CW's Back Yard Water Garden Begins!


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I'm also amazed how fearless they are when I get in the pond - they seem to know I'm busy with other things! Sometimes they get just a TAD TOO CLOSE. haha!
 
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addy1

water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins
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They love me walking in the pond, hoping that I squish a snail! I wish I could leave the net off, but the heron has already wiped out my hot tub pond of fan tails, wiped out my 1000 gallon tank of 50% of the fish, (I forgot to net it when leaving town)

So net needs to stay on, but non feeding, a loss now and then, my population is pretty stable.
 
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Good call on the redesign! I was getting anxiety watching the first video about all the sewer lines and everything else. Yikes. Can't wait to see how it comes out.
 
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Your going to want your waterfall looking at your patio area and relatively close around 20 feet so you not only want to see but also hear it . Not knowing your house layout but looking at the deck and the patio I would put the waterfall in the corner of the property or slightly out of the corner will look more natural. . Build up along the fence that way you can build up the area toward the bamboo. I am assuming that is bamboo. Some of which can be very agressive and strong roots that can easily puncture your liner . While your digging and possibly building up the back you could place something like concrete board or azeck sheeting standing on edge to help control the roots. But beware your neighbors my get a little up tight when the roots have grown under the fence. You are going to have a good deal of soil so much so if you plan to swim in the pond at least 3 feet or more your going to change your drainage platen to the back yard and it may inadvertently send water to your neighbor and flood them out where they never had issues before. You have a tight space there and every action can have a reaction that could become serious headaches.
How deep are you thinking? I heard you say take a dip .
Don't know if you saw this video youtube / worlds most beautiful backyard ponds.
You seem to have done some home work but take it from a first time builder himself theres all kinds of hidden surprises coming your way. Shelves, there heights, depths , angle, pitches, fish caves. Soft or rocky soils. Like your self seeing hints of the past, i dug up the old construction burn and dump area. Including LOTS AND LOTS OF GLASS.
I would shift the pond so that the top landing of the stairs is at the pond / stream area so when your at the top of the stairs your looking at the fish Right below your rail. One of the coolest effects I have seen on YouTube is long ponds or wide deep streams where the fish swim from one end to the other cobstantly a very cool aspects one with your narrow lots may work well.
I admire your take no prisoners plan of attack and not intimidated going large. Good luck and ask any question you may have. We are all willing to throw are two cents in to help.
 
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Your going to want your waterfall looking at your patio area and relatively close around 20 feet so you not only want to see but also hear it . Not knowing your house layout but looking at the deck and the patio I would put the waterfall in the corner of the property or slightly out of the corner will look more natural. . Build up along the fence that way you can build up the area toward the bamboo.
The patio is gone! Putting back something else once the pond is in. Waterfall from wetland will be visible from new patio. Waterfall is going to be pretty wimpy as I’m not planning to build much of a mound for it to fall from, and we’re okay with that. We’ll have a long-ish gentle creek with some cascading step pools that, I think, will give us a calming soundscape.


I would put the waterfall in the corner of the property
Corner of property is going to be a gravel fire pit area. Possibly w/ a bridge to it. Will also be the overflow area for the pond in winter with a dry well placed to accept overflow.


I am assuming that is bamboo. Some of which can be very agressive and strong roots that can easily puncture your liner
It is bamboo. Fargesia Robusta. Clumping bamboo that behaves itself. Stays a bit compact in full sun, where the pond is. Was installed in a trench w/ root barrier along fence line for extra reassurance to neighbors.

How deep are you thinking?
Was thinking 3’ at deepest section. Wife decided last minute she’d like it to be 4’. What’s a few more scoops with the digger? Haha.

Thinking I’ll do pretty wide shelves (2-3’ wide) and set them at 14”, 14”, and 20” for total depth of 48”. Plan to set rocks at least 16” tall to allow 2” of gravel on top of shelf, held back by wall rocks. That sets top shelf at 12” depth with some media For planting marginals. Next shelf actual depth of 26” for lillies.
Haven’t really thought through marginals. Just figured 12” would give me lots of options and if something needs shallower, I can build up in spots since the shelves should be wide enough.

Feedback on that plan is welcome.


I would shift the pond so that the top landing of the stairs is at the pond / stream area so when your at the top of the stairs your looking at the fish Right below your rail. One of the coolest effects I have seen on YouTube is long ponds or wide deep streams where the fish swim from one end to the other cobstantly a very cool aspects one with your narrow lots may work well.
I actually had that same thought. Not really moving the pond, but adding a deep stream along the deck railing that fish could swim up. Don’t know the right depth, though to encourage that.


I admire your take no prisoners plan of attack and not intimidated going large.
Thanks.I think the advice that struck me most is whenI read an article on Pond Trade Mag by an industry veteran who said he’d never once encountered a client who wished their pond were smaller, but many who wished it were bigger. Figured I might as well go as big as my lot will reasonably allow.
 
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The patio is gone! Putting back something else once the pond is in. Waterfall from wetland will be visible from new patio. Waterfall is going to be pretty wimpy as I’m not planning to build much of a mound for it to fall from, and we’re okay with that. We’ll have a long-ish gentle creek with some cascading step pools that, I think, will give us a calming soundscape.




Corner of property is going to be a gravel fire pit area. Possibly w/ a bridge to it. Will also be the overflow area for the pond in winter with a dry well placed to accept overflow.




It is bamboo. Fargesia Robusta. Clumping bamboo that behaves itself. Stays a bit compact in full sun, where the pond is. Was installed in a trench w/ root barrier along fence line for extra reassurance to neighbors.



Was thinking 3’ at deepest section. Wife decided last minute she’d like it to be 4’. What’s a few more scoops with the digger? Haha.

Thinking I’ll do pretty wide shelves (2-3’ wide) and set them at 14”, 14”, and 20” for total depth of 48”. Plan to set rocks at least 16” tall to allow 2” of gravel on top of shelf, held back by wall rocks. That sets top shelf at 12” depth with some media For planting marginals. Next shelf actual depth of 26” for lillies.
Haven’t really thought through marginals. Just figured 12” would give me lots of options and if something needs shallower, I can build up in spots since the shelves should be wide enough.

Feedback on that plan is welcome.
All of my water falls are around 12 to 16 inches tall. While I wish they were taller . The taller loose more water through splashing and evaporation.
If your going to rock the pond I'd have depressions in the shelves to seat your rocks to help hold them in and or do the same in your marginal areas especially your areas where you plan to have lillies it will collect sediment from the pond yes but it will also feed the lillies and you can control the Lilly in the dug out trench. But make it as smooth as possible id even place a second layer of rubber in this depression so when its time to pull the Lilly out you can just lift the second rubber linner.



I actually had that same thought. Not really moving the pond, but adding a deep stream along the deck railing that fish could swim up. Don’t know the right depth, though to encourage that.

I have added a 24 to 30 inch deep stream off to the side of the main pond while they will go in there they hang in the 6 foot deep area far more frequently




Thanks.I think the advice that struck me most is whenI read an article on Pond Trade Mag by an industry veteran who said he’d never once encountered a client who wished their pond were smaller, but many who wished it were bigger. Figured I might as well go as big as my lot will reasonably allow.
Well you have now my electric bill is 300 a month for running the pumps to my pond but I am in the pathetic state of Connecticut. Officialy we now have the most expensive electric bill in the country . I run a 12000 gph as my main pump and a 500 for the cistern just to keep it moving.
 
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Figured I might as well go as big as my lot will reasonably allow.
You're right! Pond pros say customers usually get three ponds - big, bigger and biggest... might as well build the last one as your only!

I may have missed this, but if you're planning steppers across the stream from the deck, just make sure you set them high enough. We have a tiny stream with what we thought would be a good stepper, but that thing gets VERY SLIPPERY even though it's above water. I think it gets just enough splash that it's always a tad damp.
 
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@GBBUDD: $300/mo to run 12k gph? Holy crap! What’s the power requirement on your pump? And what do you pay per kwh? That’s insane.

@Lisa K: That’s the idea. And good call on the steppers.
 
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The price is get the hell out of dodge. Ct has lost a million people this year as has callifornia Washington and New York is probably 3 times that amount a n d what is the one common denominator give everyone everything for free except those who pay into the system. Well good luck paying for your bleeding hearts we're out.
Sorry not directed at your self if it came off that way .
 
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The price is get the hell out of dodge. Ct has lost a million people this year as has callifornia Washington and New York is probably 3 times that amount a n d what is the one common denominator give everyone everything for free except those who pay into the system. Well good luck paying for your bleeding hearts we're out.
Sorry not directed at your self if it came off that way .
Ok, but what about your pump power requirements and cost per kWh? I’m trying to figure out what running the pond will actually cost.

Looks like in CT, average cost is about 22c/kwh. That’s very steep, but how can it possibly come out to $300?

That would mean your pump consumes 1,364 kwh per month, which is more than I use to power an all electric 2500sf house for most months of the year.

I’m in Washington. We have hydroelectric from all the dams on the Columbia River. I pay 8.2c/kwh.
 
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I was not home for the entire month of September hot water was still running basic lights . And the 12000 gph the 500 gph a air pump 600 and some leds to light the pond welcome to the hive mind much like your area and as insane as Seattle has gone you still have a long way to catch up.
 
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Excavator is coming back this morning to do the big dig. Exciting! Shot this video yesterday explaining the design of the intake bay:


And here are my notes from a conversation with Trevor in the tech dept. @ Aquascape about designing an intake bay, in case it's helpful to others:


Intake bay should be sized based on volume of water drawn at pump. Do not include head pressure in calculation. First, convert GPH to GPM.

Example: 5000 gph = 83.33 gpm

Then, look to get that volume in aquablox. Example: 83.3 = 4.9 small Aquablox. Even number = easier design, so use 6 in this example. You can use large or small. Need to consider winter needs. Need to use large aquablox if running pump in winter to account for adequate flow to pump when surface ice is present.

Aquablox layout should be rectalinear so that you can place vault in the center for max flow to pump. Try not to place vault at a corner as it weakens design. Square is better than long rectangle.

In general, looking for 8-12" water depth above gravel over intake bay.

Weir sizing should be 1' per 8000 GPH of flow and 6-8" depth. Can also be expressed as 1" per 667 GPH

If you excavate bay/weir to max dimensions, you can always adjust smaller with rock later on to dial in performance. If you undersize, you'll have to pull liner and excavate.
I have some more design info written out in the description of the youtube video posted above. Think I'll make a more comprehensive thread about this in the future once I've actually built mine and can speak more competently about it.
 
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Oh lord - that math intimidates me!
Ha. I think you'd find it quite simple if you were standing in front of your pond and applying it directly like I was. Much easier to understand when it's directly applicable.

If you're actually wanting to design an intake bay for your pond, I'd be happy to run the numbers and help you design it.
 
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Thank you! I have the excavation all complete and all my stuff purchased. I actually did the math just now and WONDER OF WONDERS - by some miracle - I have the right size on everything! I don't know what planets aligned to make that happen... Now I need to save up $1200.00 for all my rocks. (I was almost there, then our deep freezer bit the dust, so we had to use it for that. Back to the beginning!)
 
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@bagsmom: Nice! And I think there is quite a lot of wiggle room in the design process. Doing all the calcs should guarantee it works right, but just like it seems with bog filters, just about anything you build ought to work fine. To hell with the calcs! Good luck with the freezer. Seems like finding one of those is like trying to find toilet paper back in April.
 
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Most of a very large hole is now in the ground. Still need to dig the bottom shelf to final depth of 48". Excavator doesn't have a long enough reach to dig very cleanly on the final shelf, so we'll be hand shoveling it into the bucket. Very sandy soil down there. For a brief moment, I considered abandoning the intake bay (background) and recessing a hot tub into that hole instead.

Ended up with a lot of soil—15" in some spots—above water level as the yard is on a gradual slope. I thought it was more gradual than that! Gonna have to come up with some creative landscaping ideas to make it all look the way I want it. Part of the problem was that we were trying to pull a lot of the soil to the high side of the yard, and the edge of the pond on the side that was already going to be high got built up even more.

Maybe I can have a bit more of an impressive waterfall than I first thought!


62457943373__5EA5079B-C029-49C8-ABDF-898BF0050922.JPG
 
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Put together a video of the excavation and some of the details that will still have to go into getting things just how I want them.

Final excavated dimensions: 43x25. Final depth will be 4'.

Ordered a 40x70 HDRPE liner just now from American Tilapia. 2800 sf (same as the house!) for about $1200. At $0.43/sf, it's about half the cost of EPDM. Less, actually, as you don't typically require an underlayment because it's a lot more puncture resistant. I definitely don't need an underlayment as our soil turned out to be very sandy loam.

It's a fraction of the weight, too. 150 lbs vs. almost 900 for a liner this size. I should be able to place it myself or with one friend and no equipment necessary to move it around.

Will be interested to see how it goes in. I'm expecting it to be a bit tougher to work with and form to the curves/shelves than epdm, but I think this pond is big enough with no tight corners, so hopefully not too bad.

 
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Finished digging the final shelf yesterday and grading the excavated dirt around the property. Happy to be done with that, but I think I see some problems that need to be fixed before the liner goes in. And not quite sure the best route. Any help is appreciated.

Here's what's up:

IMG_9971.JPG


I wanted a final depth of 48" without any one shelf being too tall (so that building the rock walls around the shelves would be easier). That led me to set the shelves at 14" (12" after gravel covers liner), 14", and 20". But I did not choose the water level carefully enough. We marked a spot for water level and dug 14" down from that spot for the first shelf.

Well, that left me with 6" of freeboard for overflow. But there is also a 4" grade change across the length of the pond. That means the actual excavation depth for the first shelf ended up being 20" at one end and 24" at the other. And it will leave the water about 8" below grade from the primary viewing point. I think I'd prefer more like 3".

So how to solve this? I can simply raise the water level 4"—I have room for it. That would leave me 2" before overflow. But then my 1st shelf would be 16" deep for planting. I have not really done my research on aquatic plants yet, but I think that's too deep for pretty much all of them? I could solve that problem by planting in pots, but my preference would be to plant directly in the gravel as I believe potted plants are a fussier.

Simply raising water level will also still leave me with a 24" high wall to rock around the edge of the pond. Not the end of the world, but not ideal as it will mean having to set some BIG ROCKS (small rocks if you have a machine, I guess...) to make it safe and sturdy.

I can also cut down the grade around the high sides (to an extent), but am limited there by a few set elevations and it would mean moving EVEN MORE DIRT than I already have. Another "not a big deal" but I am sort of running out places to lose it all. Might have to make some raised beds for the wife!

I guess I could also start filling the top shelf back in with dirt. That would be a bit of a demoralizing task, but if it has to be done...

Oh, one other option might be to make the pond EVEN BIGGER and dig a shallower shelf around the perimeter. But I'm limited on space and my liner is already shipped (should be big enough for some expansion, though).

Probably some combination of all of these options will get us there. I thought we were done digging, but perhaps we've only just begun!
 

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