Water features are a delightfully classic way to invite tranquility and invoke a serene ambiance into your outdoor spaces. But like all landscaping, they require routine maintenance to keep them looking polished. Maintaining water features can sound intimidating, but with these 5 simple tips, you can keep your water feature flowing smoothly and looking its best!
- Be proactive! The most important step to maintaining your water feature is to understand the maintenance different types of water features require and be proactive about maintenance from the beginning. Water features such as fountains and waterfalls, which involve moving water, often involve a lower level of maintenance compared to ponds or other features containing stagnant water. Stagnant water is more likely to foster algae growth, which requires significantly more diligent attention. For features with moving water, investing in a quality pump and keeping it working efficiently lessens the need for more labor intensive maintenance later on.
- Maintain the pump. The secret to maintaining water features that use pumps is to invest in a quality pump and keep it in good working condition. The two most common issues that will zap the life of your pump occur when the pump burns out or gets clogged. To maintain the longevity of your pump, be sure it isn’t working harder than it needs to. Water naturally evaporates, especially in summer months under a hot sun, which causes water levels to fall. As the water level decreases, the pump is required to work harder, resulting in quicker wear to the pump and risk of burnout. To combat this issue, be sure to refill the water biweekly and regularly check for leaks in your water feature. To prevent clogging, be sure to remove debris such as leaves, sticks, and grass clippings on a daily basis. Although it may be tempting to turn off the pump from time to time, it’s better to keep it running. Running your pump continuously actually sustains the life of the pump, prevents further maintenance issues, and keeps your water feature running smoothly.
- Be diligent about daily maintenance. In addition to maintaining the pump, it’s essential to maintain the water feature as a whole. Some property owners opt to invest in skimmers or nets, which use a basket and a filter to remove debris from the water. A quick daily sweep across the top of the water with one of these handy tools ensures the water feature maintains running and looking its best!
- Maintain the water inself. When initially filling your water feature, most default to tap water right out of the hose. Depending on the quality of your water, tap water is likely to lead to mineral build up and heighted rates of algae growth. An alternative option is distilled water, which is more work (and pricer) initially, but could save you a great deal of maintenance down the road. If you choose to go with tap water, there are a variety of additives on the market that can be added to the water to slow mineral build up and algae growth. If your water begins to look “scummy” and the pump is working efficiently, consider draining and replacing roughly 20% of the water and/or use an in-home water testing kit to test the water. From there, you can consider child and pet safe options for chemicals/additives that will restore the health of the water.
- Seasonal care. Seasonal care will look different depending on the climate/region in which you live. Regardless, you’ll want to completely drain your water feature and do a deep clean once-twice a year. Most people choose to do one of these “deep cleans” in the spring because the weather is mild and they want their water feature to look its best for the summer months. This is the time to check the pump, change filters, deep clean to remove any debris or clogs, and assess wear and tear. Be sure to take the time to make repairs before you refill the water feature. Living in the midwest, it’s also important to maintain your water feature heading into the fall/winter months. Most choose to drain the water when the trees begin to lose their leaves and temperatures cool. Be sure to store the pump according to the manufacturer’s instructions!
Maintaining your water feature can feel like a daunting task, but with the tips noted above, you’ll be able to keep your water feature in tip top shape. The maintenance required is well worth the time you will spend enjoying your outdoor oasis. Don’t want to do it yourself? We’re here for you! Give us a call or contact us for a quote today.