Above Ground Pond ( not mine this time! )


TheFishGuy

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I officially started, not my pond, but I am building it ( and most likely maintaining ) so I better not screw it up!

Dimensions are around 4x4x2, with a 1x1x4 bog that will sit on top of the main pond, providing some nice planting area, filtering, and some cover for the few goldfish that the "client" ( idk what to call them ) may want to add.

2x4 construction lined with plywood on the inside to provide a good surface for the liner, insulation in the walls ( cause its kinda cold for an above ground pond here ) and cedar slats on the outside.

I probably should have documented a bit more getting to this point, but I really haven't done anything as far as pics go up to this point, so here is the base pond frame, and I look forward to updating!

I should also mention this is not its final position, the idea is to get it completely constructed, and then load it up onto a trailer and move it.

File_000 (4).jpeg
 
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brokensword

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I would research a bit more re building above ground wooden ponds; I can see the corners separating after a time (or even quite soon) with a full water load. If I had to guess, you used deck screws and not lag bolts? Most of the time, they're built using 4x4 or 4x6 and the corners are interleaved, using re-rod or long lags to secure everything. That is, I think you may experience bowing out of the walls and/or corners separating based on what I'm seeing. Minimally, I'd have cross bracing at each corner both top and bottom.
 

TheFishGuy

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I would research a bit more re building above ground wooden ponds; I can see the corners separating after a time (or even quite soon) with a full water load. If I had to guess, you used deck screws and not lag bolts? Most of the time, they're built using 4x4 or 4x6 and the corners are interleaved, using re-rod or long lags to secure everything. That is, I think you may experience bowing out of the walls and/or corners separating based on what I'm seeing. Minimally, I'd have cross bracing at each corner both top and bottom.
The corners separating was just a couple boards that were added on for more corner support, and I am planning on doing some small cross braces, but with 2x6s which will be trim material.

I have not found many rescources Online about what is needed, so in this case and for such a small pond I have chosen to just go with it and change anything as needed.
 

brokensword

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The corners separating was just a couple boards that were added on for more corner support, and I am planning on doing some small cross braces, but with 2x6s which will be trim material.

I have not found many rescources Online about what is needed, so in this case and for such a small pond I have chosen to just go with it and change anything as needed.
problem might be you'll have to completely take all the water (and whatever else is in there initially) and rebuild. That's why I'm suggesting you do it now when it's less trouble and you can get at everything. I'd at least lag bolt everything where you used deck screws. The plywood should help distribute the load but won't stop bowing, I'm betting. Even if you put some 4x4s in between your studs and lag them to the top, that would help a lot. The bottom though, its likely to spread. You have the top reinforced but not the bottom. Were it mine, I'd at least run some 2x12s under it all and lag those on every side.

Just some ideas.
 
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Who’s the “ client “? You’ll have more leeway with a friendly family member, or good neighbor, than say the grumpy old cat lady down the street. YouTube King of DIY, he makes massive indoor “ponds” using wood, plexiglass, etc.
 

TheFishGuy

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Who’s the “ client “? You’ll have more leeway with a friendly family member, or good neighbor, than say the grumpy old cat lady down the street. YouTube King of DIY, he makes massive indoor “ponds” using wood, plexiglass, etc.
Oh yeah, it’s kind of a family friend, I say kind of because our families aren’t really connected anymore, but there is definitely plenty of leeway.
 
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TheFishGuy

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problem might be you'll have to completely take all the water (and whatever else is in there initially) and rebuild. That's why I'm suggesting you do it now when it's less trouble and you can get at everything. I'd at least lag bolt everything where you used deck screws. The plywood should help distribute the load but won't stop bowing, I'm betting. Even if you put some 4x4s in between your studs and lag them to the top, that would help a lot. The bottom though, its likely to spread. You have the top reinforced but not the bottom. Were it mine, I'd at least run some 2x12s under it all and lag those on every side.

Just some ideas.
I am not asking for much feedback here, but I am willing to do a few things if it would not take to much money or time,

lets say I hold the bottom together with cross braces and enough pieces running down the middle for the bottom to support plywood on top, and replaced the multiple 2x4s on the corner with a singular 4x4, would your master mind of construction say that is enough?
 

brokensword

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I am not asking for much feedback here, but I am willing to do a few things if it would not take to much money or time,

lets say I hold the bottom together with cross braces and enough pieces running down the middle for the bottom to support plywood on top, and replaced the multiple 2x4s on the corner with a singular 4x4, would your master mind of construction say that is enough?
for the bottom, yes. For the corners, I'm doubtful it'll last as long as you think it should. The key here is to keep side A from separating from side B. Using a 4x4 isn't the key, it's interleaving both sides so that there isn't a line of sheer in the vertical direction. Interleaving means both sides are locked and resisting the force. The above ground wood ponds I've seen are made from solid wood pinned at the corner every other layer. In your case, you have three 2x4s bolted together with deck screws. Wood moves, it reacts with the air re humidity so it's going to be more flexible when the force of the water inside starts to push.

In all honesty, I'm trying to figure out how to make your pond build stronger without you having to do a lot but your design isn't what I'd have done. I'd have made the whole thing from 4x4 minimum, 4x6 preferable with the 6" side facing the ground, and I'd have interleaved the corners, drilled a hole through each and as I interwove, done so by placing each 'log' over a steel rod until I reached the top. I'd also lagged each layer to the one below, minimum, or done the rod/hole trick every 2' or so. Btw, you wouldn't need bottom corner/cross bracing this way as your corners are doing the locking for you. Wouldn't even need it on top, but I would just because.

Because your design doen't look overly large, I think that would definitely do it until the wood got old enough and started to lose integrity. If your design was longer, I'd have also made buttresses for each side, probably every 4'. And I'd have cross braced the top as you're going to do. I'm pretty sure when making wood aquariums, a literal side to side brace is necessary to prevent blowing out the top.

I know you don't want to hear this, but do some youtube searches on above ground wood ponds and you'll see most are done something as I've described. I've seen small ponds done your way but they looked lower in height and I've seen aquariums built as you have but they're not as tall either. Not to mention an aquarium isn't going to have to face Mother Nature. Your build will have to.
 
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I am not asking for much feedback here, but I am willing to do a few things if it would not take to much money or time,
Ah... the impetus of youth. "Don't tell me what I may be doing wrong - just let me fail on my own."

You'd be wise to listen to some good advice here - building this pond is going to require some engineering skill that you may or may not have. I guess you'll find out though!
 

brokensword

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Who’s the “ client “? You’ll have more leeway with a friendly family member, or good neighbor, than say the grumpy old cat lady down the street. YouTube King of DIY, he makes massive indoor “ponds” using wood, plexiglass, etc.
keyword "indoor".
 

TheFishGuy

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for the bottom, yes. For the corners, I'm doubtful it'll last as long as you think it should. The key here is to keep side A from separating from side B. Using a 4x4 isn't the key, it's interleaving both sides so that there isn't a line of sheer in the vertical direction. Interleaving means both sides are locked and resisting the force. The above ground wood ponds I've seen are made from solid wood pinned at the corner every other layer. In your case, you have three 2x4s bolted together with deck screws. Wood moves, it reacts with the air re humidity so it's going to be more flexible when the force of the water inside starts to push.

In all honesty, I'm trying to figure out how to make your pond build stronger without you having to do a lot but your design isn't what I'd have done. I'd have made the whole thing from 4x4 minimum, 4x6 preferable with the 6" side facing the ground, and I'd have interleaved the corners, drilled a hole through each and as I interwove, done so by placing each 'log' over a steel rod until I reached the top. I'd also lagged each layer to the one below, minimum, or done the rod/hole trick every 2' or so. Btw, you wouldn't need bottom corner/cross bracing this way as your corners are doing the locking for you. Wouldn't even need it on top, but I would just because.

Because your design doen't look overly large, I think that would definitely do it until the wood got old enough and started to lose integrity. If your design was longer, I'd have also made buttresses for each side, probably every 4'. And I'd have cross braced the top as you're going to do. I'm pretty sure when making wood aquariums, a literal side to side brace is necessary to prevent blowing out the top.

I know you don't want to hear this, but do some youtube searches on above ground wood ponds and you'll see most are done something as I've described. I've seen small ponds done your way but they looked lower in height and I've seen aquariums built as you have but they're not as tall either. Not to mention an aquarium isn't going to have to face Mother Nature. Your build will have to.
After doing more looking, I have come to the realization that the reason there isn’t much on the way I am building the pond is because it isn’t the best way, however I will say that I have already put a substantial chunk of money and time into this method, so I don’t feel like I can back out,

I am going to do everything I described in my recent post, and then realize that I might have to take it out in a few years.
 
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brokensword

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After doing more looking, I have come to the realization that the reason there isn’t much on the way I am building the pond is because it isn’t the best way, however I will say that I have already put a substantial chunk of money and time into this method, so I don’t feel like I can back out,

I am going to do everything I described in my recent post, and then realize that I might have to take it out in a few years.
that's cool, I understand. What you could do to reinforce your design is make a 4x4 collar that runs halfway up the sides and around the whole pond. You could put some brace/leg supports to keep it that height and not even attach it to the main frame. Use lag bolts and and over lap system. In this case, you'd cut the 4x4 end only in half, doing the same with the one coming to meet it. By overlaying the two, you're back to a 4x4 and you'd lag these two together. This way you don't depend on butt joints, as you're doing in your design.

This collar approach will keep the walls from bowing out as well as reinforce your corners. I'd do this top, middle and bottom but you may not need that much, based on the size.

Either way, good luck!
 
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I am not asking for much feedback here, but I am willing to do a few things if it would not take to much money or time,

lets say I hold the bottom together with cross braces and enough pieces running down the middle for the bottom to support plywood on top, and replaced the multiple 2x4s on the corner with a singular 4x4, would your master mind of construction say that is enough?
You know the where the best answers come from. PICTURES PICTURES AND MORE PICTURES
 

TheFishGuy

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Update for all, I am sorry for being fairly arrogant and turning my head at people trying to help, however as *kind of* stated above, I was just stressed about the amount I had already spent on this way of building, however I looked into the best way, which would be to do the 6x6s interlocking and just stack those up, and to start from scratch and go that way it will actually be cheaper than even just taking my chances and finishing this way, so I have chosen to gift what will now be a planter box to my mom for whatever she wants to put in it, and start again, this time the correct way, Have not bought any materials yet, so I am perfectly open to suggestions, but again, sorry If I was being arrogant and or rude.
 
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Your looking at approximately 376 gallon if filled to the brim. X 8 pounds per gallon and your looking at a total weight of 3000 pounds your 2x4 frame would be sufficient. To hold this amount of water. Things to note both ends of you wall overlap the side walls. This is your weak link. As far as using 3 tech deck screws is no problem but what I would do is to also apply a polyurethane glue to each joint as your screwing each stud together. Then and this is where your strength will be is in a doble top and bottom plate. Where you overlap your joints . Follow the drawing below add your 3/4 pressure treated plywood and then I would also add a second layer not so much because it won't be strong enough NOW but for when it starts to rot you will more then double the life span
Screenshot_20210403-181320_Gallery.jpg
 
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Install two 3 inch screws to every stud.from the plate into the end grain of each stud. Again applying gorilla glue before screwing.
On the ends that will have the full width on end you have two studs with what we refer to as a block between ( a 8 inch piece of 2x4 inbetween the studs at the top and the bottom screw three screws staggered on each side making a sandwich again apply your glue to everything but beware this glue expands three times what you put on and wear gloves it stains skin really well. The top and bottom plates you'll want to drive three screws into the over laped stud at a min and then stager your screws down the length of the stud every 8 inches. The frame will outlast the wood rotting . But like you were thinking 6x6 will last even longer possibly but is a challange in making it look nice as the pressure treated shrinks and twists. With your current design you can face the frame with cedar which will age gracefully and look like a million bucks.
Your bog is even easier as a 2x12 with staggered end joints and then a single plate on the top and bottom glue and screw . Those are what we call strong backs and will hold your 1x1x4 bog .

And I would support this bog in this manner below you can build individuale legs to keep it simple in this description 16 inch centers. Or can be a great place to hide your pump.
I for got to mention using a 2x6 on the bottom plate so you have a lip all tge way around for your plywood to sit on and again I'd use two layers as any wood around water covered with rubber will ALWAYS have condensation
under the rubber against the ply and yes I would also add fabric expecialy with pressure treated.
Good luck to you
Top frame.jpg
 

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Install two 3 inch screws to every stud.from the plate into the end grain of each stud. Again applying gorilla glue before screwing.
On the ends that will have the full width on end you have two studs with what we refer to as a block between ( a 8 inch piece of 2x4 inbetween the studs at the top and the bottom screw three screws staggered on each side making a sandwich again apply your glue to everything but beware this glue expands three times what you put on and wear gloves it stains skin really well. The top and bottom plates you'll want to drive three screws into the over laped stud at a min and then stager your screws down the length of the stud every 8 inches. The frame will outlast the wood rotting . But like you were thinking 6x6 will last even longer possibly but is a challange in making it look nice as the pressure treated shrinks and twists. With your current design you can face the frame with cedar which will age gracefully and look like a million bucks.
Your bog is even easier as a 2x12 with staggered end joints and then a single plate on the top and bottom glue and screw . Those are what we call strong backs and will hold your 1x1x4 bog .

And I would support this bog in this manner below you can build individuale legs to keep it simple in this description 16 inch centers. Or can be a great place to hide your pump.
I for got to mention using a 2x6 on the bottom plate so you have a lip all tge way around for your plywood to sit on and again I'd use two layers as any wood around water covered with rubber will ALWAYS have condensation
under the rubber against the ply and yes I would also add fabric expecialy with pressure treated.
Good luck to you View attachment 137557
Thanks for the advice! I think I will go with the 6x6s as the construction seems like it will be a lot easier, however for the bog I will deffinitly take into account what you mentioned :)
 
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6x6 timbers and using lag bots is not going to be as easy as you may think.

I strongly suggest pre drilling a hole and using bar of soap rubbing it on the lag bolt before trying to drive it. You will also need to counter sink the heads of the washer and head of the bolt. It is trickier to work with 6x6 and if they are not square and straight then keep looking elsewhere. Not to mention cutting them is tricky as no blade will do it in one cut. The 2x4 are easier but will require the frame to be finished .
 
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TheFishGuy

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Update, got the 6x6 frame dry fitted, have decided just to go with a few pieces of rebar in each corner and surrounding area to get everything secured, however I won’t do that till the final installation, as for this design I will have to take at least the main pond apart to move it.

I have to figure out what I want to build the bog out of, I am either thinking 4x4s or just going with a 2x4 frame for that part.


C6BE79AC-F4B6-42EA-AC76-127E15159CF9.jpeg


deffinitly a bit overkill, and I see why people use 4x4s instead but it should be sturdy once the rebar is in.
 

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