THE INS AND OUTS OF KOI POND BUILDING by Mike White, White Water Filters PART 9: Planning for Pond Expansion

PART 9: Planning for Pond Expansion

When is the best time to plan for the next new improvement to the pond? With most of us, our life is so busy that there is no good time to plan for what we want to do months down the road. We have enough trouble just planning for the next weekend. Most of us will wait until spring or summer is here and than start thinking of what we want to do for the pond. By this time we are so under the gun to get something done quickly that we really don’t think enough about it or investigate it well enough. So we either do nothing and put up with the problems we have, or do something and next year end up in the same position of trying to correct what we just did. So don’t forget the 6 p’s.

What are the 6 P’s? “Proper planning prevents piss poor performance”. To most of us our pond is a sizable investment that we gain considerable enjoyment and relaxation from. But I don’t think I have met a pond owner yet that did not want to change something on their pond or the pond itself. If it is going to get done right, now is the time to start planning for it. It is far easier and cheaper to change something on paper than when you start digging and find that electric line going to your house right in the middle of new pond expansion.

How do we get started planning? The first step is to put together a wish list of everything you would like to see changed. It could be a very simple like changing the look of the waterfall or as complex as changing the entire pond.

Next determine if you plan to do the work yourself or hire it to be done or a combination of both. Even if you are thinking of doing the work yourself it might be a good idea to get a quote or two from a professional. Many professionals don’t charge for a quote so other than a little bit of your time, you have nothing to lose. The person giving you the quote might have some ideas that you hadn’t thought of.

How do you find a reputable professional? You already belong to an organization that has a wealth of knowledge, so use it. Ask people that you know in the club and you should get some names of good professionals.

Now is the time to start to put together a budget for the project. Most of us have limited funds with which to work and we may not be able to do everything on the list this year. We might have to do things in stages. Like everything else in this world pond equipment is going up in price. In fact it is going up very quickly. Almost everything used in pond construction is an oil based product so the prices have skyrocketed. As an example, liner that is commonly used from last year at this time to now has gone up 12% at the wholesale market. Expect things to be more expensive than you anticipated.

Based on your budget, you now have a good idea of what part or if you can do the whole project at this time. If you are doing any part of the project by yourself you will need to lay out the steps necessary so the project can be done efficiently and with the least waste of time and expense. If you are doing part of the project yourself and the other part by a professional you will need to make sure that your part is done when necessary. By breaking down what needs to be done it will allow you to determine those steps that need to be done at the same time. It also will prevent you from doing something before a necessary previous step. With the project broken down into steps it will help prevent forgetting things and help you determine how much time the project will take.

Then you should put together a time line of all the different activities that will take place. Remember that things always take longer than you think. If you are going to use a professional for all or part of the project remember that they have their schedule and commitments that they have made. The earlier you get in touch with them the more likely that your time line and their schedule will line up. So when trying to find a professional one of the things to determine is how responsible is this professional. Are they going to do what they say they are going to do, when they say they will do it? Maybe your time table is flexible and if they are late by a few weeks that is no big deal or maybe you are planning a graduation party in the middle of June and the person you hire says they will be done the first of June. If the person you hire is reliable everything should be okay but if they are not then who knows. If you have enough to worry about already, you don’t need to add things to the list. This is also true if you are doing it yourself. If the project is going to take place over a week or more make sure that you leave time for weather and other things that may come up.

If you are doing part or the entire project by yourself then you will need a bill of materials or a list of things that you will need to complete the task. You already have a budget and a time line of when you will need things. This step is to insure that you have what you need on budget when you need it. Nothing is worse than to get to a point and find out that you don’t have something that you need and when you go to get it you find out it is on backorder for a week or more. That can be a very costly mistake in terms of the project. This is also true of any equipment that you may need to rent or acquire.

You should now have the project somewhat under control. Remember if you are doing the work yourself you have more control. If you have friends helping you make sure to line them up early. If you are going to have a professional do part or the entire job, then the earlier you get that scheduled the better. A professional can get booked up months in advance. Also remember that a professional is going to require money down at the start of the project. This is normally 1/3 to ½ of the total amount of the quote. Remember any changes requested that are not in the original quote will normally change the final bill.

©2006 all rights reserved to Mike White