CW's Back Yard Water Garden Begins!


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Ok, here's the plan for getting more cistern storage w/o adding more crates. I got this idea picking up a few details mentioned by Brian Helfrich of Aquascape when talking about his negative edge and rainwater cistern. He said he could turn the whole thing into a wading pool for his kids by "turning a valve."

What we have here is a bib liner that goes over the top of the crates and can hold about 1,000 gallons. At the bottom of the bib liner is a 3 or 4" bulkhead fitting with a valve that dumps into the pump vault. When valve is open, water comes over negative edge falls and travels to bulkhead where it dumps into cistern. When valve is closed, water is retained by the bib liner, turning top of cistern into a shallow wading area. Water will rise to the top of the bib liner and then the entire perimeter of the bib liner becomes the infiltration area into the cistern.

When cistern + bib liner are totally full, it will hold about 3,000 gallons before overflowing. In the warmer months when water level in cistern is naturally lower, valve can be opened to keep top of cistern dry, leaving space for a fire pit and chairs or closed to create a wading area for the toddler to play in. In colder months, valve can be left closed to create a greater water surface area for more visual enjoyment.

One variation on this idea is to place the bulkhead fitting just below the level of gravel that will be installed in the top of cistern area so that some water is always retained in the bib liner, allowing marginals to be planted.

Let me know if you see any show stoppers with this plan. I'm off to tag some boulders at the rock yard.

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You have to look at it in another way. Im not trying to get you to finish your pond , who am i ill never sit in the hammock and enjoy your oasis. I was just seeing what i see from guys in the field all the time they talk and plan plan and talk . Its better to plan ,go for itand adjust if need be You have seen brian from aquascape say time and againTHE PLAN CHANGES WE NEVER FOLLOW I DRAWING ONLY A BASIC LAYOUT .its not untill we dig that we see what works. And though you look at it as a lot of work and in the sceme of things it maybe . BUTTTTT when you look at it took a day to pull it back out a day to re dig it . A day to re install and now i have a foot tall water fall is it worth it. 3 days is nothing compared to 30 years of looking at it.
How ever is this your main focal point where your sitting or can there be a big watetfall from the bog to the pond that youll see more from your sitting ares.
The bib can be cool to make a stream run across the cistern then dosapear . You dont need a lot of height for that.

Look at me as the guy on your shoulder with the pitch fork jabbing the white guy on your other shoulder.
 
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Cool idea but won't function like a cistern automatically . But its a much larger version of the shts creek oilt and use as a prefilter where water and debris /leaves drops down over the negative edge and gets tied up on sticks making it easier to remove what builds up and it doesn't drop in the cistern. you could even look at using that valve for clean out and hook that up to drain the bib when your cleaning it out.

The other thing i would do and wish i had more room to do is to make a wall higher then the overflow wall and place 1 1/2" and larger rock at the bottom forcing the water to try and drain through the rock thus collecting the debris before it comes up the other side and raises up over the over flow side wall and drops to the cistern. it will require attention every now and then but any prefilter does
 
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brokensword

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Look at me as the guy on your shoulder with the pitch fork jabbing the white guy on your other shoulder.
now, THAT'S an image I won't shake free from anytime soon! Whatcha think, CW; feeling the weight/poke yet????

:p:p
 
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ill never sit in the hammock and enjoy your oasis
Never say never, @GBBUDD . We're vegetarian at home but could make an exception for a guest of honor. Especially if he came with a shovel to help dig up my cistern to rebuild it.

Cool idea but won't function like a cistern automatically .
I know the value of the cistern is that it's underground, keeping the water cool. I think the 2000 gallons underground might actually be enough to make the pond self-sustaining, which is the end goal. Beyond that, it seems, is just for bragging rights. I don't know for sure if it'll make it all the way through summer without a top off. Hard to calculate.

I do have some more thinking to do about the transition where the water falls into the cistern. I want to make sure the reservoir doesn't fill up with debris. I'm not really following what you're saying about the overflow wall, though.

@brokensword: If I'd known he was there, I'd have handed him a shovel.

Side note: Tagged some bigger boulders at the yard today. Was salivating over even bigger ones, but knew Barney was not going to be up to the task. I think even the smaller ones I tagged might give him a good workout.

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Think aquarium wet dry filter where the water drops over the dry area then falls into the redivour where it goes through a foam block at the bottom thats elevated on a grate theres walls on both sides one does not sit on the bottom and alows the water to flow under it then has to raise up over the contaiment wall that your showing and over flows the top and drops into the cistern
 
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Watched some videos on wet/dry filters this morning. Interesting concept. Seems kind of impractical for a pond, but would love to see one implemented and how it works.

Decided to try an experiment. Buried a 5/8" soaker hose at the bottom of my gravel base for the landscape block wall in the pond. Felt a little uncomfortable with how deep the gravel is there and don't want it to turn anaerobic. Idea is to pump air into the whole 25' length of soaker hose that will bleed out in a line of small bubbles as air escapes the hose membrane. Can aerate the whole length of the pond bottom and will hopefully be less obtrusive than one big boiling aeration disk.

If I'd spent another few seconds thinking before backfilling it, I'd have bought some 1" flex tubing to sleeve it in with holes drilled all over it so that if the soaker hose ever clogs, I could just pull a new one into the "flex tube conduit." Oh well. Imagine it should take a really long time to plug up all the surface area on a 25' long hose. Especially when it's buried under 6" of gravel.
 
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I Have 3000 in the cistern and the 5 water falls all at a foot tall and i have about 18000 gallons total and I'm lucky if it lasts a week and a half
 
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The idea has nothing to do with the dry drip section . That is a shower set up in the pond world. all i am referring
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to is creating a damn but the water goes under the wall where it meets a second retaining wall where the water goes up and over the liner just like a bog where one area is lower and the water drops into the cistern in your case. so in short your creating a sediment and leaf trap slowing the water flow down within your bib have the over flow the red go almoost all the way across the cistern so the flow is more like a catch basin the water has tto flow down through a large rock layer so leaves and plants get trapped and can't fall into the cistern so the water goes under the red then has to travel up over the side where it drops down into the cistern
 
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@Lisak1 / @GBBUDD: This is blowing my mind. I was trying to come up with a way to calculate summer evaporation to figure out how much cistern I would actually need to be self-sustaining, but couldn't come up with a formula.

Are you both saying that your cisterns are completely full and then, come summer time, 1000 gallons only lasts a month? And 3000 only lasts a week and a half?

@Lisak1: If your cistern is primarily for emergency drinking water, it kind of sounds like your pond is actually drinking your emergency water for you? Are you capturing rain water from your roof or patio?

And @GBBUDD: Your pond is evaporating 270+ gallons per day? I remember you saying you wish you'd made your cistern a little bit bigger to become self-sustaining, but it sounds like you'd need about 10x cistern storage to even come close.

Am I in for a rude awakening? Is my cistern going to empty itself in the first week of summer? That is wild.
 
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And just a little update: Today was a good day. Got some jets plumbed. Load of big ass boulders delivered (700-1000 lbs). Pulled a few bamboo plants to give access to the backside of the pond. Built a "road" around back of pond and even got a few of the big rocks placed and staged some of them in the back yard for more rock setting tomorrow. Barney handled them like a champ.

Realized while setting the top shelf along the back that you have to go slower, plan better and make sure you know your water level so that, once set, your rock is above it.

Mostly took short videos instead of photos. Too tired and lazy to edit and post to youtube tonight. Gonna be too tired and lazy to do it tomorrow night, too. Rain comes this weekend, so we're gunning to set as much rock as we can before it arrives. Definitely want to get everything done on the backside of pond and get out of there before the rain starts.

Oh, and I got to test what a 5,000 lb machine can do to a milk crate when Dad accidentally ran over the corner of the cistern trying to maneuver through our narrow path. We are now –1 milk crate. Luckily I have extras.
 
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About 150 gallons a day . I have the electric timer on the water line. Its equivlent to watering your lawn. For a half hour
 
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Dont forget youll nevet rely on all 2000 gallons. The pump needs to be sitting in water to stay cool. And you dont want them sucking in air.

Yes i was talking about doubling the size of the cistern . As brian h said in one of his videos the has a 6000 gallon cistern and his pond is about the same size if not smaller then mine
 
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If your cistern is primarily for emergency drinking water, it kind of sounds like your pond is actually drinking your emergency water for you? Are you capturing rain water from your roof or patio?

Well, actually the entire POND is emergency drinking water when you think of it. There's no difference between the water in the pond and the water in the rain exchange, right? So what we actually did was just add space for a potential extra 1000 gallons. If we found ourselves in a predictable emergency situation we could fill everything up - like they recommend you fill your bath tub before a storm.

But yes, there have been summers where we make it many many weeks until we need to add water (cool and rainy) and some where we are topping off every week (hot and dry). We have our sump pump dumping into the rain exchange, but the rub there is when the sump is discharging a lot of extra water SO IS THE SKY!

I do believe the water underground stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter, so bonus points there. We can fill it up before we leave home for an extended period and know we have at least a few weeks of buffer. Plus the pond level NEVER drops - only the underground water gets lower. So lots of good things about it - just not quite as useful is one way we hoped it would be I guess is the message.
 
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Dont forget youll nevet rely on all 2000 gallons.
That's true. Maybe I should have dug my pump vault pit even deeper.

As brian h said in one of his videos the has a 6000 gallon cistern
I remember hearing him say that and thinking, "That seems unnecessarily large." I guess not. What I am thinking now is that I have lots of space besides this one cistern to store water if I want to in the future. Maybe I can dig another one. Maybe put a rain pillow under the deck or something.

It's at least motivating me to plant some more big trees in the back yard to give the pond some shade.

Well, actually the entire POND is emergency drinking water when you think of it.
Ah, yes that's true!
 
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Well, now I am thinking about how to get more rain water into the cistern later in the spring/early summer to capitalize on the light summer rains we get here.

Future project may be to install valves/diverters on all my downspouts to capture rain water from the entire roof. During the rainy season, that much water would overwhelm the cistern so gutters would be directed to existing dry wells. But then they could all switch over to draining to cistern in late spring/early summer so that little rains could produce lots of water into the cistern. We typically get light rains till at least 4th of July around here.

My brain is spinning, but this will be a project for another year.
 

addy1

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My gutters feed into the pond, it gets a great fresh water input when we get our rain, which has been a lot this year.
 
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Realized while setting the top shelf along the back that you have to go slower, plan better and make sure you know your water level so that, once set, your rock is above it.
One trick i did was to place a boulder that was just tall enough to poke out of the water or was just a bit short was to place it on two smaller boulders lifting them up creating a notch under the rock where the fish / fry could use and grow
 

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