Our new pond - Started Fall 2011 - Complete - ?


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Ok.. so we started this job last year, fall of 2011.. We already had a 3500 gal formal pond that is showing it's age. It needed some work on the flagstone caps and edgers. Not a lot but of stuff but enough it was going to take quite a bit of my manual labor. Now we had also lost a huge Sugar Maple tree earlier in the year, spring 2011. It also damaged three 30-40' pine trees when it came down. When all the lumber was removed, we now had a deck that was no longer shaded and had some considerable yard around it now. This was were we originally wanted our pond 17 yrs ago but decided against it becasue of the trees there. So now was a good time to build a new pond where we wanted it and to expand and redeck our deck which is about 20 years old.

It took my wife and I a while to come up with the final design and layout. But we finally decided on a formal pond along with an expanded deck.

We had had the stump ground down when the lumber was removed. We roughed outlined the new pond.

This was our clean slate to work with!
 

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The first thing we did after roughing the dimensions out, was to dig a trench to pour the concrete footers. This was handdug to the depth needed. At the far end of the pond, the footer would be almost ground level. But the end closer to the house would be much deeper as the ground sloped up. We wanted a good 14" footer so the trench went as deep as 3 feet to accomadate the changing slope. In addition we dug post holes down to four feet below the final grade at each corner and every four feet to serve as foundation piers which made some holes almost 7 feet deep. Rebar was placed in all the trenches and vertically into the post holes. We then had a cememt truck come and make a single pour.

The dogs were totally chilling out!

Then rain, bad weather, and winter came. Nothing more happenned until spring of 2012. At least the concrete had plenty of time to cure! And we had all winter to redesign the deck, landscaping, etc.... :ideacyclops:
 

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So spring came. It was now time to bring in the heavy equipment! :moped: :helm2:

We now graded the ground down to the level of the poured footer. We also found out of course that grinding the stump of a large tree does not necessarily make it easy to finish the removal of said stump! Several times the bulldozer was stopped dead in its tracks! The operator had to chip away at it and break off sections at a time until it was gone. When we were done, we had a level playing field finally.

If you look carefully at the last two pics you can just make out the foundation of the pond walls under a layer of dirt.
 

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The next step was to actually dig the pond. We also had a trench dug to the side of the pond for the piping that woudl be required. Of course everything had to be properly inspected by the resident supervisor. But she finally gave the OK to proceed.
 

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Did I mention I got a father's day present from the family? A Himalyan White Birch. I did get some assistance in planting it!
 

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Next the footers had to be cleaned off for the block. The 4" drain along with a 1" air supply line was dug in and laid in place for the bottom drain.

The first course of block was laid. First we laid out all the blocks to get a good fit. Then we went back and block by block we wiped down the foundation with a sponge to clean off all the dirt as well as wiping down and cleaning the blocks. These were then glued in place using retaining wall glue designed specifically for this purpose. This was a time consuming project. Especially since I have a day job!

What looks like a pipe sticking straight up in the center is just a temporary stand. I used this to place a lazy susan turntable on top of it where I could place my laser level. Spinning the lazy susan allowed me to easily shoot the laser to whatever point I was working on to just double check the level of my blocks. If the foundation is poured level to start with, very little adjustment should be needed.

Notice the far back wall is more than double depth. This section will eventually hold the waterfall.
 

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Much of the plumbing was then done. In the first pic, you can see the two 2" return lines. You can also see where the 4" bottom drain pipe enters the trench from the pond. This comes in at a 45 degree angle. 90's were aovided where ever possible. All will eventually go into the shed at the far end of the trench which will serve as the pump house.

The trench contains the 4" drain line, two 1" air supply lines, (one to the bottom drain, one the other end of the pond for aeration), two 2" flexible plastic return lines, and a 1/2" water line for an autofill.

In the thrid pic is a sprinkler box which will house the inground shutoffs for the bottom drain. All pipes will then enter the side of the shed into the pump house.
 

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In this pic, the second layer of block has been glued in place and most of the trench on the side has been backfilled.
 

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Now the third and pretty much final layer of block was set in place but not glued. The far back section where the waterfall will be was done as high as could be at this point.

And of course one of the supervisors was always present over seeing all operations!
 

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The next part was tricky. The third layer of block had to be cut in half so that we could effectively concel the liner from view as well as protect it from UV rays. Cutting these blocks wasn't fun. There were about 130 blocks that had to be cut in total. To do this, and to make sure we didn't lose track of where they belonged, we numbered all the blocks. Each half of the block also got a designation of "A" or "B". That way, we had no question where each block should go.

To cut the blocks we rented a 20" walk behind masonary saw. Like you see on the highways. We built a trench to lay the blocks in and hold them so that we were able to walk the walk behind saw over top of them and cut them in half. We were able to do about 5-6 blocks at a time. It took awhile to get the hang of the saw and I didn't get all the blocks cut as accurately, (i.e. exactly center), as I would have liked. But they'll work. Once they were all cut, we glued the outer half of the third course onto the wall. Once the liner is in place, the inner half of the blocks will be set in place on the liner and the capstones glued on top once the liner settles, stretches and is trimmed.
 

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So. the summer has passed, September is here. Almost a year since we started on this pond and it's still doesn't even have water in it... Well that isn't quite the truth! After some hot days, and a pretty dry summer, the fall rains have come to the east coast. I'm all ready for the liner to be installed but because of it's size and weight I'm having a contractor do that. The problem is we need the pond to be dried out and a relatively nice day for him and his men to come over and install it! Mother nature is NOT cooperating now! :grumble: Right now we have ten inches of water in the pond! Thankfully it drains down well as we have a very sandy soil under this section of the yard and it perks well.

So hopefully next week we'll get the liner in and MAYBE in a few weeks we can move our koi to their new home before winter sets in!

On the plus side the rains have settled the backfilled trench in nicely!
 

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Finally! This past weekend we got the liner in!!! The stars aligned, the contractor showed up, the weather cooperated!

The first pic is showing the installation of the bottom drain sump.

Pic two is of the installed underlayment and the bottom drain sump. The underlayment consisted of an old carpet cut to the size of the pond, (an old berber rug), and then followed with the black pond underlayment. The same pond underlayment was later placed on the walls as well and held in place with duct tape to the block.

Pic three just shows a close up of the bottom drain after the underlayment was installed.
 

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Next was the manhandling of the liner. The purchased liner was 45' X 60'. We had a total of 7 people to wrestle this in place.

First the liner was stretched out. (pics one and two)
We cut off some excess to try to make it lighter at that point.
While folded, the liner was dragged/carried alongside the pond than lifted over the side and in. When we unfolded the first flap it folded out and "up" the wall and over. We then unfoled the liner across the pond and up the other wall. Amazingly it came out pretty well! (pic 3).

In pic 4 the contractor worked his way around the pond, making neat folds in the corner, straigtening out the wrinkles and getting everything as smooth as possible.
 

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Once the liner was set in place and we were all happy with it, the bottom drain had to be finished. Time to cut the liner. One of those points of no return!

But once that was done, it was time for the fun part. Time to add water!!!!! (pics 2 & 3)

Pic 4 shows the clay chimney liners we are adding to the pond. These will be placed end-to-end on the opposite end from the waterfall and next to the 12" shelf. They will provide shelter for the Koi during the winter, protection from any predators and shade from the mid-afternoon sun when needed. When buying these new, you must plan on grinding the edges smooth as the ends of these are quite sharp. We used a dremel grinding wheel on them. It took about two hours to do all three of these. My wife did most of the work on these.

In Pic 5 we had started up the pump and air pump. For now we are just circulating the water with no filter and running the bottom drain's air pump. Once we shut down our other pond for the winter, we'll disconnect that filter and pump, take the filter apart and replace the bio media in it, replace the gaskets, clean the valves, add a blower for backwashing the media and a bottom sludge valve. This filter didn't come with the blower or sludge valve so we are going to add them to help improve the performance of the filter and removal of all the junk. We'll hook it up to the new pond over the winter.

Fish will not be moved over until the spring.
 

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Got two better pictures of the filling of the pond than what I had above.

The first pic is the "before" pic.

The second pic is the "after" pic".

It's been full all this week now and has the most water in it that it ever will. I'll let it stretch and settle the liner to the weekend. You can see I've already done a preliminary trim of the liner aroudn the three sides. On Friday evening I'll pump a few inches out to get the level down below the blocks seen in the far back and let the exposed liner dry out. This also will expose the "shelf" around the other three sides where I'll set the half blocks that I showed being cut in half a few posts up. The blocks on the back wall are full blocks and will be glued to each other and interlocked into the side walls and some back fill will be put in the bottom of the waterfall reservoir.

Than I'll start building up the back walls where the waterfall will be. Once the back wall is done, I'll put in the half blocks around the sides and glue on the capstones.

Hopefully, if the weather permits, I'll have most of the waterfall back walls completed this weekend.
 

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Seeing a thread in another forum about the satellite photos got me to thinking to see what was out there about my house!

So I called it up in Google maps and did a screen capture of the photo. I've attached it below.


This is not current and was probably taken sometime in the fall of last year, (2011). You can see the current pond in the front of house. You can easily see the "Z" wall that separates the upper pond from the lower pond. The white square next to it is a pergola with a canvas top we built.

This pic was taken just after we had the concrete poured on the new foundation. The tire ruts are visible at the top right corner of the foundation. The white strip on the right side wall are planks across the foundation trench we used for the wheelbarrows to wheel in the concrete for areas the truck wasn't able to reach.

It'll be interesting to see if we get an updated satellite photo this fall or winter sometime to see how often they update the photos for our area.

Craig
 

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Made some great progress on Friday and Saturday. Today sucks as its raining. But I did get a lot done and have made good progress on the upper waterfall section.

I finished glueing in all the block for the pond trough. In the first pic you can see one of the returns for the pond and the 1/2" water fill line at one end. The liner on the right is the end of the liner from the main lower pond. It will serve as extra protection for the trough liner. Should the trough leak, or overflow, this liner will cause most the water to flow back into the lower pond.

The second pic is a picture in the opposite direction. It shows the second return line going to the other end of the trough.

In the third pic, you can see on the right hand side of the trough that we have dropped in carpet to serve as padding between the bottom stone and the upper liners. Some stone as been added in already. The carpet and extra liner will be folded down over the stone once enough stone has been added to bring it up to the proper height.
 

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So we finally backfilled the area up with the stone. That was quite a chore that was done by filling a 15 gallon bucket up with the stone in the driveway, carting it by dolly around to the pond, and then lifting it up over the wall and dumping it. repeat, repeat, repeat... my son helped me considerably with this step!

In pic one below, we have now folded down the carpet.

In pic two the excess liner from the bottom liner was folded over into it. We also added additional scraps of carpet on the right hand side to protect the trough liner from the block wall stone. The blocks sitting in the trough were just placed there temporaily to hold the side carpets up on the right and the extra rubber liner up on the left.

In pic three we have dropped in the liner and began to add water. We basically drapped this over the top, reached under it and removed the temporarily blocks and fitted the liner into place.

Pic four: My son!! :)

In pic five, we are just filling it up now. We filled it and adjusted and readjusted the liner, and readsjusted, and readjusted.. etc.. as it filled.

That's about where we left it end of day Saturday. Supposed to be nice this week so hopefully I can maybe leave work early a few nights and hopefully get a lot of work done this week on it.

Next steps will be to trim the upper liner, put in the waterfall weir, and than start work on the final trim on both top and bottom sections and install the capstones. Maybe another 2 weekends?
 

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Getting close every week.... But fall is here, leaves are coming down and it's time to cover the ponds up for the winter. So wrapping up for the winter now.

Pic 1: Waterfall mostly complete now. Weir in place. Still need some side pieces. Spring job.

Pic 2: Got caught by the boss taking too long a break.

Pic 3: Overflow pipe inserted into top blocks. Will have to cut a depression into the capstone some as the bulkhead fitting is higher than the wall. Shouldn't be a problem.

Pic 4: Capstone marked up for cutting out a depression/hollow spot for the overflow bulkhead.
 

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