How to set up your own Koi Pond

We’ve been debating this for some time, and we’ve had a couple of different garden companies stop by to give us some estimates, and even though the advice I’ve received from friends who’ve had these (mostly along the line of: Don’t!! Don’t do it!! You’ll be sorry!! :-)) made me wonder, we ended up doing this ourselves.

Estimates from the garden place near our home were around $2000.00 (US) for the whole thing, most of that being labor, and the fee for removing the dirt they dug up.

In the end, we decided it would be a good project for the family to do, and ordered a ready-made pond from Remix, the tropical fish and pet store just down the street.

We bought the second largest (177cm x 120cm x 30cm) since the largest didn’t look like it would balance well with the flower bed already in the corner of the yard. It cost us about 48,000 yen (about US $500) and we had a fun time bringing it home sticking out the hatch of our Tiida, but no incidences and we arrived home safely (it is just under 1KM from our house to there).

We ended up getting a new spade for about $25.00 US, and that’s pretty much all of the expenses, and leaves us to take care of the labor.

Balcony 'before' view

Balcony 'before' view

From the balcony, tools, koi pond, Sulseob, Allen (me!), and Ahn

From the balcony, tools, koi pond, Sulseob, Allen (me!), and Ahn

Okay, we’re under way, about 9 am.

Bynn starts the digging

Bynn starts the digging

Ahn digs this, too

Ahn digs this, too

One thing that wasn’t easy was measuring things and figuring out where/how to dig. The answer?

Marked off the inside measurements of the bottom with chopsticks!

Marked off the inside measurements of the bottom with chopsticks!

Koi pond is starting to take shape

Koi pond is starting to take shape

Supervising the koi pond digging, one of my strong points :-)

Supervising the koi pond digging, one of my strong points :-)

Koi pond, okay, it fits. Look at all that dirt, yikes!

Koi pond, okay, it fits. Look at all that dirt, yikes!

The boys left for swimming school, Dad (me!) got busy.

It was a lot of work shaping the hole, and though the sides were beveled there were some gaps, so…

Koi pond: filling in the extra spaces a bit.

Koi pond: filling in the extra spaces a bit.

koi pond: finally filling it with water

koi pond: finally filling it with water

Koi pond: welcome to your new home! 11 small koi somewhere in there.

Koi pond: welcome to your new home! 11 small kingyo somewhere in there.

Balcony shot of the koi pond - after

Balcony shot of the koi pond - after

Balcony shot a little closer up

Balcony shot a little closer up

I’m expecting it to settle a bit, so the sides are still a little raised. It settled just a little over night, but after a few more days I hope it will be close to level with the ground.

These final shots were taken this morning, the day after. We finished up everything by around 5 pm yesterday, so it was a fair amount of work, but it turned out to be a really great way to spend the day together. Granted, I put a bit of a burn on while Sulseob took the boys to swimming school so I could be sure we’d get finished in a day, but I let them dig, and play in the dirt along with me. They were also a big help in lifting the pond in and out when we were testing the measurements. It’s best to have help so you’re not wiping out your markers or crushing and caving in the lip of the hole by dragging the pond in and out over them.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of this kind of work (uh, PhD in Literature aside, hehheh) but any time you can work this long, this hard, and then look back and ‘see’ the results of your labor and be pleased with it, there’s a good feeling that comes with that.

Today it’s great to look out the balcony and see it, and though the photos don’t show it so well, you can see the fish swimming around in it. They’re not so big now (yet) only a few centimeters long, but I’m sure they’ve got room to grow now. They’ve also got a much better chance of surviving the marauding crows who’ve knocked of the screen covers of the ceramic bowls they were living in and snacked on their brethren in the past.

Oh, and yes, I know it’s not technically a koi pond since it’s not koi, but kingyo, but my heart still feels like it’s a koi pond, okay?

EDIT: To Byron, and anyone else wondering about the company that makes these here in Japan.

The company name is Takara, but being the wonderful marketers they are, there is no website address listed in the catalogue, only their address and phone numbers.

Here are a couple of quick photos of the pamphlet:

The first has the model we ended up going with (the A-2, 177×120)

Takara pamplet koi pond models 2

Takara pamplet koi pond models 2

This is a shot of the back with the name/address/phone numbers of the company.

Takara pamphlet back address

Takara pamphlet back address

For what it’s worth, we saw this, and several very similar in other garden magazines. We ordered this one from the Remix tropical fish and pet store here in Meitoku, Nagoya.


Another EDIT: Thanks to Byron, I have a pdf of that brochure so no need to upload more of the images from it. Instead, just get it here:

Takara Catalog

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2 Comments

  1. Byron Peterson:

    What a great addition to an already great backyard. I’m green with envy. If it is handy please tell me the name of the company that made the pond. Thanks. Byron

  2. Payton K. Minogue:

    Nice Koi Pond! Unfortunately, we dont have something like that here. Usually, our ponds are made out of concrete which does the job, somehow.

    Koi’s are good luck that is why there are lot of people who breed them

    Great post, man!

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