Water features are one of the most popular things Greenhaven is asked to install. They create a beautiful sound, relaxing environment and can be installed in small or large yards. Visually water features make an impact and will enhance your yard for years.

But they require some maintenance.

Of course, ponds require the most maintenance. All that water collects leaves, dirt and debris. And decaying leaves will mess with the ecosystem in your pond and clog the pump. Here are a few things you can do to prevent your pond from becoming a sludgy green mess:


The best thing to do is to prevent leaves from accumulating. If you have trees nearby that tend to drop leaves prune them back so they are not dropping leaves directly into your pond. If this isn’t an option, a net is the next best thing. A net will catch leaves before they hit the pond and can be easily removed.

Don’t like the esthetics of a net? Pond skimmers will help keep light debris from decaying in the pond and destroying the ecosystem.

If you have fish, don’t overfeed them. And regularly check your water pH to make sure it is in balance.


Pond vacuums are a good option to keep down sludge and decaying organic matter. Sludge is what you get when all those leaves and debris breakdown and accumulate on the bottom of your pond. Vacuuming up the sludge periodically will extend the times between a full cleaning which can be a full day project. You can hire a landscaping company like Greenhaven to do it or you can do it yourself.

Periodic Full Cleaning

Doing it yourself requires fully draining the pond and vacuuming out all sludge. Each rock needs to be removed and washed, cleaning the liner and the edging materials carefully (you don’t want any holes in that liner!). If you have aquatic life such as koi fish or plants those will need some special handling. If you hire a company make sure they have experience with transferring koi from the pond to a holding tank. Koi are sensitive and need special handling from professionals to avoid stress that can cause disease and fish loss.  

Keep Your Ecosystem Going

Once you are done cleaning you will need to return some of the sludge back into the pond (yes, really!) along with fresh water. This will jump start your ecology. Your pond, when healthy, is a perfect ecosystem. The bacteria,  beneficial algae, aquatics, and fish (if you have them) all work together to keep things clean and clear. Things start to get unbalanced when too much of something is put into the system – like leaves and debris. Cleaning out excess buildup returns your pond back to healthy and adding some sludge keeps it from needing to do the work of building up its internal resources.

Clean Your Pump

Regularly checking and maintaining your pump will keep it working in tip top shape. If it gets clogged, flush it out. If you have a biological filter this needs to be partially rinsed to keep the colonies of good bacteria that are useful in breaking down compounds.

Cleaning Fountains

Fountains and bubblers are less work to keep clean but they still need some TLC to avoid algae build up and mess. Leaves can still be a problem to bubblers and fountain even if leaves don’t have a tendency to accumulate. They can clog pumps and be unsightly as they breakdown.

Hard Water Build Up

Mineral buildup on fountains can create unsightly marks on fountains but the bigger issues can be the damage it causes to the pump. Clean your pump regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions and scrub down a granite fountain with a brush and a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. If your fountain is made of concrete, marble, limestone, copper or resin do not use strong cleaners as these can damage the materials. If in doubt call a professional like Greenhaven to clean it for you. Make sure that your professional is licensed and bonded and insured.

Water Features are Worth the Work

If all this sounds daunting, it can be. Before installing a fountain or pond it is good to consider if this is work you want to do. We believe the beauty of a water feature is worth the work.

Every water feature Greenhaven installs is backed by our customer service. We will walk you through all the ways to keep your pond looking it’s best and if we have a fully trained staff that will help you keep it clean. Just call to find out how you can enjoy your water feature in all seasons.