Although the weather can’t seem to quite make up its mind, we have it on good authority that it is spring. Whilst a lot of information about how to spring clean focuses on jobs you should do around the house, the garden also often needs more attention than just the standard planting and pruning. If you have a garden pond, the chances are that there will have been some build up of debris and such over the chillier months, and we won’t blame you for not having tackled that in the cold winter weather. However, now that the weather is (sometimes) warmer, you have the perfect excuse to get outside and spring clean your garden pond.

We’ll be assuming, for the sake of this blog post, that you’ve not got fish or know how to care for your particular breed. If you’re not sure, please do look this up specifically to ensure you’re doing what’s best for them. It’s always useful to have a small container with you when cleaning your garden pond so that any critters you do find can be placed in there until it’s safe for them to go back in.

Here’s what you need to do:

Assess the Situation

How your garden pond looks now will tell you a lot about how much you’ll need to do to make sure it’s off to its best start this spring. If there a little floating algae and debris, and your pond water is relatively clear, then you should only need to do some tidying. For this, we’d advise stirring up the water a little, just to shift things around at the bottom and help you to scoop them out. You can use a net for this, and rakes are useful too for catching at algae. Even twirling a stick in your water can help clear out a lot of this.

If your water is murky, though, and you can see that there are things like decomposing leaves and sludge at the bottom, it’s probably time to do a full clean up. Whether or not to drain your pond for a full clean out divides some people, as it can disturb the ecosystem. However, if one is careful, it should not cause too much of a problem. If you do decide to drain and spring clean your pond fully, here’s a step-by-step:

Cleaning Your Pond

  • Remove any plants that you can from your pond and place them near the water’s edge so that disturbed critters can easily get back to the pond. It’s best to do this the night before. You can also use a bucket or two to save some of your pond water to mix with the fresh water you’ll be adding.
  • Either purchase or rent a pump and start to drain your pond, removing any animals and popping them in a nearby tub as the water drains. This is also a good time to hook out any plants that you couldn’t previously reach.
  • As the water level drops, you can also use the time to scoop out any mulch and decaying leaves. Again, place these on the side of your pond, fairly close, so that animals can make their way back to the pond when you’re done.
  • Once all your water is drained, don’t step in the pond! You might tear or damage your pond lining. Instead, use a long handled broom and pop some boards over the opening for you to walk along, if necessary.
  • Remove the silt from the bottom of your pond and scrub down the sides with a broom. Don’t use any soaps or chemicals to do this! You can choose to use a pressure washer or an attachment on your garden hose if this is easier for you or a broom isn’t easily to hand.
  • You want to be thorough, but not perfect. A little bit of the algae left over will help your pond to redevelop its ecosystem.
  • Once cleaned, you can start to refill your pond. Mix some of the saved pond water with fresh water from a hose, and refill slowly to help with oxidisation.
  • Once your pond is full, you can reintroduce any wildlife and plants.
Congratulations! Your pond is now clean and ready to enjoy all spring and summer long.