
fat koi. A football with fins, so to speak.

6.  A deeper pond just LOOKS better.

It is now time to order your materials.
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