Making Water Work

Whether you’re just beginning to build a lake or pond or you’re finding it difficult to maintain one, developing a proper maintenance plan is essential. Although this plan is usually inexpensive, ignoring potential problems can cause plenty of headaches and added costs.

Connecting With The Right Contractor

Before building a lake or pond, locating a contractor to perform the work will take more than selecting the cheapest bid. Lakes and ponds are easy to maintain only if they have been built properly. Checking references and ensuring a contractor has several years of experience--especially locally--are critical. A contractor should have knowledge of several key issues, such as running a dewatering pump continuously while digging to deplete natural water. And once the desired depth is reached, a contractor should be familiar with the proper elevation as well as the sloping of the sides of a lake or pond. Drainage and average yearly rainfall levels also should be considered for the size of the area. An improperly constructed lake or pond may develop drainage problems and pest-control issues.

Preventative Maintenance

Once water begins to fill a pond, pest control, fish and water maintenance, aeration and stocking are essential to maintaining water clarity. A stagnant, dirty pond or lake is something patrons will certainly complain about. The key to maintenance is never falling behind; it is easier to overcome problems as they arise.

Chemical Balance And Pest Control

Just as with a swimming pool, pond and lake water must be tested regularly for chemical balance to ensure it does not harbor pond scum or diseases from pests. Oftentimes, it is more cost-effective to find an all-inclusive service with experience in different climates, pests and species of fish.

Pest control also will help maintain nearby trees and wildlife, something every lake should have. After a heavy rainfall, lakeside residents often find wildlife to be a nuisance. Have an on-call wildlife specialist who is knowledgeable about your pond’s needs. For instance, residents near lakes and ponds in the South complain of snakes, alligators and palmetto bugs. Proper warning signs must be posted to establish a respect for wildlife dangers and an understanding of potential issues.


With brooks and streams flowing into a lake, maintenance must be applied to these bodies of water as well. The most common repairs are the result of unavoidable erosion. An especially common problem produced by heavy rainfall is riprap being carried away from brooks and streams and into a lake, and structural wear from improper water flow. If not repaired immediately, shoreline restoration and brook/stream repair can be costly. Oftentimes, nearby homes without proper gutters or water flow will cause erosion problems, so proper drainage must be evaluated to include these buildings. I have seen improper drainage from parking areas with poor gutter maintenance spill into nearby homes. The overspill splashes into the sides of buildings, causing erosion, and continues into streams, where the amount of water is too much to handle. While this is an extreme case, the example shows how important preventative maintenance is for lakes and ponds with brooks and streams.

The right mixture of maintenance and beautification that fits your budget can be easily found. Though repairs will be required, staying informed of issues that arise will help keep costs low. Lakes and ponds are an amenity to patrons, and should be treated as such.

Kati Trammel is an advertising and public relations specialist in Lakeland, Fla.. She can be reached at