Water features, such as ponds and fountains, bring a touch of serenity and natural beauty to any garden or outdoor space. However, to enjoy the tranquil sounds of flowing water and the visual appeal of your water feature, it's essential to invest time and effort into proper pond maintenance. In this article, we will explore how to maintain your water feature, what to add to keep it clean, how much maintenance is involved, and how to keep those pesky algae at bay.
How Do You Maintain a Water Feature?
Water feature maintenance, whether it's a garden pond or a decorative fountain, requires regular attention to ensure it stays clean and in good condition. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you keep your water feature in top shape:
On a weekly basis or at least once a week, make it a routine to eliminate any stray leaves or debris from the water. Swiftly skimming away these leaves from the water's surface serves a dual purpose by maintaining unhindered water flow through the system and preserving the fresh, well-kept appearance of your water feature.
Check Your Pump
To ensure the longevity of your water feature pump and prevent potential damage, it's advisable to adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines. Inspect the water pump and filter for any blockages or debris. Clean or replace them as needed to ensure optimal water circulation. Cleaning with a gentle brush while rinsing with water is a recommended practice. Exercise with caution when opening as this can contribute to safeguarding against costly repair or replacement expenses.
Make sure to refresh the water in your fountain at a minimum of once a month. We recommend opting for distilled drinking water instead of regular tap water, as it might already contain impurities before entering the fountain. Regularly test the water quality, especially if you have fish or aquatic plants in your feature. Ensure that the pH and water hardness levels are appropriate for your specific water feature. To enhance the durability of your lovely outdoor furniture, contemplate performing a thorough annual cleaning in the spring, especially after the winter season.
Algae growth is a common issue in water features. It naturally occurs in numerous fountains, but its growth is influenced by various factors like water quality and exposure to light. We'll delve into this further below.
Inspect Edging & Liners
Take a close look at the edging and liners of your water feature, paying careful attention to any potential wear and damage. Examine the liner for any tears, punctures, or signs of deterioration, and inspect the surrounding edges for cracks or weak points. Address any identified issues promptly to prevent the occurrence of leaks, which could lead to water loss and damage to the surrounding landscape.
For those residing in colder climates, it's essential to prepare your water feature for the harsh winter conditions. Consider winterising your water feature to safeguard it from freezing temperatures. This winterisation process might entail draining the feature to prevent freezing, and it's advisable to store the pump indoors during the cold season to prevent damage. By taking these precautions, you can ensure the longevity and functionality of your water feature even in the harshest weather conditions.
What Can I Put in My Water Feature to Keep It Clean?
To maintain clean and clear water in your water feature, you can consider using various tools and additives:
Aquatic plants such as water lilies and water hyacinths serve a dual purpose in your water feature. They enhance its aesthetic appeal with their vibrant colours and unique shapes while also playing a vital role in water quality management. These plants absorb excess nutrients from the water, primarily nitrogen and phosphorous, which are essential for algae growth. By reducing these nutrients, aquatic plants help keep the water clean and clear. Moreover, they provide shade, which further inhibits the growth of algae, as many types of algae thrive in direct sunlight.
Introducing beneficial bacteria into your water feature is a natural and effective way to break down organic matter like leaves, fish waste, and other debris that may accumulate in the water. These beneficial bacteria help in the decomposition process, which reduces the availability of nutrients for algae to feed on. As a result, the water becomes less hospitable to algae, and you'll enjoy clearer water in your feature.
Ultraviolet (UV) clarifiers are mechanical devices designed to control algae growth in your water feature. They work by exposing the water to UV light, which effectively kills free-floating algae cells. By eliminating these cells, UV clarifiers disrupt the reproductive cycle of algae, making it harder for them to multiply. As a result, your water feature stays clearer and algae-free.
Algae Control Products
In cases where algae problems persist and other methods haven't yielded the desired results, you can turn to specific algae control products. These products are formulated to combat algae growth effectively. They come in various forms, such as algaecides, or chemical treatments, and their application should strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions. While these products can be helpful, they should be used as a last resort, as they may have some impact on the overall balance of your water feature and its inhabitants. Always exercise caution and avoid overuse.
How Much Maintenance Is a Water Feature?
The level of maintenance your water feature requires depends on its size, design, and the local environmental conditions. Small fountains may need less maintenance than larger garden ponds. Generally, plan to spend a few hours each month cleaning and maintaining your water feature, with additional time allocated for seasonal tasks like winterising.
How Do You Keep Algae Free in a Water Feature?
Algae growth is a common challenge in water features, but there are several ways to prevent and control it:
Ensure your water feature has an efficient filtration system to remove debris and excess nutrients that promote algae growth.
Shade and Aquatic Plants
Provide shade with floating plants or strategically placed rocks to reduce sunlight exposure. Aquatic plants also compete with algae for nutrients.
Remove debris and decaying organic matter promptly to prevent the release of excess nutrients.
As a last resort, consider using algae control products or chemicals designed to target algae growth. Use them cautiously and according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Maintaining a water feature is a rewarding endeavour that allows you to enjoy the soothing ambiance of flowing water in your garden. By following a regular maintenance routine, adding beneficial elements, and keeping algae in check, you can keep your water feature looking pristine and inviting. So, invest the time and care your water feature deserves to create a beautiful and serene oasis in your outdoor space.