WHEN TO START?
Have a thermometer handy to monitor water temperatures for fish feeding. September/October is usually the time when water temperatures will begin to drop.
Need To Know!
FOR ZONES 4a-7a (GTA and surrounding area)
The following takes place in the fall when the leaves begin to turn colour and the temperature begins to drop
|10 Steps to Prepare Your Pond for Winter|
Cold Water Beneficial Bacteria - Begin Using Cold Water Bacteria once the water temperature has dropped below 50°F/10°C. This will aid in breaking down debris and sludge before winter sets in.
Change Fish Food - Once water temperatures have reached 50°F/10°C change to a Fall/Spring food that has a higher wheat germ content that is easier for the fish to digest in cooler temperatures. Stop feeding the fish all together once the temperature has reached 45°F (7°C).
Plants - All Hardy water lilies and submersible plants (parrot’s feather) can be dropped down to the deepest point in the pond for the winter. Cut back any foliage from the lilies to limit decaying matter in the pond. Floating plants like hyacinth and water lettuce can be removed and disposed of. Hardy marginals can be trimmed back, leaving approximately 2-4” of the plant from the base. Tropical water plants should be brought indoors in a sunny area and treated as a house plant, always keeping the soil moist or a tray of water beneath.
Aeration - Move air stones from the deepest region of the pond to half the depth of the pond or 2’ from the bottom for the winter. The air stones should not be near the fish or at the bottom of the pond, as they will transfer cooler air to where the fish are.
NET/VACUUM - If there are any loose leaves or debris in the pond, remove with a skimmer or pond net before the fish begin to go dormant. The less waste left in the pond over winter the better for the safety of the fish. A Pond Vacuum can also be used to clean the bottom debris from the pond. After the pond is clean, cover the pond with a net before the autumn leaves fall. This will save you a lot work removing the leaves by hand.
Pumps - Turn off, clean and store all pumps indoors in a pail or container of water; this prevents the seals on the pump(s) from drying out. If your pond is 4’ or deeper the pumps can be left at the bottom of the pond as an option.
Lighting - Remove underwater lighting before any freeze occurs or if your pond is 4’ or deeper submersible lighting can be lowered to the bottom of the pond.
FILTERS/UV - Remove the pressurized pond filter and do a thorough clean out of all the media. Store the entire unit indoors to prevent cracking/damage to the unit. Also remove any additional UV systems from the pond and store indoors. This is a good time to check if the UV bulb and/or filter media needs replacing for the upcoming spring and to clean the quartz tube housing.
IONIZER - Bring the head of the Ionizer in for the winter (the threaded part with the anodes) and clean off the anodes so they are prepped for spring.
DE-ICER/HEATER - Before the water’s surface freezes over entirely, float a de-icer/heater towards the middle of the pond or over the deepest area of the pond. Throughout the winter you will be able to see the LED light on the heater and know that your heater is working.
|* We do not recommend having moving water (pump running) in the winter, as it disturbs the fish by shifting the cooler water on top to the bottom where the fish should not be disturbed.|
Ponds can transform any backyard into an oasis. The running water, fish and plants attract all sorts of attention. Now that the winter season is approaching, we must perform a few simple tasks to maintain the beauty and health of our ponds.
Fountains are a sight to behold in the summer months. Come winter, most people fear cracking or cover with them with large blue tarps that stand out like a sore thumb. We have a few suggestions that will have your fountain keep its splendour all year round!
WINTER FROST: Before winter or first frost, fountains should be raised off of the ground surface with risers to prevent it from soaking up moisture and freezing, which could cause crumbling on the bottom of the piece.
WINTER PROTECTION: Remove all pumps, plugs, and small components from the fountain and store indoors. All water must be drained from the fountain. Ensure water does not accumulate in the basin or any bowl and freeze as this may cause cracking. Campania covers may be used once the fountain is cleaned and free of water, as they are one way breathable (allow trapped moisture out, but rain and dust cannot enter) and come in a neutral tone that blends into any landscape. If the piece permits, it may be stored indoors
SALT & CHEMICAL: Ensure your fountain is kept clear from harsh salts and chemicals, as these may damage the stains and/or concrete.
Create Year-long Interest with planters!
Your planters that were once blossoming and vibrant in the summer are now beginning to look spent as the cold weather sets in. If you are like us, you want your planters to be used year-round and are looking forward to decorating the planters for the winter season. This can be done safely avoiding winter damage with the following tips:
DRAINAGE: The key to winter success for concrete planters is drainage. Planters should be raised off of the ground or patio using small lifts or decorative risers to help with drainage and to avoid frost damage. We recommend using a ¾ or larger gravel in the bottom of the planter - fill approximately 2/3 full with the gravel. Next, place a piece of filter cloth on the gravel to prevent soil from draining through. Finally, place a planted arrangement on top or fill the remaining space with soil and decorate accordingly. You can keep this same soil/gravel setup all season long. Ensure there are drainage holes in all outdoor planters
SALT/CHEMICALS: Salt is great for keeping pathways clear of ice; however, it is not great when it comes in contact with concrete planters. Keep all salt and harsh chemicals away from concrete planters as they will cause damage.
Trapped Water in Any Planter, Once Frozen, Will Expand and May Cause Damage
The Complete Guide for Fall and Winter Care for your Water Features! MARQUIS GARDENS
Your water feature has looked beautiful all summer long, and you want it to look the same way next year. We provide you with the steps starting in late fall, to prepare and maintain the beauty of your water feature for years to come!
A fountain is most commonly made of concrete, plastic or stainless steel and is situated above ground with open, running water.
REMOVE YOUR PUMPS AND BRING INDOORS. For best results keep in a container of water to avoid seals from drying/cracking
There are some circumstances where the pump is too difficult to remove from the fountain - In this case we recommend to ensure all water is fully drained from the pump (pump is completely dry). Wrap the pump in a plastic bag and seal it off from moisture
DRAIN & MAINTAIN
REMOVE ALL WATER AND PROTECT YOUR FOUNTAIN USING A FOUNTAIN COVER. Campania Fountain Covers are a great choice for two reasons: the unique material allows no moisture in but allows all trapped moisture out. As well, they come in a muted taupe colour that sure beats a bright blue tarp!
The Fountain Covers come in a range of sizes and a handy drawstring to accommodate most fountains.
Avoid salting near your fountain as this will cause damage to the finish and could cause crumbling
A pond is an in-ground body of water that is either lined or natural. A pond can have fish and plants.
- Before the leaves begin to fall, place a net over your pond to prevent the leaves from breaking down creating debris
- Trim back lily leaves and marginal plants and remove all floating plants
- Move aeration discs to 2 feet from the water’s surface
- REMOVE PUMP(S): Just like with fountain pumps, keep in a container of water to avoid seals from drying/cracking
REMOVE FILTERS: Clean thoroughly and bring indoors where they will not freeze.
*Now is a great time to review your filter and pump manuals and to replace or clean up your seals, UV Bulbs, Quartz Tubes, Ionizer Probes and Filter pads/Filter media
- FISH: If your pond does not have an area that is 3 1⁄2 - 4 feet deep in one spot (minimum), fish should be removed and brought indoors in a filtered tank.
* No need to drain any water from your pond - better to have the pond full to maintain the integrity of the surrounding structure and to maintain the depth for fish and hardy lilies.
POND DEICER: Float a de-icer towards the middle of your pond to allow for a small opening in the ice for proper gas exchange through the winter months.
Keep an eye on the De-icer’s LED light in the winter to ensure that it is working *do not attempt to make a hole with blunt force as this is harmful to the fish and can be a dangerous task.
A water Feature can be dug in-ground or above grade. Examples include: Bubble Rocks or Bollards - Water Walls or Weir Feature.
ABOVE GROUND RESERVOIR: Drain water from the reservoir and bring in pumps and store in a container of water. Reservoir basin can be covered to keep most of the moisture out, however, it does not have to be waterproofed completely – the main goal is to prevent the entire basin from filling entirely with water.
BELOW GRADE/GROUND LEVEL: Any reservoir below grade we recommend that you do not drain. Keeping the reservoir full of water will prevent it from caving in from the pressure of the surrounding soil or aggregate in the freezing months. Pumps should be taken out the same way as any water feature.
Keep in Mind! When water freezes it expands – this is why we don’t want it to remain in any above grade basins, bowls or reservoirs, as it could cause cracking or bowing.
Planning your water feature
It is a well known fact that water features of any kind can benefit several aspects of any lifestyle.
- enhance the beauty of your back or front yard
- increase the home’s value
- provide health benefits through visual stress relief and soothing water sounds
- create an ecosystem and water source for plant and wildlife in the area
- incorporate a unique feature into any entertaining area
1. KOI POND - An excellent hobby to unwind and relax with the sound of water, the joy of watching fish grow and plant life evolve A True Oasis!
Installation: / With the right contractor, a koi pond can be installed properly in less than a week - depending on the scale of the project. If you are up for a DIY project, allow for a little more time. Before you begin, talk with a pond supply specialist in your area. Proper filtration and installation is key to less maintenance in the future.
Maintenance: / Maintenance depends directly on installing the proper components. Many times home owners will cut back on filtration and load their ponds with fish and wonder why their pond has become such a hassle. Educate yourself on pond construction, consult a specialist and be rewarded with minor upkeep for your koi pond.
Affordability: / Costs can vary with ponds depending on scale and whether you are installing it yourself or hiring the work out. A koi pond with sufficient filtration can start around $900 for product.
A water feature can be incorporated into your landscape with any budget - large or small, depending on the scale of the piece or project. Water features can fetch you up to 4x the value upon resale!
2. PONDLESS WATERFALL – Not looking for fish, but love the look and sound of a waterfall? Pondless could be your answer.
Installation: / Because there is no open water, this style is easier to install in any area of your landscape, including the front yard! No open water means no safety measures required ie. fencing or zoning bylaws. With the use of water retention cubes to create an underground reservoir, the install can be done professionally or by homeowner. Install times are slightly less than a koi pond as there are fewer components.
Maintenance: / With the use of an ionizer to eliminate all algae, maintenance is next to nothing! Simply top up the water from slight evaporation through the summer season. Winter maintenance is also minimal – remove pump and leave the feature ‘as is’, water and all!
Affordability: / The cost to install a pondless waterfall is almost half the price of a koi pond, starting around $500. Maintenance costs are also less, as there are not as many components required.
Want a water feature, but afraid of potential mosquitoes? No problem! Mosquitoes are not attracted to moving water.
3. BUBBLE ROCK – Unique, Simple and Fast! A custom piece that can fit in a tight space, with the choice of having open water or a pebble rock base.
Installation: / An easy install for any homeowner depending on the size of the rock. Large rock choices may require hiring a professional. Artificial rocks are available for lightweight options (Universal Rock). Have your water feature supplier drill the rock for you! Excellent option for a small area or near a patio sitting area, as the noise level of the water can be adjusted.
Maintenance: / Easy! Summer maintenance includes dropping a bromine tab in the basin every couple of weeks (ensure no plants are in contact with the water) – that's all! Simply remove the pump for the winter and replace again in the spring.
Affordability: / Bubble rock kits can generally start around $800 using a drilled natural stone piece. Smaller kits with artificial rocks can start as little as $400. These are a simple, cost effective choice to add curb appeal to any landscape.
4. FOUNTAIN – If you are looking for variation in size and style, fountains offer tranquility in a versatile package that is great for patio and deck options.
Installation: / Depending on the size – the average fountain can be installed by the homeowner, requiring two people for lifting and adjusting. Most are set up in just a couple of hours! Fountains can be installed in any space large or small and suit any style!
Maintenance: / Try to setup your fountain in an area where there is minor debris (falling leaves) and if possible, less sun exposure – this will cut down on the time you would spend cleaning out the fountain. Most fountains have small reservoirs, this makes for quick cleaning! Winter maintenance requires bringing in the pump if the fountain is situated outdoors. Concrete fountains are the most durable for our climate, empty the water out in the winter and use a fountain cover to keep moisture out.
Affordability: / Fountains can start at less than $300. Opt for quality material like concrete and get the life span you should!
5. STAINLESS STEEL FEATURE – Clean lines – a modern take on water features – great for indoor and outdoor options. A lightweight piece of art!
Installation: / Lightweight equals easy install! Generally a one person task which takes no more than 30 minutes. Stainless steel features are a unique choice that offers options for placement including, tight spaces, indoor, outdoor, areas requiring little/no splash.
Maintenance: / The maintenance of a stainless steel feature is similar to a fountain, however; because it is lightweight, cleaning and removing the pump in the winter become easier tasks.
Affordability: / Stainless steel water features can start around the $700 mark for a full kit option.
- Educate Yourself on your Options
- Know Your Space
- Talk to your Water Feature Supply Specialist
Outdoor Lighting is the landscape trend sweeping the nation, with LED’s leading the way. By replacing inefficient halogen lights with energy efficient LED lights, you will reduce your electricity bill and your carbon footprint. Much of our entertaining is done when the sun goes down and that is why lighting is often the most important aspect to enhance any feature- Make it visible! Now your water feature and landscape can be appreciated any time of the day at a fraction of the cost!
We have all seen them and many of us have had a set of our own, the rusted cast iron urn, the discoloured, old concrete, the faded, cracked plastic – and let us not forget the tipped over wooden barrel- that’s right, it is no longer considered ‘unique’ or ‘creative’. Perhaps they were given to us, we found a good deal, or we just never thought to update, the fact remains - they are ugly and it is time to let them go!
A bubble rock is an entry-level water feature that is fast and easy to install and low maintenance. bubble rocks are the versatile feature that can fit into any landscape – from contemporary to naturalistic!
A bubble rock can be:
Components of bubble rock feature
|Bubble Rock Basin||A Bubble Rock Basin is a heavy duty plastic liner that has a support system and lid that is able to withstand heavy material. It allows for easy access to the pump and valve(s) and retains large volumes of water compared to a aggregate filled basin||Must be installed during construction process|
|Submersible Pump||A submersible pump is used within the basin to recycle the water from the basin back to the bubbling feature.||Must be installed during construction process|
|Bubble Rock||Any stone or Port that has a hole down the center that allows for water to bubble over itself. Can be natural stone, artificial stone or any planter.||Must be installed during construction process|
|Non-Kink Hose||Non-Kink hosing is the best option for a bubble rock as it has high flexibility and is not exposed to the elements. Only a small amount is needed for most applications||Must be installed during construction process|
|Valve(s)||A Valve is used on a bubble rock feature to adjust the amount of water that is bubbling from the rock. Some like there to be a heavy flow while others prefer less just enough to wet the stone.||Optional – but commonly used|
|Decorative Aggregate||Decorative aggregate is used to cover the basin lid. Any stone an inch or larger can be used - generally. river rock or polished stone are common choices to use.||Must be installed during construction process – but done at the end|
Most people will visit their ponds daily, particularly if they have fish. It can be during these times that a quick visual check should be done to ensure the pond is running properly.
All ponds vary when it comes to weekly pond maintenance. Variations include: size and style of the pond, size and style of filtration, water flow, amount of sunlight, as well, the presence of fish and plants.
The following Weekly Pond Maintenance Checklist is a guideline and can be customized to any pond or water feature.
General Weekly Pond Maintenance
- Waterfall running optimally
- Water level/no visible leaks
- No large debris in the pond or water feature
- Remove debris from skimmer
- Ensure skimmer pump is not clogged with debris/running smoothly
- Check filter media for cleanliness
- Perform Backwash
- Ensure UV bulb is working
- Ensure solids handling pump (feeding into the filter) is running properly/not clogged with debris
- Ionizer monitor is running properly
- Check probes for cleanliness and quantity
- Test water for copper levels
- Check cleanliness of unit
- Add beneficial bacteria (shut off uvfor 24hrs when adding beneficial bacteria)
- Ensure all of the waterflow is directed into the pond and not leaking from the stream or spillway
- Aeration unit is protected from the elements or indoors
- Sufficient aeration for the size of pond and fish
- Air stones are still intact and at the proper depth in the pond, air tubing has no leaks
- Water is generally clear, no debris, no murkiness, no heavy green tint
- Use Testing Kit in early spring, also if noticing changes with water quality an/or fish behaviour
- String algae is minimal
- Behaviour (Check for: gasping at the surface, flashing, motionless at the bottom, clamped fins, upright position)
- Physical appearance (no disease, markings, open wounds, pop-eye, bloating)
- Fish are feeding properly, using a quality fish food
- Fertilize plants if they have not been fertilized within the last month
- Sufficient plant coverage for the pond if fish are present (between 10-50% coverage)
- Marginals, submerged and floating plants are free of disease and are thriving
- Trim back any dying foliage or decompossing flowers
Choosing the proper pump will provide you with:
- Pump Longevity
- Pump Efficiency
- Trouble Free Performance
There are a few key elements that you need to know in order to choose the correct pump:
APPLICATION: WHERE WILL YOUR PUMP BE?
In the pond at the bottom: look for a solids handling pump (great for pumping waste into filtration units)
In pond – In the skimmer:look for a skimmer/high volume pump (skimmer pumps do not need to handle solids as there is usually a filter basket or net prior to the pump
Require a lot of head height:(ie: a water feature with falls 20ft or higher): Direct Drive pump – delivers a large amount of head height
Require volume but minimal head height:(ie: most pond applications) Asynchronous/Mag drive – high efficiency pump with high volume, but less head height than direct drive.
How much volume do you need?
Light flow = 100 gph per inch of spillway
Average flow = 150 gph per inch of spillway
High flow = 200 gph per inch of spillway
Width of spillway x desired flow rate = total GPH
3ft wide spillway
Examples for waterfalls with a 36” wide spillway:
Light flow: 36” Spillway x 100 GPH = 3,600 gph
Average flow: 36” Spillway x 150 GPH = 5,400 gph
High flow: 36” Spillway x 200 GPH = 7,200 gph
Every pump has a chart/graph available to determine at each head height, the amount of gallons outputted.
As head height increases gallons outputted decreases
Determining what pump you need according to head height
- Add 1 ft of head height for every 10 ft of hose you are using
- Add 1 ft of head height for every 90 degree angle you are using
You have a waterfall that requires 4500 gallons and is 5 ft above the waterline, has 20 ft of hose and utilizes 3 elbows.
Therefore, your head height is
5ft (height of waterfall) + 2 ft (hose) + 3 ft (3 elbows)
= 10 ft of head height
You will need a pump that pumps out 4500gph at 10 ft which in the above graph would be the SP5300 (Pink Line)
Important Pump Info: Back Pressure
The life of any pump is directly related to the operating conditions it works under. One of the most common causes of premature pump failure is low head.
Pumps are designed to work under a certain amount of load. In low head applications not enough back pressure is put on the pump and it spins too freely. This causes the motors to run hot and shortens their life considerably.
In every plumbing system you should incorporate a valve somewhere in the discharge line. This valve can then be closed part way to simulate back pressure if not enough natural pressure is created.
There are five common types of pond leaks:
Keep in Mind!
Evaporation occurs naturally with any body of water and can account for minor water loss. If there is high winds water loss can also occur-just be sure to shut off the waterfall if the wind is dispersing the water from the pond or water feature
Find the leak
Ensure your pond is full
Turn off all pumps and filtration
(keep aeration running if there are fish present in the pond)
Water level remains at the same level
You have determined that the leak is either water being diverted from the falls/stream or a leak from the hosing. Check along the hosing for any pin holes or cracks. Turn off your pond for a day or two then turn on and search for any wet areas along the hosing or near the falls to find the origin of the leak. A damaged hose can be cut and repaired using a coupling. A leak from the falls will usually require some shifting of rocks to redirect the water.
Option B: Edge of the Liner has Receded or Dropped
Often if the edge of the liner has receded or dropped there will be a patch of moist soil or aggregate where this has occurred. This is usually a tricky leak to find as there are often larger rocks or boulders that need to be removed from the edge of the pond to see the edge of the liner. Once you have found the leaking area, the liner can be lifted/repositioned and backfilled to prevent the liner from slipping back. As well ensure edge rocks are not shifting over time and repositioning the liner to cause a leak.
Option C: Crack or Leak from the Skimmer
Drop the water level below the skimmer. If there is a crack in the skimmer box it will likely have to be replaced. Usually the leak will be where the skimmer plate has been attached. This plate may have to be removed and resealed if this is the case. Ensure there is excess liner below the skimmer plate to keep the liner from stretching and tearing over time. Use a lap sealant to seal as it adheres to EPDM liner better than silicone. Also use lap sealant in the screw holes for a better seal.
Mistscaping is an exciting way to use misting products to create a fog effect in a landscape. The fog effect can be used in and around water features, fountains, waterfalls, planting areas and pathways to accentuate the landscape. Mistscaping turns an already beautiful landscape into a exotic oasis.
Use standard high pressure misting products to create any mistscaping system. Arrange nozzles in multiples of 3 to create a natural effect.