Pond shelves and dimensions.


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Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum and came to ask some questions about building a pond. I've researched everything about ponds besides actually building one. My plans are to have one in an irregular shape, 66 inches across at its longest point and 44 inches across at its widest point. The depth will be a maximum of 20 inches due to the 24 inch limit in my area. If I go over 24 I am legally required to make a fence around it, which is not something I want to do.

I have a few questions. My first one is pond shelving. How many shelves should I have in this pond, and at what heights? Should I have them go all around the pond or just in certain spots?

My second question is about what to put in the pond in terms of decoration. I read up about gravel on the bottom of the pond and shelves and learned it is more of a hassle then it's worth. With that being said, should I just go bare bottom on all shelves and the bottom floor?

My plan for the edges on top of the liner is flagstone hanging over the side to hide the liner. Honestly, I'm a bit worried for this part since it may look out of place. The area where I want to put it is by an existing garden that is lined around with round (not perfectly round) stones. Do you reckon this would look too out of place or should I just go for it? The only reason I don't want to go with round stones around my pond is because I fear of those showing the liner all too much.

Thank you everyone in advance. I've loved reading all the posts on here so far!
 
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Mmathis

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Hello and welcome! Please post some pictures of your pre-pond site!

I hate to be a Debbie-Downer, but there are no real rules when it comes to shelves — how to make them and why are totally personal preference. Some people use their shelves for plants and some (like me) use the shelves to stack rock (which also hides the liner). Some people don’t like shelves because it can give predators a place to stalk the fish. On one section of my wall, I built in a few “extra shelves” in an area about 2 feet wide. I am short, so these “steps“ were to help me get into and out of the pond.

With a 2 foot depth, I would think that one level of shelves would be adequate — again, depending on personal preference. When we re-did my pond, I made my shelves about 12” from the top, and made them about 12” deep, with a slight slant toward the back (helps keep rocks or plants from falling forward, into the pond). With the exception of the “steps,” I only had one level. For my plants, I was able to plant them among the rocks, so it doubled as a plant shelf.

Decoration? Fish and plants. Look at other builds on here and you’ll see so many creative ways to decorate — again, it’s whatever you want to do. As far as a gravel bottom goes, do your research to find out WHY some say it’s a hassle, and why some are happy with it. What one person is in love with — another person abhors! Look at the pros and cons. And for the most part, if you try something and it just doesn’t work for you — you can always change it later!

Oh, and NEVER, NEVER cut off excess liner! Fold it under. You never know when you’re going to need that little bit extra for a tweak or repair down the line!

PS, if you have a 24” limit, I would use every bit of that and go 24” deep. I know it doesn’t sound like much — just a 4” difference, but with your being in MI, depending on your winter weather, deep is better.
 
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Oh, and NEVER, NEVER cut off excess liner! Fold it under.
Well, unless you're like me and have like 16 feet extra all the way around. haha!

So much good advice I have nothing to add, except to say - go for the full 24 inches. Don't short yourself those 4 inches. Your pond is already going to be rather small... those extra four inches could add 50 or 75 gallons to your total volume.

I will also add - gravel in a pond isn't really there for decoration. It serves a purpose by giving beneficial bacteria lots of surface area to colonize. You're right that some people think it makes the pond hard to keep clean, but my gravel bottom pond has never given me any trouble in that regard. Your gravel layer should be very shallow - just enough to cover the liner. In a pond your size, I may choose not to rock the sides, however, as you will lose considerable water volume.
 
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I have added a picture of the location where I want to put the pond. It's in the dirt section, and I plan on extending it past where I stated earlier. I personally think flagstone would really be out of place, but I worry about the rounder stones not covering up the entirety of the pond liner.

Thank you for the tip. I never thought about folding in the edges instead of cutting them off. I'll be going for the full 24 as well.
 
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Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum and came to ask some questions about building a pond. I've researched everything about ponds besides actually building one. My plans are to have one in an irregular shape, 66 inches across at its longest point and 44 inches across at its widest point. The depth will be a maximum of 20 inches due to the 24 inch limit in my area. If I go over 24 I am legally required to make a fence around it, which is not something I want to do.
Jealous! The limit here is 16 inches or something like that. The fence has to be at least 5 feet tall and completely solid--so it's not like I could do a cute little picket fence either.
 
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Jealous! The limit here is 16 inches or something like that. The fence has to be at least 5 feet tall and completely solid--so it's not like I could do a cute little picket fence either.
I think it's rather silly. If someone is on your property and they fall in, it shouldn't be on you.
 
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I think it's rather silly. If someone is on your property and they fall in, it shouldn't be on you.
I guess it's for the sake of the children? You know, the ones whose parents are allowing them to walk around in stranger's back yards unattended.

I see the point in not making the pond obvious from the street (especially if kids go by on the way to or from school), or having some kind of fencing to deter children and signal private property, but requiring an ugly 5 foot privacy fence around the whole thing is... depressing.
 
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Our neck of the woods, anything over 18 inches is considered a pool and has to be fenced. About the shelves, I had them than took all but 1 out. It took away swimming area from the the fish. Than I had rocks on one, the fish would get stuck in them when they spawned.
 

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@reefsr
I have two shelves. One just a few inches down w/rocks on it to hide liner and another shelf down 18". See by this photo below you cannot see the liner around the top edge and down in the water a few inches.

1.JPG
 
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View attachment 132418@reefsr
I have two shelves. One just a few inches down w/rocks on it to hide liner and another shelf down 18". See by this photo below you cannot see the liner around the top edge and down in the water a few inches.

View attachment 132419
I want to use those sorts of rocks, but I fear the liner would poke through the crevices. How did you combat that? Tons of plants going through them?
 

j.w

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@reefsr liner is laid like a step and lays in flat folds w/rocks on the step part and rocks on the upper edge of liner w/more rocks on top. No liner pokes through as rocks are right close together and heavy. Scroll down in this thread and check out @addy1 's picture she drew and I have another photo on the same thread of a close up of the rocks on the step down in the water and the other rocks on top around the pond edge. I have a berm of dirt also built up under the top edge of liner under those top rocks. Behind the berm I have sprawling type of plants that grow up and over the top rocks and into the pond. Thread below w/picture drawn by addy and another close photo:
https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/hello-my-first-pond-build.27002/#post-431190

Also it is good to keep any extra liner and not cut it. Just fold it under as you never know when you might need to tweak something and need to pull up that extra liner and fix it for some reason.
 
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@reefsr liner is laid like a step and lays in flat folds w/rocks on the step part and rocks on the upper edge of liner w/more rocks on top. No liner pokes through as rocks are right close together and heavy. Scroll down in this thread and check out @addy1 's picture she drew and I have another photo on the same thread of a close up of the rocks on the step down in the water and the other rocks on top around the pond edge. I have a berm of dirt also built up under the top edge of liner under those top rocks. Behind the berm I have sprawling type of plants that grow up and over the top rocks and into the pond. Thread below w/picture drawn by addy and another close photo:
https://www.gardenpondforum.com/threads/hello-my-first-pond-build.27002/#post-431190

Also it is good to keep any extra liner and not cut it. Just fold it under as you never know when you might need to tweak something and need to pull up that extra liner and fix it for some reason.
Thank you, that thread helps a lot!
 
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I feel like knowing what emergent plants you plan to have and how big of pots/planters you plan to plant them in would be vital in deciding what depth your shelves are. For example, if you plan to plant something that the crown needs to be 3-5" below the water level to succeed, and you have a 10" deep pot/planter, then your shelf would need to be 12-16" deep for that to work out.
 

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Thank you, that thread helps a lot!
I wish I had built mine like @j.w ’s. I have straight sides 18” to 24” deep on a slope with a flag stone cap. It isn’t an unpleasant look but limited by not being able to put plants easily in the pond. I do have a bog filter and I recommend reading up on all the positive things our members have to say about them. Two years, my pond is about the size of yours, and I haven’t touched a thing for the most part. Add water, scoop out leaves once or twice a year early spring and late fall and haven’t feed my fish in weeks, closer to a month. I do not miss the weekly or monthly filter cleaning one bit.
 
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I wish I had built mine like @j.w ’s. I have straight sides 18” to 24” deep on a slope with a flag stone cap. It isn’t an unpleasant look but limited by not being able to put plants easily in the pond. I do have a bog filter and I recommend reading up on all the positive things our members have to say about them. Two years, my pond is about the size of yours, and I haven’t touched a thing for the most part. Add water, scoop out leaves once or twice a year early spring and late fall and haven’t feed my fish in weeks, closer to a month. I do not miss the weekly or monthly filter cleaning one bit.
I've heard about bog filters but every time I hear about them they include a pump. Is there one that does not? By regulation where I live we can not have permanent wiring outside.
 
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I've heard about bog filters but every time I hear about them they include a pump. Is there one that does not? By regulation where I live we can not have permanent wiring outside.
You have to have a pump for a bog. You really have to have a pump for any pond if you want to keep fish in it. If you're not aiming to keep fish you might be fine without a pump/filter, especially since your location is shady. You'll probably have to use a chemical mosquito control method if your water is going to be still water though.

It's hard to tell because your photo is very small, but your border rocks look like they might be granite? If you can't get more of the same type of stones, you can get granite shaped to any shape, you might consider irregular granite cobble as your pond edge, like below. You can fill between it with low growing groundcover or gravel or a combination of both.
1596150910287.png
 
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It appears I've been bamboozled. We can have outdoor cords here. Anyone want to link me to that heavenly bog filter setup by addy1 I keep hearing about?
 
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