I recently saw a news article on Kentucky.com titled "Backyard ponds pose danger to young children, so weigh your options carefully" written in response to a homeowner question by Angie's list founder Angie Hicks. As I read through the article I quickly came to realize how misinformed Angie is on properly designed and installed ponds.
So I got to thinking that Angie must have done quite a bit of research before responding to the question. If her research from her experts led her to believe that the safest solution for a pond with kids is to "put up a fence around it" or "to use a sturdy netting or cover on the pond" then there is some serious misinformation floating around the internet and more importantly for me here in Lexington KY.
Before I go any further I would like to say that there are some valid danger concerns that exist with poorly designed and built water features. If you are unsure whether your pond is safe you should consult with a Certified Aquascape Contractor (CAC) in your area.
While I have no idea who Angie used for her expert advise in her article, I am confident that no reputable pond builder would install a pond for a client without first considering the safety of kids and animals that interact with the pond. In fact one of our primary design elements for ponds here in Kentucky is how to create areas where kids and adults can interact with the fish.
To conclude I would like to emphasize that a properly designed and installed pond or water feature will promote interaction from kids, animals and adults. However, just as important is that a poorly designed and constructed water feature can be just as dangerous as what Angie has described in her response. The solution is simple. Hire a Certified Aquascape Contractor (CAC) and get it right the first time. If you have a poorly designed pond get it fixed ASAP!!
Click Here to Find a CAC in your area.
Click to view Angies article
Examples Of Poorly Designed Ponds
Actual H2O Designs Client Testimonial (Lexington KY)
Listen to a Real Life Pond Safety experience (Skip to 0:48)
What to look for in a properly Designed Pond
A properly constructed pond should consist of Ledges no more than 10-12 inches high. These ledges serve several purposes including safety. Should an animal or small child be playing or happen to fall into the pond they can simply stand up and step out of the pond.
Learn More About Pond Design/Installation
Loose Rocks or stones around the pond are probably the most dangerous hazard of poorly constructed ponds. A properly constructed pond should consist of a various size stones that are placed securely in and around the pond. Loose Flagstone edging is the most common danger I see in the Lexington KY area These stones can easily cause children, pets, and adults to slip and fall.
Most of our ponds here in Lexington KY are constructed to be only 24" deep. We have over 200 ponds in the ground in Central Kentucky and have never had an issue with fish loss due to freezing with our ponds. At a maximum a pond with Large KOI does not need to be more than 3 feet deep. And even with this depth properly constructed ledges can make the pond safe and enjoyable for everyone.