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Just looking for some pointers for next year's 'big project'


19 Jul 2007
Lincoln UK
As I have virtually completed the groundwork on my main and front gardens 'planting excluded' I have been thinking about the end section which currently is the tip for all the debris that came out of the other gardens.

What I am thinking of is having a nice peaceful area with a summerhouse (more like a 6 x 4 open fronted shelter for 2 chairs, couple of fruit trees and a smallish pond complete with waterfall. The whole area surrounding would be lawn. I am currently calling it a 'nature garden'.

The total area we are talking about (not just the pond, the whole are for this project) is approx 21ft x 21ft. The 'summerhouse' would be in the left rear area slightly angles with a small compost bin behind it. Steps would lead down to the gate separating this area from the main garden. The trees (cherry and pear or similar) would be approx 3ft in from the right rear and left front corners.

The pond would have the waterfall starting somewhere from the right rear and feed into a figure of 8 style pond where the upper section of the 8 on the waterfall side would be slightly smaller. say 3/4ft diameter and the lower section would be about 6/8ft diameter.

The whole of this area (21ft x 21ft) slopes from the rear to the gate at the moment and is approx 1ft higher at the rear than the front.

My plan 😉 is to level out the pond area and surrounding ft or so, Then put the pond liner in and create a mound rising about 2ft higher than pond (maybe 1½ft above the current ground level) This would mean I can 'bury' the debris of concrete that isn't reused for steps and also approx ½ton of limestone varying in size from shrapnel to 6inches x 6 inches. After that I would grass seed the lot and let it grow in naturally.

Here comes my real need for advice. How far from the trees would the pond need to be? What sort of volume am I/should I be looking at here. I am thinking of 3ft for the larger diameter and 2ft for the smaller. I would be wanting to plant the pond up and make it look pretty natural. Any advice on how to go about the process and/or links to some good guides.

Now as you all know. I have virtually zero cash. This is going to be yet another budget effort. In total (not including the landscaping as I can pretty much work for free :lol: ) I would have about £300 to spend on equipment and liner here. Everything else will be virtually 'rubbish' reclaimed. i.e. I am thinking of using some broken conrete paving slabs stepped for the waterfall and then 'gluing' larger pieces of the limestone onto these with mortar or similar to make it look quite natural. The budget wouldn't include sand for lining the hole.

For the planting I am wondering can I just chuck loads of compost in and then put the plants in or would that 'pierce' the liner eventually? So I have to go for pots?

After a few months of 'acclimitising' I would like to put just a few cheapo goldfish in the pond to add some life but this will definately not lead to anything else like Koi. It would just be to add some life and nothing else.

So there we are. All help will be very gratefully received so I can start the planning.

Re: Just looking for some pointers for next year's 'big proj

I'm a bit busy at the moment but I'll give you all the advice you need at the weekend if no-one else jumps in first!
Re: Just looking for some pointers for next year's 'big proj

Ed Seeley said:
I'm a bit busy at the moment but I'll give you all the advice you need at the weekend if no-one else jumps in first!

Many thanks Ed. Look forward to it. Mind is far too over active as usual :lol:

Re: Just looking for some pointers for next year's 'big proj

Right the weekend is here and no other replies so here I go!!!

First of all let me give a few general pointers I would recommend for a successful pond.

1. Make it as big as you can. In fact think how big it could possibly be and then make it bigger still!!! There are a few reasons for this. First of all a good small pond can cost not much less than a good one a couple of feet bigger all around. A larger pond is more stable and easier to maintain if done properly.

2. Fit a filter. If at all possible fit a gravity fed one. Even if you are not planning to keep any fish if you need to use a pump then it will be much easier if that pump is fed clean water in a chamber that's easy to get to outside of the pond rather than it sitting at the bottom of the pond. Because if you have a pump, it will collect debris and need cleaning. If you are planning to keep this fish free for a while then you can just stick the pump in the bottom of the pond and add a pump-fed DIY filter later if you want to upgrade to fish.

3. Put in a concrete collar when using a liner - it prevents the edge of the pond collapsing and helps you get a nice level edge.

Now looking at your pond ideas Andy you will need;
1. Concrete. Dig a channel about 4" deep and a spades width all the way around the outside of your pond, fill it with concrete and leave it to set before digging the pond out. Make sure it's level and then your pond will be as the liner will be laid over this.

2. Liner (use a Greenseal EPDM liner as they are very strong and durable and cheaper than butyl - avoid PVC liners for anything other than temporary pools - they are a complete pain to fit as they have no stretch and give you a load more folds and creases and seem to be more easily punctured as they won't stretch and give). The liner will need to be the longest dimension, plus twice the highest depth (if you're going to keep any fish make this at least 3ft) plus another 2ft by the widest point, plus twice the depth plus another two foot. Always err on the side of caution and get too big a liner.

For your waterfall big a channel out of the mound and line it with another piece of liner and lay your rocks on top of that. Either concrete them in place to prevent the water flowing underneath (but make sure that you seal the cement and hide it all so you can't see it) or use a sealant like polyflex (will only work with small gaps and well fitting pieces of rock and more expensive).

3. Underlay. Buy a proper underlay rather than using sand as sand slips away and exposes the liner. A proper underlay will last as long as the liner and it is much easier to lay.

3. Pump. A good brand is the Pond Eco S (http://www.coastal-koi.com/shopping.php?class_id=52) - cheap and apparently very reliable. I have recently fitted one to a friends pond and it's brilliant. It can be run underwater or dry after the filter. The size of pump you need will be determined by the size of the waterfall - not the pond. I have a 400 gallon pond to grow on young koi and have a 2,500gph pump on it! For a good bold flow over the waterfall take the widest lip and give at least 300pgh per 6". Double will look far better.

4. Pipework. If you just use a pump and no filter then just use 1.5" ribbed flexible hose - the larger the diameter the less resistance so the more efficiently your pump will work.

Even with this you're going to struggle to do it well for £300. The pump will be £100-£150, the liner and underlay probably similar and the hose and other bits and bobs around £10. Then add on the concrete for the collar and the waterfall, the rocks and whatever you want to edge the pond with and you are looking at £500 at least.

I would really also recommend that you either fit a filter or make sure you can add one later. This can be a DIY one made from a water butt or barrel and filled with K1 media. A filter like this can be made for around £200, is cleaned by turning a few valves and an air pump on and will outperform even specially sold koi filters, but we can go into that when you need it.

Does that all make sense?
Re: Just looking for some pointers for next year's 'big proj

Yep I get all that. £500 at least. Hmmm I may have to think a lot harder over this. lol. I do want a pond but maybe I should plan this properly.

Just to answer some of the queries above.

It will definately have some fish in it but they will be just to give a little life/movement to the pond. It definately won't have Koi or anything expensive. It will more than likely be cheap goldfish/blackfish(<-----------Ha, ha) As I say it is the pond as a feature that is the aim here rather than a home for fish. Unlike my scaping where I work around the Tropical fish I love, the pond will be the reverse. It will be the feature and the fish just there so it isn't empty so to speak 🙂

I want to add a filter at the beginning. As soon as I finish the pond setup I want to seed all the banks and surroundings to get the grass growing therefore I don't want to have to alter anything or dig after it has grown in. This will probably be an early spring project to get the grass in place before the summer and then get it stocked just after the summer heat 🙂

I probably already know the answer to the following question but I'll still ask. Are any of the following suitable for this sort of setup? I assume I will be needing another pump though for the waterfall:



Your input and advice is much appreciated Ed. Much impressed with your setups 🙂

I have drawn up a plan and will get it on my host to upload tomorrow. Measured the actual space today and it is 25 feet across and 21 feet front to back. The waterfall should be on the right and the figure of 8 work to the left but sort of diagonally. You will see from the plan.

Re: Just looking for some pointers for next year's 'big proj

If you want a filter at the start then fit a DIY K1 filter and site your pump after it. Feed it with a 4" pipe from the bottom drain and all the waste in the pond will end up in there. Cleaning it is just opening and closing valves, turning an air pump on and off and then topping back up - piece of cake. And they take out smaller particles than most foam sheets and never need replacing! You do need a drain for the waste water though, ideally pumping it onto the garden.

I can design it for you based on any water tight container of 50 litres or above. Will be more expensive than thos foam based ones but WAY more effective and easier to live with. And it will cope when you change your mind and stick a few ghost carp in!