New pond build - my happy part of the garden!


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Hi everyone!

We bought our first house a year ago, house is awesome, garden needs tons of work. We have an L shaped garden, and husband recently suggested that I take the small part of the L as my play area. It is about 18ft wide and 40 ft long.
We are in Dallas, TX, so it can get very hot here, but I kept an eye on it last summer and it gets great sun in the afternoon but thanks to the house and fence, it stays cooler in the shadows.

I have attached a sketch of my probably final design (it has gone through many iterations!)
I am planning on keeping mostly goldfish and shubunkins, but may pick up one or two "mutt" koi, especially butterflies. I also have a friend looking to rehome some larger koi that I might be tempted by.....

I also have a few rescue turtles. I am aware this is going to cause some issues with water quality, however they are currently quite small and I may just deal with it and see if it is manageable as they grow up, which can take a good few years and by then I suspect my husband will have gotten itchy feet and want to move to a bigger house anyway! One of the species stays quite small, and the other spends a lot of it's time on land anyway.

I am going to build a small fence to separate this area from the rest of the garden, to prevent turtles wandering and to prevent my silly dogs from jumping into pond!

I am going to separate a section at the back which will house a small greenhouse for various experiments, a growout/quarantine tank or two and where my skippy filter will hide out of sight

I am going to make my own pavers too! (am excited to try this!)

The pond is going to be 13ft long x 7 ft wide, with the deepest part being 3.5 - 4ft (if I can dig that deep). Estimated 2,000 gallons. 3 ft x 7ft of the pond is going to be a bog filter/ shallow turtle area. I'm going to try to do 18 inches of stones, with about 6 inches of water on top.

I would like to add a big planter in the bog with an elephant ear plant or carnivorous plants, and this will be the skippy filter outlet, and the water will dribble down into the bog.

I have been reading and researching for about 4 months now so I have many, many questions...!

Q1. If I have a skippy filter, will the bog still "work" if the outlet from the skippy goes into a large planter with an elephant ear etc, and then dribbles down into the bog? Plants will be planted directly into 18" depth of pebbles. Will the plants still take nutrients efficiently as if I put the pipes under the gravel?

Q2. If I have a high turnover pump in the main pond section, going to the skippy filter, should I add another pump in the skippy to move water back to the pond again, or will gravity do its thing?

Q3. I am going to make my own concrete pavers. I understand that concrete can affect the PH of the pond, but will it be minimal seeing as the concrete will rarely be in contact with the water? (rain may runoff into pond) Does it matter so much with goldfish?

Q4. It doesn't rain a ton here, but when it does... wow. Texas clay soil also doesn't like to absorb a lot it seems, so everything can get very squishy. In downpours, there can be several inches of water in minutes. I am thinking of adding an overflow, but is it worth it, and how would I do that? A pipe from the pond itself? An outlet from the filter? I can't seem to find a ton of information about overflows

Q5. Mildly off topic, but has anyone tried laying pavers on top of small stones? Previous owners put down a ton of 1-2 inch stones, presumably for drainage. They are horrible. I have removed some, but taking drainage into consideration, if I stamp them into the ground a bit, throw down some paver sand and then set my concrete pavers on top, that should work? They don't move at all once embedded in the soil. There are no stones in the actual pond digging section, thank goodness, it's all mostly in the section I am keeping for the filtration and extra stock tanks. Won't be a ton of traffic other than me back there.


I also always write too much, so my apologies! Thanks everyone and I look forward to taking part in the forums!

mypondidea.jpg
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Welcome to the GPF! You've come to the right place and at the right time - most of us have put our gardens and ponds to bed for the winter so we have LOTS of time to talk ponds!

I don't know anything about skippy filters, but I do have a bog filter on my pond and I will tell you your idea to trickle water down into the bog can be troublesome. Will the plants still absorb nutrients? Probably, because that's what they do. However, your bigger issue will be muck and debris building up on the top of your bog and blocking and diverting water flow. Then the water will just be flowing over the top. An up flow bog doesn't present the same challenge. In nature, a wetland filter is basically a flow over area - but nature has lots of space to work with. When you're in a constrained space an up flow is a much better option, I think.

And as for an overflow - YES YES YES. Always always plan for overflow, even when you think there's not a snowball's chance in you know where. Every pond is different as to where the overflow will go, but you definitely will regret skipping it if you don't plan for it. Our overflow goes into the storm drain for example. Some people direct it to an unused area of their yard or down a slope - it all depends on your particular pond and yard.
 

addy1

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Welcome to our group!

Like said above make your bog a upflow, I had a tickle down flow into a bog it constantly clogged up on the surface and did not filter well.

Overflow for sure! Mine runs down our slope into the woods.
I would like to add a big planter in the bog with an elephant ear plant or carnivorous plants, and this will be the skippy filter outlet, and the water will dribble down into the bog.
I would skip the skippy, make just a nice decent size bog full of plants and pea gravel, up flow. No need for any other filter. I have only a bog as a filter. Over 10000 gallons of water, counting all the ponds
 

addy1

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If I have a high turnover pump in the main pond section, going to the skippy filter, should I add another pump in the skippy to move water back to the pond again, or will gravity do its thing?
You can use just one pump, external or submersible. I use external. Have the water pump into the bog, under the pea gravel and it will flow into the pond via a water fall. This is the water flow, not running as it is frozen, the p is the pump. The blue circles are ponds to the left, three of them, one 1000 gallon on the right. Then I have more ponds on the deck and in the stream, a small pump on a timer runs them. But all filtered by the bog.

The bog is the area to the top of the picture the arrow is the waterfall back into the big pond. It is the length of the pond around 4 feet wide. My pond is around 15 feet wide part not seen due to the slope and wall hiding some of it. I have a skimmer down by the blue circle ponds.
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Welcome to the GPF! You've come to the right place and at the right time - most of us have put our gardens and ponds to bed for the winter so we have LOTS of time to talk ponds!

I don't know anything about skippy filters, but I do have a bog filter on my pond and I will tell you your idea to trickle water down into the bog can be troublesome. Will the plants still absorb nutrients? Probably, because that's what they do. However, your bigger issue will be muck and debris building up on the top of your bog and blocking and diverting water flow. Then the water will just be flowing over the top. An up flow bog doesn't present the same challenge. In nature, a wetland filter is basically a flow over area - but nature has lots of space to work with. When you're in a constrained space an up flow is a much better option, I think.

And as for an overflow - YES YES YES. Always always plan for overflow, even when you think there's not a snowball's chance in you know where. Every pond is different as to where the overflow will go, but you definitely will regret skipping it if you don't plan for it. Our overflow goes into the storm drain for example. Some people direct it to an unused area of their yard or down a slope - it all depends on your particular pond and yard.

Hi Lisa!

I am so excited to get started properly - I just need to wait to get a handyman into install a couple of outlets and then I am ready to go! Thanks for the information about the bog, I will set it up to be an upflow.

After the weather the past couple of days here, I am def adding an overflow..... How do you add one to a pond? Is it just a pipe that sits above the waterline, unused until the water level rises? is it a big pipe or small diameter? I think I need to sort the overflow out before I start making pavers, as my intention is to hide a lot of the pipework underneath them....
 
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You can use just one pump, external or submersible. I use external. Have the water pump into the bog, under the pea gravel and it will flow into the pond via a water fall. This is the water flow, not running as it is frozen, the p is the pump. The blue circles are ponds to the left, three of them, one 1000 gallon on the right. Then I have more ponds on the deck and in the stream, a small pump on a timer runs them. But all filtered by the bog.

The bog is the area to the top of the picture the arrow is the waterfall back into the big pond. It is the length of the pond around 4 feet wide. My pond is around 15 feet wide part not seen due to the slope and wall hiding some of it. I have a skimmer down by the blue circle ponds. View attachment 118223

Hello Addy, I have just spent the last hour reading your bog building thread...!

That's a beautiful set up you have, I would never go back to work if I had that in my garden waiting every day.
You don't have any form of mechanical filtration? I guess with a pond and bog that size it is not necessary. I am still debating whether I want to build a skippy now or wait and see how well the bog does.
 

addy1

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overflow..... How do you add one to a pond?
My overflow is just a stack of rocks, to keep fish in, if the water gets above the edge it just flows out and down our hill.
You don't have any form of mechanical filtration?
The only filter is the bog, I do not draw water from the bottom of the pond, but around a foot off the bottom.
I don't get a build up of debris on the bottom. It has reached a balance. My pond is almost no care except for pulling plants from the bog and grooming lilies.
 

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welcome and congrats on your home .For a beginner a bog may be a lot to handle but you can use a stock tank just like a bog with lava rock and plants in it .I use 2 stock tanks because I have koi.I use tuff stuff tanks
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Welcome from Scotland AllyAlbon, you've come to the rite place, the guys here helped me so much when I was setting up my pond, Im now looking to build a new pond this year.
Good luck with the project and keep us updates with loads of pics.
 
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welcome and congrats on your home .For a beginner a bog may be a lot to handle but you can use a stock tank just like a bog with lava rock and plants in it .I use 2 stock tanks because I have koi.I use tuff stuff tanks View attachment 118257
I like the idea of the lava rock - I am thinking of adding some into the bottom of the skippy filter too! I will have at least one stock tank as a skippy filter, but I am also thinking of adding plants into the top of it to create a mini bog too. My plan is that at least 2ft of the pond's length will be a bog, but there is an agenda that it will also be for my Reeves turtles who prefer shallow water to splash around in with some cover, so combining the two seems like a good idea :)
 
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Welcome from Scotland AllyAlbon, you've come to the rite place, the guys here helped me so much when I was setting up my pond, Im now looking to build a new pond this year.
Good luck with the project and keep us updates with loads of pics.
Hi Gavin - funnily enough, I am actually from Scotland too! Moved out to the States four years ago and love it - especially the heat. There will hopefully be many photos in the future, just getting through a busy patch at work and also saving to buy some of the equipment, which will be ordered today. This is an exciting part!
 

sissy

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remember the over flow pipe must have some kind of cover over it to keep small fish from getting washed out also .I have a green pipe cover on my that I bought from lowes here .Anything will work I used a abs pipe because it was black .You could even use a cap on it and drill holes in the cap or a shower drain screen .I used a 4 inch ABS pipe and used 2 of them and put them on top of the liner with the stuff addy uses ,the roofing goop .I hope you add more outlets than needed and try to put them on a dedicated breaker .My son put mine on switch's so I could turn on or off anything from inside ,encase the weather is bad
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remember the over flow pipe must have some kind of cover over it to keep small fish from getting washed out also .I have a green pipe cover on my that I bought from lowes here
Thanks, Sissy - I hadn't actually thought about capping them, thanks for the suggestion! I think I will run two overflows, one at each corner nearest the fence. We don't get a lot of rain but when we do, I think it would be better to have two to drain the excess water as fast as possible.

I am far too excited and my husband is giving me weird looks - but I had my external socket put in today! Even better, he didn't have a two socket gfci for outdoors so he gave me a 4 socket upgrade! So now I can run the main pump and lighting, have some sort of little fountain/water feature and have an extra one for spare. Not only that, they have a new design for external sockets, where you close the protective cover and then the wires comes out a space at the bottom, so there is an almost 100% seal around the plug and socket - I had been wondering how to stop things getting wet in bad weather and this is how! So excited because this was probably the biggest hurdle to getting things started and it's all done.

I'm also thinking of adding a bigger bog/shallow area overall, because since I started working in that space, a lot of small birds have been coming to see what's happening and I would love it if they stayed around. I also think I will add a shallow shelf along one long side of the pond for more plants, and as access for the birds and my turtles etc. I love the planning stages!
 

addy1

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The birds love shallow moving water to bath in. They are going to love your set up.
I just have a pile of rocks stacked up where my over flow it. Keeps the fish from flowing out with the water. We get some massive rains and a lot of water leaves the ponds and heads down the yard slope.
 

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yeh the birds love my shallow upper pond area .But aggie does have a habit of attacking them thinking they are food .Aggie is my biggest koi and can be aggresive when it comes to food .She got a hold of 1 little bird and lucky I was right there and saved it .
 
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Welcome. And plan for your overflows to not drain near your house, you want it to stay away from your foundations. I’m working on my pond plans again too, as my first plan had to change. That first hole may become a lotus pond, I’ll see!
 
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Thanks, JamieB - I am looking to run the overflow right to the street drain just to be safe! Hope your pond plans work out too!

I've been insanely busy the past couple of months at work, and then winter was a lot colder and less fun than I thought it would be, no motivation to do anything in the garden. Then this weekend the sun came out and it was glorious! Oh, and a workmate also gave me a couple of "goldfish" that turned out to be a shubunkin, and a koi that were outgrowing their bowl (funny, that!) so they are lounging in my 20 gallon spare tank for now - but good motivation to get cracking and build this pond!

I didn't get a lot done today, mostly prep work, but I started on the fence that separates the pond section from the rest of the garden ( I am standing in the pond section in the photo) and I am pretty pleased with my first attempt at DIY since high school. The fence is just over 3ft tall - it's for keeping nosy dogs out, and my turtles in! The horizontal bits of wood are just sitting there, they aren't permanent.

I was going to do more on the fence today but found that I never received nails, nor gate hinges in my order so I have to go get them tomorrow! I have a day off work on Tuesday and I want to finish the fence then and start laying patio.

Hoping to have the area cleared of weeds and ready for digging up in the next two weeks! Planning on having everything done by end of March, which should be perfect weather to start moving my turtles and the new fish outdoors
 

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