It's been a while but I'm finally thinking of a new build..... please help!!


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Hi all! It's been a few years since I've been on this forum and posted. I finished a beautiful pond about 5 years ago and then turned around, got divorced and moved. I thought that I would be out of my rental by now, but I'm not and don't foresee a change in that anytime soon. I do have the freedom to do anything I want to my landscaping and I am really really wanting another pond. But, I do not want the construction to be permanent and I do not want to dig a 2.5' deep whole in the ground.

This was my baby before:

IMG_4478.PNG


I came across a pond kit that is way to expensive IMO.

I don't love the look of wood as much as I love the look of brick so I was thinking a similar approach using retaining wall blocks. You know, the $0.88 ones from Menard's etc that are usually 3" tall and 5" thick and about 11-12" long, one side shorter than the other so you can build curving walls with them. So I thought If I could dig my pond bottom about 15" below ground level and then build my brick wall up to whatever height I decide on, so I can get the volume I need. Drop a liner in the total hole and use the wall cap bricks to finish off the top of it.

Picture this only with a portion of the pond being below ground level (not those same bricks either):

Koipond.JPG


So here are my questions.....

1. I live in NW Indiana with a lot of freezing and thawing in the winter. So what keeps the ground beneath the brick from eroding underneath the pond liner, and eventually resulting in the wall sliding down to the bottom of the hole under the liner?? I do not want to pour a concrete footer since I do not want it to be a permanent structure.

2. Does staggering the bricks keep them from just toppling over from the pressure of the water above ground? How do I keep the force of the water from just pushing the walls over? I'm not 100% sure how much water I want above vs below ground yet, But I am kind of picturing a wall about knee height (I'm a 5'5" woman, btw)

Ideally, I don't want to have to use mortar/adhesive, since I'd like to incorporate the bricks into a nicer bigger pond build in the future.

Any suggestions?
 
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Hi @JenH ! I remember you and your pond!

No advice from me on construction, but I'll enjoy seeing what you come up with!
 
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Hi @JenH ! I remember you and your pond!

No advice from me on construction, but I'll enjoy seeing what you come up with!
Awe! It’s been so long I didn’t think anyone would remember me anymore!
 
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Hi every one! Good morning!

Ok, so I’ve changed my plan....I think I have this figured out now my basic plan....

I’m going to use treated landscape timber. And build a square pond, approx, 27” water depth. (Same as my old pond). Half below ground and half above ground. It will be approx, 5x8, with a 12-18” x 8’ x 12” deep bog at the back. The bog will have two weirs pouring back into the main “pond”.

Basically I’m building this, only to my own diminsions.

84394210-CEE0-4D6F-95E9-8AF546A6B366.jpeg


I’m going to add a 2” layer of sand to the bottom before the liner and underlayment, and I’m going. To use rigid foam insulation to help with water temp since it is partially above ground and cold here in the winter.

So I guess I have just one more question. My old pond only had a bog filter and nothing else and worked beautifully! But it was all much bigger, so I am debating getting a pressure filter with UV clarifier to go between the pump and the bog.... but I also don’t want to “starve” my bog. Do you think I would even need the extra mechanical filtration?

Unlike my old pond which was in full sun all day, this one will have some shade from neighboring trees. I only intend to keep maybe 3-5 koi tops. But also unlike my old pond, I don’t plan to have any plants at all in the main pond except maybe one waterlily.

By the time I get all this done and the surrounding landscape mulched and planted, my budget will be tapped out, but next summer I’m thinking I can either add the stone around the outside to hide the wood, or I can use those pretty stone siding panels.
The front edge will butt directly against my concrete patio and I would like to extend the front cap boards out to create a bench for sitting, maybe even cutesy it up with some outdoor throw pillows etc, but I haven’t gotten that part of the design quite figured out yet.

Please tell me your thoughts! Thank you!!
 

sissy

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welcome back .But if you are renting you may want to check with the owners ,you do not want to surprise them with it and have them say no and take it out
 
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So long as your bog is big enough to handle the fish load, I'd stick with that. 1/4- 1/3 the surface area of the pond, from what I've read.
 
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Welcome,
I like where you heading and how your thinking. A couple tweeks to your plan. If you plan on digging into the soil for 15" then i would compact the soil with a hand tamp and NOT install insulation to the bottom. Install your underlayment yes . I would use tuff r 2" it has the best of all foam boards readily available an r 13 but it is 50 bucks a sheet 4x8 to the walls . If you dig into the soil the water and the depth should keep some warmth i don't think insulating would help there. If you use 12' 4x4 cut in half to 6 foot for your width and 8 foot for your length. you can then make your bog 2' wide cantilever it 6 inches to a foot off the back leaving you with a good size bog the fish will have a place to hide a nice big space to swim. In the corners and one in the center i would drive a 2x4 into the ground as a stake to keep walls from bowing and pad it 1/2 to even the insulation as you install it up to the stakes you just installed. Make sure you compact the soil under the 4x4's or 6x6 it would be beneficial to also remove any top soil under them as it absorbs water and when it freezes it can lift your structure.
 
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Welcome back :) I've spent a lot of time in NW IN, as we have family there. Was your previous pond in the same area? I ask , as the winters there are cold and I wonder if 27 inches is enough depth to keep koi. If you build it as you've described, it would be easy to cover the pond in winter to protect it from wind and evaporation.
 
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Hi everyone, sorry I haven't been back to respond in a bit.... I have a lot of projects going on! LOL
Thanks so much for your notes!

Tula - Yes, my last pond was here as well. I've been in good ol' Fort Wayne my whole adult life. Our winters do suck and I've built and modified, probably 4 ponds now. It all started with a little preform. LOL!! But, believe it or not we only need about 24" of water depth here. My last pond was much deeper before I remodeled it. We have a professional place nearby, Woodland Water Gardens, and I went to them for as much information as I could at the time of my last remodel at my old house. They keep a koi specialist (not sure if they're called veterinarians when it's fish) on staff and they kept telling me my pond was too deep, when I finally took their advice my water issues all disappeared.

Sissy - My landlords don't care what I do, I have free rein to make any changes I want. Originally when I moved in I attempted to create a pond from a large 8' galvanized stock tank and I built a pallet structure around that. Didn't work. But they don't care. Some of my neighbors have installed pools, some have installed sheds, as long as we pay our rent and don't damage anything when we leave, they are happy campers. I could build a water garden just like I did in my last home, rocks, waterfall, the works....but I am doing it this way mostly because in the end I will be able to deconstruct this, back fill the shallow hole I'm digging and take it with me if I ever decide to leave. So I don't feel like I'm throwing away my money building this at a rental. But I also don't think I'm going anywhere at least not for years.

GBBUD - Thanks for the tips! Are you saying I shouldn't use the sand at the bottom of the hole beneath the underlayment? I was mostly going to use that just to level it off and create a nice surface for the underlayment and liner, and use the foam just on the sides. I have very hard clay here, there is no top soil either. I do have 2 large trees not to far away from where I am installing this and I am a bit concerned with where their roots are. I don't want to cut any roots and potentially kill my trees so I suspect if I run into them while building/digging then I am going to have to work around them. Luckily my BF is an arborist so he'll be able to tell me whether or not any roots I run into are necessary for the trees.

I was planning to cantilever the bog at the top...was thinking of making the pond 8x5, buying 8' boards and then using the 3' sections I've cut off for the main sides as the sides for my bog, making the bog 8x3 and my overall pond footprint approx 8'x6.5'. I could adjust this and make the pond 8x6, the bog 8x2, and the footprint 8x7. That would still leave me with a bog of 1/3 the size of my main pond.
Are you saying that I should use the foam sheeting to insulate the bog as well? I hadn't thought about that.....

I'm thinking by the end of this month I'll be caught up with everything else enough to actually begin this!! Crossing my fingers that I can have it completely built and planted by July first. Give it a chance to cycle a bit and maybe still be able to add fish yet this year! YAY!!

Thanks so much everyone for all of your input!! any other suggestions or insights...please keep them coming!
 
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Excellent planning!
Keep us posted and throw up some pictures during the build.
Thanks!! I will definitely be adding pictures once I get going. I’m thinking once I’ve got my inside projects finished our “April” Showers should be done here, and I’ll have all my supplies to get started. Last time I did a pond I took a week off work and just dove in. I’m thinking I’ll do the same this time since Covid put a halt to my actual vacation plans this year! Execution is always harder than the plans! LOL
 
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Hi everyone, sorry I haven't been back to respond in a bit.... I have a lot of projects going on! LOL
Thanks so much for your notes!

Tula - Yes, my last pond was here as well. I've been in good ol' Fort Wayne my whole adult life. Our winters do suck and I've built and modified, probably 4 ponds now. It all started with a little preform. LOL!! But, believe it or not we only need about 24" of water depth here. My last pond was much deeper before I remodeled it. We have a professional place nearby, Woodland Water Gardens, and I went to them for as much information as I could at the time of my last remodel at my old house. They keep a koi specialist (not sure if they're called veterinarians when it's fish) on staff and they kept telling me my pond was too deep, when I finally took their advice my water issues all disappeared.

Sissy - My landlords don't care what I do, I have free rein to make any changes I want. Originally when I moved in I attempted to create a pond from a large 8' galvanized stock tank and I built a pallet structure around that. Didn't work. But they don't care. Some of my neighbors have installed pools, some have installed sheds, as long as we pay our rent and don't damage anything when we leave, they are happy campers. I could build a water garden just like I did in my last home, rocks, waterfall, the works....but I am doing it this way mostly because in the end I will be able to deconstruct this, back fill the shallow hole I'm digging and take it with me if I ever decide to leave. So I don't feel like I'm throwing away my money building this at a rental. But I also don't think I'm going anywhere at least not for years.

GBBUD - Thanks for the tips! Are you saying I shouldn't use the sand at the bottom of the hole beneath the underlayment? I was mostly going to use that just to level it off and create a nice surface for the underlayment and liner, and use the foam just on the sides. I have very hard clay here, there is no top soil either. I do have 2 large trees not to far away from where I am installing this and I am a bit concerned with where their roots are. I don't want to cut any roots and potentially kill my trees so I suspect if I run into them while building/digging then I am going to have to work around them. Luckily my BF is an arborist so he'll be able to tell me whether or not any roots I run into are necessary for the trees.

I was planning to cantilever the bog at the top...was thinking of making the pond 8x5, buying 8' boards and then using the 3' sections I've cut off for the main sides as the sides for my bog, making the bog 8x3 and my overall pond footprint approx 8'x6.5'. I could adjust this and make the pond 8x6, the bog 8x2, and the footprint 8x7. That would still leave me with a bog of 1/3 the size of my main pond.
Are you saying that I should use the foam sheeting to insulate the bog as well? I hadn't thought about that.....

I'm thinking by the end of this month I'll be caught up with everything else enough to actually begin this!! Crossing my fingers that I can have it completely built and planted by July first. Give it a chance to cycle a bit and maybe still be able to add fish yet this year! YAY!!

Thanks so much everyone for all of your input!! any other suggestions or insights...please keep them coming!
Sand under the liner is great if you put in a thick layer 4" and compact it there's noting better. it protects the liner from rock puncturing the liner is allows drainage, and it makes for a very firm stable base. Inside the pond i would only use course sand as the fish will undoubtedly stir it up and clouding the water. Course sand is less likely has it is much heavier.

I do have 2 large trees not to far away. 90% of trees where the branches stop is where the roots stop so if your pond is say 10 feet under the outside of the tips of the branches odds are you will hit the trees roots. Also though i believe your not using heavy equipment driving on the roots can kill the tree as well,
 
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Sand under the liner is great if you put in a thick layer 4" and compact it there's noting better. it protects the liner from rock puncturing the liner is allows drainage, and it makes for a very firm stable base. Inside the pond i would only use course sand as the fish will undoubtedly stir it up and clouding the water. Course sand is less likely has it is much heavier.

I do have 2 large trees not to far away. 90% of trees where the branches stop is where the roots stop so if your pond is say 10 feet under the outside of the tips of the branches odds are you will hit the trees roots. Also though i believe your not using heavy equipment driving on the roots can kill the tree as well,
Oh, no, no sand inside the pond, only under the liner and underlayment. I will likely use 3” river rock on the inside bottom of the pond.....I know a lot of ponders hate that but I prefer the look and haven’t ever had problems with bad bacteria building up as long as it’s only a single layer of rock.

I’m calculating my materials online with Home Depot, and I swear I can’t find any insulation on there that is R-2, I think I have literally found every other number possible! So should I go up or down? I don’t know what the R# means.... LOL
 
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Oh, no, no sand inside the pond, only under the liner and underlayment. I will likely use 3” river rock on the inside bottom of the pond.....I know a lot of ponders hate that but I prefer the look and haven’t ever had problems with bad bacteria building up as long as it’s only a single layer of rock.

I’m calculating my materials online with Home Depot, and I swear I can’t find any insulation on there that is R-2, I think I have literally found every other number possible! So should I go up or down? I don’t know what the R# means.... LOL
Tuff -r
 
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Ok.....Some more questions....

I really didn’t have to worry about leveling with my last pond and it’s design. But with this one I will. My yard is flat, and I will be digging by hand. What’s the best/easiest way to go about leveling it?

I was thinking about painting the timber on all of the outside surfaces... a solid base color, taping off in a grid and then spray painting with stone spray paint, giving it a faux brick like finish... I will the leave the top boards/wall caps that are above the liner unpainted, but sealed, perhaps with Thompson’s or something like that. The outside timbers for my bog I would like to do the same. My question though is for the front of the bog, that is overhanging the pond and has the spillway.... can I paint that as well or will the water runoff potentially cause the paint to leach toxins into my water? With my old pond all the stone on the front of my spillway was always wet. If I can paint it great! But if I can’t paint it, should I use the Thompson’s seal to seal and protect the wood? What about chemicals from that? How do I protect the wood that will be most exposed to the water? Here’s a little photoshopping to show what I’m thinking as far as painting.....

F70445A1-A6D5-4101-9C1F-5A62BA0742A5.jpeg


What about underwater lighting? Any suggestions of some inexpensive options? I had purchased the typical underwater spotlights for my old pond but never really liked the way they looked like underwater flashlight beams. I want something that gives a nice overall underwater glow. Like this:

A0EEB185-B4FD-43FA-BC12-E1F55F2733A8.jpeg
 
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Ok.....Some more questions....

I really didn’t have to worry about leveling with my last pond and it’s design. But with this one I will. My yard is flat, and I will be digging by hand. What’s the best/easiest way to go about leveling it?

I was thinking about painting the timber on all of the outside surfaces...YOU NEED TO WAIT AT LEAST 6 MONTHS PRESSURE TREATED NEEDS TO FULLY DRY BEFORE YOU PAINT OR STAIN a solid base color, taping off in a grid and then spray painting with stone spray paint, giving it a faux brick like finish... I will the leave the top boards/wall caps that are above the liner unpainted, but sealed, perhaps with Thompson’s or something like that. The outside timbers for my bog I would like to do the same. My question though is for the front of the bog, that is overhanging the pond and has the spillway.... can I paint that as well or will the water runoff potentially cause the paint to leach toxins into my water? USE A CLEAR WATERPROOFER OVER YOUR DESIGN OR MAYBE EVEN INSTALL A SPLASH GUARD WITH PLEXI GLASS With my old pond all the stone on the front of my spillway was always wet. If I can paint it great! But if I can’t paint it, should I use the Thompson’s seal to seal and protect the wood? What about chemicals from that? How do I protect the wood that will be most exposed to the water? Here’s a little photoshopping to show what I’m thinking as far as painting.....



What about underwater lighting? Any suggestions of some inexpensive options? NOPE I SPENT A FORTUNE I had purchased the typical underwater spotlights for my old pond but never really liked the way they looked like underwater flashlight beams. I want something that gives a nice overall underwater glow. Like this:
 
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Would I have to wait 6 months to apply a product like this?

22F18720-13CD-4A20-9420-ED8C2D839A12.jpeg
 
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Would I have to wait 6 months to apply a product like this?

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