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Question DetailsAsked on 7/14/2014

How to make Koi Pond Kid safe?

We are buying a home that has Koi Pond in its backyard. The specifications of the Pond are ( 10ft x 6ft x 4ft ). With a four year old kid who will be running around in backyard all the time, we have two options:

* Get rid of the beautiful Koi pond. Although a no-brainer solution, this also means that none of us would get to enjoy it and the backyard would lose much of its charm.

* Other option is to make it kid safe. There is no off-the-shelf solution for this, but we are thinking maybe some sort of decorative fencing that doesn't look bad in backyard might help us out. Other option might be to take some L-shaped camping tent hooks, put them around the koi pond and hook a fishing net over that. This solution may not be visibly appeasing, so there might be an option of putting net on the surface water-level of the pond, so that it wouldn't look as bad.

All that being said, first priority for any parent would be kid safety & we wonder what else we can do.

Thanks in advance!

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3 Answers


Generally, to make a pool "safe" you need a minimum 6 foot fence with a "small child unclimable" design - meaning all vertical bars above the bottom crosspiece up to the 6 foot mark with no toeholds to climb, so not chain link or lattice or curlicue design or such - PoolGuard or similar wrought iron, solid cedar plank (board to outside), etc - lots of designs out there - and a padlocked gate.

Other alternatives include filling it in of course, or building a deck across to cover it if you want it usable in the future (though need means to remove deck section to clean out debris and water from time to time), or a safety walkable pool cover which is quite expensive.

I am not keen on the net idea - strangulation and entanglement risk in both the net and the tiedown ropes, plus very hard to tie down so an inquisitive or role-playing pirate or SEAL or such cannot get under the edge. If all kids in the area were say 7+ or so maybe a boarding net concept, firmly anchored all around the edges to the ground so it could be climbed and walked on by kids like in an obstacle course would work, but personally I would not do it with that young a child. If you use a net, you want the black or white nylon or poly-dacron type (feels soft to the touch), not the hard poly type which is hard to fall on and also creates real nasty cuts because it gets sharp ends sticking out as it is exposed to sun. Manila is also good but does not last anywhere as long outdoors.

Unfortunately, I am afraid your cheapest but least desireable solution aesthetically is to fill it in - maybe only temporarily with an easily excavated gravel until the kids reach safe age then back to Koi pond, then back to infilled when grandkids come along, then back to Koi, ...

Most permanent solution keeping the pond would be to treat it as a swimming pool and put a swimming-pool rated fance around it with walk-around/lawn chair room inside, so maybe 16x20 foot or so. Unfortunately, probably in the $3000-6000 range for that solution in wrought iron if professionally installed - maybe in the $1000-2000 range if self-installed for aluminum or wrought iron respectivelyi. Ask a pool installer or fencing company for better estimate. Enclosed cedar board fence or vinyl fence, which would block pond view unless you were inside the fence, probably on the order of $2000-3000 range, ballpark.

Tough choice - and teaching your kid to swim does not solve the problem of accidental fall and being knocked out on the way into the water or of small friends who cannot swim, and of course the whole idea of the fenced back yard is the kids are able to go out and play (or get kicked out to play) at any time without full-time parent overwatch.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Build the pond 2 1/2 to 3 foot deep. Have multiple ramps to allo easy exits. Have several small float devices. With water plants to give the Koi shade. Mach sure pond is partidally shaded.

Enjoy you Koi and flora.

Source: koi pond owner

Answered 3 years ago by Easyrider


Note on EasyRider's response- while that solution might make it fairly safe for pets to get out if they fall/jump in, it DEFINITELY does not make it safe or anywhere near safe for small children - they commonly drown in 6 inches of water or less if they hit their head falling in or inhale a slug of waterupon falling in or panic.

Also on the "safe" thing - in some states, having any water feature like that in your yard, if not natural (like a natural stream), is considered by law an attractive nuisance and you can be summarily held to have been grossly negligent and/or guilty of willful endangerment if it is not surrounded by the type/height of fencing ("unclimable" design by the law's definition, 5 or 6 feet high in most cases, locking gate which a chiild cannot release). And in those states/cities, if a child (or anyone, including a drunk guest say) is injured/killed in your water feature it is a slam dunk for a willful endangerment and criminal negligence charge or manslaughter charge, as applicable, not to mention a private liability lawsuit, so maintaining its safety is critical.

Also - if your insurance company finds out you do not have the legal protection around a water feature which can be so classified, they are likely to cancel your insurance. I have heard of a number of cases where it was cancelled on the basis of a routine house condition driveby and would NOT be reinstated by them even if the required protection was subsequently provided. One case I remember involved a child's plastic wading pool dug in to ground level - so about 3-4 feet in diameter and about 8-10 inches deep with no protection, and the insurance company irrevocably cancelled a 40 year customer.

The biggest risk there is if you are cancelled for cause, your name/house can go on the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) as an unacceptable risk, so no other insurance company will give you insurance either ! Crooked by nature, but hey - insurance companies are largely directed by lawyers, so what would you expect ?

Here is the non-mandatory Consumer Product Safety Commission Guidelines, which are commonly referred to in court cases as being a bare minimum standard -

And there is the International Residential Code /ISPSC requirement - which is the adopted code in most areas, though some areas modify it (generally only in the more conservative direction, like requiring higher fencing or requiring gate latches be key-locking - couldnot find a link to a free version - costs about $15 to buy the code on pools and spas. Your local building code authority have have a handout online with the pool requiremnts for your area, and the minimum water depth they apply to - vary from 3" depth on up to about 18" - I don't think I have ever found one which did NOT apply it to water over 18" deep, because that is where the international codes set the application limit mandating safety boundaries/fencing.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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