Does a small water garden add or detract?

marti8aApril 17, 2013

Last year was the year of the addition and kitchen, and this year was supposed to be the year of the pond expansion. Was being the operative word.

Dh thinks the pond as small as it is now will turn off buyers and a larger one even more so. He is also tired of the maintenance and I am too, but I really enjoy the fish, the lilies, and the sound of the water fall.

We aren't planning on selling this year, although we are working to get the house "sell ready" so when the time comes we are ready.

If you've followed my posts, I've talked about selling for years, and at one time we were thinking of selling this house and buying/building something in town so we could be near in-laws as fil's health was failing. They moved into senior apartments, eventually fil moved into a nursing home, and he died last year. Right now mil is ok but I can see that she is slowing down and slipping.

I'd like to stay in this house until dh retires in a few years and then I'd like to move closer to my kids, but we'll stay here as long as mil needs us. I wouldn't leave her here alone or move her to another state where she doesn't know anyone.

So back to my question, does a water garden help or hurt when it comes to selling a house? Would you leave the small pond or take it out?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

Most people will think MAINTENANCE and want nothing to do with it. Put a small one in now if you feel like keeping it up, but think about changing it out to something like a bog garden fed by the runoff from the house before you sell. Or, just do that now and enjoy the easier care garden. You can always do a jar bubble fountain for the area that is portable and you can take with you, or leave if the buyer likes it. That would be easy to keep up and add the water sounds that are so nice.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Definitely does not add value, to me anyway. It would have either NO effect or a NEGATIVE effect, depending on how much trouble maintenance is. Or how much trouble it would be to remove.

There are 2 water features in my neighborhood, and they are the most awful, poorly done projects I think I have ever seen. I want to stop and tear them out every time I drive by. No offense intended, of course - yours may be beautiful and professionally done. But a lot aren't.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately, you lose value for maintenance and from it being a water hazard for young children. On the other hand, I would have loved to have purchased a house with a nice water feature or koi pond. It would save me the trouble of building them. :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How small is the pond? Is it one of the preformed ones? Something like that I doubt would make much difference to buyers.
But it sounds like the both of you are tired of the maintenance, not that you are worried about resale of your house. If you don't want to work on it anymore just get rid of it now. Don't wait til you are going to sell your home. Buy a small fountain or portable water feature that you can take with you when you move. You can get the sound of water falling that way. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it would be a negative when selling. I think it's such a personal thing and that the majority of people would only think of the maintenance required to keep it up.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is a negative.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I personally love water features and fountains, but not everyone does - and as others said on average most people will see a pond as maintenance they don't want. If you are thinking of selling, enjoy a nice aquarium indoors and maybe a garden fountain for sound outside.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll see if I can find a picture. It's about 4000 gallons I think. Right now it doesn't look good because I started removing plants last year so we could start the expansion this year. Until last year, it wasn't such a maintenance problem, but we got a new pump and it must have a bigger intake because frogs keep getting in there now. And this year, for the first time, we have string algae. For the last 6 years, we have had crystal clear water and just have to clean the filter once a year. We (dh that is) still have to clean the filter once a year, but now he has to clean out the pump once a week. It doesn't take long, but it's still maintenance.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wouldn't not buy the house if that was the only drawback. I'd have full intentions on taking it out though or perhaps stating you'd need to pay to do so as part of the offer.

It's more work, time and money to deal with than what I have and would want no part of keeping one up.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My SO and I were the buyers in a situation like that ... we told the selle that we did NOT want the small pond (maybe bathtub sized) and would be pleased if she took it or gave it to someone she knew who wanted it.

At closing there was a hole in the ground to fill, and no fishies. :)

We wouldn't have paid extra for the pond, but it was easy to remove, so it wasn't a detracting factor.

Don't worry about it. Keep it, enlarge it if you want to, just don't make a pond that will take dynamite and a backhow to get rid of.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, too late for that lazygardens. No dynamite needed, but maybe a backhoe.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

4000 gallons is not "small" by any stretch of definition! That would be a major turnoff to me, and I like gardening. If it's not a small pre-formed pond like you can buy at any box store, then it's passed the point of small. You need to be realistic on this. If it's become more work than you enjoy, and you are the enthusiast, think of what it would be to someone else who knew nothing about the potential pleasures that it could provide and only sees the down side.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can't find a photo that shows the whole pond. My laptop crashed in December and took 7 years of photos with it.

As water gardens go, ours really is relatively small - at least for pond enthusiasts. It is a liner pond, not a preformed. That does sound like a lot of water, but a lot of that is for the depth needed for a nicely shaped koi. So one small 10x10 section is 4 ft deep. The lower section is 10x12, so overall, the square footage is 220 sq ft. More if you factor in the width of the waterfall wall separating the two sections. When we were on the pond tour, ours was one of the smallest, if not the smallest pond.

Someone who doesn't want maintenance probably wouldn't want any part of our yard either as we have a lot of garden areas.

When we were looking for a house before we bought this one, I didn't know what water gardens were. There were a couple of houses with ponds and I refused to even look at them because I thought they were tanks, or stock ponds (muddy watering holes for cattle). lol I don't know if water gardens have become mainstream or if I just pay attention when I see them on shows now but they seem more popular on garden shows.

As far as maintenance on a pond, it's far less than mowing a lawn or weeding a garden. Far, far, far less. It's just more maintenance than cement patios. My maintenance this year has been one Saturday morning draining the lower pond and scooping out the dead leaves and other icky things that settled in over the winter. I'll do that again in 2015. Dh's maintenance has been rinsing off the filter material and removing two frogs from the pump, and putting a piece of chicken wire over the intake to keep the frogs out. For the rest of the year, his maintenance is emptying the skimmer basket once a week and feeding the koi. I mentioned the string algae we've had this year. Dh has pulled it out twice. I went out today to measure the pond and it looks like it is disappearing. Yay! I guess dh didn't leave enough bacteria in the biological filter and it had to adjust.

When I said I was tired of maintenance, I included the whole yard. There is nothing I hate more than mowing and weedeating. I don't think there's any such thing as a maintenance free yard. Even our rocked area requires work.

I guess we'll see what the realtor says about the pond - and the yard - when we get ready to sell, and either take it out then or make the offer to have it removed if the buyer doesn't want it.

Thanks for the interesting discussion. It always helps me to get other views before taking any action. I actually talked myself into keeping it for now when I realized how much less maintenance it is than the grass.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It isn't the pond's maintenance really, but the perceived high maintenance. If you removed the pond and substituted a puppy with the sale, it would probably be easier. Even though a puppy would be 2000 times more work!

But people think they can handle a puppy; they are cute, even the children will take care of it. Most have never taken care of a properly installed and filtered pond. They feel in over their heads at first sight.

Although a lawn is more work, buyers perceive it to be a task they can handle because they know just enough to be comfortable. And if not, there is always HD/Lowes for answers or a business card with an address of someone who will take care of it, stuck in the crack of their front door. Has anyone ever gotten a pond care business card? Buyers don't know where to turn for help with ponds. Stressed buyers don't want to deal with additional unknowns.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It would be a negative with me small kids and a dog that might be wet all too often;).

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You said, "one small 10 x 10 section is four feet deep." Is that 10 x 10 FEET? That is not small. That is HUGE. Small is two feet by two feet. A definite turnoff to me, even though I love the outdoors and landscaping.

Absolutely negative. I would only consider tearing it out, and wonder what that would cost me.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Way too much for me to want to deal with as well. In my late 40's and am looking for less work - not more. Pumps, filters and any other equipment regardless of size, cost both time and money when they break and I'd want no part of it long term.

If I loved the rest of the place, it'd be part of my offer that you'd take it out, fill it and possible seed it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I personally would LOVE a small water garden... operative word being small.

220 square feet is huge, HUGE!. Too much for this gal, who would rather do other things with that kind of space.

This post was edited by LuAnn_in_PA on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 10:40

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

If you do keep it, as you are preparing to list, make sure that you let those in your water feature group know. they may know of people who would be interested in your house because of it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know why this would have to be a decision you have to make before you put it on the market or have a buyer lined up. Couldn't it just be one of many negotiation points you would have to hash over with your buyer. Maybe get an estimate of how much it might be to have it removed or filled in (if attractive rocks are in place it might make a wonderful flower bed.) and be psychologically prepared to do it if you have to.

When I was looking for houses I saw all kinds of things I didnt particularly want or need - example: big ugly 3 car garage bigger than the house itself - but I look at and weigh the entire package.

I just know - as a current pond owner and someone likely to re-establish some kind of pond in my new house - that Id be kind of annoyed if someone removed a perfectly good pond prior to selling the place to me. Granted, yours is a lot bigger than mine but if the yard was large and the pond fit the space well, I'd go for it!

Why not post this question over on the Pond forum- you'll probably get some good responses over there.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would love it. If it fits well into your property, leave it and wait for feedback. I don't agree that beautiful yards don't help sell a house. I feel it helped sell ours and we had a large pool which I worried about. But we had big, beautiful gardens and people loved the property. Our pool fit the landscaping. If the pond is part of the picture, I wouldn't remove it.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 1:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Personally, I would probably look at it as a ***very minor*** plus, since I am an adventurous gardener and love attracting wildlife to my backyard.

BUT! That water feature better be in tip-top shape when I am looking at the house. Anything that looks like the previous owner gave up on or burned out over maintaining it would be a huge red flag.

If I were selling, rather than just take it out preemptively, I might get 2 quotes, one to have the feature removed and the area re-landscaped (as simply as possible), and another, from a local company that installs and maintains ponds and pools, that includes say 3 months of maintenance plus some training for the new owners in how to take care of it themselves.

Then if it becomes a sore point with potential buyers, I would have some price concessions to offer.

But honestly, if I were part of a busy family with very young children, I would probably pass on a house with a water feature of any size. Too many terribly sad stories of children who drowned in the shallowest of pools.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

â¢Posted by kashka_kat
I don't know why this would have to be a decision you have to make before you put it on the market or have a buyer lined up.

We had planned to enlarge the pond this year, but dh said he didn't think that would be a good idea when it came time to sell. The reason I asked is that we now have to landscape the area we were going to use to expand the pond, and if people unanimously said to get rid of it, now would be the time since we are already going to be working on that area. (sorry for the run on sentence. It's late and my brain cells are shutting down)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 3:08AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Pond Dye Dumped Into My Pond and Stream... Water Rights Question
I never posted once in seven years, and now I post...
Home Buyers Please Vote: Would you rather ...
1. A $2,000 kitchen appliance allowance or any stainless...
Hall bathroom with claw foot tub, garden view but no shower.
We have a 4 bd, 3 bath house that I am getting ready...
Retiree - rent or buy home
We are newly retired and have a plan to sell our current...
Help, quick! VA Loan Problems?
My friend is selling her home. She's received two...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™