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Ponds and Cascades

Points to Think About

  • Check with your Local Council about any regulations or permits required.

  • Consider the area for the pond. Overhead trees can cause problems with leaves. Watch out for surface water that might flow directly into the pond.

  • Consider the size of the pond and children that may have access to it.

  • Some birds may cause some problems if you intend to keep fish.

  • Always try and blend the pond in with the surrounding themes as this will give it a more natural look.

Purpose it Serves / Relevent Size

  • Most of the ponds are built simply for recreation and can range from the most simple to the most extravagant.

  • Depending on the theme of a garden the ponds and cascades can be built to suite eg. a native theme can have plenty of bush rock, logs, grasses, sand and pebbles around creating the atmosphere.

  • The shape of the pond must also suite the theme of the garden. If a very formal European style is needed then the shape is with straight sides and brick edging etc.

Genral Tips

  • It is not really a good idea to use plastic for a pond as it's not UV protected and will eventually break up.

  • All the aspects of the pond have to be considered when making the choice of material. Cost of installation of some of the more permanent ponds can deter a lot of people, but can often provide a more natural setting, therefore in the long run they are well worth the money.

  • The pond surrounds will make all the difference to the setting. Think about this as part of the pond and not only place it in the right position but landscape the edges as well.

  • Some ponds are meant to be very formal so the surrounds need to be also.

  • There are a variety of pumps with fountains as an option, from low voltage which will still need 240v to supply the transformer placed nearby, or straight 240v pumps. Either of these can be kept out of the water or submersed in the water. Check with your supplier.

  • Just because you don't have a cascade or don't want a fountain, don't discard a pump. Pumps can be placed in a pond to provide movement to the water. This will help keep oxygen in the water. There's less chance of the water going stagnant and if you have fish they will love the movement of the water.

  • Try to always disguise the pump, hoses and electrical cables as these can disturb the atmosphere you are trying to create.

Job Information

Concrete Ponds

  • This is a consideration when you are thinking of a more permanent pond as generally it stays where it's built.

  • There is more flexibility to the shape as well as the look of the pond, as concrete can be coloured or even painted.

  • Cementing rocks around the edge of the pond can be a relatively easy job especially if the edge of the concrete overlaps the ground.

  • The surface of the concrete doesn't have to be too smooth as this will take away from the natural look.

  • It is important to pour the whole pond in one hit so as to seal it properly.

  • Bond-crete can also be added to the concrete mix to help water proof it. It can also be painted on after to seal the surface.

  • The colour of the concrete that is submerged will discolour, but don't be too concerned about this as it's quite natural.

  • If mixing by hand, the mix should be a good strong one. Plastic laid underneath would only be a matter of precaution, not a necessity. The pond should also be a minimum of 75mm thick.


Basically there is very little but an occasional clean wouldn't do any harm to the surface. If an overflow is put in, check it's function and see that it's clear.

Cemented Stone Cascades

  • One of the biggest concerns is to seal this type of pond properly. If you are considering using stones to build a pond then it's ideal to concrete an under layer that will seal it all up. Plastic can be used as long as there is a thick bed of cement under the stones for strength of the joints.

  • Rocks should also be chosen for the job that are not too porous. Iron stone, granite and such like are ideal.

  • The main advantage is when you come to the edges. The same stones can lap over and this will create a continual theme instead of a break between the pond bed and the edge.

  • Care must be taken with the shape so as to fit to the stones you are working with.


The main concern will be the joints of the stones. Keep an eye out for cracking as this may cause the pond to leak depending on how much care was put into the building of it.

Checking the overflow is also a regular requirement.

Cemented and Stone Cascades

  • It can often be a problem when cementing stones together for a cascade to seal the stones enough to prevent them from leaking. Be warned that care must be taken. A membrane running under the cascade into the pond is essential to catch any leaks.

  • Usually the pipe for the water supply to the top is well hidden inside the construction of the cascade. Remember that it has to come out above the water line both top and bottom otherwise it will leak. Try to hide this pipe otherwise it may spoil the look.

  • The cascade height is only limited by the size of the pump.

  • Remember, the idea of having a cascade is often to create the sound of water. To do this the water flow has to be interrupted as much as possible. So as many times as you can, change the direction of the flow of the water, this will create the sound you are after.


Usually the only concern with cascades is if there is a lot of splashing and the water is escaping or the cascade is leaking. If so the level of the water will eventually drop. Regular checks on the level can prevent this problem.

Fibreglass Pre Moulds

  • These are a pre-cast shape of a pond which can be set in or out of the ground.

  • The advantage of these ponds is that they are well sealed.

  • There are different sizes and shapes as well as different textures to provide variety.

  • There are also smaller ones that are sold as cascades which are placed so that the water will flow from one to the other.

  • Rocks and other material can be placed around the ponds to help blend them into the surrounding landscape.

  • If they are placed into the ground then it's a good idea to bed them into some course sand. This will protect them as well as helping them to sit properly.


These are basically maintenance free if installed properly.

Vinyl or EPDM Rubber Pond Liner

  • This is a flexiblemenbrane that is UV treated, therefore it is better than ordinary plastic.

  • It allows you to shape the pond at your own pace, without the pressure of setting concrete.

  • What ever size pond you would like, remember to order the size sheet that will fit the whole pond so as you don't have a join. This also means enough to come up the sides and overlap the edge.

  • It is best to lay the material on a bed of sharp course sand.

  • Rocks and other material can be placed around the edge to landscape the area. If cementing these rocks around the top, then be careful to wash the material thoroughly of any spilt cement as is stains quite easily.

  • EPDM Rubber membrane is more expensive but more flexible.


This is basically maintenance free if installed properly.

Pumps and Fountains

  • There is a large variety of pumps on the market, from a 240 volt version to lower voltage versions. They can be submersible as well as external of the water.

  • The low voltage pumps need a 240V power that the transformer plugs into.

  • Most pumps come with the option of a fountain, which can be turned off if not required.

  • The pumps are easily installed and require little attention. It is a good idea to try and hide the actual pump with rocks etc. as this looks more natural.

  • Even if you do not have a cascade you might still think about a pump to circulate the water in the pond. This will help prevent the water from going stagnate.


There is a filter to these pumps which has to be regularly cleaned. Also keep an eye on the power supply, making sure that it's kept clear and clean.

For many of us, pottering in the garden is a source of relaxation, even though we are still working physically, it provides a break from the normal day to day routine.

Landscaping becomes an extension of your creativity and it's rewarding to see your garden develop, taking on a personality all of it's own.

Apart from the obvious improvements one makes to a garden, like flower beds and paved areas, there are many things that can be incorporated in the overall garden design.

With the use of the many products available like statues, birdbaths, fountains and ponds, coupled with all the other landscaping products such as sandstone, sleepers, treated pine logs etc.. you can create a whole new world within your own garden environment.

As most gardens are created in stages it is important to have a vision of the end result before you start.

There are so many different types of products available and they all have a different look. For example, a sandstone retaining wall will look totally different to that of treated pine.

If you are not sure of what you like, look through books and visit gardens open to the public and it will become obvious as to the sort of things you like in a garden.

If you have a small garden you might like to keep the same theme throughout, but if you have a larger area to work with you can create little pockets in different sections of the garden, so each section takes on a look of it's own.

Landscaping can be quite a costly exercise, so by developing it in stages allows you to budget over a period of time. And again, having an overall vision of the big picture is a key factor.

You can also create a different mood in the garden with the use of lights at night. There are many types of 12 and 240 volt garden lights, from flood lights to smaller lights. If you are running 240,volt lights the cables need to be installed by a licensed electrician, whereas the 12 volt lights usually come in a D.I.Y kit so you can install them yourself.

Garden lighting can be really creative and very effective.

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