Monday, January 28, 2008

Waterfall and First Bog Rough Draft

So, as you can see, it's starting to take shape! We had some nice slabs of slate lying around the yard, so I gathered up what wasn't being used, and am now using it for the waterfall. It makes a nice path for the water, since it's so smooth and natural looking. After I finish up this web design gig that I'm doing, I'll have enough money to get another load of rocks to finish up the landscaping and pretty it up. Note that the pond is only about half full at this point. Still need a couple of big rain events to finish it up. I've attached the garden hose to my rain barrel on the porch, so I'm using the water from my roof to fill the pond.

Here's a side profile of the design. You can see the 110-gallon bucket "bog" on the right. There's a PVC inlet on the right. This is where the pond water will come in. The PVC pipe has a bunch of holes drilled in it starting about half way down. The theory is that the water will fill in the PVC pipe (which keeps out the gravel), then pour out through the holes to fill up the rest of the bog. The outlet for the bog is contained in the PVC pipe on the left, which also has holes drilled in the bottom half. The water rises up to a point just below the surface, where it exits via another pipe, that is drilled through the bog wall.

If you look carefully, you can see the mistake hole on the right side of the PVC. My first try, the pipe was tilted up so that it almost came to the top of the PVC. This turned out to be too high to drain the water out before the water reached the surface of the bog and spilled over the side. No harm done - redrill - and recaulk (using aquarium-safe silicone).

Next step will be to install a two-way switch (ball valves and a T), so that I can direct the water flow through the supplemental 2 grow beds during the summer when there are more fish in the pond. Then, I'll probably try and set up the other two grow beds, fill in with gravel, and connect to the bog pictured above. Then, I'll need a little dirt to fill around the bog above. The plan is to put dirt all the way around, then carve in some steps for some above-ground planters. Then, when the rocks are in, rock all around and tidy up.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pond Installed!!

Well, the pond itself is installed! A lot of things came together last weekend (1/11-1/13): the underlay/liner was delivered, rocks were delivered the previous Wednesday, and I found a guy who could get me a load of gravel to suit that day. So, Friday, after everything arrived, I figured I had all the ingredients, so I might as well cook!
Rocks (rounded river, large flat) and gravel for pond

After putting in the underlay, Liz helped me stretch out the liner and stuff it into all the cracks. I think we probably could have done a better job of smoothing out all the wrinkles, but given that this was our first real attempt at this, I think we did OK. Also complicating the installation was the fact that the water table was up above the bottom of the pond, so the pond bottom at its deepest part was actually more like quicksand. Once rocks were put in, the bottom sort of bulged out, but I figure it won't make too much of a difference once the water is in and pushing down on everything.
Liner in place (EPDM, Firestone Pond Guard, fish safe)

Rounded river rocks in place to hold in/hide liner

After some work getting everything into the skimmer and running the plug through some makeshift conduit to the outlet, I covered everything up and put out the big flat rock on the top level of the pond. It was at this point that I realized that we vastly UNDER estimated our need for rock. We ended up using 2 tons of rocks just for inside the pond and the pond lip. We easily need another ton around the top outside, and then at least a ton for the water. It's a bummer, as we'll have to pay for shipping twice. The lesson here is BUY MORE ROCK THAN YOU THINK YOU COULD CONCEIVABLY USE!! We actually did that, but since we had nothing to compare it to, we did a poor job of estimating.

After the rocks were up, I cut away the excess liner. By the way, it looks like we ordered way too big of a liner, but as it turns out, you can only order it in multiples of 5. We ordered 25' X 25'. But after cutting around the pond, there were many sections that we less than 5' wide, so we did not over order. It's definitely better to over order than to not have enough to go all the way up.

After some rain and snow this weekend, the pond is filling up nicely! I resolved to not use any groundwater to fill it, given North Carolina's drought situation, so I hooked up one end of a hose to our overflow for our rain barrel, so the pond gets filled with rainwater/melt-water from half the roof of our house.

Unfortunately, I must have put a little too much on my back, and it gave out unexpectedly last week without notice. As soon as it gets better, I have to set up the grow bed/bog and waterfall, as the pond will soon be full enough to begin running the pump.