Choosing Materials

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This article will teach you how to build a garden pond.
by Brett · All Zones · Water Gardens · 0 Comments · August 31, 2010 · 37,021 views

Tips for Choosing Materials

Choosing a Liner

A flexible pond liner is a heavy, black rubberized or synthetic material that is specially designed and manufactured for this purpose. Do not use plastic sheathing, swimming pool liners, or other materials for your pond liner, as they are easily damaged and can be susceptible to degradation by sunlight and freezing temperatures. Consult with your local pond supply store as to the various types of liners available in which to line your pond with. If the best liner is only a few dollars more, get it.

Choosing a Pump for a Waterfall

Pumps are available in both submersible and external. Reputable water garden suppliers have charts and other information available that can help you select the best model and connecting equipment for your purposes. For the smaller pond, a submersible pump is the most economical. Depending on the size of the pond, a filter and even a skimmer may also be incorporated.

Pumps are sized by gallons per hour (GPH) output at one foot of lift or height. Larger capacity pumps are rated by horsepower (hp). Manufacturers offer charts that break down the power of each size pump according to incremental heights of one foot. Some companies label pumps by GPH while others assign letter or number designations that require cross-referencing to charts.Your local pond supply dealer can help you in choosing the right pump.

It is recommended that the water in a basic pond be turned between1/2 to 1 times per hour. A 500-gallon pond should have at least a 500 Gallon Per Hour pump. When sizing a pump for a pond there are a few other considerations. How high will the pump have to lift water? Will there be a waterfall or fountain? Will there be filters? All of these variables reduce the amount of flow, which could affect water quality and clarity.

To determine the pump required for your pond take and write these measurements down:

Estimate the vertical height from the top of your pump to the top of your waterfall or stream and write this measurement down. Add another foot of height (or lift) for every 10 feet of hosing you will be using and write this measurement down.

If you plan to have a stream, a general rule of thumb is to figure your stream/waterfall requirement as 150 gallons per hour per inch width of the spillway or channel. For example, if your stream or waterfall spillway will be 10 inches wide, you will need a pump that produces a flow of 1500 gallons per hour. This may sound a bit confusing so just write down all the measurements (heights and widths) you can think of so that when you consult with a professional he/she will have these measurement to assist you in determining the size pump you need.

TIP: It is best to purchase a pump that will more than handle your needs as pumps come with valves that allow you to reduce the amount of flow, if necessary or desired.

Submersible pumps are placed directly in the pond. They are free of distracting noise and can be used to drain your pond when necessary. These pumps do have a disadvantage. The pump seal can rupture, sending oil coolant into the water. This can prevent surface gas exchanges, thereby endangering your fish. We would recommend the new magnetic-drive pump, which avoids the use of coolants. They are more expensive to buy but are far less expensive to operate.

Tubing Diameter For Pumps To Waterfalls:

  • 1/2-inch diameter for flows up to 120gph
  • 3/4-inch diameter for flows up to 350gph
  • 1-inch diameter for flows up to 1000gph
  • 1 1/4 inch for flows up to 1500 gph
  • 1 1/2 inch for flows up to 3000 gph


A well designed larger pond should include filitration. Ask your pond supplier about a filtration system that will work well with the pump you select.

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