Ponds and Lakes in Portugal
It’s always best to locate your pond in an area that doesn’t have the full heat of the Algarve summer sun all day long, so a large evergreen tree or a pepper tree to create shade in the afternoon will not only look good, but help reduce the algae levels too. No pond will be entirely free from algae but there are things you can do to keep it at a minimum with a good balance of pH, temperature and water control. Apart from restricting sunlight and heat, especially in the hot summer here in Portugal, we are blessed with a whole range of plants that will provide protection, colour and oxygenation for your pond.
We can decorate your pond with species such as Water Lillies (Nymphaea), with their large round pads floating on the water surface, but as their colours and sizes are quite endless we will need to choose carefully as colour combinations need to be taken into consideration and keep them to a minimum as they can be quite vigorous in growth and end up taking over your pond and upsetting the whole balance of your ponds’ eco-system. Water Lillies will bloom for several months and, as long as you have depths between 12 inches and 1 metre, have several hours of sunshine and keep them away from splashy fountains, you should be able to look forward to little islands of yellows, pinks and reds.
The category of plants that grow around a ponds’ edge are known as Marginals, and cover a huge spectrum from those just requiring a wet soil, to those needing to be sat in several centimetres of water in order to survive. Many people mistakenly plant them in rockery beds and then wonder why they haven’t fared too well – Cannas are a prime example. They really do love wet, peaty conditions and look great on the edge of ponds. We tend to use the ‘mini’ or ‘nana’ varieties for smaller ponds, but for anything larger, we can use the standard Canna Lillies, which will stretch up to about a metre in height. If you want some plants to sit in the water itself, we can plant Bullrushes (Typhas) and Arum Lillies (Zantedeschia Aethiopica). We would use the smaller species of Bullrushes but you will still need to carry out yearly autumnal maintenance to thin out all of your water plants to stop them choking the ponds’ resources.
The other consideration for your pond or lake is what type of pump you want with regard to water splash and flow. A pump will provide plenty of aeration and some great visual effects as well as reduce mosquito build-up as they cannot reproduce in moving water. We recommend a good, recognised brand of submersible pond pump, which can be connected to a timer switch. It doesn’t need to run all the time, especially not through the night, but 6-8 hours a day will keep the bugs at bay and any fish happy. A pond design we have used many times, positions the pump so that the water flows out of a terracotta pot or urn and cascades down onto rocks or stones before entering the pond.