Take the Nuisance Out of Ponds

Take the Nuisance Out of Ponds

Simple methods for making ponds safe for children.

By Scott & Ann Springer

Children and water may be as hazardous as oil and water. However, with the proper safeguards and enhanced safety elements, parents or grandparents may share their water gardening interest with their descendants.

Designing ponds without severe drop offs is one method to lessen pond risk. A progressively sinking pond bottom or steps may do this, according to Jeff Korhan, CLP, member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and proprietor of Treemendous Landscape Co. in Plainfield, Ill.

Place a screen under the surface of the deeper water in already-built ponds, according to Barbara Butler, president of Barbara Butler Artist-Builder Inc. in South San Francisco, Calif.

Place huge rock outcroppings further out along the water’s edge as natural indicators of rising water depth in ponds with beach-style entrances. “In this manner, parents or grandparents can see whether their children have gone too far,” Korhan said.

While certain plants or shrubs may be used to create a natural fence, be mindful about erecting obstacles to keep youngsters out of ponds. Children are naturally attracted to water, and they may see boundaries as climbing toys, according to Eric Triplett, proprietor of Exotic Aquatics in Redlands, California. “Give them an access to the pond or they’ll construct their own,” he said.

Dense plants may be a better option than pebbles, which invite young feet to walk on them. Children may slip and fall when attempting to stroll on the rocks along the pond’s edge. Dense shrubs surrounding the rear of a pond may help to reduce the number of pond entries while yet allowing for magnificent vistas.

When creating a kid-friendly water garden, keep the age of the children in mind. “When youngsters are really small, they may drown in a pail of water,” Butler said. “Having a tree house overhanging a pond is a fantastic concept once the kids are older.”

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