DIY Natural Backyard Pond

Learn how to build a natural backyard pond that stays clean and algae-free without the use of pumps, filters or chemicals.


| October/November 2015



Natural Pond

Plants and wildlife thrive in the author's southern Ontario natural pond, where mechanical systems and chemicals are strictly off-limits.


Photo by Robert Pavlis

Water, soil, plants and animals live together in a harmonious balance in a natural pond. No one needs to scoop out algae. The water doesn’t need pumps and filters to stay clean and oxygenated, and required maintenance is minimal. Years ago, I dreamed of having such a backyard pond, but everything I read claimed that pumps, filters, chemicals and constant care would be necessary. So, I set out to prove the experts wrong.

Natural Garden Pond Design

In a conventional backyard pond design, algae levels are controlled by adding chemicals and using a mechanical filter and a circulating pump that cost up to several hundred dollars. These filtering systems are essential because a standard design doesn’t provide a hospitable environment for the beneficial microorganisms that would otherwise keep the water clean. I have found that by changing the design so the pond itself becomes the filter, you can eliminate the need for such systems.

This article will focus on how to create a low-maintenance, natural pond in your backyard by applying these principles:

• Provide surfaces for beneficial microorganisms to grow.
• Prepare plenty of space for plants.
• Restrict sunlight from the surface of the water to reduce algae growth.

Room to grow. Insects, frogs, fish and other living creatures add organic matter to a pond, as do pond plants and nearby shrubs and trees. This organic material would build up and overwhelm the water were it not for the pond’s secret weapon: microorganisms. These organisms are everywhere — in soil and on rocks and plants — and they feed on organic matter. The more surfaces there are to support microbes, the cleaner the water will be.

bettinafurler
3/22/2016 4:49:22 AM

If you are considering building a pond, there are several things that you need to consider, that includes the location, the type of pond you will build, space, time and budget. These http://www.ponddye.com/blog/4-factors-to-consider-when-constructing-a-pond/ will allow you construct a pond and determine what are the things or living things that you need to incorporate in your pond, if you live in colder region, and your pond's surface will most likely freeze, then you need to make sure that the depth of water is ample enough. Should you wish to have a pond with no filter system, you can do so by using plants or bogs. You may choose to do a dye treatment if you wish to add a more scenic view to your pond plus it helps control the growth of algae and weeds. The topography also plays a large role since optimal pond site should be in a small stable and well-vegetated drainage basin which is above flood plain so you will have natural drainage and avoid the need for expensive drainage system. If you wish to put koi in your pond, then plants are not advisable, but if you wanted a water garden, you may put more plants.


bettinafurler
3/22/2016 4:46:36 AM

If you are considering building a pond, there are several things that you need to consider, that includes the location, the type of pond you will build, space, time and budget. These http://www.ponddye.com/blog/4-factors-to-consider-when-constructing-a-pond/ will allow you construct a pond and determine what are the things or living things that you need to incorporate in your pond, if you live in colder region, and your pond's surface will most likely freeze, then you need to make sure that the depth of water is ample enough. Should you wish to have a pond with no filter system, you can do so by using plants or bogs. You may choose to do a dye treatment if you wish to add a more scenic view to your pond plus it helps control the growth of algae and weeds. The topography also plays a large role since optimal pond site should be in a small stable and well-vegetated drainage basin which is above flood plain so you will have natural drainage and avoid the need for expensive drainage system. If you wish to put koi in your pond, then plants are not advisable, but if you wanted a water garden, you may put more plants.


rogcool1
10/16/2015 9:24:48 AM

Wish you had more pictures


debbie
9/26/2015 1:33:55 AM

If you have feathered predators such as egrets and herons, coming in to fish you out, try growing the grass or other plants tall around the pond edge. a heron decoy also lies near the pond, not set up, just lying there. I've used orchard netting for a couple of years, and the work to un-stake & do leaf cleaning was tedious as our pond isn't small enough or regular shaped for a single piece, but it deterred the feathered hunters and confounded the raccoons, never seemed any fish loss to foxes or cats either. Tried the expensive tee pee net set up, but snow took it down. The first year, the first day after mating season ended, an egret showed up, that I scared off. Heard horror stories of foxes tossing all fish from a pond on to lawn & just gutting them, as well as herons clearing neighbor's pond up the street, a few years back, so knew something had to be done. This year I went net-less, but grew the grass (or rather let it grow) and still have all the fish, so far.


gary
9/23/2015 7:56:17 AM

What about mosquitoes?


jerilyn
9/19/2015 2:01:42 AM

How would duckweed do? I would like my new pond to provide some feed for my chickens. Thanks! Lovely article!






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