experience needed for setting up a garden pond for the first time

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by StuartLawrence27, May 9, 2013.

  1. StuartLawrence27

    StuartLawrence27

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    Hey guys,

    I live on Long Island, New York and I am planning on installing a pond in my backyard which is new to me. I would like to know which way to go, pond kit, preformed tub or a liner. I would prefer the easiest method and the least costly. I would like the pond to have fish, plants, and maybe a waterfall. I am thinking of going with a size of around more or less 200 gallons, around 4-6 ft width and maybe 8 foot length, and around 2 ft depth. I plan on doing the installation my self except for the electrical part where I would get an electrician.

    Any information that you can give me on doing this project would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You.
     
    StuartLawrence27, May 9, 2013
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  2. StuartLawrence27

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    I would make your pond a little deeper. How cold does it get there? If you have herons your fish will be easy pickings for the bird at that depth, the fish will survive winter with deeper water.

    I have put in preforms and liners, I would never put in a preform again, what a pain to get level, keep level etc. Dig a hole buy a liner to fit it, a lot easier to me. Read some of the construction threads there is a lot of information there.

    And

    [​IMG] to the group
     
    addy1, May 9, 2013
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  3. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    You should do it partially out of the ground for the heavy rains and the storms coming off the water .Plus you will need to think about predators since there is water all around you and you get a lot of colder wind off the ocean .You will need more than 2 feet and you could do 2 feet under and 2 feet on top .Remember how bad the sandy storm was and prepare for something similar .Remember when you get the electrician get all the out lets you think you will need and more .I have put the outlets on at least 2 different circuit breakers in case you have any problems and make sure you have at the very least a 150 amps and 200 better coming into the house and make sure you have enough room in your breaker box .A lot of appliances these days pulling on that electric .I have 2 services to my house a 150 amp one in the basement and a 200 amp one for the house .
     
    sissy, May 9, 2013
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  4. StuartLawrence27

    HTH Howard

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    200g will have much less stability then a larger one.

    Most people who start small expand within a year because ponds are addictive. To a person they all say the small pond will be enough. Go with a larger pond to start with and save the extra work.

    I agree on using a liner. I like 45mil EPDM rubber for its durability.
     
    HTH, May 9, 2013
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  5. StuartLawrence27

    StuartLawrence27

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    Thank you for all the helpful information that you have given me. I have a couple more questions that I hope you can help me with. I live in Nassau County and I don't live near any ocean and there are no Herons.

    The temperature gets down to 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit on the coldest winter days. Can liners rip? Do you recommend the 45mil EPDM liner as the safest liner? When you see the size of a liner does that mean you can make the pond as deep as you want and as wide and long as you want?

    What size pond do you guys recommend for the fish to survive (length, width, depth)? Space is not an issue for me. Are there any negatives with going with a deeper pond? Would 4 feet deep be better or do I need deeper?

    How soon should I get an electrician? Which place would you recommend that I purchase the pond and equipment from?

    looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank You.
     
    StuartLawrence27, May 10, 2013
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  6. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    I went 4 1/2 feet but left the extra liner on top in case i want to raise it up more .Liners also settle after the water goes in and the ground starts to settle from the weight of the water .45 mil is very heavy and will hold up better than any others .Leave it in the sun to warm up to make it easier to work with .Folds are harder to do with 45 mil liner .Mine is that deep for summer heat since my pond is in full sun .pump check on line and remember look at wattage ,you sure don't want high electric bills .Electrician you should wait until you decide how big you want your pond so he knows where to run it too .Filter build it yourself ,check out you tube there are plenty of video's .I did learn something I pulled my liners under my filters so the water would go back in the pond if the filter over flowed
    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:54044]
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    sissy, May 10, 2013
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  7. StuartLawrence27

    StuartLawrence27

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    Do you think it's possible that I could build my own pond or do I need help with it? I know nothing about construction except for planting trees and shrubs.

    I spoke to a professional pond installer and he quoted me a price that was way above my limitations. How much would it cost if I built the pond myself?

    I don't plan on having Koi. Would 3 feet be deep enough for goldfish, mosquito fish, tad poles? I'm now considering a pond length of about 10-12 feet length and a width of 6 feet.

    How much in total will I be expecting to pay if I install the pond myself (electrician, pump, filter, liner, rocks, plants, waterfall.)

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
    StuartLawrence27, May 14, 2013
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  8. StuartLawrence27

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    Read some of the construction threads, most of us have built our own ponds. How much you spend depends on what you buy, how expensive are rocks there, or can you find free, plants, a lot you can pick up off craigs list or even here on the forum, filter what kind do you want to use? they vary in price, what pump, large variation in price, etc etc

    Hard to price it, until you know what you want.
     
    addy1, May 14, 2013
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  9. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    hey I did it and so did other women on this sight so don't sell yourself short .If a woman can do it so can any man ..Save dollars and think of it as going to the gym .I loved every minute of building my pond and proud of my hard work .I saved lots of money and had that extra to spend on other stuff .Only ting I did not have to pay for was an electrician as my son did it all since he has a license .Darn he had to move back to Jersey .So far I have spent just over 300 dollars .I keep my pond budget book handy and keep track .That is 380 dollars now after the rebuild of the filter and that is the total in 9 years and includes fish .My biggest expense was the liner which I got cheap and then second liner was 35 dollars from a roofer who went out of business .Dog ripped up first liner .
     
    sissy, May 14, 2013
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  10. StuartLawrence27

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    You are the queen of saving Sissy! You inspire me..............
     
    addy1, May 15, 2013
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  11. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    Not a saver addy just darn cheap and got that from my father .But if I see a bargain I grab it for the you never know .Like that liner I did not need it then but for 35 dollars hey why not .I just mark it in my book and look I needed it .I also made money I sold the 2 uv filters for 15 dollars each .The guy wanted them for his large fish tanks in the basement and he said he loves them .I paid 10 dollars a piece plus tax .I figured give him a bargain too because he said he was looking at spending a 100 dollars a piece .I also still have 2 of those oval tanks since you had to buy 3 .
     
    sissy, May 15, 2013
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  12. StuartLawrence27

    Mmathis TurtleMommy

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    We built our pond last spring (I have a box turtle habitat in the backyard and planned the pond to interact with my non-aquatic turtles). We live on a lump of clay :) We rented a baby excavator to do the hard work -- boy was that thing a BLAST to use!! Once you decide what your dimensions will be (width, length, depth), there are on-line pond calculators that will tell you approx. what size liner to get (liner was our biggest cost). If you can afford it, go toward the larger size. You want to avoid seams if at all possible, so get the liner as big as you can. For mine, I have one place that goes to 4', but otherwise it averages 2-3' deep. Deep is important for winter and summer so there will be somewhere the fish can go to either not freeze or boil. Decide if you want a waterfall, etc. Well, at least that's a start. Keep reading, keep learning, ask questions, and question answers. There are LOTS AND LOTS of opinions out there -- your job will be deciding what will work best in YOUR situation!
     
    Mmathis, May 15, 2013
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  13. StuartLawrence27

    shakaho

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    With your latest estimate of size 10x6x3 you are up to over 1300 gallons, LOL. That's a great size. Your climate is pretty mild, so 3 feet deep should work. Of course you can build your pond. If you are smart you will do a lot of research first on how other people have built ponds. Then draw out your plans and post them for a critique. NOBODY has a perfect first plan, and since everyone here has done lots of things wrong, we can give you advise on how not to make the same mistakes.

    Once you have a plan, you can look up the price of everything and determine your total cost. (To be perfectly honest, I should say: then double it.)

    You need to start with some basic questions. Where do you want to put your pond? Will it be shaded, in full sun, or some combination? Are there trees in the area? Are there building codes that you have to meet? Is it convenient to a water supply and electrical outlet (I assume not on the electricity since you need an electrician). Is the area fenced to protect curious children from falling in? How will it fit into your landscaping and your outdoor activities?

    Just keep planning and asking questions and you'll do fine.
     
    shakaho, May 15, 2013
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  14. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    Also you want it for optimum viewing .I figured if I had to walk out to my pond to enjoy it it was not worth it to me .I can see mine from my covered front porch and enjoy the sound and the view .I want guests to enjoy it also .You tube has some great video's and I saw pics of great ponds on hgtv.com .
     
    sissy, May 16, 2013
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  15. StuartLawrence27

    jmg4991

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    I agree with previous posts...many of us have built our own ponds and they are thriving. I am on my 7th year with my pond and I am making it larger this summer. My recommendation is to do your homework. If you build your pond correctly, there will be very little maintenance and problems. Survey your yard as others have said, look for best viewing, optimal sun/shade factors, best waterfall sound if you end up creating a waterfall. Planning in the beginning will make the end result much better. I would make the pond as large as you can afford. I wish I would have made mine bigger initially because it is costing me more now to go back and redo it. Try to buy the best pump and filteration system you can. The better filtration system, the better water quality for the plants and fish. I truely believe that ponds are not something to go cheap on. Do you need to take out a 2nd mortgage for one? No, but spend the money upfront because if you don't, you will spend it later. I also agree going the liner route and the thicker the better. I live in Michigan in probably comparable climates to yours and I went 3 feet deep with my pond and have had no trouble with the fish over winter. I have standard goldfish because I did not have good luck with koi overwintering. Just my personal advice and experineces for you. I love my pond more than anything and I hope that you decide to go forward with buidling yours.
     
    jmg4991, May 16, 2013
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  16. StuartLawrence27

    StuartLawrence27

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    I appreciate the help.

    The soil is not sandy but there are a decent amount of roots where I want to put the pond. The area I want to put the pond had a lot of vines and bushes which I cut down. How much digging should I do to make sure that there are no roots that can make a hole in the liner? The pond will be about 4-5 feet from trees but they will not be overhanging the pond. Would you suggest that is far enough?

    Do I need to purchase the waterfall and skimmer and hook up the plumbing before I dig the hole? How deep a hole do I dig for the waterfall? At what point do I need an electrician?

    Can I mix Koi with other types of fish (tad poles, turtles, mosquito fish). Is 4 feet deep sufficient for Koi or do I need deeper? How many levels should be in the pond? How wide should the deepest point in the pond be?

    Thanks.
     
    StuartLawrence27, May 19, 2013
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  17. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    Waterfall and skimmer come after you dig and all the dirt you dig out use to build up the water fall and sides of the pond so dirt from heavy rains does not wash into your pond .You can mix any type fish and I have koi but in 9 years they are now over 2 feet long and are fussy about water quality and ph .My pond is just over 4 feet deep and that is because of summer heat here .After you get the pond dug and figure out everything call an electrician and most will know by looking at it what you will need and where to put outlets .Make sure you have enough outlets and they are on different circuit breakers .This way if one breaker does trip the other one is still working ,you don't want to come home to dead fish .I have 2 pumps and they are on different circuit breakers if one breaker trips the other pump is still working .Plus if one pump goes out you are not scrambling around trying to find another pump so fish don't die .
     
    sissy, May 19, 2013
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  18. StuartLawrence27

    HTH Howard

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    Redundancy goes a long ways to keep the fish safe.
     
    HTH, May 19, 2013
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  19. StuartLawrence27

    Mucky_Waters

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    I've never really seen any need to "buy" a waterfall, there are a lot of DIY ways to build and plumb a waterfall without purchasing any sort of specific waterfall box.
    You'll want to put some type of underlay beneath your liner, especially if you are worried about roots or have very rocky soil. You can "buy" some ridiculously priced liner underlay, but again, if you want to save money and end up with something that will offer better protection, go to a big flooring store and ask about picking up some used carpet. Often they'll take you to the their dumpster in the back of the store, they are usually too happy to have people grab the used carpeting and roll end bits of carpet out of there. The last time I did that the store manager told me they charge him $500 to get it dumped, so the more he can get rid of for free the longer it is before he has to pay that 500 bucks. Anyway, it makes great underlay for the liner, in fact you can generally get plenty of carpet underlay while you are in there dumpster diving.
    As for the size and shape of you pond, everybody has different ideas about shelves and levels, but nobody but you really knows what you want as far as plants, fish turtles and other aesthetics. For sure most people will agree that you want to have a deep area to your pond, I would recommend at least 4ft deep, and please don't put any rocks on the bottom, save them for around the edge and along your shelves. And that brings up another thing, when you are leveling your pond please build a shelf area on the shore for rocks to sit just below the water level so you can hide the liner along the shoreline. IMHO nothing detracts more from the aesthetics of a pond then seeing the black rubber liner all around the shoreline.
    You obviously have access to the internet, check out the pond forums and youtube, look at as many ponds as you can and copy the features you like. It you aren't sure how they are built then ask, but don't just ask how you should do it, because everybody will give you different answers. Find out what you like and want first.
    When I first started getting into ponds, and wanted to keep turtles in it, lots of people told me you "can't have turtles in a pond, they'll make a mess, they'll eat all your plants, the'll eat your fish, etc...". Things is there are plenty of people who do have turtles in their ponds and they don't necessarily do all those things, and I did end up keeping turtles in my ponds and never really had any of those problems. So be sure to weigh and reason all the advice you get.
    Can you post a picture or a video of a pond that you like and you'd like to build? If you can do that then you'll get more useful advice on how to proceed with your pond build.
     
    Mucky_Waters, May 19, 2013
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  20. StuartLawrence27

    sissy sissy

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    Yep totes come in handy but I do cut the handle off one to double them up .Mucky is right you tube is great and video's are easy to follow in most cases .Plus so many idea's your head will be swimming
    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:52791].I would love a stream but not worth the work for me . :cheerful:
    [sharedmedia=core:attachments:52790]
     
    sissy, May 19, 2013
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