Renovating the Small Pond – Part 2


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The finished pond. The liner will be trimmed back after the pond has finished settling.

With the liner in place, it was time to build the small block piers needed to set the different plants to their varying heights based on their particular likes. Lilies for instance, are set about a foot below the water until they start to produce leaves, when at this point, they can be placed at a lower level 2-3 feet down. This encourages stronger growth in the stems. Marginal and bog plants need to be almost at water level. It is easy to lower the plants just by taking off a row of blocks. Prior to placing the blocks, I had filled the pond enough to settle the liner on the bottom. The only problem with making the pond deeper is the need to build taller piers. I looked around trying to locate all plastic tables but could not find any as they would have performed just as well once there were plants on the top to weight them down.

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Waiting to fill.and showing the concrete block supports for the plants.

Showing the new liner before filling all the way and the plant platforms with the plants already potted and set in place. It took almost 8 hours to fill the pond to about 6 inches below the finished height. Altogether, about 2800 gallons. I know because I checked the water meter at the start and the finish. One of the last things to work on was to attach the skimmer to the liner and to cut the hole for the water to flow in. For this, I had to get into the new pond to work on it. The water was mid thigh at this point with still about a foot to go. I stopped filling with the water 6 inches below the skimmer door and as my urgency was to get the fish out of the stock tanks ASAP, treated the water with de-chlorinator which also removed the chloramine so that I could re-introduce the fish to their renovated apartments.

I transferred the fish who were very happy to get back into larger quarters and am glad to say, never lost any during their short stay in the stock tanks. Incidentally, I had covered both of the tanks with a wire mesh that I happened to have and weighted it down to stop the raccoon’s from fishing at night. While I was at it, I also moved the 4 stone aerator to the pond and set it up to keep the water oxygenated.

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Showing the waterfall box and the plumbing that connects it. The loose liner will be pulled upwards to act as a water barrier in case of leaks hence the raised connection.

With the fish safely back in their new apartment, I turned my attention to re-working the plumbing that would carry the water from the skimmer box to the new waterfall that I had yet to build in the opposite corner. While the pond had been filling, I had started on the stonework that surrounds the pond and hide the concrete blocks, working on the end with the skimmer box first primarily to anchor the box in place.

Over the next couple of days, I worked on laying stone around the waterfall box that I had left over from a previous re-model. I had already connected the 1 1/2 plastic pipe to the box and had placed the box on top of the liner which I planned to raise upwards to completely surround the box as I laid the stone, just in case the plumbing or the box leaks. At least, the water will run back into the pond and not drain it if this was to happen.

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Some of the newly built stonework with the waterfall box on the far side of the pond.

In the process of laying stone, I knew that I would need to make a trip to my local stone merchant to get more as I was rapidly running out. Laying stone is not a difficult task. It does require an “eye” for stone selection, picking the right stone to fit and in my case, dry stacking them one on the other. The only place that I used mortar to help with the stability of the work was around the waterfall box where some of the stonework is only 3-4 inches thick. Interestingly enough, the place I use to get most of my stone is called Daniel Stone and Landscaping Supply. Quite a unique name for a stone supplier. They have a weighbridge going in and when loaded, you drive back across it to see how much you have as you are buying it by the weight.. I feel really important, just like a long distance trucker as I drive onto the scales with my little SUV and trailer. Stone is very heavy stuff and I can’t haul much of it at a time as the tires on the trailer tend to flatten down. This time, I hauled around 1200 pounds that myself and a very interesting Mexican guy helped me to load. We spent our time talking as we loaded about the merits of fish. In his case, how good they are to eat and in my case how pretty they are to look at.

I have been on hold for a couple of days as we finally got several inches of much needed rain which has almost finished the filling of the renovated pond. The water has now reached the skimmer door and it will only take a couple more inches for the pond to be full. All that remains now is to complete the stonework as all of the other work is complete.

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If you look real closely at the level, you can see the bubble is exactly where it should be.

I turned on the pump that sits in the skimmer box to see if everything functioned as it should and was delighted with the how it functions. I took great pains when I was setting the waterfall box to make sure that it was perfectly level and the end result  is spectacular, one sheet of water cascading over the falls. I spent the next couple of days working on laying stone and altogether made  three trips to Daniel Stone and picked up around 1200 pounds each time. The last two times I loaded out by myself but I was able to pick and choose which stone I wanted which made it all worth the effort.

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I couldn’t ask for anything more perfect than the flow of water .

The pond is now finished and the lilies are already growing. The fish must like the place as they were busy with their mating rituals this morning with the males chasing the females all over the pond. Hopefully, they will not have too many babies.

I spent time this morning in the adjoining pond, the one I call the “L” shaped pond. The dividing wall between the two ponds needed some work and the only way I could work on it was to get in the water. Luckily, it has already warmed up to almost 70  degrees. The final part of the project that I will leave for a while, is to trim the surplus liner from the top of the walls. This is always the very last thing that happens and is left just in case the pond needs some re-work.

All in all, it was a good project and I am very satisfied with how it looks. If there are any complaints is that adding the extra height to make better use of the surplus liner does make it stand up a long way.

Next project up after a couple of days of well earned muscle rest, is to build a bog onto the big pond. As long as I don’t get too carried away, it should not be too difficult a project.

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