Building a wooden pond

Joshaeus

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Hi all! I am thinking of building a wooden pond for next year. It would be a weather proof plywood box, with 1 inch think plywood and 6 ft long, 14 inches wide and 14 high, surrounded by (and attached to) several 2 by 4's to serve as framing and to stabilize it and possibly by more plywood that would be painted to make the pond more attractive. Finally, I would attach pond liner to the inside to hold water and keep any toxins from the plywood from leaching into the water. Any revisions I should make to this plan? Thanks :)
 
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Many youtube videos for building such container many use them for indoor koi tanks to over winter their fish. Not sure how you are planning to filter the water but pond digger made an excellent video of a wooden pond with a bog above it on a deck that was very nice.
 
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Joshaeus

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OK...here's a rough diagram of the woodwork of the pond, regardless of how large it will be;
Rough wooden water garden diagram.png
How's it look?
 

sissy

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just remember pressure your the walls from the water will be a lot .Outward pressure can warp wood or cause it to come apart from the corners
 

Joshaeus

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I know :) If you are worried I can add more supports.
 
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Above ground ponds are more susceptible to variations in temperature than in ground ponds. That is something to keep in mind. Good luck!
 

Joshaeus

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Oh, I know...I have kept (and measured the temperatures of) small water gardens for the past 2 years. This is just a new project :)
 

Joshaeus

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I've come up with an efficient design! Its interior dimensions are 46 by 24 by 24 inches, or 114.7 gallons (the exterior will be larger obviously). It is $1.97 a gallon excluding a lid. It is large enough that it would work for a few goldfish, but my goal is much smaller species like Aphanius mento or Apistogramma borellii, so this would be GIGANTIC for them.
 
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I don't understand your diagram.
In Pond diggers video, the wood is a facade. He's using PVC tubs to hold the water.
Are you using the pond walls for structure? If you are, you should build them like a wall, top and bottom plates and 2x4's on 16 inch centres. Use screws, not nails for assembly (shear strength), because that's what will be holding the water pressure. Use plywood, not osb for sheathing. Again, use screws to attach the plywood.
Do you live in an area that ice forms on the pond? If so, you should take the expansion of ice into consideration.
 

Joshaeus

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I am having a layer of 2 by 6's surrounding the bottom of the pond, and another layer surrounding the top, with an unknown number of shorter 2 by 6's connecting the two. I am using weather proof plywood for the sheathing. Thanks for the advice on the screws...I will remember that. It occurs to me that the pond will need to come in for winter if it is wooden, so I will probably build a smaller wooden pond if I build one at all rather than using a water trough...leaning towards a 36 by 16 by 16 interior design instead. Still amply large enough for my purposes, but cheaper to maintain in the long run.
 
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The 2x6's will be on edge, not on flat, correct?
2x4's on edge would be enough for a pond of the height you're thinking of.
If the frame will be sitting on concrete, it would be a good idea to lay some plastic down so water doesn't wick up into the wood.
 

Joshaeus

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The 2 by 6's need to be on edge, with the short end in contact with the plywood? More likely the pond will be sitting on dirt, though since we will likely be moving within a few months (another reason to pick a smaller water garden) that may change.
 

Joshaeus

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Almost forgot...how thick should the pond liner? Should I make any changes if I increase the length to 6 feet? And - most important - how long would a wooden pond last?
 
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sissy

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make sure the wood is pressure treated for ground contact as it will rot real fast if not ground contact wood .Moisture and mold are the enemy of wood .I built a small one years ago for my sisters neighbor and lined it with cement board and then brushed on layers of the red guard inside it to make it water proof and moisture proof and then tiled it like you would a swimming pool .It looked tropical .I wish I had pics of it but it was way back in 2006 before I got the camera I have now .My sister said the new people who moved into the house love the container pond and that it still does not leak .I was surprised since it lives outside on a covered patio .She told them I made it and that is the person who signed .I sourced out the stuff but it would be expensive to build now .I used 4x4 's and it has heavy duty wheels on it 8 of them if I remember correctly .They have improved the red guard since then also .I think it is thicker now .I did my sisters shower over and used it in 2016 and it seemed lots thicker than I remembered it being.
 

Joshaeus

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OK! So...cover the plywood with some sort of sealant to improve its lifespan?
 

sissy

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mine was on the inside because the people wanted it water tight and did not want a bulky liner in it .But I did seal the outside with marine varnish
 

Joshaeus

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I'm planning on using a liner anyway, but I will find an attractive marine varnish and waterproof the outside with that. Do I have to varnish only the outermost plywood or all the 2 by 6's and both layers of plywood?
 

Joshaeus

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Here's a side diagram of the water garden, assuming I go the 6 foot by 16 inch by 16 inch route. The orange is plywood, the brown is 2 by 6's, and the maroon is the lid. The blue is just empty space. The scale is 10 pixels equals 1 inch;

6ft water garden diagram.png
 

sissy

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the side ones if pressure treated will not need it .But get a moisture meter for wood because if it is not dry it will peel ,any moisture meter for wood will do
 
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