A: Though we generally recommend folks shut down their pondless features in the winter, you can absolutely run it year-round—as long as you're prepared to add a few winter chores to your to-do list.
Keep It Running
Because they don't have filtration systems to fuss with or fish to care for, pondless and other small features really don't require much winter care. Periodically, however, inspect it and check for the following:
- Flowing Water: To prevent water from freezing in the feature's plumbing during cold temperatures, keep water running at all times. The movement will minimize ice buildup.
- No Ice Dams: Keep an eye on the ice formations around your feature. Make sure ice is not redirecting water out of the water feature. If so, melt it with warm water.
- Refill as Needed: You'll need to top off the water level through the cold season, so keep a water supply available to refill your feature as needed.
Shut It Down
If you don't want to mess with these chores, shut your water feature down for the season and store the pieces and parts until next spring. Here's a quick three-step checklist to follow:
- Scrub Down: First, give your feature a thorough cleaning. Use Oxy-Lift to help break debris from the rocks and waterfall, gently scrub as needed and rinse well.
- Remove Pump: Next, empty out water basins and remove your pump for winter storage. Drain the tubing and store the pump in a bucket of water to keep the seals moist so they don't dry out and crack.
- Store Décor: Finally, disconnect and store any fragile water feature parts, like spitters or decorative vases in your garage or basement. Take temperature-sensitive plants inside for the winter, too.
Yes, sitting beside a gurgling waterfall on a frosty winter's eve is a splendid way to relax after a long day (especially if you have a hot cup of tea and a patio heater cranked on!). But giving your feature a break for the winter while you stay warm and dry is a nice idea, too. Whatever route you choose, enjoy!