Water landscapes with pools, streams and even waterfalls are fantastic during the spring, summer and fall, however many people are concerned about the maintenance of these features during the winter months with all of the snow and freezing temperatures that we have to deal with in Alberta, Canada. We felt that it would be helpful to our clients and potential customers if we wrote an article about dealing with these conditions and how easy it is to prepare your water landscape for the winter season. Even if you have fish in your pond, these can be easily accommodated and your fish will survive quite nicely through the winter with the proper preparation.
Preparing your Water Landscape for the Winter
Basically preparation of your water feature is pretty easy and straight forward when it comes to closing down your water landscape for the winter. Typically the water feature should be shut down in late October or early November to avoid any potential for water freezing in the pipes and pumps, damaging the units as a result. It is also a lot easier to work around your water feature when there is no snow on the ground.
The pump and filter should be removed and drained. The automatic water level float should be shut off and removed and all pipes should be drained to avoid water freezing inside them and cracking the pipes during the winter. The pump and other devices can be stored inside where it is dry and if all the water is drained, they can be kept outside in a non heated shed if that is preferable. Most people will store these units in their garage for the winter.
This is also a good time to remove any additional debris and organic matter that might have built up during the summer and fall season. Leaves and twigs often fall into the water landscape from surrounding trees and also plants around the landscape should be trimmed back. Once all of this work is done your water landscape is ready for the winter unless you have fish in the pond. We have a separate section about maintaining the fish in your pond over the winter time.
Opening your Water Landscape for the Spring and Summer Season
Opening the water landscape is really the reverse of closing. All winter debris needs to be cleaned up before adding water. This is also a good time to rearrange any plants if desired or to add plants if you want to make some changes. Install the pump, filter and raise the water level, install the water float valve and prime the pipes to get everything going.
An inspection of the water liner should also be completed to make sure that there are no leaks anywhere in the rubber liner. These leaks, if there are any can be patched with rubber liner repair kits if needed. Once the water level has been restored and circulating a water quality check should also be completed to make sure that the PH level is within desired limits to promote plant growth and limit algae.
Opening your water landscape can be completed in mid April after all major cold snaps are behind us. Your plants will grow and will begin to attract the birds and animals once again to your yard. Everyday you will see a change as the plants grow and more birds return from southern climates.
Preparing Fish Ponds for the Winter
Backyard water landscape features do not need to have fish in their ponds; however this adds another element to ponds in someone’s backyard that many people like. These fish add a unique feature to many ponds that many customers enjoy. The fish in your pond will survive quite nicely on the algae that grow in your pond and clients can also feed their fish as well. Customers enjoy seeing their fish swim to the surface to feed and splash about the pond in an effort to eat the food that is sprinkled on the surface.
As fall roles around, the water gets cooler and the metabolism of the fish in your pond declines and in fact they should not be fed to avoid harming them later on during the winter. When the pond is closed for the winter season, an aerator should be added to add oxygen to the water and to keep the water from freezing over. Your fish will be in a dormant mode and will move very little and not eat at all over the winter. Depending on the construction of the pond, the depth of the pond, clients may also need to install a small heater in the water to keep the water from freezing. Deeper pools will be fine with just the aerator, while shallower pools will need to have a heater maintain the proper water temperature.
In the spring follow the normal water landscape opening procedure. Remove the aerator and the heater and follow all of the other steps outlined above.
Call for an appointment to have your backyard water landscape designed and a quote prepared. Speak to one of our experts about the type of water landscape feature that you are interested in. They will be happy to assist you in bringing nature into your yard!