A properly constructed and well-stocked pond does not demand the presence of other features. There is smooth water with fish below, Marginals above and Water Lilies on the surface — if aquatic plants are your first love then this may well be sufficient. But Formal ponds in a prominent position can look distinctly dull in the winter months when fish are inactive and the pond plants have been cut down. A water garden feature or two can be helpful here, but the golden Rile is not to overdo it.
These features are of two basic types. Firstly there is the non-electrical group — here you will find Statuary, ranging from the humble garden gnome at the edge of the pond to the glorious marble goddess at the end of a long canal in a Grand Garden. Then there are the Ornaments for the pondside — sundials, Japanese lanterns, urns, etc. These may have limited appeal, but Containers have become extremely popular. A planted-up tub can break the monotony of a paving-stone edging running right round a Formal pond, but containers like all ot her water garden features have their set of good design rules. Pots and other planting containers generally fit in much better in the Formal rather than the Informal water garden, and the construction material should be in keeping with the environment — a garish plastic pot would be an eyesore at the side of an old world pond. But in the end the choice must be up to you, even if it is a large plastic heron which may drive away the neighbours if not other herons.
By far the most important, features belong to the electrical group, and so this chapter begins with the basics of electricity in the garden. This current is nearly always used to drive a pump which may be inside or outside the pond and the basic purpose of this pump is to provide moving water.
Nobody is indifferent to moving water, but the effect may be good or bad, depending on whether you ate a human being, fish or plant. For humans the sight and sound of moving water have a calming influence and are prominently featured on relaxation tapes.
Nobody can explain just why, but for many people a pond is not complete without moving water.
For most of the year fish are quite unconcerned whether the water in the pond is moving or not, but things are different in thundery weather or on warm still nights in summer. Under these conditions the water can be seriously deficient in oxygen and over-rich in carbon dioxide, and here moving water can literally be a life-saver by changing the balance of these gases.
Moving water is always beneficial for humans and sometimes extremely helpful for fish, but Water Lilies and some Deep-water aquatics are not so lucky. They dislike rapid currents below the surface and the effect of droplets constantly raining clown on them can be disastrous. Water Lily pads often rot and the flower buds refuse to open.
There are two ways to create water movement and the Fountain is the easier one to install. The experts will tell you that it is much better suited to a Formal pond rather than an Informal one, but this is not a strict rule. For Informal ponds which have been created to have a natural look the preferred moving water feature is the Waterfall or Cascade. Not for Formal ponds, say many of the text-books, but a series of square or round pools can be eff ectively linked together by strictly geometrical cascades. Another point from the professional designers — although you can easily run both a fountain and waterfall from a single pump, these two features rarely look comfortable in the same pond.
The strainer on the pump is designed to stop suspended solid matter from reaching the moving parts, but it is not designed to remove algae. Where there is a persistent green water problem it is useful to run an underwater Filter from the pump (see page 110) — in the overstocked pond or Koi pond it is essential rather than useful. Another use for the electric circuit leading to the pond is to run the Pool Heater which replaces the submersible pump in autumn or winter, as described on page 11'2.
One of t he most spectacular ways of using the electric cable leading to the pond is to install Lighting. No other part of the garden can be as dramatically brought to life by lighting as a fountain or waterfall.
As stated in the introduction to this chapter, there are two types of pump for operating fountains and waterfalls — the submersible pump which is kept totally submerged and would be damaged if used above ground, and the surface (or external) pump which is operated above ground and would lie damaged if submerged in the pond. This is not strictly true, as there are a few submersibles which can be adapted for use as surface pumps.
A simple start to this introduction, but the range of pumps available within these two groups is complex and bewildering. It is easy to choose the wrong one — the notes on this page should help you to avoid the pitfalls. As a starting point," if you want a pump to operate an ordinary fountain with or without a waterfall in the garden, then you will need a submersible pump. The surface ones do have a few good points as noted on the right, but these are greatly outweighed unless you have a series of fountains and/or tall waterfalls needing more than 1U00 gallons of water per hour.
The submersible pump is stood on one or more bricks to keep it off the bottom and is positioned below the surface. Water is drawn in through a strainer and pumped out through a fountain jet or along a piece of tubing to a fountain elsewhere in the pond. A T-piece is usually present and this carries a flow adjuster to cutdown the flow to the fountain if necessary, and an outlet for tubing for a waterfall. Always buy a pump with this T-piece — even if you do not plan on a waterfall the side outlet will be required when pumping out the pond for maintenance and perhaps for a filter. Wherever possible the pump should be removed and cleaned at the end ofthe season and then stored indoors until the spring. If this is not possible then switch on for a short time every two weeks during the winter when the pond is not frozen.
If you intend to have a .small fountain with a spray no more than 4 ft high or a 2 or 3 ft high waterfall with a water face which is no more than a few inches wide, then you can manage with a low-voltage (24 V) pump. Otherwise you will need a mains-operated one. A number of factors can reduce the output of the pump — one of them is the use of narrow-bore tubing. The smaller pumps will run satisfactorily with 4 in. hose, but largerpumps require ^ in. or 1 in. hose.
If you do decide on a surface pump then you will have to erect a suitable chamber for it, as shown on page 101. This should be as close as possible to the pond and tubing lengths should be kept as short as practical. A footvalve will be needed for priming if the housing is above the water level in the pond.
Choosing a "Bjrnp
The section on waterfalls (page 102) will give you a rough idea of the rating of the pump you require. With a fountain a 180 rated pump will give a 4 ft high spray — a 400 pump will give a S ft spray
These are, however, approximate figures and actual performance is affected by length of tubing, bore, presence of bends or kinks, fountain jet, height of waterfall etc. For most home garden purposes a pump which produces 350-650 gallons/hour will be suitable and should give you power to spare, but the best course of action is to seek advice from a qualified supplier. Give himor her all the necessary information: Head — height of outlet of waterfall above the pond. Fountain jet — type and height of spray required. Sill width of waterfall. Dimensions of pond. Tubing details — length and bore. Use — fountain, waterfall and/or filter. Continuous or Intermittent operation.
It has been said many times that well-placed lighting can Turn an ordinary garden into a magical place at night. There are several practical uses for illumination after dark — security, safety near steps, an extension of outdoor living time etc, but the most important purpose of putting tights in the garden is to add a dramatic touch of beauty.
Nowhere is this dramatic effect more spectacular than in the water garden. Above-ground lighting brings ornaments and surrounding plants to life — in-pond lighting turns a fountain, waterfall or the water surface with the fish below into glittering features.
Of course there is a light and wrong way to light up the pond area, and to place a few floodlights here and there around the water's edge is a missed opportunity. All that happens is the whole site is illuminated with an even glow. The secret of good lighting is to highlight cettain areas and features whilst leaving other parts in darkness — to do this effectively there are a number of lessons to learn.
To begin with, you must know the difference between floodlighting and spotlighting. It is nothing to do with the power of the illuminat ion — the effect may be brilliant or quite subdued with either type, and both are available in mains and low-voltage form. The essential difference is that floodlighting produces a diffuse pool of light which covers a wide area rather than an individual plant or feature, whereas spotlighting produces a beam which lights up a specific plant, group of plants or an attractive feature. This spotlight effect is due to the type of bulb or the use of a holder which constricts the beam to 10°-30°.
Next, there is the question of mains versus low-voltage. For powerful lighting (80-150 watts) you will need mains electricity. Low-voltage bulbs are much less dazzling — typically 11-25 watts running off a 12 V or less frequently a 24 V circuit. A transformer is used to step down the mains supply (see page 101) and 2-6 lights can be included in the circuit — check before you buy a kit.
Several types of bulbs are available. There are ordinary tungsten ones, which are widely used in LV circuits. The halogen bulb has now become popular as a replacement, as it gives about three times the light intensity for the same wattage. For mains fixtures without a shade the right choice is a FAR 38 bulb which has a built-in reflector. Colour is a matter of taste — white or amber is the safest choice, but you can try green (restful) or blue (dramatic).
Finally, the lamp holders. For pondside use there are Spiked and Surface-mounted models for floodlighting or spotlighting — for general illumination there are the Globe and Searchlight styles and for downlighting there are Mushroom and Tiered shades.
For in-pond lighting there are a number of exciting models. Simplest of all are the round Water Lights which float on the surface or are weighted down to provide light from below the surface — do not submerge too deeply or much of the power will be lost. Check whether the Water Lights you buy are for surface or underwater use. An important rule to remember is that a waterfall or fountain should be lit from directly below the jet or cascade. You can buy Underwater Floodlights for powerful illumination or a Light Fountain where the jet is actually set into the lens. Most dramatic of all is the Rainbow — a colour-changing illuminated fountain. A four-colour disc is rotated by water pressure and the bulb at the bottom of the fountain provides the illumination. This changes the spray at regular intervals from red to blue, amber and green. Brilliant, but a little too garish for some people. As with so many other garden features, lighting must be in keeping with the size and style of the pond.
Filter granules or fine gravel
Outlet tubing to pump
Open-cell perforated case
Outlet tubing to pond
Outlet tubing to pond
Waterproof casing Water chamber
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