How to Maintain an Outdoor Water Feature


Water flows down rocks and off a ledge to fall into a backyard pond. Water features like fountains or small ponds add visual appeal to your property and can provide a sliver of calmness and serenity to your yard. But as with everything else in landscaping and hardscaping, these require regular upkeep to stay functioning properly. Today, we’ll cover how to maintain an outdoor water feature and why it’s important to do so.

Why Maintain an Outdoor Water Feature? 

Without adequate maintenance, you run the risk of having a water feature that: 

  • Looks murky and swamp-like 
  • Smells badly 
  • Contains algae and other potentially harmful organisms 
  • Ends up broken 

Caring for Your Backyard Fountain or Pond 

As long as it’s been installed properly by professionals, the upkeep should be simple. Here are a few tips you can follow to maintain an outdoor water feature:  

  1. Remove leaves and other fallen debris. Every day or every few days, manually scoop out debris from your fountain or pond. Skimming the water’s surface with a small net is quick and easy.
  2. Watch the water level. It’s expected that you’ll lose a little water over time due to evaporation and other factors. But if the water gets too low, the pump can dry out, burn out, or become otherwise damaged. Water levels are especially important in a pond because a lack of water will negatively affect the ecosystem, leaving fish and plants to suffer.
  3. Periodically replace and refill water. Clean, clear water is essential to the health of your water feature. While a fountain can be completely drained and refilled straight from the garden hose monthly, you need to be more careful with the water you put in a pond as stark changes in PH or salinity can shock the fish.
  4. Deep clean the water pump. Upon draining and refilling your water feature, you should give the water pump a good scrubbing with a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water.
  5. Inspect for damage. When replacing the water and cleaning the pump, take a closer look at the fountain or pond to check for any cracks, leaks, blockages, clogs, or other signs of wear so you can repair them right away. Additionally, with a fishpond, you should be on the lookout for pest damage. Predators like raccoons not only kill pond fish but can also damage the lining, leading to leaking or even flooding.
  6. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight. If you haven’t already gotten a water feature installed, know that the sun promotes algae growth and allows other nasty organisms to develop in the water. Direct sunlight also contributes to evaporation, meaning you’ll need to refill the water more often.  

Knowing how to maintain an outdoor water feature is only half the battle—if you’re looking to have one installed, reach out to us today. At Dolan Landscaping, we have more than 30 years of experience providing professional landscaping and hardscaping services across Central Mass and beyond.