Care of Garden Ponds


Water features are an attractive addition to most any garden. Whether they are home to aquatic plants, fish or a combination of both they add a peaceful element to your landscaping. Caring for your pond regularly prevents larger, and more expensive, problems from occurring down the road. It also ensures that the water remains clean and healthy as do any fish that live in your pond. Spring and fall is the perfect time to inspect your ponds for any damage so it can quickly be corrected.

Spring Maintenance

Step 1

Get your pond ready for summer in spring. Inspect the pond liner for any cracks. Repair or replace the pond liner if there are any cracks.

Step 2

Check the pumps, cords, tubing and hoses for wear and tear. If any of these items are damaged, replace them immediately as a dry pump or frayed wiring will blow out the motor and possibly create a fire hazard.

Step 3

Check the filters for large debris such as leaves. Remove the debris and replace the filters as needed or as often as is recommended by the manufacturer.

Step 4

Fill buckets with water from the pond. Remove fish and plants from the water and place them in the buckets of pond water.

Step 5

Pump out 30 percent or more of the water in the pond. Pump it into buckets or an area of your landscaping where the amount of water won't have an ill effect.

Step 6

Use a pond skimmer to remove floating debris from the remaining water. Scoop out any debris and muck that settles to the bottom and scrub algae from the sides of the liner.

Step 7

Add an enzyme treatment formulated for garden ponds. Follow the package directions.

Step 8

Refill the pond with the garden hose. Fill at a slow trickle so the water has time to warm in the sun while it fills.

Step 9

Add a pond water conditioner to the refilled pond following the manufacturer's application instructions. Return the fish and plants to the water.


Step 1

Prepare the pond for winter by cleaning out debris then checking the liner, pump and hoses for wear and tear. Use the same method in late fall as you did in spring to remove fish, plants and water for cleaning.

Step 2

Turn off the pump once temperatures begin staying steadily below freezing. Leave the pump on in areas that do not experience winter-long freezing.

Step 3

Remove the pump and drain the hoses of all water. Place the pump and hoses in a garage on other area out of the winter elements until spring.

Step 4

Place a pond heater into the pond to keep fish and plants warm and to prevent the top of the pond from freezing over completely. Use hot water to make a hole in the ice if the pond does freeze over completely so the fish and plants have access to oxygen.

Step 5

Switch to low-protein fish food once the temperatures dip beneath 42 F, and lessen the amount of food. Fish hibernate during the winter and need very little food during their hibernation.

Step 6

Place a screen or breathable pond cover on top to keep further debris from landing in the water, where its rotting in the winter may poison the fish and pond plants. Avoid using hard plastic covers as oxygen can't get through.

Tips and Warnings

  • Check fish and plants over for signs of illness or disease. Treat any problems before returning the fish and plants to the pond. Make sure the pond water has warmed sufficiently after refilling and before returning the fish, or the cold shock may kill them.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement filters
  • Buckets
  • Pump
  • Skimmer net
  • Enzyme treatment
  • Water conditioner
  • Pond heater
  • Pond screen or cover


  • CSU/Denver County Extension
  • Purdue Extension
Keywords: garden pond care, water feature maintenance, fish ponds

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.