Attempting a pond build for the first time. Need help

Discussion in 'Pond Construction & Equipment' started by foothill999, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. foothill999

    foothill999

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    I am a complete newbie when it comes to building ponds, well actually, to building anything. I have been doing alot of reading but there is so much to plan and learn. I attached a rough drawing of my plan, yes the pond will be in my front courtyard area however we are having 3 wrought iorn gate going up to keep it secure. I have lots of questions regarding layout and design and I welcome any and all ideas and knowledge you would like to share. I have labor helpers but they too have not built ponds.

    1. How much space will I need for my pump, filter and uv light equipment?
    2. I would like to have a small self maybe 12" deep to mortor some boulders to hide liner and then go straight down to 4ft, If I have hard ground and not sandy soil do I still need to do a concrete beam around the perimeter.
    3. I have only accounted for a 10X8 area in the corner for a water fall, is that realistic ?
    4. where can I find help with the plumbing details for bottom drain, skimmer ect...
     

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    foothill999, Mar 28, 2017
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  2. foothill999

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    sgreeting_welcome_team_100-100.gif

    Hi Foothill999,

    Welcome to our group. I'm a newbie too, but there are a lot of friendly and knowledgeable folks with tons of pond experience who will help you here.
     
    MoonShadows, Mar 28, 2017
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  3. foothill999

    bagsmom

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    I'm new and no expert -- but I would say get on YouTube and look up The Pond Digger. His tutorials are SO helpful and very detailed! I learned everything I know on here, from The Pond Digger videos, and from books. You can do it!
     
    bagsmom, Mar 28, 2017
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  4. foothill999

    Waterbug

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    In most areas in the US have building code that covers water features (pools, ponds, etc...). For example here in Phoenix AZ and in San Jose CA more than 18" deep requires a permit and fence requirements like 5' non-climbable fence. I have a pond in my front yard and had to keep under 18" deep. I don't know your area but in most urban areas you should expect a building inspector to drop by.

    Totally depends on the kinds of filters. A UV needs very little space, basically just a fat pipe and maybe 2' long. External pump housing can be about say 4 sq ft depending how it's mounted. Submerged pump take no space outside the pond of course.

    Purely a subjective call. Ground that's hard today may be soft tomorrow, at least for clay. Walls can collapse and generally nice square soil selves can round over and rocks fall down into the pond over time.

    The more you slope the sides the less risk. Even a concrete collar isn't 100%, it just reduces risk. I mortar rock on top of the liner and up the sides to hide the liner. It helps reduce collapse risk too. Sloped sides make liner laying easier too. The cons of vertical straight soil side out weigh the pros imo.
    [​IMG]


    Sounds realistic to me. But it depends on what kind of falls you want, height, etc...

    Plenty of web and videos available. Most are people that have no idea what they're doing...but their instructions are the easiest, cheapest and according to them "the best". IMO the better sites and video talk about bottom drains as systems rather than just this magical hole at the bottom of a pond. They'll say sieve is the proper filter and the need for TPRs and/or pond shape and just of air to move debris to the drain. Your pond shape for example would probably work best as a "river flow" type bottom drain system. So any site talking about that might be helpful.

    Have fun.

    P.S. I don't really want to be a bummer...you should always build what you want...but bridges are a bit of a design problem in small ponds. Everyone of course wants a bridge, they're cool. But in a small pond the scale is often way off. Or some mini doll house bridge is used which works only if the rest of the pond (rocks, plants) are scaled down too. And bridges are expensive to make if done well. So make sure you really want that element. Look at some pictures online. An alternative that does work really well is to use stepping stones instead and scale them down to the pond size.
     
    Waterbug, Mar 29, 2017
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  5. foothill999

    foothill999

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    Thank you for taking the time to answer. I really dont want to pull a permit , afraid they will tell me I cant do it the way I want too :) How would they know? I buy and remodel homes for investment rentals and havemt pulled a permit yet and never had an issue, hoping this works out the same. I have been so stressed and totally obsessive trying to plan this out we called back one of the local pond builders and agreed to go ahead and hire him for labor only and he will build it the way I want. When I first met with this practicular builder I wrote him off becouse he seemed to be more of a water garden type guy, the pictures on his webiste were beautiful but all advice I got online was differant then what he was trying to sell me..., he didnt want to do a bottom drain, no skimmer, no lights, and didnt want to build it deeper than 3ft :(
    I called him back and will meet him again and he seemed more open to make some changes, doing a bottom drain, skimmer, ectt and trying to go a bit deeper but he may be right on that just as you say for the sake of collapse risk. I might have to settle somewhere in the middle of a koi pond and a water garden.\
    I see what you are sating as far of the bridge and have some of the same concerns as being too big and not looking as great as I imagine in my head, its a bit complicated as right now that leads to my front door and is a cement walkway, in order to have more room for the pond so I can build on both sides I was wanting to remove the cement and build the pond in the entire area and the only way to get to the front door would be a bridge over the pond and pray the mail lady doesnt fall off it getting to my front door. Any other ideas on how to build on both sides and still get to the door?




     

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    foothill999, Mar 29, 2017
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  6. foothill999

    foothill999

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    This is the type of bridge I imagine, a long but low arched concrete bridge, or made from some type of outdoor decking.
     

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    foothill999, Mar 29, 2017
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  7. foothill999

    Waterbug

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    The permit thing...I assume construction is visible from the street...likely to be a big pile of dirt, big mess....inspector happens by or neighbor complains. I flip houses too and don't always pull a permit and inspectors do happen by. They've always been very nice and getting a permit wasn't a problem because everything was to code so no problem. 4' deep pond in the front yard, you may not be able to get a permit accept for demo which would suck. And of course if you sell the home inspector is going know it wasn't permitted, or a city inspector could still flag it. Just saying, sounds like an expensive project. Worst case you could probably fill it with pea gravel so it's 18", but still.

    I see what you mean about the bridge...very cool. I've seen that done in the back and with a flat concrete walkway/bridge. So it doesn't really look like a bridge, more like there's just water on both sides. The bottom of the walk/bridge is very close to the water surface. It's a very modern look. But if you're going for Japanese style or something like in the pics you posted I'd go for it. A real use makes a huge difference. It's more the bridges that go to nowhere that really stick out.

    I didn't realized you wanted a Koi pond. Lot of Koi? That is more serious. I would be concerned about a water garden builder doing a Koi pond. Very different deals. I would get really serious about the filters and bottom drain system. This isn't really a Koi pond type forum so the info and opinion is more toward Skippy filters and bogs which would horrify most experience Koi keepers. For example IMO a bottom drain needs TPRs to push crap to the drain and sieve filter to remove the crap. In a water garden fish poop isn't a problem, in a Koi pond it can be a big problem for fish health. In a water garden $1 worth of feeder fish going belly up is sad, but not costly. $2000+ Koi going belly up is sad in more ways.

    I'd also look at maybe making you waterfall into more of a Trickle Tower for ammonia removal. You can also put the pump and UV in back and/or under the waterfall structure. Double duty.
     
    Waterbug, Mar 29, 2017
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  8. foothill999

    Waterbug

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    IMO a catch basin under the waterfall is extremely helpful in a Koi pond.
    [​IMG]
    Lots of good reasons...
    1. Calm surface = better Koi viewing which is the point of a Koi pond. Everytime I've gone to see a Koi pond the owner always says "wait a minute while I turn off the air pump or water fall". It's so they can show off the fish.

    2. Never any foam on the surface. Few things are uglier imo.

    3. 100% of the falls water comes out of the basin down at the bottom. A free TPR and better water 02. Pipes can also come out of the bottom to direct water flow around the bottom to eliminate buying and installing TPRs and way easier to adjust/extend. Water that normally goes to the TPRs can go to the falls. You get more falls for less $$$.

    4. A skimmer basket can be made to go into the basin to catch leaves and stuff coming off the falls. Not a big deal, but what the heck.

    5. The basin can be filled with large rocks for more bio filtering. Submerged bio isn't great, but this would be as good as it gets since high O2 and flow would keep the rocks pretty clean.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
    Waterbug, Mar 29, 2017
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  9. foothill999

    Waterbug

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    For the vertical walls...you can compromise a bit. IMO a concrete (poured or block) for a collar is really needed because people/dogs/etc... will walk on the edge and soil won't hold long term. For the collar I dry lay bond beam block with one strand of rebar, filled with concrete down 2" from the top of the block. You can tuck the liner inside the block, then fill the block with soil.
    [​IMG] Result is a 2" wide edge of exposed liner. Easy to hide that even with plants. Rock necklace isn't too cool.

    Also the block makes getting a perfect level water line all around the pond which means the water level can be right up to the top which I think is a good look. At least it gives you that option.

    One course of block, so 8" deep, that's fine. Then a vertical block wall below that inset into the pond so the top collar sits like 1" on top of the wall. If you use 6" wide block that gives you a 5" wide shelve. Plenty. Again I use bond beam block dry stacked, horizontal rebar and filled with concrete. You can save some work and money by filling just the top and bottom courses with rebar and concrete, or every other course. Whatever you like.
    [​IMG]
    This pic shows using bender board at the top instead of block. I prefer block myself but either works.

    Tipping the block outward rather than plum is good too.

    Compromise is that you don't have to made the wall 4'. You can go 16" and then slope the ground, or 24" or 32" or whatever you want. The deeper the vertical wall the less sloping of soil is needed.
     
    Waterbug, Mar 29, 2017
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  10. foothill999

    Waterbug

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    I'd move the skimmer to the middle of the pond. Skimmers use surface tension to pull debris so middle is better. And I wouldn't want the skimmer to be so close to where people walk because they don't generally look very good.
     
    Waterbug, Mar 29, 2017
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  11. foothill999

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Welcome to our group! Take a look at the construction thread there are a lot of ways to build a pond. Choose the one that works for your area.

    Mine is large, only filtered by a bog type filter, pea gravel full of plants. I use a skimmer, but no need for a UV, never have issues with green water. No bottom drain.

    I have straight sides, in the deep end, did make it a slope coming out for ease of getting out of the pond.
    Some put rocks in their ponds, some don't, same with bottom drains, skimmers, UV etc.

    My equipment, is just a pump. I do have multiple waterfalls. The biggest one is around 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Your water fall can be any size you want it to be. I have small ones to big ones.
     
    addy1, Mar 29, 2017
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  12. foothill999

    foothill999

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    Current progress on the pond..... its been a long and drawn out project and once everything was said and done it won't be nearly as big as I hoped for (its 4ft deep in most areas but narrow). I ended up hiring a company to build it and he said it would take 2 to 3 months, here we are almost 1 year later and still have lots left to do. The guys sometimes goes 3 weeks without showing up, sometimes he shows up and works 1 or 2 hours.... He seems to be good at what he does but has major time management and commitment issues (but that's another story). Just hoping and trusting that it all comes out right. I have attached some pictures :) We hired him to build the bridge as well at least he has mostly finished that.He is nearly finished with the upper basin and waterfall and just now laid the liner for the lower pond and is testing it for leaks. 2018-03-10 14.35.08.jpg 2018-03-10 14.36.21.jpg 2018-03-10 14.36.01.jpg 2018-03-10 14.36.21.jpg
     
    foothill999, Mar 11, 2018
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  13. foothill999

    GBBUDD

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    A second company I am finding very helpful is Aquascapes on you tube
     
    GBBUDD, Mar 11, 2018
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  14. foothill999

    Lisak1

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    2 - 3 months to build a pond? Wow.
     
    Lisak1, Mar 11, 2018
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  15. foothill999

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Well it will look neat when done, if it ever gets done.
     
    addy1, Mar 11, 2018
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  16. foothill999

    Lisak1

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    We took 1/3 that amount of time and we had no clue what we were doing! o_O
     
    Lisak1, Mar 11, 2018
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  17. foothill999

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I dug my own, moved every rock, every bucket of dirt, hubby helped with the liner, it was my keep busy project while he worked. Took around 2-3 months to get water into it. Then the tweaking, rocks, added ponds, plants etc.
     
    addy1, Mar 11, 2018
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  18. foothill999

    Lisak1

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    Well you basically moved a mountain! If I hired a professional to build a pond and they said 2-3 months, I'd be concerned. You can't be making money working that slowly. Or you're doing a lot of jobs at the same time.

    @foothill999 - you have far more patience than I ever would. I have literally never heard of a professional pond builder that stopped to take time to test a pond for leaks. And how exactly is he doing that? Looking at what he has yet to do - how does he plan to conceal all that liner? Is the waterfall going to flow down over that liner that's being held up by cement blocks there? That liner should be under the waterfall, not over it if I'm understanding what I'm seeing. Sorry - I'm a bit worried for you!
     
    Lisak1, Mar 12, 2018
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  19. foothill999

    ShawnInfirmity

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    It looks like the upper basin and waterfall was built on top of the liner as far as I can tell from the pictures, but I'm just guessing. The project looks very interesting so far and I'm excited to see what it's going to look like when it's finished. @foothill999 Please keep us updated on the progress and post lots of pictures!
     
    ShawnInfirmity, Mar 12, 2018
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  20. foothill999

    GBBUDD

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    looking at what's left to cover it appears there's no brick shelf to start or terminate the stones to bring up and cover the liner as it comes up out of the pond.
     
    GBBUDD, Mar 13, 2018
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