The most reliable and efficient pond pumps are submersible with all electrical parts well isolated from the water. The three principle parts of the pump are the impellor that spins and drives the water, the water intake pipe that is also attached to filters to clean the water before it enters the pump and the outlet pipe which delivers the cleaned water back into the pool. If the outlet pipe drives the water above the surface, the water will also be aerated or oxygenated. This is important if there are fish in the pond.
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I like your post and recommendations. I notice in the past, especially in around the 18th century, ponds existed that were created without pumps or filters and they still had fish in them that were able to survive. I also notice that these ponds had water plants, as you said, like lilies or lotus.
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Two years ago when I was deciding whether or not to bring back to life an empty concrete pond in the backyard of the house where I now live in Las Vegas, I came across your site. Although all the stores Out Here Sell filters and big pumps, I decided to do my best just to let my pond create itself naturally following your guidelines. Now in its third year, the pond is doing great. I have a couple small pumps in there just to splash water around for my amusement. The Goldfish seem to like 2 sit in the flow of water. But other than that, the pond has just been going on its own. All my plants came back from last year. My cat tails are spreading. It’s really a gorgeous and relaxing addition to my yard. By the way, it’s about 20 feet across and only about 8 to 10 inches deep.
Pond Shield Epoxy Pond Coating by Pond Armor