3,500 gal water garden with bog filter


Rex

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I built a 1,000 gallon koi pond back in the day before kids. We moved houses and didn’t feel safe having open water around with young ones. The kids are finally old enough, where water safety isn’t a major concern, so I’m building a pond again!

I’ve been digging as much as time allows for the last 10 days. I haven’t calculated approx. gallonage lately, but maybe around 3,500 gallons is what I’ll end up with. Just using hand tools and a wheelbarrow. Too bad summer isn’t right around the corner, because (after approx. 18 tons of excavation) I should be in plenty good of shape. The first ledge in my pics is for coping rocks/boulders. I will rock the vertical walls in the pond and gravel the horizontal surfaces. I hope to dig some plant pockets on the shallower shelves so that I can plant directly in them without using pots. I’ll use pots for my lilies that are down deeper. The area along the back fence will be my raised upflow bog filter (approx. 13’X5’) that will waterfall back into the pond. The pond will be 36” at the deepest and I plan to stock with koi. I also hope to cut some fish caves in the shelves at a couple of spots.

My liner will be here in 3 days and I have my submersible pump on order. Wow! This is a high dollar project and I’m doing all the work myself. I’m thankful I’m able to do my own work because I would never break loose enough money to pay to have this done, and I know I’ll like the final product a lot more if I do the work.

What a great forum this is. I’ve spent hours reading different topics over the last day since I discovered it. I really liked Addy’s Bog Building thread. That took a while to read, but I’m glad I did. Lots of good info! Lots of other good threads also.

Below are 3 pics from my first 10 days. Still have more digging to do. Once my liner gets here, I’ll probably extend the L (right hand side of the picture) out more as I see exactly how much the liner will allow. That porch off of my barn will eventually be covered and a swing will be on the near side to allow viewing of the pond.

Pond1.jpg Pond2.jpg Pond3.jpg

Thanks everybody! I'll update this post with pics as I make progress. The liner came in a day early. It is here now! I just got off from a double shift at work (48 hours total) though and I'm smoked. I get he next 4 days off so maybe I can make some good progress.

bagsmom - yes I've seen the Pond Digger's fish cave culverts and I like that idea. I can't find any scrap pieces of culvert though and I don't want to buy a full joint of that high dollar stuff. I'm thinking about using milk crates or some other tough plastic tote.
 
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Welcome, that looks like it's going to be a beautiful pond. With a n excellent sized bog. Looking forward to pics if the build and kudos to you on the hand labor wow. I know that's not easy, but your right doing it yourself is going to put your cost around a 20th of what it would cost to pay someone.
 
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I can't understand for the life of my why so many like the idea of a pipe for a fish cave. Now if your in an area where nothing bt baseball or basketball sized rocks are all that's available ok that makes sense but why not use large flat rocks over a dug out depression in the soil . it can be the size of 3 or 4 pipes wide and what ever length you want or you can even place some rocks like columns on the liner and place large flat rocks as a roof and create tunnels on page 12 of my build you can see two different photos with the fish cave and the lower on the same page you can see the fish tunnel it's a good 6 feet wide and 6 feet long one side is wide open while the other has a 12" x12" exit
 

Rex

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gbbudd, Wow you have an awesome pond! Now I'm going to have to spend a couple hours reading all 26 pages from your pond construction post. If I had heavy equipment like you do on page 12 (https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/going-for-it-phase-one-12-000-gallon-pond.22563/page-12), I would probably do what you did, but I I have to go the poor man route. To create a decent size cave, I can't get (or don’t currently have) a rock in my pond that big to cap it. The pipe/crate/tote provides the structural stability so that I can step on the flagstone above it without worrying about it breaking/collapsing.
 
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gbbudd, Wow you have an awesome pond! Now I'm going to have to spend a couple hours reading all 26 pages from your pond construction post. If I had heavy equipment like you do on page 12 (https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/going-for-it-phase-one-12-000-gallon-pond.22563/page-12), I would probably do what you did, but I I have to go the poor man route. To create a decent size cave, I can't get (or don’t currently have) a rock in my pond that big to cap it. The pipe/crate/tote provides the structural stability so that I can step on the flagstone above it without worrying about it breaking/collapsing.
Thanks its coming along mostly as planned but the pond has also swayed me in a couple directions i had not planned,

I wish i did own the equipment , if i did i would have to think long and hard about starting my own company again . but this time just building ponds. This is only my first attempt at building a pond so i'm learning like all of us. so far what i have done is working well . even better then i hoped for but ask around for your own project don't use me as a bible. But always happy to give an honest opinion
 
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but I I have to go the poor man route
I GOT RID OF THE X WIFE AND TREATED MYSELF TO MY POND I DIDN'T CARE WHAT THE DOLLAR CAME TO


I'M FREE AND THE WITCH IS DEAD TO MY WALLET
 
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I can't understand for the life of my why so many like the idea of a pipe for a fish cave. Now if your in an area where nothing bt baseball or basketball sized rocks are all that's available ok that makes sense but why not use large flat rocks over a dug out depression in the soil . it can be the size of 3 or 4 pipes wide and what ever length you want or you can even place some rocks like columns on the liner and place large flat rocks as a roof and create tunnels on page 12 of my build you can see two different photos with the fish cave and the lower on the same page you can see the fish tunnel it's a good 6 feet wide and 6 feet long one side is wide open while the other has a 12" x12" exit
Blame the pond digger. But in my case yes it made more sense than maneuvering rocks larger than I can carry to do the same thing and honestly at that depth a free found tube is just as good as a huge rock if its finer de tdd ails cannot be seen.
 
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Blame the pond digger. But in my case yes it made more sense than maneuvering rocks larger than I can carry to do the same thing and honestly at that depth a free found tube is just as good as a huge rock if its finer de tdd ails cannot be seen.
so says the man who pushed 300 pound boulders up that hill side . The adrenalin rush for that magnificent water fall out weighed the little fish cave
 
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Thanks everybody! I'll update this post with pics as I make progress. The liner came in a day early. It is here now! I just got off from a double shift at work (48 hours total) though and I'm smoked. I get he next 4 days off so maybe I can make some good progress.

bagsmom - yes I've seen the Pond Digger's fish cave culverts and I like that idea. I can't find any scrap pieces of culvert though and I don't want to buy a full joint of that high dollar stuff. I'm thinking about using milk crates or some other tough plastic tote.
one other item I was going to use but as a aqua blox alternative was a plastic planters table they are very HD and can hold a good deal of weight
 
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I can't understand for the life of my why so many like the idea of a pipe for a fish cave. Now if your in an area where nothing bt baseball or basketball sized rocks are all that's available ok that makes sense but why not use large flat rocks over a dug out depression in the soil . it can be the size of 3 or 4 pipes wide and what ever length you want or you can even place some rocks like columns on the liner and place large flat rocks as a roof and create tunnels on page 12 of my build you can see two different photos with the fish cave and the lower on the same page you can see the fish tunnel it's a good 6 feet wide and 6 feet long one side is wide open while the other has a 12" x12" exit
I think the appeal is in the strength and support it adds. Kind of like with a real culvert below a road. You don't see it at all, but it adds stability. Maybe it is more or less helpful, depending on the kind of soil a person has.
 
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Thanks everybody! I'll update this post with pics as I make progress. The liner came in a day early. It is here now! I just got off from a double shift at work (48 hours total) though and I'm smoked. I get he next 4 days off so maybe I can make some good progress.

bagsmom - yes I've seen the Pond Digger's fish cave culverts and I like that idea. I can't find any scrap pieces of culvert though and I don't want to buy a full joint of that high dollar stuff. I'm thinking about using milk crates or some other tough plastic tote.
I lucked out and have a friend who is a landscaper. He just so happened to have a 3 foot long scrap right when I needed it!
 

Rex

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Bought my first load of rock today (2 yards). I'll use these for the vertical walls in the pond.
20180918_145023.jpg
A little practice staking rocks before I put the liner in. I cut my fish cave in today. You can see it on the right side of the pic.
20180918_151005.jpg
I hope to put the under layment and liner in tomorrow.
 
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Question will those vertical walls be an issue if someone climbs on them .? I see your test has a more sloped wall. keep those photos coming would love to see the whole project. do you have an idea how many gallons it will be? I strongly suggest if filling by a hose that you use a water meter. That way if you ever need to treat the pond for some reason you know exactly how much to use.
 

Rex

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@GBBUDD most vertical walls that are over 1' or so that I'm going to rock like this are sloped. This test section I did was surprisingly stable. I was actually able to put all of my weight on the upper rocks and they did not displace. For the final product, I will put smaller rocks/gravel in the voids and use waterfall foam (like the Pond Digger does in his Youtube series). If I have any sections that are just too unstable I will use mortar. I know that can mess up the pH, but I've used it in the past with success and I won't be using a lot of it.

Before I started digging, I estimated 3,500 gallons based on the dimensions. I'm hoping when I see I have enough liner, I can extend a section out and get a few more gallons in. I haven't re-estimated lately, but I have been thinking about buying one of those water hose meters. Did you find a brand you like? Some I read reviews on had some bad feedback. Some either don't say their max or they say they max out at 999 gallons.
 
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I had a cheapo from the home depot it died half way through filling .
 

Rex

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Dug some plant pockets into the shelves.
20180919_091945.jpg
My friend gave me some left over pond under layment. I used #30 roofing felt for the rest. I have clean soil. I would have felt pretty comfortable with no under layment.
20180919_093253.jpg
Laying the liner out. Might make a good slip and slide.
20180919_094952.jpg
Working the 45 mil EPDM liner in.
20180919_102943.jpg
 

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well you are getting closer to done and sure by then you will be sore .
 

Rex

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I was able to extend the pond out another 2' or so. I had calculated I would be able to, but wanted to get the liner in the hole before hand just to make sure.
Pond4.jpg
I haven't filled all the void with smaller rock or foamed it yet. I was able to stand on this rock and it's probably the most unstable of the bunch. They aren't as stable as if they were mortared, but they are stable enough.
Pond5.jpg
Here is a view of the rock work I got done today. I'm kind of on hold until Friday when my 2" flexible PVC line comes in that will go from the pump to the bog. Pump will be placed under the flagstone with the measuring tape on it. It will be raised up to right under that flagstone. I dug a 3" wide trench on the bottom of the pond. I will run the PVC line thru the bottom of the pond (covered with gravel) and up and out on the wall on the near side of the flagstone on the right hand side of this picture. I want to get the PVC line in and fill the pond up to the 2' level or so to push/stretch the liner out. I hate to rock the top side without filling the pond up some and the liner be in a bind.
Pond6.jpg
I'm working on getting permission to collect my own coping rocks/boulders on a large ranch about 1 hour from here. It will save me a ton of money plus I love hand selecting the rocks that will be visible above the water line from amongst thousands and thousands.
 
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It's looking real good rex! . one question I have is it looks like there's some pretty sharp edges on one of the big flat rocks and it looks to be right up against the liner. looks can be deceiving but I'd probably slip a piece of underlayment in there any ways.
 
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Rex

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@GBBUDD yes they do have very sharp edges. I took off a few of the sharpest points with a hammer, but I do have some underlayment under there. Thanks for reminding me though!

@GBBUDD Don't you have lights in your pond? How deep below the water did you put them? Do you like the depth you put them or would you go shallower or deeper? Did you aim them downward or upward or just straight horizontal?
 

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