Important questions to ask your pond specialist
Every pond specialist will have a favourite type of pond, be it a more formal design, or a more natural sympathetic style. Pond design is like other forms of garden design, it covers a whole spectrum of different skills and of course styles. No pond specialist, designer or construction company can be expert at all styles, so it is essential to find one that has a synergy with what you want to create.
What is your favourite type of pon
d to build?
This follows on from the speciality question. Every pond specialist will have their own preferences. This won’t mean that they are unable to build any pond, but only a fish pond specialist can build you a spectacular fish pond. Like a landscape artist can draw and paint a spectacular landscape but would you ask they to paint you a portrait of a loved one? Would you want it to be spectacular, yes if you want to hang it.
Personally, given the choice I would prefer to have a specialist that shares the same passion and loves building the type of pond you are looking for, even if its from an up and coming artist thats at a different level for the same style of pond. Rather than general builder that builds o
nly one type of pond, or does someone that does not know the difference between a pond and a pool. So if i wanted a very low maintenance pond (less maintenance than a lawn) but also enjoy a little of everything a pond can provide you, with out seeing any liner or pipework. Low maintenance to us means attention once or twice a year, not having to do daily back washing or monthly pond maintenance, we would be looking for a eco system pond specialist.
Our pond packages all look and feel very different due to the natural components we use during a build i.e. size and shape of the rocks, types of soft landscaping materials.
Most pond specialist get involved in the industry because they have a love for ponds and water features themselves. However I can’t understand why not all pond specialists that are living and breathing with in the fantastic industry, do not enjoy their spare time sat by a pond or water feature.
Personally I want to see the passion behind the close doors, like visiting an artist in their studio, it would be strange if they had no real master pieces hanging on their own walls, for sale or not, its art i want to see it, feel it, hear it.
I want to be inspired not by only a picture or a video (special effects are great these days but its not the real thing). I want to enjoy a little bit of the water gardening lifestyle the sound of the water, the smell of the hardy water lilies, the feeling that different types of water features can give you. If they don’t live the lifestyle at home or can’t meet you pond side, I would question what are the pond specialists going to create in my garden, .
Which garden pond design ideas would you recommend?
Whilst you will probably have a reasonably complete idea of what style, size and type of pond you want to create in your garden, ask the question and listen carefully to the answer. Very often it is all too easy to get too close to the design yourself and miss some interesting ideas. A good specialist may as you life style question to figure out which feature is best for you, so be open and honest with your answers. With the experience of building and maintaining many different types of pond and water features, a seasoned pond specialist will be able to suggest what will work best for you and your garden.
How much is a pond installation likely to cost?
Most pond specialists that build a number of ponds each year should be able to give you an idea of cost, via their website or over the phone from a picture you have sent them. If you don’t know what
you want to spend, thats ok, this is were pond packages from your pond specialists are great. Hopefully you will already have a rough budget in mind. I don’t know many people that go shopping that do not know how much they have to invest into something.
If you were shopping for a car you would know your price range. On the other hand we do now and again get asked for some crazy prototype designs like during the RHS Shows like Chelsea. This is normally when money does not come into play for some time (unique projects normally start at around 20k, designs are normally priced at 2K). I try to help these people to be very specific in what they are asking for.
As lets say you were looking for a new car, this car is going to be unique, let say “A Rocket Car” as an example. But this could be two very different price points with many designs. We could be talking about two totally different price points.
- Real rocket car with a real rocket engine (200K plus, 20K design fee).
- A normal car with a simple rocket fibreglass shell around it (20K plus, 2K design fee).
These are both rocket cars but completely different. Don’t expect any pond speciali
st to be able to give you a firm quote over the phone, for these one of a kind projects. They will be able to give a couple of guide prices if they have done this type of work before, 100% they will give you the design fee however. It is always much better to work out what you would like to spend or at least a price range. So you can both then be on the same page. If you are giving the pond specialist a ball-park figure let them suggest a design that will fit around this figure.
What is the best pond design for my scenario?
This will come down to the brief that you give to the pond
specialist or designer. Why would you like this pond or water feature? Are you looking to sit and relax on your own patio, reading next to your own natural pool, do you like the sound of water from a little stream, or a fish pond to keep a number of fish, or do you have green fingers looking for a pool for water lilies, or even perhaps you are a real enthusiast looking for a full-on koi pool. Based upon what you want to create, the budget, the space and layout of the garden. The pond specialist will start to gain a more detailed understanding of what it is you want to achieve. Then come up with the right pond for you weather its a package or a combination.
What materials and construction techniques will be used?
This is very important if you are getting a number of quotes from different pond specialists. Its amazing how we all vary in price, but going back to buying a car depends on what car you are looking for. You want to compare apples for apples ideally, instead of the first rocket car listed against the more basic rocket car listed above as number 2. To build a pond or water feature off your dreams, one that makes you feel the way it should, its built to last using the correct building techniques.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Have a list of questions that you want answered after knowing what you want. Good pond specialists should also have a number of questions for you too. The professional should be doing about 20% of the talking, as they will need to understand and to determine exactly what it is that you want to achieve in your space.
Be prepared to pay for a pond design consultation.
Pond specialist, designers and contractors are all busy people and they may have to travel quite a considerable distance to visit you and your property. Generally speaking, you should
be willing to pay for a design consultation. This will not only save time and money long term but you should be wondering why the other companies are willing to visit you for free. Are they short of work? Will the price be hidden in the build cost anyway? Similarly, do not expect to get a wealth of information and ideas for nothing.
It takes years and years for a top pond specialist to build up the wealth of
experience required to build stunning ponds and it is not fair to expect that personal service for free. Thats what the internet is for or visiting them in their back gardens.
Treat a pond design consultation as a two-way interview process. Both sides need to be comfortable that they understand what the other wants and that they share the same vision for the pond. By asking and answering lots of questions you will soon tell if you are going to be able to work together.