Whether you’re making your own backyard water garden or hiring a contractor to do it for you, there are things you should definitely be careful of. Given the time and money you’re investing in the project, it’s vital that you’re well-informed before you upturn a single shovelful of dirt or place a single stone.
Common DIY Water Garden Mistakes to Watch For
Gardening industry analysts have found that the average do-it-yourself water garden builder makes, on average, three ponds – not one. Why? Because their planning is too conservative. People tend to be overly cautious, planning small ponds, only to later expand them again and again. When you’re working on your pond design, don’t be afraid to think big if that’s what you really want – you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money down the road.
Proper research will help you here. Taking the time to learn from the mistakes of others is the easiest way to make sure you don’t make those errors yourself. You’ll find plenty of how-to books and instructional DVDs at your local bookstore and online, so get reading. These resources will also give you lots of creative design ideas that you may otherwise not have thought of.
Also, if you’re planning to add a layer of gravel to the pond in your water garden, be very careful not to add too much. Gravel layers thicker than 2 inches can emit noxious gases when they interact with the water treatment chemicals you’ll use to keep the water clean. These gases can be fatal to aquatic life, so be extra careful if you want to house fish or friendly amphibians in your pond.
If you’re going to use a liner to protect the finished product, remember to check closely for cracks and leaks before you cut away and discard the excess lining. Should you miss a leak in need of repair, you may have to refit your entire pond with a new liner, costing you hundreds of dollars that a little foresight would easily have saved.
Pitfalls of Home Water Garden Contractors
The first, and most important, thing you need to know about water garden contractors is that their past work is their only real calling card. For all the promises a contractor may make, if he can’t prove that he’s delivered results in the past, don’t trust him with your garden fountain project.
Keep in mind that the lowest price doesn’t necessarily mean the best product. Firms that both design and build home water gardens have higher overhead costs and therefore charge more, but their expertise will show at every stage of the project and the extra money could be well worth the investment.
Finally, never proceed without a formal contract. This protects both parties, and will clearly set forth your expectations and responsibilities, the agreed-upon cost of the services and a payment schedule. If it makes you feel more secure, have your lawyer take a look at the contract before you sign it.