Van Ness water Gardens

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General Methods and Tips

Methods of Building

Just as you can personalize your water garden by the plants and fish you put in it, the many different ways to build a garden allow you to tailor it to your likes and needs. You can choose from several different pond building techniques and materials. There's sturdy, easy-to-use pre-fabricated polyethylene ponds, extremely flexible pond liners, old fashioned cement, or even a small, mobile tub or half barrel. And water pond construction can grow just as your garden does. Accessories, such as lights, waterfalls, or fountains, can be added at any time.

The selection of the building materials will require you to analyze several different characteristics. If you want ease of installation, you may want to consider the pre-fabricated pond or a tub garden. Both the pre-fab and the pond liners are extremely durable. For unlimited size you will want to use either pond liners or cement. If you are concerned about having to repair damage to your pond, the prefab ponds will require the least amount of effort. And, of course, tub gardens can be moved from place to place.

Once you have analyzed your options and selected your building material, it's time to plan where you're going to build.

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Planning Your Water Vision

Before you begin digging, here are a few important things to consider. Select your site carefully and avoid an area where trees or shrubbery will shed into the water. Most importantly, the pond should receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Outline the proposed pond with a rope on the ground, trying different shapes until you find the one that pleases you most.

You may want to consider your source of electricity while you are in the building stages. All electrical pond equipment will need grounded, three prong outlets. An electrician or building supplier can help you with this. Bobby float valves that automatically maintain the level of water in your pond and add water as needed are helpful. In this case you will need to run copper tubing from your water supply to the pond and install the float bracket at the pool edge.

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Waterfall Tips

Waterfalls are one of nature's most beautiful creations. The backdrop to your waterfall can be almost anything, even dirt left over from digging the pond. Existing walls, 55-gallon drums, or old cement blocks serve as backdrops.

Waterfalls are both wet and dry, leading to expansion and contraction of your building materials. For that reason, the base of the waterfall is an important factor in construction. Two construction types for waterslides are cement and liner. Poly sheeting will not work or last.

  • LINER - When possible, use liner all in one piece for both pool and waterfall. Be especially careful if placing rocks or stones on the liner that they do not tear or puncture it. Do not trim the liner until the waterfall has run for seven days to allow for any changes that may be needed after pool has settled.
  • CEMENT - Pack soil firmly where fall will be located. Lay tie rods and wire mesh reinforcement. Cement (using a fiberglass additive to mix) a four-inch thick concave trough into the pool. After the cement has hardened, place rocks and stones into place with additional cement.
  • SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS - To determine which submersible pump would be best suited for your waterfall, determine how high the water must be pumped vertically from the bottom of the pool. Select a pump that will turn over the total capacity (in Gallons) of your pond at least once an hour at this height. This will generally give you a pleasing proportion of water movement in relation to the size of pond.
  • HELPFUL HINTS - Be sure your waterfall, when running, will not have more capacity than the pond. Generally, the base pond should be four times the size of the waterfall. Waterfalls will make more noise if some of the rocks jut out with a hollow space behind the falling water.

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Fountain Tips

Webster's tells us that a fountain is an artificial spring, jet, or flow of water, but our senses tell us it is much more. A fountain produces iridescences that defy the artist's brush; fountains give shape to water; and the subtle sounds of a fountain offer calmness, serenity, and tranquility to our madcap world.

For centuries Europeans have enjoyed the beauty of fountains in their public squares and private gardens. Today, in America, fountains are now taking their rightful place as an art form in many city parks, plazas, and buildings. You, too, can enjoy the beauty of a fountain. Bring your WATER VISION alive with the soft sounds of raindrops.

Fountainheads may be installed in an existing pond, yet a pond is not necessary for the creation of a fountain. Almost any water-holding container will accommodate the required essentials.

Fountainheads should be installed slightly above the surface of the water to achieve the full effect of the spray pattern. A rise from the submersible pump discharge on the bottom of the pool to the fountainhead just above the surface will be necessary. PVC or galvanized pipe will work fine.

Using a Van Ness Water Gardens Bio-Filter will help prevent the fountain jets from clogging. Fountain sprays are especially dramatic when lit at night with an underwater light.

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Pond Capacity Calculator

To calculate water volume and surface area, simply enter the appropriate values in the pond size calculator below and click on the Calculate button. We will automatically calculate the gallonage and surface area of your pond.

(Please note, for this Pond Capacity Calculator to work, you must have a JavaScript enabled browser.)

Shape of PondPond Dimensions (in Feet)Formulas (for Gallons)Surface Area (in Sq. Yards)
Length/Diameter in ft.
length x width x depth x 7.5 = gallons length x width 9 = square yards of surface area
Width/Diameter in ft.
diameter x diameter x depth x 5.9 = gallons 1/2 the diameter squared (times itself) x 3.14 9 = square yards of surface area
Oval Water Depth in ft. length x width x depth x 6.7 = gallons 3.14 x 1/2 length x 1/2 width 9 = square yards of surface area