The Pros And Cons Of The Above Ground Pond
There are three basic koi pond design configurations for building a koi pond. We are talking about how the pond sits with the lay of the land. Each pond design has its own advantages and disadvantages, although I must admit to being partial to the above ground pond.
Ultimately it really comes down to the pond builders preferences. Although one pond design is not necessarily better than another, there are situations where one type may be a better choice than another.
In Ground Koi Pond Design
These are by far the simplest and cheapest ponds to build. If you want a natural looking koi fish pond as opposed to a more formal one this is the way to go. Nothing is simpler than digging a hole and installing a pond liner. There are some possible disadvantages to this type of pond as well.
They are prone to run off or flooding problems. If you also have a dog they may use it as a swimming hole and do a lot of damage. They are easier and more inviting targets for predators. They are the least safe type of pond to have if young children are present. Under these conditions an above ground pond is a better option.
Another disadvantage is that your pump will work harder because it wont have a flooded suction unless you can dig a hole to put it in. The same goes for your filter. Unless you dig a deep enough hole by the pond you wont be able to take advantage of a gravity bottom drain.
Finally this type of koi pond design requires the most digging. This is hard work and it doesn’t end there. The dirt will also need to be moved. This is a lot of extra work. Since most of the diggings will be subsoil it is not something you want to spread on your flower beds and there will be way to much to dispose of that way.
The Partially Above Ground Pond
A partially above ground koi pond is a good compromise between an in ground and fully above ground pond. They do cost more to build but they offer some real advantages. The most notable is less digging and less fill to get rid of. If you bank the fill against the walls its possible to make them look fairly natural.
If you want a 4 foot deep pond for example you can dig 2 feet deep and add a 2 foot block wall. Trust me when I tell you it’s easier to move concrete block than dirt. The partial wall creates a barrier that stops run off and makes it harder for a child to fall in. In situations where drainage is poor this or a fully above ground pond may be your best option.
The Above Ground Pond
These are definitely the most expensive to build. In some ways they are easier because you have minimal digging and virtually no fill dirt to remove. In really rocky soil conditions or high water table or other problem drainage areas these may be your best choice.
These can work really well in a formal setting. You can use planter boxes or put a deck around them easily and hide some of the height if it bothers your aesthetics.
If young children are around they are definitely the safest choice and they may deter Old Blue from turning your koi pond into a swimming hole. The straight walls make them less likely to attract predators because they prefer wading not swimming. Also they don’t like being highly visible so are less likely to even try to climb to the top where they are easily seen.
A Few Final Thoughts On Koi Pond Design And An Above Ground Pond
Personally as far as koi pond design goes I prefer a partially above ground koi pond. When I built my koi fish pond this is what I did. I had some drainage concerns because the area had puddles in the winter.
Also to save money and just plain make life hard I decided to dig my pond by hand. Having spent a lot of time on the business end of a shovel I was looking for a way to do less digging.
Something I didn’t mention above and didn’t even consider at the time I was building my koi fish pond, was viewing. Koi are meant to be viewed from above. Good thing too because they don’t look like much from the side. By raising your pond you bring them and the water surface closer to your natural eye level. I have found this koi pond design feature alone to be a great reason for building an above ground pond.