A quick list of questions to ask a pond builder/contractor in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or anywhere!
What should a home owner ask a pond contractor? After all, how many home owners interview pond builders every day? Here are six questions to ask a potential pond builder.
Question #1: Does the contractor listen more than they talk?
If someone is building a pond in your backyard, you want them to hear your ideas and listen to how you want to use it. A good contractor will ask questions and then shut up!
Question # 2: Does the company have insurance?
If a contractor, working on your property, does not carry insurance, you could be liable for costs associated with accidents or problems. Just ask!
Question # 3: Does the contractor have experience building a koi pond or a disappearing waterfall?
Do they have any pictures? (hopefully!) Take this one with a grain of salt though. Pretty websites and pretty pictures don't mean they build well. Ask if they have had any special training related to the work to be done.
Question # 4: Do they tell the truth? Is this someone you can look in the eye? Do they put in writing what is to be done along with a price and a date? Have they done what they said they were going to do from the first interaction or clearly communicated if difficulties popped up (like missing an appointment because a rain day delayed a big shipment. #contractor woes!)
Question #5: Ask about change orders. Does the company have a simple method or form to use should you want to make changes? This is probably the biggest trigger for contractor-home owner disputes. A change was made during the build causing a price change which shows up on the final invoice. Even if the company does not have a form, simply emailing a change along with a price will help clear up the "mud" because it creates a record.
Question #6: Be honest- about budget, about time frames, about hidden surprises underground. You want a trustworthy contractor who will do what they say they will do. The contractor equally needs to trust that you are being honest about what is underground and that you will do what you say you will do, like pay them.
Working together requires mutual trust!
There are many good contractors who work very hard trying to provide their customers with a wonderful product. Many of them are true artists. Some will have smooth processes and some won't. Hopefully, by asking questions first, you will find a great pond builder to work with! If you have other questions that you think should be included in this short list, please email them to us! We would be happy to share your experience with others.
Becky here- random thoughts on this cold Minnesotan week.
We love you, our customers. We really do!
We love, love, love to see families come outside to enjoy their pond, the fish, and spend time playing together. This is why we do what we do! To help you have a less stressful life and to see you enjoy being together with loved ones.
Our goal is to help make owning a pond in Minnesota easy and fun!
How do we do this?
*Maintain your pond or waterfall giving you time.
*Repairing your pond so it is a beautiful thing instead of a scum pond.
*Bring you beautiful plants. You don't have to go search the best plants because we have locally grown aquatic plants.
It is our desire to do our very best, even when small. Our shop and greenhouses are not picture perfect. You may see a goat in my garage if you come for curbside plant pickup. One of our daughters may be the one putting plants in the trunk of your car and there are Barbie's under my desk. Because this IS a true mom & pop shop. We will strive to give you a wonderful experience and I think you will be pleased or at least, amused.
Water gardens need care, especially in spring. So, just what chemicals, also called water treatments, should you use in your fish pond?
All these items are helpful to the pond owner and are used at different times, depending on your location, sun exposure, fish load, plants used etc. Here is a quick review of the different types of water treatments available. (This list is NOT exhaustive!)
1. Cleaning products such as waterfall and rock cleaner. These help break down algae or muck, leaves, and debris.
2. Water chemistry products. These products help change the pH, detoxify chlorine, neutralize ammonia, and detoxify and chelate heavy metals that can harm pond fish or plants. Some, like Aquascape's Pond Detoxifier, even change those toxins into useful fertilizers for your water garden plants!
3. Beneficial Bacteria products. A big part of natural ponds is the invisible partner- beneficial bacteria. If your pond has a balanced ecosystem, your pond and fish and plants will grow and help each other in the process. Beneficial bacteria help break down debris, fish waste, and other junk. Some bacteria work in cold water and some work in warmer water. These helpful organisms help keep your pond water clean and clear!
SPRING WATER TREATMENTS:
In addition to water treatments, clean your pond! Doing some early spring work will save you time and energy later in the season. If you don't have time to clean your backyard pond, give us a call. One-time cleaning, monthly, or yearly maintenance packages are available for pond owners in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area.
Have a pond in your backyard? Here are 6 ways to get ready for a Minnesotan spring! Bonus! Tips and pricing for a new pond (in case you don't have one yet!)
Minnesotan Springtime is an exciting but challenging time for pond owners. Here are some steps we take when caring for backyard ponds in and around the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. (Spring thaw comes about two weeks later if you live north of the Twin cities or in Duluth.)
*First, a simple winter/spring maintenance step: Keep a hole in the ice for your fish! The snow is melting but the ice takes a bit longer and the fish still need oxygen.
*Pre-order local pond plants before they sell out! Want a new water lily or a few water hyacinth or water lettuce? Click here to order yours. They go fast.
*Plan on cleaning your pond as soon as the ice has completely melted. Pipes, filtration systems, and skimmer boxes all need to be ice free before cleaning occurs. Get on schedue for a spring pond clean or watch this video if you plan to do it yourself.
*Trim dead plants and bushes around pond edges. They are easy to trim when the ice is still firm but this can be done during a spring clean too.
*After the ice is gone and the pond has been cleaned or at the minimum, dead leaves and debris have been netted out, it may be a good idea to add some cold water bacteria. This helps break down any leftover sedinents and will help prevent a sudden algae bloom when the water temperature rises.
*Check your pond water level. Is the water near the top of your skimmer or filtration box? Do you see any low edges where water may be escaping? Take a few minutes to visually inspect your pond. If you find a low spot, try to gently tug the liner up.
A litte maintenance goes a long way! Cleaning out debris, adding cold water bacteria, and removing dead plants and twigs will help keep your pond clean and clear!
Too busy to do the maintenance? Get on the schedule today for a yearly pond spring clean or maintenance!
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.