Q: What is a water garden?
A: A water garden is a term used to describe a natural living ecosystem that has rocks, plants, and water circulation. A feature that contains all of the above named parts and is naturally maintained and balanced is the essence of a water garden. Water circulation is critical to the health of a water garden, which is why we design our features with a gorgeous variety of waterfalls. All of our custom features are built keeping optimal balance in mind. Our systems mimic natural ecosystems by providing a place for plants, animals, and microorganisms to live and interact with their surroundings.
Q: What kind of maintenance is required for ponds and pondless systems?
A: We create our water features in such a way that the maintenance is as minimal as possible. Some people enjoy working on their pond because of the therapeutic role it can play as a hobby. The most important thing to consider is that this is a living organism and as such, they change with time. Babbling Brooks prefers to let Mother Nature take her course in balancing our ponds. Using plants, beautiful cascading falls, and a flourishing natural habitat for beneficial bacteria and aquatic animals all work together to keep a balanced system. Babbling Brooks also includes extras such as automatic fill valves which regulates the amount of water in your system, to keep the goal of reducing the amount of maintenance in mind. Throughout the year, maintenance is limited to merely emptying the skimmer net about once a month for ponds. The majority of the maintenance is done in the fall when pumps are removed and stored for the winter and reservoirs are drained to prepare for an early start up in the spring. (Link the word 'maintenance' in the first sentence to the Maintenance page.)
Q: What are the benefits of a rubber liner?
A: The 45 mil EPDM rubber liner we use in our water features is ideal because of its flexibility and ability to conform to any area. This allows us to work within any space and create custom features for every client. It is guaranteed for twenty years, with sun exposure, and if covered by rocks and gravel, should last a lot longer than that.
Q: Won't mosquitos breed in my pond?
A: Actually, your pond is reducing the mosquito population. No area of our ponds are left stagnant, therefore it is unlikely that mosquitoes will lay their larvae in bodies of water like your pond. If they do, they are quickly disposed of by fish, and aquatic insects. Your skimmer filter will also take care of the larvae if the fish and other critters don't get to them first.
Q: Do you work with other landscapers?
A: Absolutely. Because we specialize in water features and stay strictly within our passion, developing strong relationships with landscapers is very important to us. Through this relationship our water features and the surrounding landscaping truly complement each other’s work and give our clients the most exquisite results.
Q: How long will construction take?
A: Water features are what we construct each day, which is why we can create gorgeous features without losing our efficiency. In most cases, our features can be constructed in just one day, but will give our clients a beautiful custom feature they can enjoy for many years to come.
Q: Do I need to have fish in my pond?
A: It is not a necessity to have fish in your pond, but many people desire to include fish to add extra beauty and life to their system. You do not need to feed the fish in your pond. The fish can help you maintain your pond by feeding on the algae and stirring up the bottom to help reduce sediment build up. Avoid the common mistake of over feeding your fish or having too many fish as pets because it can work against the balance of your ecosystem.
Q: How do I care for the fish in the winter?
A: A two feet deep pond and keeping a hole in the ice for oxygen exchange to occur allows your fish to survive the winters in your pond. Using a floating heater and aerator in the winter will allow your fish to safely hibernate through the winter.
Q: When can I start up and shut down my pond in the spring/fall?
A: When you start up and shut down your pond is up to you, but typically we begin start-ups mid-April and shut them down in late October to early November.
Q: What is a Pondless waterfall?
A: A pondless waterfall is essentially, a waterfall without a pond. The water will instead disappear into the pebble line and recirculate from the hidden reservoir. Generally they require even less maintenance than ponds. (Link 'pondless waterfall' in first sentence to Boulder Falls gallery page)
Q: Why incorporate aquatic plants in my feature?
A: We enjoy using a variety of hardy perennial aquatic plants throughout our ponds and waterfalls. Aquatic plants not only increase the beauty of the feature but also work to combat the excess amount of nutrients in your water garden. Including a range of creeping plants, which act as a softener naturally forming around the rocks, as well as mosses, grasses, lilies, and irises will enhance the life and beauty of any water feature.
Q: What can I do about algae in my pond?
A: A limited amount of algae in a pond can play a vital role in pond ecology. Aquatic insects and fish utilize algae as a food source. Though, being aware of factors that will cause your beautiful water feature to become saturated with algae growth is the first step towards preventing this potential problem. Algae feed off of excess nutrients in your feature and sunlight. Limiting the amount of exposure it receives to these elements greatly reduce the amount of algae growth. Therefore we can prevent algae growth a few ways. Cut down on the nutrients available in your feature by reducing nutrient rich runoff entering your pond especially from surrounding fertilized areas. Fertilizer, especially anhydrous ammonia, should not be used in close proximity to the pond. Planting a variety of aquatic plants assists in reducing the amount of algae in two ways; they help to shade your water from the sun as the plant roots thrive on the same nutrients algae need to survive. Adding bacteria boosting products and optimizing the amount of surface area available for bacteria to colonize will assist mother nature in digesting any decaying matter in your pond and keep the nitrogen and other harmful nutrient levels at a minimum. Including waterfalls in your feature is one way to combat algae by increasing the amount of oxygen in the pond, as well as using an aerator during the winter months to saturate the water with oxygen as it continues to help decompose any waste matter left in your feature. The breakdown of ammonia, nitrite, and dead plant matter is 10 - 40 times slower without the presence of oxygen. An oxygen rich pond allows the aerobic bacteria to grow and reduce your nutrients in your pond up to 80 times faster than if no oxygen is present. Algae prevention should begin as early in the spring as possible, as algae can flourish from the warm days and available phosphates in the water, giving algae a head start on the growth of your aquatic plants and bacteria.