Laying Out The Pond
The first step is to lay out the shape of the pond. The best method is to use a garden hose. The garden hose is flexible and easily moved into position until you have found the right shape that you want your pond to be.
Once you have decided on an overall shape you can measure your pond lengthwise and across the widest point to determine how large of a liner you will need. Remember you must add 1 foot to each of the measurements for overhand at the top of the pond. You will also at this point have to determine what the depth of the pond will be so that you can add this on to each of the two measurements to ensure you have enough liner for the pond.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you are adding a waterfall be sure to add on an additional 3 foot on the side to the liner that the waterfall will be on. This will ensure that you will have a enough to make sure the water fall will flow back into the pond without loosing water and will become clearer when we discuss building the waterfall.
Locating The Waterfall
Once you have determined the shape of the pond spray the outline using marking paint and remove the hose. You are now ready to place your waterfall weir. Standing in the location where you will most often be viewing the pond from determine where the waterfall should be.
Be sure that you take your time and visualize what your waterfall will look like the water will be flowing from the lip and coming straight down into the pond or hitting ledge rocks like in my waterfall then continuing down to the pond. The same applies for a stream bed the water will fall into the stream and then work it’s way down into the pond. Be sure of where it will be the most visible then mark the location.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you are planning on a stream bed you will need to buy an additional piece of liner. Be sure that it is a minimum of 5 feet longer than the stream bed to allow for it to be end up at least 3 feet into the pond where it enters . Also be sure that there is at least 2 feet on each side of the weir opening and 1 foot over the top of the bed for overhang don’t forget to add on for the depth of the stream on each side.
Locating The Skimmer Box
The skimmer box should be located directly across the pond from where the water enters the pond from the waterfall or stream bed. This will ensure the water flow will help to carry the debris most efficiently into the skimmer basket.
Place the skimmer box on the edge of the pond outline and mark the location with paint.You will be digging the skimmer box in latter after you have excavated the whole pond area.
SPECIAL NOTE: No matter where the skimmer box ends up there are 2 requirements that must be met in order for the pond to function safely and maintenance to be preformed. First because the pump will be inside the skimmer you will need a GFI Protected Electrical Outlet to plug the pump into. The second requirement is that access to the skimmer must be easy enough to allow you to empty the skimmer basket every week.
Let The Digging Begin
Before you start digging though lay out the waterfall supply line that leads from the skimmer to the waterfall weir which is the blue line in the picture be sure to leave an additional 4′ of pipe at both ends so that you will be able to make connections when the time comes. The pipe should be located at least 2′ from the edge of the pond.
Start the digging by removing the sod and laying it upside down all around the waterfall weir staying at least 2′ away from the weir. You should also cover the supply pipe at about 3′ from the weir and leaving an additional 4′ of pipe sticking up so you will be able to cut it to length when you do the hookup.
Once the sod is removed dig out the soil all the way to a depth of 1′ from the surrounding area placing the soil over the upside down sod in order to continue building the berm. You will see in the next photo how to determine depth using a line level.
- Lets start with the string stretched across the pond it is 1″ above the surrounding edge of the pond and made perfectly level with a line level attached to it all measurements are used using a tape measure and adding 1″ to get the correct depth
- The next thing to look at is the tools the 2 spades,the trowel, and wheel barrow were the only tools used to excavate the pond
- As you can see there are several different levels in the pond this is achieved by measuring in 18″ to 2′ from the edge of the pond painting the outline and then removing the soil down 1′ to 18″ from the area within the line. The next level you will measure in from the edge of the previous level painting the outline then remove all the soil to the desired depth.
SPECIAL NOTE: It is important to remember that once the liner is in place that rock and gravel will be covering it thus reducing the overall size of the inside of the pond so be sure you take that in account when designing and digging out your pond.
Once you have everything dugout you will want to connect the skimmer box and waterfall plumbing this picture shows the correct placement of the skimmer box. It is not possible to tell you the exact plumbing as each skimmer box and waterfall weir has it is own setup but the general hookup is the same.
Start trenching from the end of the waterfall berm to the area where the skimmer box will be remember stay at least 2′ from the edge of the pond once you have reached about 2 feet from the box stop. Next dig out the area you painted for the skimmer box. The front opening of the skimmer box should be flush with the pond edge and the top of the skimmer should end up about 1″ above the pond edge. The box must be perfectly level. Finish the trench and hook up your plumbing line then back fill around the box checking for level.
Back fill the trench then repeat at the water fall weir be sure that you have the weir perfectly level from to back to front and side to side then back fill around the waterfall weir and check for level.
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