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Pond & Water Garden - Frequently Asked Questions

Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Arizona (AZ) & Surrounding Areas

Frequently Asked Questions About Ponds in Phoenix, Arizona (AZ)


Our average pond is completed in about one week. We work on one project at a time. We arrive with the full force of our construction crew and supervisor when promised, and we stay until the project is completed. When we are on your job site, YOU have our full attention.

Clear water in an ecosystem pond is really not that complicated. It’s accomplished by using the natural ecosystem life cycle to create a balance with rock, plants, fish, and beneficial enzymes & bacteria: Mother Nature’s recipe.

This is a good question for a swimming pool contractor, or someone digging a well on your property. It is not, however, of utmost importance for a living water feature.

​Without getting too technical here, let’s just say that you want to turn over the water in your pond completely between 1 and 2 times per hour.

There are different guidelines for stocking density, depending on how low maintenance you want your backyard pond to be, and how many fish it was designed to support (filtration, predator protection, etc.):

If you want a lower maintenance pond, you should calculate ½” of fish per ten gallons of water. This will allow you to have a simpler filtration system.

The highest level of stocking that we recommend is calculated as 1” of fish per ten gallons of water. We typically build our ponds to this ratio.

You can have a few more goldfish than Koi, should you wish. You can also mix the two, substituting two goldfish for every Koi. There are many lovely choices of both!


The type and amount of filtration you have depends on how much maintenance you want to do. We recommend having both biological & mechanical filtration to keep the pond as low maintenance as possible.

Most biologists agree that a well-built backyard pond, stocked with fish, is the cure for the West Nile Virus. In other words, a pond full of hungry fish will devour anything that lands in the water, like mosquitoes, as well as any larvae that’s introduced.

Build it and they will come. Everything needs water to survive, and if you have a living backyard pond in Phoenix, you can count on company coming. Some of these will be a delight to the eye; others may not be so welcome. An organic, healthy water source is a boon for local wildlife, as well as migratory birds. But everything in life is a package deal, especially when it comes to backyard landscape ideas. Our best advice is to always look outside before you venture out, just to be safe.

What most people have in and around their property and Phoenix ponds are Sonoran Desert Toads, which are the largest western species of toad, and considered to be one of the more aquatic of the southwestern toads.

You betcha! Many of our Phoenix pond clients enjoy their turtle pets! That’s the short answer. Turtles can provide hours of entertainment and education and truly become members of your family. However, there are some considerations. For example, they defecate in the water, so your water quality may suffer and your maintenance may increase. They are also at the top of the food chain, so they might take a bite out of one of your fish’s fins or your lily pads if they’re in the way.

Having a pet-friendly pond in Phoenix is almost as important as having a kid-friendly Phoenix pond! Pet owners more often than not consider their pets to be their furry babies, and with good reason! It provides a great organic year-round water source, and it’s as entertaining to them to watch the fish, aquatic creatures, birds that visit, etc., as it is for you.

There’s been a lot of back-and-forth discussion on the subject of how water affects property values, particularly from real estate brokers looking to sell/buy homes. Some state emphatically that a water feature adds absolutely nothing to the purchase price, but if it’s nice, may make the place more saleable. On the other end of the spectrum, some say that it can add between $5,000 and $10,000 to the sale price, depending on the feature. As with most things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and our opinion is that it depends on the people looking to buy your property.

There’s quite a good selection of aquatic plants that work in our Sonoran Desert environment. The trick may be finding them for sale. We offer plants with the ponds that we build; however, we do not have a retail operation from which to sell plants to others –yet. There are a couple of sources locally, usually operating out of their back yards.

Concern about bees is something that we hear A LOT when it comes to backyard pond maintenance. With the Africanized bees and the Honeybees interbreeding, there have been a lot of scary incidents on the news. Most of those, however, are due to someone interfering with the bees in some way, whether intentionally or not. That being said, it’s always a good idea to use some caution when dealing with a potentially dangerous situation. Keep in mind that bees are only there to gather water to take back to the hive. If you don’t interfere with that process, the odds of them giving a hoot about you are pretty slim.

​Snails that originate in an aquatic environment do not survive in the desert outside the pond. The aquatic snails feed on algae and dead plant material (pond detritus), and are therefore considered a beneficial critter in that environment. There are very few varieties that feed on living aquatic plant material, and we only rarely see these varieties. If you do see them, they will most likely be eating your water lilies. You can “weed” them out by hand (we invite neighbor kids to come hunt them, which is great sport for the tots!), or get “shell cracker” fish, which feed on them.

Pretty much everything you read regarding pH for backyard ponds is focused on a perfectly controlled environment for the fish.  Here in the Arizona desert, with our hard, alkali water sources, attempting to keep the water in your backyard pond at a neutral pH is impossible. People will drive themselves crazy with this effort, when in fact the fish can handle a wide variety of water conditions. Yes, even Koi.

Once a year, we recommend a clean-out of the pond, particularly the biological filter (and this includes the “pondless” waterfalls).

The extent of the annual pond cleaning depends on the age of the pond and fish load, as well as other factors that are fairly easy to assess visually. We send out a reminder and sign-up form every year to remind you, and we even host a class on the process for people who want to DIY it.

To determine how many gallons are in your pond, use the following formula:

Length x Width x Average Depth x 7.25

Did you know that there are 950,000 species of insects? And that most of those are beneficial to our environment or food for other beneficial critters? Most people are really only trying to kill about 10 unwanted insects in their yard. When you take that into account, does it make sense to broadcast poison over your entire property? And if you have beloved pets, that poison can be a serious issue! We recommend Integrated Pest Management practices: good guys to hunt/eat the bad guys.

We have been asked on occasion by folks why the price we quoted for a certain part is more than what they found from an online source. It’s absolutely a valid question and deserves a reasonable response.

You’ll find some retailers who will match online pricing from other sources, this is true. However, licensed contractors are expected, and required by law, to provide a warranty with their work. This is value added on top of the part itself, and, to be perfectly honest, it costs real money to offer and to honor. So, no, we won’t match the price you found the part for on Amazon.

Ecosystem ponds can be gorgeous and low maintenance. They provide hours of pleasure while requiring only minutes per week of care. But they have their drawbacks and they’re not for everyone. If the sight of fuzzy green rocks throws you into a tizzy, an ecosystem pond is not for you. If you don’t like gardening, an ecosystem pond may not be for you; although, you can hire us to take care of it for you.

If you love the idea of a lush aquatic garden where graceful fish float around inside and butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies dart around outside, then an ecosystem pond is absolutely going to be your cup of tea.

Want to know more about any of these subjects? Check out our blog or YouTube channel.