Planning a new Pond Project!

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Good wintery morning, gang!
I just wanted to start a new thread before I work on a new pond build. My Dad wants me to come re-do his pond this spring/summer. In the weeks ahead, I have to think and talk through some ideas so we can order all his stuff. I will have to have everything ready so I can fly up there and build a pond in the days that I will have. I'm going to share the process because I'd love input from fellow ponders (@GBBUDD - I'm lookin' at you!) and I value your experience and ideas! Also, thinking about a new pond is a fun thing to do in winter. Stay tuned!
 
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Yay! This will be fun. Love your posts. It was your other thread on building your pond that inspired me to start my project last year. Good luck with the planning.
 
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Happy to help
Dad's a lucky man.
First questions
how many days will you have
will you have any help
what type of soil does dad have / where is he in the country'
will dad be able to do any maintenance
Photo?
flat yard ?
too flat
water table issues?
 

YShahar

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Good wintery morning, gang!
I just wanted to start a new thread before I work on a new pond build. My Dad wants me to come re-do his pond this spring/summer. In the weeks ahead, I have to think and talk through some ideas so we can order all his stuff. I will have to have everything ready so I can fly up there and build a pond in the days that I will have. I'm going to share the process because I'd love input from fellow ponders (@GBBUDD - I'm lookin' at you!) and I value your experience and ideas! Also, thinking about a new pond is a fun thing to do in winter. Stay tuned!
How cool is that! What a fun project!

Please post some photos of the site from the viewing area so we can all be armchair engineers!
 
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Good morning! Thanks, everyone!

Here is a little before-breakfast info:
My parents are in rural Illinois - in their 80s - both with some health difficulties. My Dad's greatest pleasure is his yard. He loves being outside. I worry sometimes that his determination and stubbornness outweigh his physical abilities -- this is important because I need to make sure this pond is a very manageable size. He will be maintaining it all alone, with no-one to help.
Backstory - my Dad loves seeing pictures of my pond and he got a bee in his bonnet to have his own water feature. A couple of summers ago, my sons, husband, and I made a summer trip to help build him a little water feature, using materials he had acquired. We only had 3 days, because we were on our way up to see other family.
I knew there were problems, right from the start. He wanted to use the stuff he had gathered and it wasn't ideal. There was no time to order anything different, so we had to make do with what what he had. He had a plastic, pre-formed pond basin (not ideal.) I brought scraps of liner for a little waterfall. He had a cool, dragon fountain he wanted to use for the start of the waterfall. Small pump. Very cool rocks, full of holes, like Swiss cheese. Neat -- but not good for directing water flow.
When we were there, 1 1/2 days of it was torrential rain. The rest of the time was insanely hot and humid. One son threw his back out. The pond build gods were not smiling on us. We kept plugging along, though.
We had the pre-formed pond all level, then someone got a little too excited about shooting water underneath to sink the sand down. I think that was one of the first places we started having trouble. When we started building a little waterfall from the dragon fountain, I sat rocks there, to disguise the edge. I believe that made the back edge of the pond sink down below level a little bit. It has leaked ever since.
There is no real filtration. He gets lots of algae.
The dragon as a source of the flowing water isn't great. He is running the pump with solar power. He does have batteries, to extend the energy and fountain time -- but we all know a pond should run 24/7. My Mom is worried about the power bill, so that's part of the reason why he insisted on using solar.
He really wants it for the new and improved pond, too.
I will insert some photos of the water feature, in the planning stages and through the build - then as it is.
 

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We used lots of leftover stuff -- rock on a roll from my pond to cover the low retaining wall. Scraps of underlayment and liner. Free rocks from other projects.
It was kind of a set-up for failure.
You can see in the 5th picture, the back was already dipping down. The weather, the time frame, and the materials were just not what we needed. But we had to make do with what we had, in the time we had, with the weather we had, and the manpower we had.
My Dad is a gardener. All the landscaping around has filled in by now (a couple years later) and the plants and such are gorgeous. It's just the little pond itself that needs redoing.

Because I will be working by myself this time, I want to keep it sort of simple. I'm considering a kit, ordered from Webb's - with a waterfall filter and a skimmer. I'm no plumber, but my Dad could probably direct me. (Know that as I am typing this, my heart is starting to pound with anxiety - as the different options start flying through my brain.) A bog would probably be better. That will require a lot more thought and planning. An intake bay would be very nice. If I go with a bog and intake bay, that eliminates the idea of a kit.
Back up a little -- over Christmas, when we were visiting there, we did go to a rock yard and I showed my Dad which rocks would be good to have for the re-do. He has ordered them. They will be delivered at some point later in the winter.
The plan so far is to pull everything out of that center area. This is going to need to stay a small-sized project, for many reasons: limited time, limited manpower (me and a shovel), limited money. We can't move all those giant concrete sculptures and big boulders again.
I think it would be good to extend the footprint out into the yard a little bit, to give a bit more room to play with.
He wants to have the dragon as part of the feature but it can just sit on a side shelf within the liner - it can be there for some extra water movement.
Again, it is critical that this be small enough for him to maintain on his own. He has a couple of little feeder fish in there and frogs have moved right in. He doesn't need it to be big. I know larger is easier to manage in terms of water chemistry - but he needs to be able to reach in with a little net and not have to get in to do maintenance.
I will probably fly there and be there about a week. We never know what the weather will be like.
I wish the husband could come with me to do plumbing and electrical. There are many logistics to work out with that - but it is all doable.
Some of the bigger questions in my head are:
Kit or custom?
Bog or waterfall filter?
Skimmer or small intake bay? (Mark Wilson, the Pond Advisor, has some very nice small ponds with small waterfall filter and intake bay.)
Solar or hardwired electric?
THat's all for the moment. Time for breakfast!
 
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This will be a fun project. Of course will not be easy with the time constraints. I would think a bog would be the way to go. Upfront it would be more work but once done he will not have to fiddle with it and gives him another area to do his gardening. With a waterfall filter I would think he would have to worry about cleaning out the filter on a regular basis but since I dont have one I dont know how much is involved with maintaining one of those. The bog would not have to be huge since it sounds like there will not be many fish in the pond.
 
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This will be a fun project. Of course will not be easy with the time constraints. I would think a bog would be the way to go. Upfront it would be more work but once done he will not have to fiddle with it and gives him another area to do his gardening. With a waterfall filter I would think he would have to worry about cleaning out the filter on a regular basis but since I dont have one I dont know how much is involved with maintaining one of those. The bog would not have to be huge since it sounds like there will not be many fish in the pond.
My front yard pond has a waterfall filter and a skimmer with pre-filter. I don't know if I've just been lucky but I've only cleaned my waterfall filter once since 2016.
I'm just really nervous. It took me years to build my ponds. I'm worried a week won't be enough time.
But I'm going to just breathe and remember this is part of planning -- and why it is important to plan ahead -- to figure all this stuff out!
 
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My front yard pond has a waterfall filter and a skimmer with pre-filter. I don't know if I've just been lucky but I've only cleaned my waterfall filter once since 2016.
I'm just really nervous. It took me years to build my ponds. I'm worried a week won't be enough time.
But I'm going to just breathe and remember this is part of planning -- and why it is important to plan ahead -- to figure all this stuff out!
Maybe we should have the first Garden Pond Forum convention and all meet there to help lol.
 
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Maybe we should have the first Garden Pond Forum convention and all meet there to help lol.
You are sweet! Even if that were a possibility, my Mom would have a stroke from the stress. I am dealing with a delicate situation there. Gramps is full of big ideas and creative energy. Grandma is stressed and is not at all on board with more projects or more spending. I think one person I should bring along to help is my friend Jose. Jose Cuervo. :p :LOL: I am going to see if a couple of burly nephews could drive down and help move rocks. But it is really all the finicky details stressing me out right now. It will be good. I'm just venting to my pond peeps (and absolutely open to everyone's thoughts!)
 
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IMHO, that’s too much to do in a week. Could you just redo what’s already there instead of expanding? Or have a phase one and plan to return?
 
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IMHO, that’s too much to do in a week. Could you just redo what’s already there instead of expanding? Or have a phase one and plan to return?
Yes it will be a re-do of sorts. It's going to be small. Not much bigger than what is there - just done more nicely with better materials. I think the digging part will be more a matter of refining the shape. It is the plumbing and electrical that has me a little nervous. But you are right. If the weather is wonky, a week won't be enough. Maybe I need to plan a week and a half.
 
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You are sweet! Even if that were a possibility, my Mom would have a stroke from the stress. I am dealing with a delicate situation there. Gramps is full of big ideas and creative energy. Grandma is stressed and is not at all on board with more projects or more spending. I think one person I should bring along to help is my friend Jose. Jose Cuervo. :p :LOL: I am going to see if a couple of burly nephews could drive down and help move rocks. But it is really all the finicky details stressing me out right now. It will be good. I'm just venting to my pond peeps (and absolutely open to everyone's thoughts!)
Yeah if cost is an issue you probably dont want me to come. Of course as a lawyer I need the upfront retainer fee of $5,000 and then it is $500/hr, plus expenses and travel costs. Basically the parents would have to sell their house to pay me, lol.
 

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