Overhauling old pond, adding waterfall

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  #1  
Old 06-02-08, 02:01 AM
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Cool Overhauling old pond, adding waterfall

Hello everyone! Thought I'd post my current project for any thoughts or ideas. I'm "renovating" an old, preformed pond (that was poorly installed and maintained) with a EPDM liner, underlayment, skimmer, filter falls, drain, overflow, several tons of flagstone, etc. Here's what I started with:









It looks like who ever installed this also intended to have a waterfall, but ran out of gas. (maybe?)

So DW and I have weeded and cultivated the surrounding garden bed, drained the pond shown above and removed the preformed liner.

I'll be posting pics of my progress, and would deeply appreciate any comments or thoughts people might have to help me do an even better job. I don't plan on putting koi in this pond, just a water garden.

Quietman
 
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  #2  
Old 06-02-08, 02:12 AM
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Cool First steps

Once we removed the old liner, I raked all the loose material (soil, old mulch, etc) back from the edge. I wanted to get the skimmer installed first, then take the pond down to the final levels (currently 16" deep). I want to have three levels, 16", 20", 24". Here's several photos:





Here's where I've pulled back the loose material from edges:



This is the stone we selected, with 1 yard of #4 river gravel:



We started sorting the stone, Large-Medium-Small so we can better see what pieces are available when we start the coping (necklace around the pond) and the waterfall. Presently, about 2/3 the stone is sorted and the remaining 1/3 is still in a jumble:



More to cme.

Quietman
 
  #3  
Old 06-02-08, 02:19 AM
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Cool Install the skimmer and start the plumbing

While DW works on sorting stones, I managed to get the hole for the skimmer dug:



It's an Atlantic Water PS-4000.



Yeah baby! Finally!



I had about 1" of space around the skimmer (three sides) and plan on backfilling with some of the soil from the trench (to bring power and send water to the falls).

I placed a concrete block in the skimmer to keep it in place, put the spacers inside to keep from collasping walls, added the lid to keep out stray dirt.

Next, I'll start the trench for the electrical and water return.

Quietman
 
  #4  
Old 06-02-08, 02:26 AM
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Cool Dig trench for power and water

The power is supplied from a GFCI outlet mounted on the utility pole. I decided to bury 2" diameter PVC pipe to route the power cord. The skimmer and filter falls use a 1-1/4" water line:





You can see where I plan on putting the falls,I've temporarily placed the filter falls container in the approximate location.



The trench is currently abou 6" deep. I'm thinking to place the PVC electrical conduit and water line side-by-side in the bottom of the trench. I'm also thinking to lay left over flagstones over the backfilled trench, like stepping stones to the top of the falls, so I won't accidentally run the cultivator over it in future plantings. Should I take it any deeper?



Also, insured that there is a slight slope so any water will run back into the pond if the pump stops.

Quietman
 
  #5  
Old 06-06-08, 08:40 AM
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Great pictures. You've almost created a "how to" page.

It is also nice to see that you are not afraid of work and are doing the job properly. I think we have all seen ponds where the owners worked for an hour or two and called it quits, leaving a barely functioning pond that is ugly and a maintenance nightmare.
 
  #6  
Old 06-09-08, 06:41 PM
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Thumbs up Thank you for the kind words!

Pilot Dane,

Appreciate the kind words, your right, it's WORK to do the job right. The project is taking longer than I'd like, but I don't like to cut corners.

Thanks again!

Quietman
 

Last edited by Quietman; 06-09-08 at 07:01 PM.
  #7  
Old 06-09-08, 07:01 PM
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Cool Next steps...overflow and utility connections

After completing the trench to supply the water return to the waterfall and electrical service for the submersible pump, I added an overflow to the skimmer. I'd like to think that if it rains, the pond can overflow slowly (matching the rate of rainfall).

The skimmer had a "premarked" spot for a 2" overflow. All I could find on short notice was a schedule 80 overflow ($$$ouch$$$) and used a 3-3/8" hole saw to penetrate the skimmer:



Digging a 4 inch deep trench, angled away from the pond for a drain:



I bodged together a flat rock and some gravel for the drain to run into. This will spill into my driveway. I also had to fiddle with the right combination of 22.5 and 45 degree fittings to get the run correct. First time working with PVC!




I'd prefer not to have any small critters (mice, etc) make a home in my overflow drain, hoping this will slow them down...





Continued next message,

Quietman
 
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Old 06-09-08, 07:05 PM
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Completing the utilities (continued)

I'll make the overflow drain a little more durable towards the end of the project, but I think you get the idea here:




I wanted the power supply in some kind of conduit so it would be easy to change out the pump WHEN it fails. I carved a small groove in the anulis to allow for the power cord:



Now I've got my water and power supplies in the trench, ready to cover with soil and eventually flagstones.



Didn't even know they made one of these until I was wandering the PVC aisle at Lowe's. I was trying to figure out the best way to exit the PVC with the power cord, keep out the elements and small critters, this seems to do the trick:





Quietman
 
  #9  
Old 06-09-08, 07:21 PM
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Cool Getting ready to set the water level

Below you can see if secured the utilities, finally!



I fabricated a water level out of 3/8" ID clear plastic tubing, an old Folgers coffee can (plastic), a 3/8" brass nipple, a plastic washer, some RTV and blue food coloring:



I guess water levels have been used on all sorts of construction, including canals, etc. I've read that they are more accurate than laser levels, and while I can't prove THAT, I can tell you they are a whole bunch less expensive!

I've placed the "reservoir" (folger's can) as close to the desired level as I can, and simply add or remove water until the water in my tube hits exactly where I need it:



Now that the level in the resevoir is correct, I can move the tube (I used 15 feet, but any length will do) any where in my pond, and see where the water level "should" be. I'll be excavating a coping ledge to that depth, so the liner will be hidden with my coping stones and mortar.

With the water level, you have to be careful for the following:

1) Make sure there are no air bubbles in the line
2) Do not put a tight fitting lid (if any) on the reservoir
3) Do not crimp or otherwise close the open end of tube
4) Do not cut the tube by accident!
5) Keep the open end HIGHER than the reservoir
6) If you drop anything in the reservoir, you must "reset" it
7) Because the water can evaporate, recalibrate every so often
8) Any other color (including blue) works just fine!

Here you can see the "water level" on the coping ledge I'm working on:



Here's the coping ledge, about 50% complete. If you look closely, you'll see the water level right at the edge of the coping ledge on the right. Looks level to me!

Also, you can see on the right side that the adjoining landscape is about 8-10" taller than the edge of the pond. I'm going to have to build up the coping ledge (2-3 rows of flagstone) to not just retain that, but insure runoff does not enter the pond. Most likely have to use some scrap liner behind it as well:



Till more progress is made,

Quietman
 
  #10  
Old 06-13-08, 05:51 PM
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Cool

Finally finished the coping ledge and plant shelves (the "low" spot on the right side is a Toad Ramp, allowing small critters to get out before they drown):



I'm planning on using this chicken wire to reinforce the mortar. I've cut 9" wide pieces from an 18" roll, and then tying the various pieces together with nylon zip ties (mostly so I can lift the wire out in one piece):



Next I'll be taking the pond down to the levels it needs to be at, but looks like I am rained out tonite.

Till later

Quietman
 
  #11  
Old 06-18-08, 06:59 PM
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Cool Working to get to final levels

Because I have to get this thing DONE, I set a pop up gazebo over the work site. Turns out, even when it's not raining, it's nice to work in the shade!



Here I've got the pond down to the final levels, ready to put in the underlayment. I know, some people will say "You should have used old carpet or newspaper to save money!" Well, I was happy to spend the $30 and not dumpster dive for carpet or old newspaper, I just don't have the time!





Install the underlay:



Install the liner and add water. The water should hold the liner down so I can arrange it to minimize wrinkles and folds. I'm only going to add to about six inches within the top, as I won't have the overflow completed through the skimmer till after the coping stones are mortared in place, and I don't want the mortar sitting underwater if we get a heavy rain.





Soon as I get the coping ring installed, I'll post some more photos.

Take care!

Quietman
 
  #12  
Old 06-19-08, 06:16 PM
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The pond is looking great! Keep us posted.

Isn't it more fun knowing we are all looking over your shoulder while you work.
 
  #13  
Old 06-20-08, 05:54 AM
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Quietman,

Your pond project is coming along nicely.
I remember NE Ohio (Chesterland) winters very vividly. If you plan to have fish, I hope you have gone deep enough or plan to winter them over in tubs in a more protected area. A strong bubbling airstone, though, may keep a hole in the surface ice.
I doubt you made a mistake w/o heavier underlayment, your soil appears mostly dirt/sandy, so you should be okay. My pond area was very rocky(sharp limestone) so I did use carpet under liner.
Possible overflowing is ELIMINATED with an water escape path!! (as you have done)
I find I have to add water every four or five days due to evaporation.
Here's a pic from two years ago. Now the lillies take up nearly 70% of the surface!! I've even done some lily thinning and placeD some in one of my Club's lakes. Yesterday saw both white and red lillies blooming on the fifth hole!!
best of luck,
fred
 
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Old 06-20-08, 06:00 AM
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Geez, I found this 4 yr old pic and had to add it here:


It was sure a tough job using that 'lil yellow shovel in the foreground - LOL.

fred
 
  #15  
Old 06-21-08, 06:27 PM
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Thumbs up

Fewalt,

Thank you for the kind words!

Your pond looks terrific! Thank you for sharing the two pics, I'm always interested in seeing the different and unique design approaches that folks take.

I only went down about 24 or 26 inches, as I don't plan on putting any koi or such in the pond, maybe some feeder goldfish to keep the mosquitoes down, and after fall, they will become "God's fish".

Thanks again!

Quietman

P.S. I must remember to get one of those killer, yellow shovels, as shown in your pic. I can't believe how much and how fast you got done with that thing!! *LOL*
 
  #16  
Old 06-21-08, 06:37 PM
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Cool Finally have the coping ring installed

Below you'll see I've installed the coping ring. The first layer of stones lies on a bed of mortar that keeps them flat, level and stable. The mortar is re-enforced with a chicken wire underlay. The upper layers still need to be leveled and mortared. The area to the left of the skimmer had to have numerous layers to bring the liner above the surrounding landscape, avoiding runoff.










Next step, THE WATERFALL!!



Quietman
 
  #17  
Old 06-21-08, 06:50 PM
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Pilot Dane,

Again, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. As I approach the finish line, any motivation is well accepted!

I don't mind folks looking over my shoulder, I'm hoping if anyone sees a disastrous mistake, they'll point it out!!!

Take Care,

Quietman
 
  #18  
Old 06-22-08, 05:54 AM
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As you know it is a lot of hard work to build your pond but in the end you will be able to stand back and look apon it with pride. You seem like the type of person that would not have been happy with yourself if you had done a halfway job.

The main pond looks great (nice, neat and professional). You even took the time to "fit" the stones. The extra work shows. I cannot wait to see the waterfall.
 
  #19  
Old 07-03-08, 06:12 PM
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Thumbs up The waterfall and stream begin

Well, finally had enough decent weather to start on the stream and waterfall. In the pic below, you can see where I plan on putting the filter falls.





I'm using a chimney cinder block that I bought from a surplus yard (bought a small pallet of them) to provide adequate support for the falls. You can see below that I'm getting the falls level:



Here I've added two more cinder blocks for the "header pool" under the falls. I've also placed several "sand tubes" to form the stream bed sides:





Next shot in this sequence is filling the cinder blocks with fill dirt to make them as stable as possible:



Finally, I add an inch or so of sand to soften the surfaces before I place the underlayment and liner. You can also see where I used a string level to make REAL SURE that I have some drop from the waterfall end of the stream to the pond:



Quietman
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  #20  
Old 07-03-08, 06:24 PM
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Lightbulb Wife decides to help out

Didn't know it, but ASTM has a standard for pond testing, guess my wife picked up a few things marrying an engineer! See her test in process below:



My next step was to place the geotextile underlayment over the stream bed and header pool areas:



So as to avoid putting to much "mileage" on the EPDM liner, I laid out the rocks that I want to form the stream bed on the fabric underlayment before hand and made sure I was happy with the appearance. I'll move them just enough to place the liner in EPDM rubber liner in the next step:


Here I've got the EPDM liner under one side of the rocks. If you look closely, you'll see I added some left over fabric under the rocks, again, to reduce my chances of cutting or punching a hole in the liner:





Here I now have both sides of the stream lined. The stone at the bottom with be the final spillway into the pond, I'll cement it in place with some black pond foam to prevent water from running under and around it:



I decided to work my way back from the pond edge, as it is presently "fixed", whereas the filter falls are currently "variable".

Next sequence of shots I'll be completing the skimmer with pump, etc, so I can test the stream bed before I move on to the header pool and filter falls.

Quietman
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  #21  
Old 07-03-08, 06:34 PM
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Cool Finishing the skimmer

Tom complete the skimmer installation, I had to punch a hole in the liner and install the weir door. I placed a bead of silicone between the liner and the skimmer before installing the door. Mostly, just following the manufacturer's instructions. My skimmer is an Atlantic Water Gardens PS-4000.



After removing the cinder block, pre-filter and support, I got as much stray gravel and dirt (from construction) out as possible:



To get the last little bit of dirt out, I had to resort to the "Big Dog":



With the weir door installed, I started refilling the pond. I want to make sure that overflow is placed right, and see if my water level did the job it was supposed to!





While the pond refills, I add the pump to the skimmer box. I also add the filter pad and install the electrical.



Quietman
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  #22  
Old 07-03-08, 06:41 PM
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Thumbs up Testing the pump and skimmer

Boo-Yah!

As the pond filled, the water eventually spilled into the skimmer and filled it. It gently rolled out of the generous overflow before anything in the skimmer was threatened.

The water level eventually settled to line on the front of the weir door and exactly to the edge of the coping ledge I had "carved" earlier in the project. Guess the "home brew" water level worked!


I plugged the pump in, and allowed the water to circulate. The skimmer IMMEDIATELY began getting the dead moths, leaves, etc out of the water



I'll let the water continue to circulate right up till I'm ready to connect the filter falls.

Quietman
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  #23  
Old 08-29-08, 07:23 PM
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Back after almost two months!

Well, been a busy summer. Been meaning to post update photos sooner, but better late than never.
In the pic below, I've started adding stones to the stream bed, and moved the hose from the pond to the stream bed to test for leaks, proper flow, etc.


Below you can see where I've attached the rubber liner to the filter falls (following manufacturer's instrux) and prepare the header pool for stones:



Laying the foundation for the header pool:



Install the "fake rock" (or spill stone) on the filter falls. I used regular "falls foam" because it's black, but I could have also used "Great Stuff". I left the clamps on till it completely dried.






Next I installed the spill stone from the header pool into the main stream bed. I used falls foam to seal the stone to adjacent stones and the rubber liner, forcing the water over the spillway. I used a razor knife to trim any foam after it expanded and dried.



Here is the final plumbing connection from the pump the filter falls. I had to fiddle with to make it leak free. I used several wraps of Teflon tape between the plastic parts.

 
  #24  
Old 08-29-08, 07:35 PM
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Waterfall & Stream getting close!!

Below I've turned the pump back on, and added gravel to the header pool. I need to add more stones around the header pool to "hide" the liner and filter falls.



You can see below I have some "dead weight" in the filter falls, I'll replace those stones with filter media that SHOULD grow bacteria (that I'll have to seed) and make this a bio filter falls. You can also see the layer of gravel in the header pool.






With the pond and falls nearly complete, and no more heavy wheel barrow traffic, etc, I've now added some perennials, landscaping fabric and mulch.



Still not finished with the landscaping and plants yet, but here's another angle:

 
  #25  
Old 08-29-08, 07:54 PM
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DONE!!! I can't beleive it!!

I started this Memorial Day weekend, and here it is just starting Labor Day weekend (appropriately karmic) and here are the before and after pics:

BEFORE:





AFTER:



BEFORE:





AFTER:




BEFORE:




AFTER:



I used landscaping fabric (20 year) to keep weeds down wherever I put mulch or gravel, I guess I'll see how it works!

I'll see about getting a few, more detailed photos of the waterfall and header pool this weekend.

I've added four goldfish (NOT KOI), salamanders, snails (mystery and Japanese trapdoor) and tadpoles. Most of the tadpoles are now full grown frogs. Water is crystal clear after the last 2 months, with only minor string algae cropping up now and again. Hopefully, the bacteria seeding should solve that, and I'll add more plants in the water next year to shade 70% or so of the pond.

Quietman
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  #26  
Old 08-29-08, 08:05 PM
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Last BEFORE and AFTER set tonite

BEFORE:



AFTER:



Cheers!

Quietman
NE Ohio
 
  #27  
Old 08-30-08, 05:22 AM
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Your new pond looks incredible! You have done a very professional job!

I am so glad to see that you completed the project and maintained the level of quality and professionalism all the way through. All too often I see people start big and it all falls apart once the see how much work is really involved. Your pond should look great for years to come.

What are you going to do next summer?
 
  #28  
Old 09-27-08, 04:59 AM
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Smile Beautiful Pond!

What a beautiful pond! You did an incredible job! Thank you so much for the entire post. My Dad built my Koi Pond & Waterfall!
But for the first time I understand exactly how it works. Your notes and pics are amazing! Your workmanship is truly excellent and your pond is outstanding! Thanks for sharing, I learned a lot, and think the info gained will help me maintain my pond. Thanks again and I love your pond. Excellent work!
 
  #29  
Old 10-17-08, 05:35 PM
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Pilot Dane:

Thank you again for the kind words.

You were right, I do appreciate it more doing it myself. I've really enjoyed watching the life in the pond mature as everything balanced itself over the summer. I've recently pulled the "annual" plants and am preparing the pond for winter. If I have time this weekend, I'll post some pics of the more "finished" header pool.
As for next summer, not sure just yet. I just recently finished prepping a plot for a North Atlantic Giant pumpkin, and constructing a compost bin to support it next year. Will be trying to build a few R/C planes, including a flying lawn mower for next year as well. This has been a busy summer, between the pond and a new geo-thermal system!

Best Regards!

Quietman
 
  #30  
Old 10-17-08, 05:42 PM
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Cool

ydnyle,

Stop, you're making me blush!

I appreciate your compliments, especially on the posts. I wanted to post something that might be useful and informative for any others that wanted to complete a similar project. I'd never done anything like this before, and wanted to share my experience.

I'll be posting my "maintenance" issues over time, please come back and share your experiences!

Best Regards,

Quietman
 
  #31  
Old 10-19-08, 04:58 PM
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Quietman: Post some pictures of your RC projects in the hobby section. Currently I'm flying a TRex helicopter and would love to see your planes.
 
  #32  
Old 10-20-08, 06:01 AM
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I will be sure to do that, I have to build them first!! *LOL* I haven't built anything since about 1988, so I'm starting from scratch (new radio, looking at two kit planes, engines, etc).

I'm torn between nitro (I miss it!) and the newer, more convenient (and expensive) electrics.

Quietman
 
  #33  
Old 11-22-08, 07:46 PM
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Cool Winter Time Update

All,

Here's a photo of the "Winter Pond":



I've added a bubbler immediately in front of the skimmer, hoping things won't freeze up tight!

Here are several links to humorous slide shows I've created in honor of the pond:

Pond One Slideshow

Pond Two Slideshow (The Waterfalls)

I'll apologize in advance for the slow download times, guess you get what you pay for on a free file hosting site!

Will post pics of my R/C projects in the other forum now that the weather has turned.

Take care, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Quietman
 
  #34  
Old 04-30-09, 03:32 PM
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New & Improved Video Format

Yay! technology has progressed (or I got smarter!)

Here are the two videos in a much faster loading format:






 
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