Winterizing Ponds and water features

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

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Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

Winterizing ponds and water features

Ponds and water features and garden ponds add a nice ambiance to your outdoor living space, and can add a beautiful focal point to your yard. While they look great in warmer months, if not taken care of properly before winter, they can be a pain if they need to be fixed or replaced due to not preparing them for the cold weather.


Why is it important to winterize ponds and water features?


One of the main reasons your pond and water features need to be winterized and pond maintenance should be done, is that any equipment you have in your pond, such as filters, can get damaged when the water freezes. Even low maintenance ponds and water features should be winterized.


Any fish and plants that you have in your pond need to be taken care of so that they survive the winter.  Prepping your pond and water features before the winter turns not only protects them, but makes it hassle free to set them back up when winter is over.



How to winterize small backyard water features and decorative fountains


For homeowners to properly winterize small water features, they should be emptied of all water, before mother nature turns the weather,  as they will freeze solid in cold climates. If you do not fully rid the water features of all water, your feature may crack due to expanding ice. Once you have completely emptied the water, lay your water feature on its side, or cover it to prevent water and snow from accumulating inside of it during the winter. For smaller features, consider bringing it inside for the winter where it will be completely protected.



Winterizing  ponds


All ponds, including mini ponds and koi ponds need to be winterized. Keeping the amount of organic matter in your pond to a minimum will help with algae growth and will require you to do less cleaning when you start your pond back up in the warmer weather.


What to do?

  • Remove any leaves, sludge, and debris from the pond
  • Cut back any dying vegetation
  • Bring equipment (filters etc.) inside and give them a thorough cleaning



Pond fish


The fish that are in your pond should be able to survive water temperatures that drop to 0 degrees Celsius, meaning that they should survive in your pond during winter as long as it does not freeze solid, and they have good water quality and oxygen.


To ensure that your fish stay healthy:


  • Remove tree and plant leaves from the pond. Leaves and debris can cause poor water quality, which can disrupt the oxygen levels in the pond. You can cover your pond with a pond netting to prevent this from happening.
  • Feed the fish fall food, and increase the amount when the temperatures decrease. (It is wise to speak to an expert about feeding fish in the winter, as each type of fish may have different needs)
  • Maintain a hole in the ice. This allows oxygen into the pond, and carbon dioxide out of the pond.



Waterfall care


If you live in an area where temperatures drop significantly, it is recommended that you shut down your waterfall, and remove the pump.


It is wise to remove all of the parts that are sticking out above the water’s surface, so they do not get damaged from falling debris or freeze.



Winterizing your ponds and water features, and getting your space ready for colder weather  will ensure that your equipment will be in great working order for when the spring season hits, and allow for a hassle free set up.