Aquarium Fish

Simple Guide to Garden Ponds

By Terry Anne Barber, TFH Publications (2002)

Simple Guide to Garden Ponds

The Simple Guide to Garden Ponds by Terry Anne Barber is for those of you interested in setting up your very own backyard pond! A garden pond or backyard pond can be quite the undertaking and a good amount of research is required before even thinking about getting that shovel out of the shed. There are a lot of factors to consider such as the pond's location, the size, what are you going to use for a pond liner and what types of fish are you going to keep? What about animals in your area such as raccoons? How are you going to provide electricity to your pond for the water pump or waterfall? Surely you're not going to just run an extension cord! How are you going to control the algae from the nutrient build up and natural sunlight? There are quite a few factors to take into consideration and the Simple Guide to Garden Ponds attempts to make these clear.

A backyard pond is a big project and really, you need to research this thoroughly since it will cost a bit of money and labor on your part to set it up. You want to get it right the first time. The topics covered in this pond book follows:

Part One - Plan Before You Dig
  • Chapter 1: Why Add Water to the Garden? - talks about how a pond can be beautiful, provide relaxation, how the pond hobby is growing, pond keeping history, shows, tours and how to become a pond geek.

  • Chapter 2: Before You Plunge In - figuring out how big your pond should be and why your first pond should be on the smaller side, electrical issues to consider, local laws and ordinances, wild animals and your pond, how to budget a pond project, making a list of items needed.

  • Chapter 3: Planning Your First Pond - more about pond size, types of ponds, how to start thinking about the livestock for your pond.

  • Chapter 4: Find Your Supplies - what to avoid, water plants, oxygenators, submerged plants, marginals, floaters, where to go for supplies - local shops and mail order and collecting your own pond specimens.
Part Two - Pond Equipment
  • Chapter 5: Keep That Water Clean: Filters - filtration basics such as mechanical, biological and chemical filtration, filter materials, filter cleaning equipment, how big it should be, misc. filter types and how to build your own filter.

  • Chapter 6: Keep That Water Moving: Pumps - types of pond pumps, how to figure out how much water flow you need for your pond and several more topics related to pumps.

  • Chapter 7: Call the Plumber! - setting up the pond pipes, overflows, drains, pond skimmer, uv clarifier, waterfalls and fountains.
Part Three - Construction Zone
  • Chapter 8: Location, Location, Location - factors to consider when placing your pond such as the view, natural sunlight, the lay of the land, hiding pond components and some good general placement ideas.

  • Chapter 9: The Pre-Formed Pond - laying out your pond, how to dig, installing filters and landscaping

  • Chapter 10: The Big Dig - Building a Liner Pond - liner materials like pvc, polyethylene, EPDM, other liner types, preparing the pond dig site, the pond's shape, depth, volume, renting equipment tips, how to hire a professional when needed, installing the pond liner, drains and plumbing and finishing up.

  • Chapter 11: When You Want Pondzilla - concrete ponds, earth ponds, natural ponds and working with a contractor

  • Chapter 12: Moving the Waters - why you want a waterfall, design ideas, working with rocks, designing and creating a natural stream and how to plumb waterfalls, streams and pond fountains.

  • Chapter 13: Cycling Your Pond - the Nitrogen Cycle, how to cycle your pond, ammonia fixes, zeolite, nitrite knock-outs.
Part Four - Plants and Fish
  • Chapter 14: Plants In and Around the Pond - all about good plant choices for both in and around the pond.

  • Chapter 15: Gone Fishing - ideas for fish to stock, how many fish you can keep using some simple to follow guidelines (surface area rule), fish quarantine procedures and when you can add fish to your pond.

  • Chapter 16: Goldfish, Bright and Beautiful - different types of goldfish you can stock in a pond such as comets, shubunkins, fancy goldfish, fantails and how to breed goldfish.

  • Chapter 17: Koi - Pond Royalty - origins of the koi, the varieties of koi, shopping, transporting, handling, showing and breeding koi.

  • Chapter 18: Look Who Else Moved In - other animals that will gladly use your pond like toads, frogs, snakes, bugs, cats, birds and some bigger predators. Did you consider these when thinking about setting up a pond?
Part Five - Good Pond Keeping
  • Chapter 19: Taking Care of Your Water - pH issues and how to test and adjust the pH if needed. Carbonate hardness, carbon dioxide, algae control and stinky pond water issues and how to fix them.

  • Chapter 20: Do Your Chores - all about pond maintenance and the tasks you will need to perform on an on-going basis to keep your pond in good shape. Information on how your pond will transform through the four seasons and how to over winter your pond, fish and plants.

  • Resources and Index
This pond book is pretty big for a simple guide at around 240 pages and I really enjoyed the author's writing style and how she has fun teaching beginners about ponds. After all, a backyard pond is supposed to be something that is enjoyable. There is a lot that goes into making a beautiful backyard pond and I think this book will get most anyone started down the right path. It's going for about $20 for the paper back or half that ($10) on the kindle. I rate the Simple Guide to Garden Ponds four and a half stars: 4.5 stars

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Author : Mike FishLore

Rating Information
Review Title: Simple Guide to Garden Ponds
Reviewed by: Mike FishLore
Summary: Book review of Simple Guide to Garden Ponds.
Description: This book is for those of you interested in setting up your very own backyard pond! A garden pond or backyard pond can be quite the undertaking and a good amount of research is required before even thinking about getting that shovel out of the shed.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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