Small spaces like a small backyard can become a wonderful place with the addition of a water feature! There are three good options for small water features that you will love to have. They are easy to maintain, fun to enjoy, and not costly. These small backyard water features are fountains and spillway bowls, pondless water falls, and small koi ponds.
1. Fountains and spillway bowls
Fountains come in all shapes and sizes but for ease of maintenance, fountains with an underground water storage vault and recirculating pump are a good choice. The part you see can be made from a variety of products like rock basalt columns or native Minnesota boulders; stacked slate urns made of composit materials; or concrete pottery like the beautiful spillway bowls.
Because they are fairly simple to install, they cost less and are a good choice for someone wanting to DIY their own backyard water feature.
2. Pondless Waterfalls
Pondless waterfalls are the type of water feature that is hard not to fall in love with! They always have the sound of moving water and are easy maintenace, too. You might ask yourself if you like big, dramatic, loud water sounds or more subtle, quiet and deep water movement. Either style can be built using the pondless waterfall system.
3. Small backyard koi pond
I have a confession to make. My husband wanted a pond in our small backyard. I put it off for years thinking the backyard was just too small. But we finally did put a pond in and it made all the difference between a "nice Minnesota backyard with lawn and some shrubs" and a place I wanted to be. Of all the pond pictures we have taken, the pond picture below is the most loved. (That is a picture of our actual pond we had in our small backyard.) Everyone loved that koi pond! It was about 8' x 11' with one small waterfall made of a flat piece of stone. We kept fish in it all year long, too.
These three small backyard water feature styles are worth considering if you have a small space, budget, or time. Of course, they also work well in larger settings or as add-ons to larger ponds and waterfalls. For more information, check out 7 questions to ask when choosing a water feature. You may be pleasantly surprised to find you now love your backyard too!
You’re enjoying the sound of your babbling waterfall flowing with the last of your morning routine, and leave to work in Minneapolis, MN. Around 1:30 PM you start dreaming of relaxing by the garden pond. Finishing the stressful day at work, you get home and realize you don’t hear your water flowing. Who do you call? Here’s a few things you can do to check for your waterfall pump issues!
Remember, if your pond will not be flowing overnight, it's a good idea to get an aerator in the pond so the fish have oxygen.
Grab your cell phone and charger, and let’s head out by the pond and waterfall!
1. Pond And Waterfall Pump Cavitation
Do you hear a slurping sound? Many have heard the sound of the last drops of a kid’s smoothie or shake being sucked up with a straw. Annoying, right? If you hear that sound from the pump area, the technical term is cavitation and causes damage to pumps. Your water level is low at the pump for some reason. A common pond pump and waterfall pump issue is low water around the pump. You may need to clean your filters, or the pond may just need to be topped off because of evaporation, or you may have a waterfall leak. We have this article on leaks. Adding 1 to 3 inches of water in your pond per week is considered normal. Here’s a calculation from Aquascape on expected evaporation/splash loss .
2. Plugged Intake Of The Pump
Is the pump humming with no water flow? If you hear the pump buzzing and nothing is coming out, while the pump is submerged under more than 5 inches of water, the intake of the pump could be plugged. Depending on your ability, you can clean the pump intake or call us.
3. There's no sound at all
Do you hear nothing from the pump? Grab your cell phone charger, plug it into the outlet next to the pump. Is there power?
The pump should be plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI (formerly abbreviated GFI). We’ve been on service calls where the problem was simply a tripped GFCI.
If there’s no power, try resetting the GFCI.
If the GFCI trips right away, unplug everything from the outlet. Try resetting it again. If it trips again and doesn’t work with your cell phone charger, call a licensed electrician.
4. Pump Failure
If there’s power, no slurping sound, and no humming from the pump, it’s probably time for some help. We have many options available to us for pumps. We need to properly size your pond pump for longevity, and will talk about that in a different blog. If your pump died in less than 3 years old, it’s probably the wrong pump for the application. We have worked with Aquasurge, Little Giant, Tsurumi, AqusacapePro, Pond Boss, Easy Pro, and Aquascape pumps. We can often have your pump rebuilt by one of our rebuild specialists. If your pump has lasted over 5 years and you want to keep a good thing going, get it repaired!
We have a repair team on during the entire week and respond within 24 hours on weekdays, and if you have a question or emergency repair on a weekend we respond when we can, and will by Monday at noon. Submit a request for assistance on our Repairs Page, or text/call 763-458-8104.
We look forward to helping you with your Aquascape pump issues wherever you are in the 7 county area around the Twin cities, focusing in cities like Maple Grove, Wayzata, Plymouth, Minnetonka, and others!
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I love seeing "before & after" pictures! This Minneapolis koi pond was built many years ago. The pond did not have any algae control. It was surrounded by dry, compacted soil and rocks and weeds making it very hard to plant a garden near it and was a complete eye sore to the home owner. So, they asked Jeff to rebuild it.
The existing concrete patio was left in place but the old, leaky pond was totally removed and disgarded. Soil was excavated and a new rubber liner was installed instead of a preformed plastic pond liner. This gave the owner a larger, custom shaped pond that fit the space.
The area for the pond was quite small. Actually, it was one of the first backyard ponds we built.
Ponds can be small and the filtration systems can be disguised to seemlessly blend in with the landscape. If, like in this pond, the filter sticks up a bit more than wanted, aquatic plants can help soften the look. Even in small ponds it is important to use a filtration system to keep the water clear and to control algae.
The water plants filled in as the summer went by and the end product was beautiful! The owner loved having a backyard pond that was easy to maintain. I don't think he grew any coi fish but he was able to grow some beautiful water lilies.
If you are interested in learning how to filter a small pond, check out 'How to Choose the right filter for your pond" from Aquascape Inc.
If you have a small pond that needs to be cleaned, repaired, or upgraded, please send us a note. Our friendly technicians will gladly walk you through the steps your backyard pond may need to operate clean and free of algae this summer. Or if you just don't have time, set up your pond spring cleaning today!
Jeff Chudek has been building ponds and waterfalls professionally since 2005. As a kid, his favorite time of year was spring, because the spring thaw created so much mud and puddles, and all the trees and plants were waking up. He loves figuring out the best way to use something, and fixing things that are broken. He's good at coming up with ideas, and helping choose the best idea for you.