If you are entertaining the thought of having someone else build your pond read this article before agreeing to anything!
There are professionals who know ponds and there are others who don’t. There are some that are in the learning curve and will become great pond builders one day. As backyard ornamental ponds increase in popularity so do the number of contractors who become overnight experts. Suddenly everyone knows how to build a pond. We know about filtration but every day we learn something new. Don’t ever think you know best, listen and learn from other people.
The truth is, pond construction is an art and a craft and only a portion of those who say they know how to build ponds actually do. We hear the horror stories from those who made “wrong” choices when selecting a contractor to do the work.
There was the lady who paid her contractor R10 000 only to have him skip town leaving behind a pile of rocks and a poorly dug hole.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the one about the expert pond professional who brought in loads of rock for a waterfall and didn’t place liner underneath.
Oh, and then there’s the one who installed a pond “kit” from a Pet shop and charged R50,000 to “build” the pond…
How does one make the right choice of contractor? Easy! Make sure the candidate knows what he’s talking about! Here are a few indicators to look for when interviewing a possible candidate:
Immediately kick him off your property if:
- He suggests putting in a fiber glass preformed shell. (Idiot!)
- He tells you that there’s no need to fit liner under a waterfall because he’s cementing it. (Unless you love leaks…)
- His only references are relatives. (yeah yeah)
- He says you don’t need a filter. (Kick him!)
- He thinks a submersible pump is good enough. (Kick him again or hit yourself on the head if you want to go this route)
- He’s never built one before but thinks he can do it.
- He only knows one system and that’s the highly marketed gravity feed system with sponges and off cut pipes for bio media.
Consider the following good marks if:
- He uses the phrase “filtration system”. Or “bead filter and blower / aggregator”
- He suggests putting in a bottom drain with an outside pump.
- He has a portfolio, references and even has a showcase pond that you can visit.
- He suggests including a UV light and bio filter in his proposal.
- He suggests a pump room or covered area for your expensive equipment. The sun will ruin your equipment in two years.
A good pond professional will know the difference in pumps, filters and UV lights. He may be booked for a couple of weeks because the demand is so high now for good pond builders. His prices will not be ridiculously low nor will they be extremely high. He will listen to what YOU want and make suggestions on how the pond can be made more attractive and more easily maintained.
Remember that just because someone has been in the “pond business” for years does not necessarily mean he is the right person to build your pond. The trick is to find someone who knows how to install types of systems. Don’t go by “looks” only. Some of the prettiest pondscapes leak like sieves. Any style pond can be constructed with state-of-the-art filtration. Any style pond can have crystal clear water.
If you trust someone who has done your landscaping or who is a friend and would like to give him an opportunity to build your pond it would be a great idea to have him come by and let us show him how to put together a system that does everything you desire and one that won’t work you to death after it’s built.
Once you have made your choice there are a few things you should do to insure you’re getting the best job from your contractor.
- Communicate your wishes to him. If you leave it up to the contractor to build your pond as he wants then you don’t have the right to get angry if it’s not what you want.
- Rome was not built in a day, neither should your pond. Facts are, if done properly, there are some things that must cure or dry overnight or a few days before more work can be performed. It will take a couple of weeks or months, depending on the size and type of pond.
- Have the area ready. Make sure the proper electricity is run and water is easily available before he arrives.
- Settle the money issue before the work starts. Know exactly what it is going to cost you and realise that deviations from the original plan may cost you more.
- Don’t expect your project to be without any problems. Nothing goes exactly as planned. As long as the contractor corrects any problems it still should be considered an excellent job.
Easy peasy. Get building or rather contact us for professional advice and equipment.