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Building a pond

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by frustratedattimes on June 30, 2004 04:50 PM
Hey all,

My wife's birthday is coming up next month and she wants a pond with a waterfall in the back yard.


The pond size will be about 6 x 8 x 2 and I will be doing all the work myself [nutz] .

Any ideas, thoughts, experiences that you all have would be greatly appreciated.

First questions I have are these:
Is a rigid or soft liner better?

Is one kind of pump & filter better than another?

What kind of plants work well in and around a pond.(Remember this is Georgia.)

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I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Wayne
by weezie13 on June 30, 2004 05:18 PM
Hey Frustrated,
If you do a FORUM SEARCH and type in POND,
you'll get about 8 entries there about some ponds and questions we've had in the past..

Also, I know several people have them,
Gardencrazy, Creepin' Jenni, Papito, Njoynit,
oh, I'm missin' a few here, but I'm sure they'll swing thru and help!!


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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by frustratedattimes on June 30, 2004 05:28 PM
You are just answering all my ? today. [thumb] .

Can you tell I am bored stiff sitting here at home??? Have no interviews or anything to do today,,grrrrrrrr... and its raining!!!!!!!!! [Eek!] .

I will do a search, and try and learn (wife says you can not teach an old dog new tricks) [Big Grin] [thinker] [Frown] .

Thanks again

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I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Wayne
by Chrissy on June 30, 2004 05:41 PM
Hi, I have a small backyard pond so maybe I can help a little bit. We did all of the work ourselves too. Actually my 18 year old son did it for me as a gift. I have a soft liner pond, I think they usually look more natural, but I have many friends who swear by the rigid forms, so I guess it is a matter of personal choice. I have also heard the rigid form ponds take less upkeep & are easier to build. As for filters & pumps, go with the biggest & best you can afford, in my opinion the filter & pump are one of the most important parts of the pond, so it is worth the extra cost to make sure you have a good one. I started out with a cheap one & man was it a bitc* to have to unclog it all of the time. Plants, there are just a ton of things that will grow nicely in a pond. I have water lilies, rush, cattails, tarro, reeds, several ornamental grasses, wild daisies & black eyed susans, and a bunch of other stuff growing in my pond. I just do it by trial & error. I will drop something onto my plant shelf in my pond or sink it to the floor of the pond & just see how it fairs. I haven't found anything that won't grow in the water yet actually. My plants seem to thrive better in the pond than anywhere else, maybe it is the fish droppings:)

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by gardenmom32210 on June 30, 2004 10:43 PM
I'm in N.E. florida and have a pond in my front yard. I used a vinyl liner and am very happy with it. In my pond I have water lillies and irises. I also put some ornamental rocks(think large aquarium)on the bottom. Around the pond I have multi-colored lantana,african iris,iris,dusty miller and purple salvia. I agree with Chrissy about the pumpand filter,get the best you can afford,it will be well worth the time and aggravation saved.

Hope this helps.

Karen [grin]
by frustratedattimes on July 01, 2004 04:12 PM
Thank you for the info on the pump and filter. It does make sense to buy the best you can. Wow, on the plant list, will definately be looking to dress it up once I have it done. I am thinking some cattails would be cool, the pond will also be flanked on either side by Elephant Ear. What about Water Lilies??? Looks like I have alot of research to do yet. Any other ideas or suggestions, just fire away. Thanks again.

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I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Wayne
by njoynit on July 05, 2004 05:46 PM
I have had a few ponds& will actually re vamping mine to a large size as my winter project(durring more comffy temps for working of course).I have had both the PVC liner& the hard formed one.I was cussing like a seaman over that hard formed one& still do and its in the ground...washes out around the edges when it rains alot& i'd swear it has risen 4 inches since planted it firmly I thought ....last fall. my 1s t liner ever used was rolled roofing used on flat roofs or rubber roofs how ever U see it.It worked great and used an old blanket underneath the liner.i think that one was 3 ft deep with a shelf of a half moon on front side and was 7 ft long 4 ft wide tucked in a corner.2nd pond was a wine barrell pond....found it to be too small for me,but was nice just the same,was great indoors for winter in kitchen.I had iris& water lilly blooming in feb.
Now I have a 100 gallon pond with a pre formed liner.I have a snake who lives under my pond.not poisonous just a western blue stripped ribbon snake,who I have named slick.i will likely keep the pre formed pond shell but move it to infront of sons window and will not put in ground.will set on ground and figure out from there latter(whoever says those pre formed are easy to set in ground need to come do mine was a royal pain my A$$) my next one will have a big square area likely boards for sides about 3-4 ft deep& right up against porch and centered on front of house and my measurements yesterday told me will be 11 ft across& will make a section a few inches lower to waterfall into a bigger sized pond that will be dug to 3 feet deep.i'll have to mound the sides of dug out pond area as we get some heavy tropical downpours here in SE tx& i will leave a small circular area in center as an island and have plants grow in it on it& will be quiet larger than current pond& will use a farming type pond filter thats used for farm things,not usually gardening pond things,but is heavy duty...pump is actually for use with a well(but don't use my well as water is cheap for me& well is real deep to re pipe....sooooooo can't let the pump go to waste can we??)I'm leaning towards lineing the top wood area or upper pond area with copper flashing.

do you have red clay soil there in your neck of woods of GA? if so you will want a pick when weather is cool or if can't at least dig at out your water lillys tropical ones won't return but you can store them(let 1 st frost hit pull out of pond let dry out store in wet sand in a warm spot that won't freeze)

I'd dig pond 3 ft deep .
1 so can overwinter fish(which when temps drop to 50 don't feed,their digestive shuts down then)& can store some water plants in deepest spot in pond....just drop and wait till spring.
you want fishies...they eat your skeeters

search out your pond plants you want floaters& oxgenizers..makes a healthyier pond

pond in sun& not under trees that loose alot of crap will make you work alot want pond in sun but you want to shade the water with water plants for algea issues.I have tad poles that help me on that issue,they eat my algea but last year was useing vinegar to help(1 cup for 100 gallons of water safe for both plants& changes the water ph& works better than pond tabs that say change the ph of pond,but don't)

make your pond shelves decent size so plants don't fall off
cat tail alert........1 cat tail will go a long way in one season.

I'll probably think of more

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!
by Annette on July 06, 2004 06:37 PM
WOW! Lots of neat ideas there! My husband is currently working on digging our first pond. We decided to go with free-form rather than pre-formed. I like the more natural look of the former, and hubby doesn't want the work involved with the latter! [Big Grin] So we both benefit!

He is using his tractor to dig out all our Georgia clay. Seems to be the quickest and easiest way to do it. He asked me how big and how deep....I told him to just keep digging till I thought it looked right to me! LOL I know we will have to work on leveling the edges once he's done with all the digging, but it's in a fairly level area to begin with, so it shouldn't take too much to even it out.

I know I'd like a waterfall feature for my pond...not sure just yet how I'm going to do it...probably make "fake" rocks and such, then I can leave space inside the rocks to hide filter and pump and still leave an easy access to them.

Fish are a DEFFINATE addition to mine when it's done! As a matter of fact, I have a KOI in a 55 gallon tank in the house that became the reason I first decided I wanted a pond. He's getting a little too big for the tank right now. He's at LEAST 18-20 inches long...really needs more room. Got him when he was about 4-6 inches long. So he's my "baby" for the pond.

Everytime it has rained recently, I have noticed frogs taking over the half dug pond. The water stands really well due to the clay, so the frogs love it. Can't wait to give them a really GOOD home!
by njoynit on July 07, 2004 08:06 AM
I've got rocks stacked up with mud under my pre form waterfall(That I don't even use)and the frogs live under there...are 3 thati know of.I hear them sing....Hewy,Lewy& Dewy.I got a snake.A western blue stripped ribbon snake& a lil green geko guy...who is always hanging from some leaf over there.some baby frogs hanging out around sides of pond.
Hubby probably gonna shoot me....I'm haveing issues seeing my pond so being porch is not built yet am going to spray paint it on ground....thinking of useing green paint.

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!
by frustratedattimes on July 08, 2004 02:45 AM
I am so grateful for all the information. You really have no idea. I am leaning really hard towards a preformed liner, due to cost more than anything.
As for the waterfall, I am using some thick & thin stone, I was allowed to take off a construction site, after the masons were done as well as some local granite, etc..... at the top I am going to use a whiskey barrel tipped over slightly to start it off, and to have a conversation piece(wifes idea) [thinker]

and yes this is all that lovely red hardpacked Georgia clay [Mad] [Eek!] [nutz]
Keep the info coming, I am still learning. [Confused]

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I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Wayne
by njoynit on July 09, 2004 06:24 AM
better sharpen the pick axe then.LOL

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!
by Gardencrazy on July 12, 2004 09:02 AM
Good Luck on the pond! I sure do enjoy mine(have a preform). I am also working on a new bigger one (a free form liner). About the only thing I can add is ponds do best in full sun. Once it is completed make sure to have around 60% of your water covered with plants(waterlilies,water hyacinths/lettuce and/or azolla). Sounds crazy to put it in full sun then shade the water with plants but it will decrease an algea bloom. Check to see if the plants mentioned above are legal to have in your state. They are not legal in most southern states even though you can buy it. Water hyacinths and lettuce also act as natural filters for the water. You don't always have to buy a filter either. There are some very good home made bio-filter plans online. Two that come to mind are the Skippy filter and Adams filter (depending on the size). Pumps are very very important. Buy the best you can afford right off the bat. Also if you plan on having Koi you will need a bigger filter to take the fish load. Sure hope I didn't get any of this wrong. LOL
Happy Pondering

Adams filter

Skippy Filter

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 - my webshots ~ my photobucket
by frustratedattimes on July 12, 2004 03:30 PM
I am not sold on the fish idea yet. Neighbor kids will probably be sitting there with a pole in their hands while I am at work [Big Grin] . As for the filter info, thanks, am seriously considering it.
Yes the pond will get all day sun, and the plants to reduce algae sounds like a work saver for me. I am sure I will have tadpoles and frogs there anyway, I have frogs everywhere in my flower beds now as it is. And even lizards.

As for digging the pond, I have found a slightly easier way. I get the ground good and wet, let it sit one day, then use my rototiller to break it up, then scoop it into my wheelbarrow. It seems to work. [nutz] [Confused] [lala]

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I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Wayne

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