Water gardens add a fascinating new dimension to outdoors. There are many landscaping and aquascaping agencies that can set up a water garden for you, at a cost of course. I wondered about the ease of using DIY water garden kits when planning my own water garden. My research led me to these findings:
So, which DIY water garden kits work best for you? Choose depending upon the size of outdoors, ease of setting up, and efficacy of hiding components. Fish ponds will have different requirements of size, depth and filtration. Automatic level detectors come with some pond kits to maintain water levels.
One of the most effective methods to relieve stress of daily life is to sit beside a water garden. The sound of lapping and flowing water helps to remove negativity and induce calm. For those of you who are good with your hands and take pride in doing things yourselves, DIY pond kits are worth the time and effort.
DIY water garden kits
Water gardens are a source of perennial delight for outdoor garden owners. Making a DIY water feature is not difficult these days. There are multiple kits available online which are complete in themselves. They take care of every kind of requirement that might be needed for your water garden.
Water garden kits include the following:
- Filters. Biofilters are recommended since they are friendlier to marine life.
- Skimmers (additional). These are not part of every DIY water garden kit. One may require procuring on their own.
- Pumps. At the heart of every water garden kit is the pump.
- Pipes. Also known as hoses, these come in different lengths depending upon the kind of water feature.
- Water spillway. This is a feature of waterfall features in a water garden, that carries the spilt over water to a basin or reservoir.
- Rocks, stones, gravel. Mainly used to beautify your water feature. Might not necessarily be part of kit.
- Pump vaults. These house the pump in your water feature.
- Valves. These are used to regulate and control flow of water in the water feature.
- Level control. These help to maintain water levels in the water garden.
- Liners. Vital to any water garden to create leak resistant layer.
- Sealants. Help to seal in joint and cracks to prevent water from leaking.
- Adapters. Part of the plumbing where different parts are joined with each other.
- Instruction manual. Step by step instructions with USB and video manuals also in certain cases.
- DIY resource instructions. A guide to further DIY information is provided here to set up water garden smoothly.
- Water treatment (premium). Some premium products come with water treatment benefits and equipment too.
- Hiding lids (premium). Ungainly equipment from pumps to reservoirs might mar the beauty of your outdoors as well as be exposed to nature. These help cover up effectively.
Pond DIY kits
Ponds are a great water feature to add to your outdoor garden. These nurture a lot of aquatic life including fishes, insects and plants. Ponds that will be home to fishes have slightly different requirements than ordinary ones. The depth, length and purity of water in a fish pond need to answer to certain specifications depending upon the kind of fishes you plan to have. Koi fish, for example, can grow to big sizes that require much larger-sized ponds to allow easy movement and growth.
- Determine what kind of space you may set aside for your outdoor pond.
- Choose your kit based on space and requirements.
- Some pond kits are easy to set up and barely take a few days.
- Be careful with the pond lining so that the pond is leak-proof.
Waterfall DIY kits
Another alluring feature that makes the outdoors attractive is a waterfall. The sound of moving water is extremely agreeable to humans. It erases stress and helps cut out ambient sounds too in the process. Waterfall kits come in different varieties. You may choose a combination of pond and waterfall. You may alternatively opt for a standalone waterfall kit. These are less hassle and easier to install. These are also easier on the pocket.
- Decide whether you want a pond or standalone waterfall.
- With more help around, a combination kit may be opted for.
- Waterfalls normally have rocks and gravel so choose accordingly.
- Liner is of utmost importance to ensure no leaks.
What are the pluses of DIY water features?
As with any other DIY kit, there are complete and detailed instructions included in water garden kits too. These are step by step instructions to guide the user and ensure flawless setup and enhanced performance. For someone working alone, a normal water garden DIY unit should not take more than a week.
- They are easy to install.
- Come in variety of choices.
- No guessing on pump size or filter.
- All in one place and accounted for.
- Warranty on products.
- One may improvise on available features.
- Easy to maintain.
- Kid and pet friendly.
- One may always make additions and alterations on basic model.
Professional installation versus DIY installation
A lot of people who fancy a water garden opt for professional help in installation and setting up. However easy a guided DIY kit may be, some people just do not have the handyman skills and confidence to handle such projects themselves. Alternatively they might not have the physical grit and resourcefulness to do it on their own. Seeking professional help is the easiest for such people, not only in installation but also in future maintenance. An ill-maintained water garden will erode the beauty and functionality over time and become an eyesore instead. It is better for such people to hand over care to professionals.
It goes without saying that these services come at a cost to the user. Entering into maintenance contracts makes it easier on the pocket as well as save the hassle to having to keep track of regularly checking on your pet project. However there are clauses and conditions to any contract and this holds true for water gardens too. This means that setup and maintenance services are limited to those within the stipulated contract guidelines. Any additions or innovations you make to your water garden need to be looked after by you. Alternatively you will need to modify the terms of your contract with the service providers at a fee.
Enhancing your water garden
Setting up your water garden is the first step towards creating the perfect outdoors with a water feature. What did you ultimately choose? Both ponds and waterfalls have their own pluses. However, you need to choose the flora and fauna according to the kind of water feature you have selected. There is a difference in the flow of water and hydrodynamics in each of these options.
- Pond water is stiller and can be home to different aquatic life forms. Fishes, crustaceans, insects and different plants thrive in pond waters. Waterfalls on the other hand feature moving water that falls from a height. Their appeal lies in creating sounds and motion that people find attractive. It is difficult for any life form to thrive in this small stretch of artificially induced moving water stream. There can of course be small aquatic plants at the base of waterfalls, in the collecting basin or pond. Choose your life forms accordingly and make the most of your water feature.
- Lights are a great accessory for any water body. Along with the movement and sound, it is easy to sync lights to step up the effects considerably. There are different kinds of submersible and floating as well as terrestrial and areal lights that suit this purpose. Add a new dimension to your water garden with different kinds of lights.
- A great visual and practical addition to a water garden is stone of different types. Stones come in such amazing variety that it may become tough to choose. From boulders and huge standalone rocks to tiny pebbles and border stones, one may choose and accessorize any water garden sufficiently.
What are the requirements of a water feature that might house Koi?
Koi collection is a great hobby to indulge in. However, Koi ponds have different requirements altogether that need attention. A good quality pond built specifically keeping Koi in mind will help in promoting good health of these fishes. For this purpose, one will need to look at size and depth of the pond as well as high quality liners and filters to make the hobby a success. In fact all components for a Koi pond will need to be toxin-free and long lasting under submersed conditions. Any kind of toxicity resulting from components may spoil the quality of water, thus affecting Koi health.
- Liner. A Koi pond must essentially have very good quality liner that is fish-safe. A 45-ml EPDM pond liner is the best for use in a Koi pond. Look for this mark when you choose your Koi pond components.
- Underlayment. Geotextile underlayment is one of the best options when preparing a water feature base. You may choose the best quality liners in the market, but underprepared soil conditions can cause damage to these. This also affects aesthetics in the long run. Choose Geotextile fabric to get best purchase for your pond base.
- Pump. An all important component of a water feature is the pump. This has to be submersible and efficient, while not being a power guzzler. The water in your water garden needs to be moved around to avoid stagnation. It will need to be pumped continuously from a reservoir.
- Filter. Biofilters are the most popular since they are aquatic life friendly. Good quality filter is a must to ensure clear water quality year round.
- Plumbing. Fish-friendly plumbing and parts are essential for a water feature that might have Koi. There are many pipes and fittings that make a pond work well.
- Sealant. Again the focus is on effectiveness and non-toxic sealants for water features. No one wants a leak in their pond featuring fish. Neither would you opt for a sealant that might harm aquatic life. Check product specifications meticulously before choosing.
- Hose. An essential part of setting up a water feature is long hoses. These should be kink-free to ensure best performance and longevity.
- Lighting. Submersible lighting that is fish-friendly may be installed in Koi ponds. These need to be low wattage lights that can be dimmed and controlled. Harsh lights are not compatible with fish health at all times. The light fittings need to be copper-free and amenable to underwater non-toxic requirements at all times.
- Level control. Maintaining water level in ponds is vital towards ensuring good pond health. Not all DIY kits come equipped with a float valve to detect and maintain desired water levels. You might need to install this additionally to ensure you have adequate levels at all times.
All of the above listed hold good for any kind of water feature. When you set up your water garden, it is a lot of time and investment. There is some wisdom in choosing your components wisely to avoid frequent malfunctioning of equipment.
Recommendations for DIY water garden kits
As discussed previously there are two broad categories of water feature DIY kits available for use. Of course one may go for more variations of these or some other kind of DIY water feature too. My research was centered on ponds or waterfalls for my water garden. Here is a look at some probable suggestions for both these categories:
Pond DIY kits
- Aquascape DIY Backyard Pond Kit – Create your own pond in different size options. This kit is for 6’x8’ 500 gallon pond. The kit comes with skimmer, filter, pump, pond liner and geotextile underlayment. Every component is covered under warranty. There are plumbing details, hose and sealant included in the kit along with all instructions. Amazon has if available here.
- Pennington Aqua Garden Raised Pool kit – If you fancy a raised pool in your water garden, this is a good choice. Enjoy the sights and sounds in your garden. Kit includes Textaline panels, shatter proof windows, pump, filter and clarifier. This 89 gallon pond has LED spotlight and waterfall as well as window cleaner pads. There are two planting baskets included here. Also find three fountain displays, replacement polymer wool pad, and Flore reinforced liner. Amazon has if available here.
Waterfall DIY kits
- Aquascape DIY Backyard Waterfall Kit – Set up your own pondless waterfall with this kit. Step by step instructions are provided in this kit along with waterfall spillway, waterfall vault and AquaBlox 2 pieces. All plumbings and fittings you need are included in the kit. With high quality hose and pond liner, it is easy to set this up and enjoy your own waterfall. Buy it here from Amazon.
- Aquascape Landscape Waterfall Fountain Kit – Set up this stunning water feature at any convenient place in your outdoors. This energy efficient kit is easy to set up in small spaces. Everything that one may need to get it going is included in the kit itself. Just add your imagination to place rocks and plants to boost the looks of your waterfall kit. Buy it here from Amazon.
How do these kits compare?
The DIY kits mentioned above are all meant for setting up small water garden features. The choice is yours to either go for a pond or waterfall. Most of these kits are defined by their ease of setting up, which is why they are marketed as DIY kits. We take a look at how some of these kits compare feature wise.
|Name||Size||Pump||Spillway||Underlayment||Filtration||Liner||Welcome kit and instructions||Plumbing equipment|
|Aquascape Pond Kit||6’x8’/500 gallon||AquaSurge 2000||NA||GeoTextile||MicroFalls FIlter||Yes||Yes||25 feet kink-free hose and all necessary plumbing|
|Pennington Raised Pool Kit||40.5×28.75×24””||300 low voltage pump||NA||—-||Filter with clarifier||Flore reinforced liner||Yes||All plumbing and sealant provided|
|Aquascape Waterfall Kit||3’ long waterfall||AquaSurge 2000||Yes||Geotextile 105 sq. Feet||Yes with water treatment||10’x12’with 20 years guarantee||Yes with USB manual and VDO demos||All components and fitting with flexible pipe|
|Aquascape Waterfall Fountain Kit||45x45x24”||AquaSurge 2000||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||All included with hose and sealant|
Do professional services provide maintenance contracts?
Entering into a contract with professional pond service providers is a good idea to keep your water garden in top shape. They are equipped with all solutions to cater to specific requirements. A service contract will also help in keeping things cost friendly as per contract outlines.
How does lighting enhance your water garden?
Water gardens are meant to create a peaceful and calming effect. Our water garden experience gets further enhanced with enchanting lighting options. The colors and intensity of light can be controlled using remotes. Proper lighting lends a magical quality to our outdoor environment.