How To Winterize a Garden Pond


Water gardens add an attractive accent to the backyard but require a fair amount of care. When winter and fall come around, the work doubles. Falling leaves and twigs require removal on a daily basis to prevent damage to fish that may live in the water. As the weather turns cold, it is important to ensure the health of fish, as well as the plants added to the pond for decoration. Winterizing is not difficult, and will reduce the need to troubleshoot the pond in the spring.

Step 1

Stop fertilizing the pond once the weather starts to cool in the fall. This reduces top growth of plants and encourages further root development.

Step 2

Remove any yellowing or dead plants from the water and determine which plants require removal before the winter and which are able to withstand the cold weather by determining the plant variety.

Step 3

Place an air bubbler or water pump into the pond to move the top layer of water. Air pumps prevent the surface layer of the water from freezing, which may kill off fish. Do not place the pump at the bottom of the pond, as moving the warmer water at the bottom to the top will cause fish to die from shock. Alternatively, use a deicer with a heat coil to keep the surface of the pond from freezing.

Step 4

Remove tropical plants and water lilies from the pond and place them in an aquarium or a greenhouse under artificial lights to keep them alive over the winter. Light the plants for 12 to 18 hours a day and keep the water at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Clean the pond of silt and debris if the pond has accumulated more than an inch of that matter. Remove fish from the pond and place them in a portion of the original pond water. Remove the water from the pond and clean. Fill the pond again and allow the chlorine and water temperature to stabilize before replacing the fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Air bubbler
  • Aquarium
  • Water
  • Grow lights


  • Iowa State University: Fall and Winter Care of Water Gardens
  • University of Illinois: Koi and Goldfish Pond Winter Care
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Urban Water-Quality Management - Winterizing the Water Garden
Keywords: winterizing garden pond, garden pond care, garden pond maintenance

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.