4 Fun Ways to Enjoy Your Minneapolis Garden Pond this Summer

The summer months are the best time to enjoy your Minneapolis garden pond. As you get out and enjoy your backyard, we’ve got four summer pond care tips for you.

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1. Go Green! (and Pink, Orange, Purple and more)

Summer is the perfect time to add more plants that pop with color. Depending on your garden pond design, you can comfortably cover half to a third of your water surface. Be sure to keep fertilizing your plants, just like when you began your spring routine.

These additional plants will add beauty, and ensure the overall health of your pond. 

2. Fish are Our Friends

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Koi or goldfish not only eat mosquitos and other bugs, but they also help keep the water clear. Feed your little friends only as much as they can eat in three to five minutes. Any more than that can break down and cause complications in the warmer weather. 

Additional plants can help with any warmer weather complications.  Warmer water will hold less oxygen for your fish.  When you add plant cover, the additional shade helps keep the temperature down, increases oxygen capacity, and will directly oxygenate the water. Looking for additional ways to increase the oxygen in your pond? Consider adding a waterfall, fountain or other water feature.  

3. Balancing Act: What do YOU enjoy?

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Every pond has its own personality, just like its owner! Do you like a pond design with a more natural look that evokes peace and tranquility? Or do you enjoy a more energizing feature that livens up your yard?

The level of algae, plants, and wildlife (like koi and goldfish) can all be balanced out with the right addition of cleaners, filters, fertilizer and features.

Summertime means a little more fertilizer and algae cleaners for most Minneapolis garden pond owners. 

4. Safety First

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One major upgrade you can take advantage of during the summer months is to increase the overall safety of your pond. While incidents are rare, a few landscaping elements and tools can make a big difference when children are present.

Some safety upgrades can include purchasing a custom  cover to put on when kids are present, or lining the bottom of the pond with rocks to prevent slipping on algae. You can also up your safety game by installing fences, or by making sure the sides are sloped. Fences and sloped sides make it more difficult to fall into the deep part of your pond. 

As with any of your garden pond design needs or ideas, we are here to help!  You can get started with a custom pond or maintenance quote. 

Spring cleaning steps for your Minneapolis Backyard Pond

As the temperatures rise, you may have already started your spring yard cleanup.  If you haven't already done so, it's time to start spring cleaning your Minneapolis backyard pond. You'll want to start early and before the water temperature hits 55 degrees Farenheit. Cleaning after this time can produce unwanted bacteria that will be challenging to get rid of. 

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So what do you need to do to start your spring cleaning? We got several helpful steps to have you sitting in that hammock and enjoying your pond. 

1. Gather your tools

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Every good spring cleaner starts with some basic tools. These tools will come in handy as you complete the cleaning process.  Make sure you gather: 

  • Clean out pump 
  • Waders or boots
  • High pressure nozzle for your garden hose
  • Bucket for debris
  • Extra buckets if you have fish

2. Drain your pond

Once you've gathered your tools, it's time to drain your pond.  If you have fish, you'll want to collect them and transfer them to a bucket with the old pond water before pumping. 

3. Clean up pond bed

Once pond is empty, you'll want to clean the pond bed.  Remove any debris that has collected over the winter and trim any pond plants. 

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4. Wash your pond

Use a high pressure nozzle on your garden hose to clean the pond.  You'll want to wash rock beds and filters. Watch for water to start running clear.  You can drain the dirty water with the pump again. 

5. Wash and inspect filters

Now that the pond is drained, it's time to wash and inspect your filters. You'll want to make sure you don't over clean as some bacteria makes for a healthy pond ecosystem. Now is the time to replace filters as needed. 

6. Plan for future algae

While some algae is beneficial for your pond, too much is not a good thing.  You can clean algae naturally by adding shade to your pond with lillies and water hyachinths.  Waterfalls are also a good addition to oxygenate your pond. 

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7. Refill and test your pond

Refill your pond with a garden hose. You'll want to test the water once filled.  Your ammonia and nitrate levels should be at 0. Your pH levels should be between 6.6 and 8.4.  You can slowly add your fish back to your pond (as long as your water tests pass) by floating buckets with fish and old pond water on top of your pond first.  Next add a little new pond water to their bucket. This will acclimate them to new water temperature until they are ready to be returned to the pond. 

8. Know when to call the pond doctor

If you feel that you may need some extra help with spring cleaning or you would prefer spending your spring relaxing, call the pros. Contact Tim the Pond Doctor online or simply call 763-742-7948.

5 Backyard Pond Ideas for Your Minneapolis Home

As spring makes it's way to Minneapolis, you may be dreaming of ways to enhance your backyard experience this summer. A great way to spruce up your summer enjoyment is with one of these backyard pond ideas. 

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Before you start...

Before you decide on a design, you'll want to choose a pond that fits your space and style.  There are several things to consider before you start. 

  • Do you want an above ground or in ground pond? 
  • Does a formal or casual pond fit more with your style? 
  • Would you want to incorporate a waterfall feature? 
  • Do you want to include fish and plants in your backyard pond? 

After you've made some of these decisions, you're ready to consider the options. 

1. Farm Stock/Bath Tub Pond

This casual looking pond can be an easy addition to your backyard landscape. Recycle a bathtub or purchase your tub new and get started with your design.  For this design, you can keep the tub above ground in a rock garden or put in ground with a little digging. 

2. Converted Hot Tub

If your hot tub is no longer being used, you may be tempted to take it to the curb. But what if I told you that your old hot tub makes a great backyard pond. You can fill her up, add some plants and create a pond to relax by. 

3. Wooden Raised Bed

Option 3 is a wooden raised bed. You can make a wooden frame, line with a pond liner, and start adding accessories to this backyard water feature. 

4. In ground with liner

The simplest way to add a pond to your backyard is to use the space you already have. We help many of our clients install and design in ground ponds with liners.  You'll want to design the size and space and get the proper equipment to maintain your pond all year long. 

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5. In ground flat stone

Similar to the in ground with liner, the flat stone pond has decorative stone around the edges and creates a beautiful pond anywhere in your backyard. 

Ponds can be a lot of work, but are well worth the effort when you start enjoying your own backyard oasis. If designing and installing your own pond feels challenging, we're here to help! DiWhy specializes in doing the heavy lifting so you can sit back and enjoy your summer! 

Early spring cleaning ideas for your Minneapolis garden pond

Spring is around the corner and your Minneapolis garden pond has been lying dormant all winter.  Many of our clients ask us if it's too early to start prepping their ponds for early spring clean up.  While it may be too early to turn on your water filtration system (wait for 45ºF), you can still prepare your pond for spring and summer. 

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If you're ready to get started with pond maintenance now, these four ideas will get you started until we reach that consistent 45ºF mark. 

1. Start planning improvements 

Now is the time to start planning your improvements for the coming pond season. Think through any additions you wish to make like lights and native plants.  Design a waterfall or fountain feature. Or add some accessories from our driftwood store.  Take the early spring before turning on your water filtration to purchase the necessary supplies for your improvements. 

2. Take Inventory of maintenance supplies

While you're waiting for the outdoor temps to rise, assess your inventory of supplies.  Now is the time to stock up on tools you may be missing like nets for cleaning, waders, aqua gloves and extra tubing. 

3. Invest in a healthy ecosystem

Your pond's ecosystem is fragile in early spring. Organic materials in your pond break down as the weather warms up. You'll see a decrease in pH levels, and an increase in harmful ammonia. While you're stocking up on your pond tools, you should also invest in pH adjusters, biological additives, ammonia detoxifiers, and pond aeration. 

4. Inspect your filtration system

Inspect your filtration system and identify any replacement parts you need this spring. Check for filter cracks and kinks in your plumbing line.  Replace any damaged parts, but wait to turn on your system until it's over 45ºF. 

Taking these steps will help make your spring set up much easier and ensure you enjoy your pond all season long. 

We know garden pond design and maintenance is a big job.  If you're ready to hire a trusted pond guy, then we're here to help. 

Garden Pond Ideas for Your Minneapolis Backyard

As you begin to thaw out from our Minneapolis winter, you may be starting to think about the state of your yard.  From greening up your lawn to planting flowers, spring in Minnesota means giving your backyard some TLC.  One of the best ways to upgrade your backyard's look is with a fresh garden pond.  Looking for some ideas when it comes to sprucing up your current water feature or designing a new one?  We've got you covered with our garden pond ideas. 

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1. Start with an inground water feature

If you're more of a traditionalist, then an in ground design with a pond liner is your best bet.  These designs can be placed anywhere in your yard with the right structure and equipment.  You can customize the shape, location and accessories to create the ideal pond design for your yard. 

2. Use an existing structure

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Your existing backyard structures can provide a launching pad for an ideal garden pond design. Consider using existing brick walls, the wall of your home or shed, or even the edge of your deck to design your pond. Using an existing structure can help you place and plan your pond and can save on materials when you start the building process. 

3. Consider repurposing

Depending on the size of your pond design, consider repurposing items for your pond base. Some potential repurposed items can include your old hot tub no one is using, an old boat, metal tub, or planters. These items make great holding tanks for your pond and can give your backyard retreat a boost while staying in budget. 

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4. Add some wildlife

Cold water species like koi or goldfish can liven up your backyard pond.  These fish will keep your water clear by eating insects like mosquitoes and keep your water clear of algae.  

5. Dress it up with driftwood

Driftwood can dress up your pond with a decorative feature. Visit our online driftwood store for unique driftwood pieces to decorate your current pond or design a new one. 

6. Light it up

Enjoy your pond all evening long with lights that enhance your design.  Choose from spotlights, garden lights on the outside perimeter, or even floating solar lights that sit on your pond's surface. 

7. Finish it up with plants

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Don't forget to put the finishing touches on your pond.  Add some water lilies or other pond vegetation to put the finishing touches on making your backyard retreat beautiful. 

A well-designed pond can turn your backyard into a peaceful retreat in your own neighborhood. If you're ready to start designing your backyard garden pond, DiWhy is here to help and specialized in water features for your home. 

7 SUMMER BACKYARD POND TIPS FROM ANOKA, MINNESOTA

SUMMER BACKYARD POND TIPS FROM ANOKA, MINNESOTA

Be the envy of the neighborhood with these 7 summer pond maintenance guidelines from a water feature professional

You’ve taken the time to select the perfect location for your backyard pond, and have chosen the fish that best suit your lifestyle. You love your backyard pond, and why wouldn’t you? After all, ponds are a great place to sip a cold drink near or to teach the little ones how to fish.

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But having a pond isn’t a one and done deal; it takes time and effort to keep the pond at an aesthetically pleasing status. A beautiful backyard pond makes your backyard more enjoyable and is sure to impress your family, friends and neighbors.

So don’t let your initial hard work and money go down the drain by improperly caring for your pond this summer.

Whether you have a koi pond, water garden or a larger pond, the following guidelines will help you keep your pond in tip-top shape. Or if you think you need some assistance, just call Tim!

1) Drain the pond properly

First thing’s first: you have to assess any damage from the winter and give the ‘ol swimming hole a quick spray down/scrub.

Fish are more easily caught when the water level is low because the fish to water ratio is lower.
— Tim the Pond Doctor

This is most easily done by draining the pond. To do this, you’ll need a shop vacuum, boots, gloves, containers for fish, a hose and buckets.

REMOVE THE FISH

You’ll want to remove any fish in your pond before you start the vacuum so they don’t accidentally find a new home in the basin of your vacuum. Use a net larger than your fish to get the task done.

Sweet tip: fish are more easily caught when the water level is low because the fish to water ratio is lower.

Once all the fish are rounded up, turn your focus to the plants.

TRIM THE PLANTS

Trim marginal aquatic plants to 1 to 2 inches above water level. For water lilies, trim back no more than 3 to 6 inches.

Begin draining the pond by syphoning water with a hose or you can pump it.

SCRUB IT UP

Once the pond is drained, remove any sludge or winter debris - such as sticks and leaves - that inevitably slipped through the protective net you installed in the fall (or should have installed in the fall).

Rinse the lining and drain once more before refilling the pond.

2) Stop any leaks

For fast-flowing leaks, you can spray milk at the edges of the pond. Watch where the milky cloud goes. Milk will flow in the direction of the leak and remain cloudy where there is no leak.
— Tim the Pond Doctor

Leaks are possible in any pond – whether it be in the lining or equipment.

If, when you take off the cover, you notice the water level is a little lower than it should be, it’s possible you have a leak.

If there is a leak, there are a couple ways to find the location and troubleshoot the problem.

To locate the leak, remove any pumps from the pond. If the water remains at the same level, the leak is likely in the plumbing or waterfall/stream. If the water level drops, the leak is in the main basin of the pond.

To locate the leak in the liner of the pond, begin draining the pond. As the level lowers, check the liner for any gashes or nicks. For fast-flowing leaks, you can spray milk at the edges of the pond. Watch where the milky cloud goes. Milk will flow in the direction of the leak and remain cloudy where there is no leak.

You can patch any tear or rip in the liner with kits found at most home and garden stores.

3) Fill up to the brim

If there are no leaks and/or after fixing any issues, you’ll want to top off your pond once a week so your fish aren’t stuck swimming in a one-foot by one-foot swimming pool. You may need to fill up your pond more or less often depending on the location of your pond and how big it is.

You can fill up your pond one of two ways: snaking a hose from a spigot down to the pond or collecting water in a rain bucket. You can buy a rain bucket on Amazon or make one yourself with a trash can or some sort of bin, and a nozzle. Presto!

After you’ve filled the pond and restarted the filter, test the water.

Ammonia and nitrate levels should be zero, and pH levels should read between 6.6 and 8.4. Tester kits can be purchased at most garden center stores.

While we’re talking about water quality, be careful not to spray chemicals near the pond. Toxins can seep through the soil and poison fish, other water creatures and plants. Even if you think you are far enough away from any seeping action, it can possibly still occur if the location of the spray is uphill from the pond.

Be conscientious that water from a faucet contains nutrients that may speed up plant growth – and not all plant growth is good. But we’ll get to that soon.

4) Weed out harmful plants

With summer comes longer days and more time for the sun to be out in full force cultivating plant growth.

Those extra doses of golden rays also bring extra nitrogen to your pond, and weeds begin growing like wildfire!

Plants LOVE sun!

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You have to keep on top of deweeding ponds just like a garden. Think about it – If all you do after tilling a garden is leave it alone and admire it, weeds will be sprouting up in no time.

And that’s what happens in ponds, too.

So after topping off the hub for your outdoor aquatic life, spend some time pulling weeds.

Use a pool net to skim off any floating weeds.

A stick or another long-handled instrument can also work to remove longer, string-like weeds. Just imagine you’re pulling hair from your shower drain!

To maintain a clean, healthy pond, grab a handful or two of weeds from various spots around your pond.

After you’ve done your weekly chore cleanup, make sure you leave the clumps of weeds near the edges of your pond. By doing this, any aquatic critters can make their way back to the water and not your trash can or composite pile.

While you’re out ridding your pond of weeds, also do a once-over of any debris of sticks, leaves or other objects that don’t belong in the pond. Dead, dying or diseased leaves and foreign objects can discolor your pond and make it not so attractive.

If you dedicate 5 to 10 minutes each week to pulling weeds and ridding it of any debris, you won’t have to spend several hours of your precious Saturday down around your pond combing and pulling weeds.

5) Blast away algae

In addition to clearing out weeds and debris from your pond, you want to make the effort to dealing with algae.

Have you ever seen a pond with the glowing, slimy green hue? Or muddied water? You don’t want that.

Simply put, algae can be a nightmare. And worse yet, there are thousands of types of algae.

Now before you go pulling and skimming all the algae off your pond, the slimy goo can be good in small doses. Hear me out.

Algae provides a more natural look to a pond’s landscape. And as a bonus, it provides food and oxygen for fish if maintained and controlled.

However, if it isn’t managed properly, well, your pond will be the lesson to all other pond owners of what not to do.

There are many solutions to combat the war with algae, from additives to clarifiers and sterilizers to phosphate removers.

if you want to go a more natural route to defeating algae, try adding shade in the forms of lilies or water hyacinths
— Tim the Pond Doctor

But if you want to go a more natural route to defeating algae, try adding shade in the forms of lilies or water hyacinths. A simple water change can cut back the algae; water high in nitrate fuels the growth of algae. Additionally, water decoration like a waterfall or fountain will help oxygenate your pond. Algae hates oxygenated ponds.

Adding dye also cuts down on algae’s growth since it slightly clouds the water and sun rays don’t penetrate the water as deep.

6) Love on your fish with proper care

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Fish are a beautiful addition to any pond. But the not so great truth is that they are waste manufacturers. And sometimes the amount of waste they produce harms the look of the pond and the fish themselves.

On hot days, pond fish tend to be more active. Just like growing children, food helps them grow.

So watching how much you feed your fish can help prevent a goopy pond. Feed them too much and they will defecate more and not live as long. You can avoid overfeeding by purchasing an automated food dispenser.

Or, if you chose to feed fish by hand, give as much food as they can eat in five minutes one to three times a day.

Summer is also a great time to add any fish, but make sure they will live in harmony with your current school of fish. A good rule of thumb is one average-sized fish for every three to four square feet of surface area. If you’re going the koi fish route, each fish needs 10 square feet of surface area.

7) Know when to call in the pros

If you feel that you may need some extra help this summer as you take on summer pond maintenance or you would prefer spending your time relaxing by the Minnesota lake up north, call the pros. Contact Tim the Pond Doctor online or simply call 763-742-7948.

7 steps to shut down your backyard pond for a Minnesota winter

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Shutting down your back yard pond for the winter is an important step for every Minnesota resident. Follow the steps below to shut down your Minneapolis pond in preparation for another year of enjoyment starting next Spring.

Shortcut: Just contact Tim and he can do it all for you!

Step 1

Use a thermometer to measure water temps throughout the late summer into the fall and winter.  When the temperature starts to drop, slowly start changing the food you feed your fish. Wheat germ based food is ideal for this, as the fish can digest it even in the cold of winter, when their metabolisms slow down.

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Step 2

As the leaves begin to turn color and start to drop now is the time to add a net to your pond to catch the leaves. Make sure the net has been securely fastened around the edges, but don't let it sag into the water, as this can be harmful for the fish. If you prefer not to use a net, spend 10 minutes each evening removing the fallen leaves with a hand net. Empty the net in the skimmer box as needed.

 
For a Minnesota pond, the first week of November is typically a good time to shut the pond down. However, this can change due to the weather.
— Tim the Pond Doctor
 

Step 3

Run your pump late into the fall as this will keep critters looking elsewhere for a place to hibernate during the winter. For a Minnesota pond, the first week of November is typically a good time to shut the pond down.  However, this can change due to the weather. Remove the pump, filters and UV clarifier and store in the garage or basement.  A good spray down from the garden hose is recommended prior to being placed in storage.

Step 4

Open any ball valves on your hose and blow out any low spots. Any sitting water in the hose is susceptible to freezing and thus cracking the hose and plumbing. Place a rag in the hose where the pump attaches to prevent critters from crawling up into it.

Step 5

If your pond is deep enough (38” or more) you will be able to winter over your plants in the pond. Prune any dead leaves and stems off of your deep water plants and move hardy plants around the edges of the pond into deeper water so that they will not freeze in the ice. If your pond is too shallow, you can place a bag over the pot and plants and store in your basement.

Step 6

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If your pond is deep enough (38” or more) you will be able to winter over your fish in the pond.  You will not need to feed the fish during the winter.  Place a floating heater in the pond to keep the pond from completely freezing over. Add an aerator at the bottom of the pond to supply oxygen to your fish.

Step 7

Enjoy the winter and don't be concerned with the frozen water in the pond. That old water will be pumped out in the spring when it melts and you are ready to clean the pond. Also, the frozen water will help keep the critters at bay. Cuddle up and enjoy the beautiful Minnesota winter!

 
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