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I am Carol White. I retired from craft shows so I have turned to fish ponds for a hobby to keep me busy, along with the computor, and I have since started to sew again getting into making purses and pillows for sale
It is a great hobby and a conversation piece for the neighbours out for their walks. We live in a mobile home park , so we don't have large yards. We have a deck out front so we can sit and listen to the waterfalls, and enjoy the company of those that stop by to see the fish.
Like most fishpond owners, I started out small with preformed black sections purchased at the local greenhouse. I had one that made a small falls and a little larger round one for the bottom, and a small pump with a hose to return the water to the top of the falls for recycling. Under this I had piled dirt to make a hill to put the falls on.
Then I wanted it bigger so I bought another bigger one for the bottom , and added another one for the falls. I placed coloured rocks around the liner and flowers around the liner at the bottom . Then I put cheap goldfish in the water.
Well, the next year a neighbour took me to see a larger pond, and told me that I would never be satisfied with a small one. After seeing the larger ponds , I deceided I wanted a bigger one.
Not being able to do the work myself this time, I hired a couple of young men to do the work for me, who were experienced in making the ponds. They wanted my imput into it, and design it myself and they would do the work, making it the way I wanted. So after reading pond books and much looking at larger ponds, I deceided to have it in a C shape. It is about 15 feet long at the widest, and 5 feet wide. I wanted the waterfalls to come down in the center, just a little bit to the left side, flowing into the pond so we could view the falls from our chairs.
The area had to be dug out, first laying a garden hose around, to give us an idea where we wanted it.
The earth that was dug out, we used part of it for under the falls. The rest, we moved to the back yard of the house(for potting plants later.) I wanted a ledge around the outer sides to put the pond plant pots on, and a bog area at the right end of the pond.
So they dug out the area that we wanted with one area about 3 feet deep at the bottom of where the falls would be, and a 2 foot circle for the fish to winter. The rest of the bottom was dug to a gradual upgrade of 2 1/2 feet and then 2 feet down to the bog area that finally was sloped up to the top of the right side. The ledge around the outside of the half circle was dug to a various depth of 12 to 14 inches deep, and about 18 inches wide, to hold the flower pots later, and so I may walk around the ledge, when working with the plants.
After the area was as deep as we wanted it, the ground had to be all checked to make sure there was no stones, or roots that would get in the way and punture the liner. They had to put a board across the pond with a level on it, to make sure that all sides were even. They built up the sides or removed soil to make sure it was even. We used layers of newspaper to lay across the bottom of the pond, to cushion the blow of any stones that might work its way out of the ground. You can use 2 inches of fine sand on the bottom.
The liner comes next, using 35mil gauge of PVC. The pond had to be measured to make sure that we bought a large enough piece to cover the falls and going down into the pond. If you are going to build one yourself you will want to buy a pond book from the greenhouse, and it will explain measurments. This was laid in, and all the wrinkles taken out by folding them over, and the air taken out from underneath. The liner had to overlap the edge by about 12 inches.
Then the falls had to be laid out with large slabs of flagstones. These had to be laid out and overlayed just right, so the water would flow evenly across the stones. Then we tested it with a water hose to check the flow of water. The sides of the falls had to be filled in with smaller pieces of flagstone, building up from the bottom and laying them just right. Here and there we put some of my colored rocks to break the effect of all the flagstones, and around the top edge of the falls, we had more rocks. The 2 inch flexible pipe was laid around the base of the falls, going from the top to the bottom into the water where a pump was placed to recycle the water. Yes, the water is recycled and filtered so it isn't a steady stream of water from the house as I have been asked.
The pond was then filled with water, and the wrinkles taken out as the water filled. The liner was folded where it was overlapping. When you get the pond filled, you may see a small area where the water could drain out. Just pull the liner back and fill in with earth, packing it down good. You will want the water even all around the pond, so that when you are finished, you don't have any liner showing.
Next you will have to lay the flagstone all around the edge, overlaping the edge of the water, by a few inches to hide the liner above the waterline. These may have to be laid a few high to bring up to the lawn edging. They will have to be matched up overlaping the ones below, so no cracks will show if possible, to trip on . You can put them all around your pond if you wish but I didn't. I had them just where I wanted to be able to stand and also to climb into the pond for maintanence . I had a lot of the natural rock split boulders and bought more from the brick yard and we had them piled in between the clusters of flagstone so that it looked like a natural pile of rocks(when the sun shines on them they will glisten.) Small pebbles or stones may be added to fill in any areas where the liner may show and in between the rock to fill up the bar spots. This was done to the sides of the falls also. These stones were also put in the bottom of the pond at the bog area bringing them up over the edge to look like it was natural for them to be on the side and going into the water. This is where the fish go to spawn.
Next was to put in the filter systems. There all kind of them out there to buy, but I had 2 tetra Bio Filters so I put in one at each end of the pond. The sponges or filters in them have to be hosed out every so often. Last year I got a Pondsweep Skimmer put it in at the one end and it is real good at collecting the leaves and things that get blown into the pond, and the pump for the falls is in that box to filter the water, and takes it back up to the top of the falls.
Next comes filling it with fish. I have a selection of Koi, shubunkins, goldfish, and fantails. I would now suggest just getting Koi, as they interbread and you don't know what you will get. I have gotten some black ones that don't want to change colors.
Then you will want flowers and the book will tell you how to plant them and what kinds are good in your area. I have a combination of water irises, cattails and waterlilies that stay in all winter, but I also have tropical ones that I bring indoors for the winter. The front porch has been made into a greenhouse and is heated. I have umbrella plants, water Canna and Calla lillys that I keep inside until May. In the summer I put floating plants like shellflower (lettuce) and water hyacinth, and then some oxigent plants at the bottom for the fish.
Then it is time to sit back and enjoy the pond and the
waterfalls and the company that comes around. We have since put in a deck with railing between the pond and the house so now we enjoy it.
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