Water Gardens – Considering Your Budget
CONSIDERING YOUR BUDGET
The construction of a water garden can be a very expensive exercise, so not only is it important for everything to be correct from the beginning, but consideration should also be given to the most economical way of handling the task. In some cases, this should be to obtain a quotation from a local builder or landscaper, for if you are not a practical person, the job should be handed to a professional.
It is essential that you know what you want, both visually and to ensure the well-being of the fish and plants. An expert builder is unlikely to be an expert pondkeeper, so an understanding must be gained of all the principles involved in establishing and sustaining aquatic life. A detailed brief of your requirements should then be provided for the builder. Do not tell him his job, for he will know much more about how the concrete should be mixed and laid or the brickwork built, but it is important to ensure that your requirements for the fish and plants are met, and that expedient building techniques do not compromise your brief.
Tn most cases, when a water feature is built from brick or with concrete, engaging a professional will ensure a better and more cost-effective result than doing it yourself. Only the skilled do-it-yourself enthusiast is likely to produce a feature that looks right and works properly. Although the job may appear to be cheaper if you do not count the cost of your own labour, it certainly will not be more economical if your carefully laid concrete leaks. When seeking a professional, make sure that he belongs to an appropriate trade organization, which will not only indicate that he knows what he is doing, but will also provide a means of obtaining some redress if things go wrong.
Careful planning is the key to economy when employing a contractor or adopting the do-it-yourself approach. It is essential to know exactly what is required and to make no compromises about it. If using a pond liner, dig the excavation first, then purchase the liner. So many gardeners buy a liner first, then attempt to create a hole for it — a recipe for disaster. In such cases, the pool is unlikely to look right, and wastage of material is almost inevitable.
Quality is also very important: you get what you pay for with liners, as with everything else in life. If you plan to remain in the same home for the foreseeable future, durability will be vital. When a lined pool will be planted within containers and have a soil-free floor, a top-quality manufactured will be better value in the long term. On the other hand, if a is to be created and the liner will not be seen because it will be covered with a layer of soil, a considerable saving can be made by purchasing a stack or truck cover. These are waterproof sheets of varying size and often bright colours, but they are as good as the real thing and about a third of the price.
Economies are difficult to make elsewhere, for equipment like pumps and lighting, which are necessary if a pool is to be enjoyed to the full, must be paid for at the going rate.
Again, quality is important, and with a pump, choosing a slightly more expensive model with a larger capacity than is required initially will be a good investment. Apart from the fact that as enjoyment of the pool develops, greater demands are likely to be made upon the pump, operating it at less than its full capacity will ensure a long and trouble-free life.
Of course,need not be introduced to the pool immediately; you may not be able to afford everything at once. However, careful planning before any work begins will ensure that such improvements can be made easily at a later date. For example the conduit that will carry the cable to the pool can be laid during construction. Simply thread a string through it so that when the time comes for the cable to be installed, it can be tied to the string and pulled through.
One thing that your budget must allow for in the first year is essential planting. Certain plants, especially submergedand deep-water subjects like waterlilies, must go in during the first season. They will ensure a reasonable balance within the pond from the outset, guaranteeing that fish and other aquatic life can be introduced with safety later.
When contemplating a water garden, your budget must embrace any costs involved in running services to the site, the provision of a liner or prefabricated shape, and the basic plants to enable a satisfactoryto be achieved. Everything else can be added after this, as money becomes available.
However, it is worth considering the inclusion of aat an early stage when a lined pool is being planned, for it is much simpler and cheaper to create such a feature from an extended pool liner than to add it later.
If in the short term, economics really do not permit you to indulge in a fully fledged garden pool, consider a tub garden. An enormous amount of pleasure can be derived from such a simple water feature for a minimal outlay.