Winter Pond Care

February 5, 2007

Yesterday I shared a few ideas for protecting and over wintering plants through the colder seasons, today I’ll examine a few steps that you can take to winterize your pond, garden fountain, or water feature to preserve them through the harshest weather conditions.

Water Features in the Home Garden

Backyard PondBackyard ponds and water features are becoming more and more popular for the ornamental effects that they add to the home landscape and garden setting. There are kits available that make creating your own backyard pond or water feature a quick and easy task.

To add a touch of water to your veggie garden, you can use water features as decoration. For smaller areas where space is at a premium, a garden wall fountain may be just what your garden needs.

A few simple steps taken each fall will help to preserve the quality of your backyard garden pond, safeguard aquatic plant and animal life, and extend the use and lifespan of those attractive water features.

Winterizing the Backyard Pond

Garden Pond HeaterA properly designed garden pond shouldn’t be difficult to maintain even through the winter months. The first step is to cut back the foliage of your hardy water plants and submerge them, container and all, to the bottom of the pond where they will remain dormant until spring arrives. If you grow tropical aquatic plants, these will need to spend the season indoors if you hope to see them survive through winter.

If your pond is at least a few feet deep you can allow your fish to hibernate outside in the pond over the winter, but take precautions to ensure that the pond doesn’t completely freeze over. Use a pond heater or a device that will circulate the water and keep a small opening of the pond’s surface free of ice and allow any toxic gases to escape from the water.

Backyard Pond NettingA very important step, especially if there are trees in the area, is to cover the pond with small mesh netting. The netting will prevent leaves and other debris from making their way into the water where they would decompose and contaminate the water’s quality and clarity. Covering the pond’s surface will make spring clean up much easier and also help to keep the water crystal clear.

Winter Care of Fountains and Water Features

For the portable water features and small garden fountains the simplest thing to do is to drain them, remove the entire feature, and carry it inside for the duration of the winter.

Larger water features should be drained and their pumps removed and stored indoors in a container of water. The base and structure of the water feature can then be wrapped in an old blanket and covered with a water proof tarp or plastic to protect it from the elements.

Spend a little time winterizing your pond or garden water features in the fall and you’ll be rewarded with a healthier pond year round, as well as less maintenance and cleaning when spring arrives and you are ready to begin enjoying the benefits of those garden fountains, backyard ponds, and water features.

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  • VERY good information about Winter Pond Care. I will add a link to your site from my Pond Filtration article.


  • I really enjoyed reading your article. I have built serveral ponds over the last 25 years and in that time tried many different things to improve my pond. Most of them costing me money. The best I have found is to really do a good job with the winter care especially cuting back the plants and covering the pond with fine netting. The real bonus is now the pond looks after itself. This fish sink to the bottom and are rarely seen. Really good article. Its good to know that I am doing the right winter care for my pond.

  • Kenny Point

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to order another mesh netting to use to cover the pond this fall and winter. My pond water was the clearest that it has ever been this spring thanks to the netting keeping all the leaves and debris from collecting and decomposing in the water.

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  • Any advice for Summerizing you pond; I live in Arizona and we are currently in the midst of one of the hottest summers ever and my fish are not loving it. I could use any tips and advice you have to offer. Thanks.

  • Eric
    Summer is a fantastic time for the pond owner but the fish can suffer if temperatures remain high for long spells. Fish may begin to get a little low on oxygen, so my personnel advice is to turn the pump up as far as it can go so that any water fall or fountain can get as much oxygen into the water and perform partial water changes more frequently.

    More info at


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