There is a growing trend among Charleston homeowners who are tired and bored with their traditional grass backyard, and no we’re not talking about an AstroTurf or artificial grass substitute. Instead, some are turning to a broader more refreshing alternative that feels more like a personal sanctuary than a backyard. Residents on James Island, Johns Island and historic downtown Charleston have created their own mini oases with beautifully landscaped Koi ponds and water gardens.
One of the most extravagant and pristine water garden and Koi ponds is located in downtown Charleston at the residence of Penny Patton who is an Associated Koi Clubs of America Judge. Here you will find a stunning 25,000 gallon black-bottom pond filled with vibrantly colored Koi that stand out brilliantly against the darker pond floor. Surrounding the pond are several other still pools which feature water lilies, lotus, umbrella palm and other plants that provide protection and shelter for many smaller organisms such as dragonflies and tadpoles. The sound of moving water, chirping birds and symphony of insects that take refuge in this habitat reveal how tranquility can thrive even in the most urban areas.
Creating a water garden or Koi pond not only creates a focal point for your backyard, but also creates a microclimate to keep you cooler in the hot summer months. Moving streams, waterfalls or any type of open water circulation can help create cooler, moist air especially in shaded areas. This also creates a sub-climate for non-native plant species allowing you to grow some tropical plants that normally would not last.
Robert Lewis, member of the Charleston Showa Koi Club and local koi breeder, says that when he began keeping koi, his family stopped watching television in the evenings in order to watch their fish.
Building a Koi pond and water garden should be well planned and thought out beforehand. Koi ponds range between 1,000 gallons to 40,000 gallons of water or more with a minimum depth of 3-4 feet for Koi to survive and prosper, but generally the bigger, the better. For a successful Koi Pond you will need clean, healthy water by using a filter as well as properly balanced oxygen and pH levels. You also want a shady, safe environment for the fish. The pond should be dug deep enough so that predators are not constantly killing, injuring or eating your fish. The idea of maintenance should also be built into the design of your Koi pond to avoid headaches down the road.
If you would like to tour some of the most beautiful Koi ponds and water gardens in Charleston there will be a Charleston Pond Tour hosted by the Charleston Showa Koi Club on Saturday, September 12th which will cover 10+ ponds around James and Johns Island, West Ashley and downtown Charleston. 50% of the proceeds will benefit Charleston Pet Helpers. After the tour, there will be a big cookout where you can meet the members and visit with other pond and koi enthusiasts as well as raffle prizes. Get tickets for the tour here: Charleston Pond Tour 2015 for Pet Helpers.
If you have questions about water gardens or Koi Ponds in general check out this informative video provided by Sacrmento Koi:
For other gardening ideas check out this article over at Yard Day that has some great tips on how to start your own vegetable garden.
Sources: Post and Courier – Hobbyists create cool, spiritual havens by building koi ponds and water gardens
Photos: Charleston Showa Koi Facebook
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