Building a koi pond can be expensive, but building one incorrectly can be REALLY expensive.
In an ideal world, we want to build a koi pond that is aesthetically pleasing, that is easy to maintain, that is heated, a pond that is economical to run and a pond that provides a home for our koi to thrive.
The reality is that building a koi pond can be expensive, there are of course ways of keeping costs down, but if one tallies up the cost of the building materials, lining, landscaping, filtration, pumps, air pumps, uv units, heating and the running costs, it can all get a little frightening - and that's without purchasing a single koi!
It is far better to build a small, perfectly formed koi pond than to get carried away and build a large, badly designed, badly filtered 'garden pond' - we want to be koi keepers after all! I learnt this the hard way, as many do, but there is no need to be caught out in this way. I have built many ponds for myself over the years but the best one by far is the one I own now and it's the smallest by some way. It suits my needs perfectly, it's incredibly well filtered, heated and covered from the elements - it performs superbly. For once I'm happy. How did I arrive at building such a pond after so many failed attempts?
I started by asking myself a simple question
- What do I want from koi keeping?
Before you embark on building a koi pond, put down the spade, take a deep breath and ask this question - Trust me!
The following considerations may arise:
Do I want to keep jumbo koi?
Do I want to show koi?
Do I need minimal maintenance?
Do I want to keep small koi for koi shows?
Do I want to grow koi to Jumbo sizes?
Do I want an ornamental koi pond?
Do I want to keep lots of koi?
Do I want to breed koi?
The list goes on, but if you identify what you want from the hobby at the get-go, you can build a pond to suit your needs and budget. You might argue that a koi pond is a koi pond, but actually that's not the case. I wanted a pond that could grow tosai through to nisai with optimal results. It had to be on the smaller side due to garden space, easy to maintain whilst feeding heavily, I had to be able to heat the pond to 24c whilst being economical to run and I needed the option to increase the flow to encourage exercise. These parameters dictated every detail of the design and build of this koi pond and the final system would be entirely different to that of a pond designed to house jumbo show koi. Build the right pond for you and your needs and you will enjoy the hobby for many years to come.
After knowing what you want from the hobby and your pond - the best thing you can do next is to go and speak to one of the many reputable koi dealers. Speak to them about your plans, be specific and ask their advice on how best to achieve it and what that might cost. But do shop around, speak to a few dealers who have different set-ups and approaches, always keeping your end goal in mind. You can also join a local koi club, here you will have a wealth of experience and knowledge to access, keen hobbyists who have been there and done it.
But again always keep in mind the most important thing, how do I design and build a pond that suits MY needs?
Once you've listened to a handful of different voices and made some notes, sit down and make some choices, they will now be informed ones. I guarantee that if you start with these basic steps you stand an infinitely better chance of building a koi pond that you will be happy with, one that you won't have to build again...
- but only if you do it BEFORE you pick up the spade!