Installing The Liner And Rocking The Pond
Installing The Fabric
Once the pond is finished being dug out it is time to lay down the landscape fabric as a cushion before the liner is placed. The landscape fabric is heavy duty commercial fabric which will prevent rocks and sharp objects from puncturing the liner. This material is used below paver installation to help stabilize the ground and keep it from shifting.
This is a very important step so don’t skip it because it will save many problems down the road. You will need to purchase this fabric from a commercial supply house or landscape supply such as those that sell pavers and decorative rock to the public. Some times in is called underlayment. Do not buy this material from a big box store or garden center as it is not the same material and will not hold up.
Laying Down The Liner And Rocks
Lay the liner out and push it down to be sure it is in good contact with the bottom and the sides of the pond. Try to smooth out as many wrinkles as possible and where necessary fold the liner over to help keep it smooth.
SPECIAL NOTE: Pull the liner up over the skimmer box and waterfall weir and attach as shown with the instruction sheet that accompany them. Usually they will come with a silicone cement to seal the liner to the surface and a frame that screws down to hold the liner tight against the surface to make a watertight seal.
You will want to stack the boulders up along the walls between each level and then place the pond gravel on the flat ledge areas deep enough to cover the liner completely. The goal is to cover the liner to help prevent the sun from hitting it.when you get to the top of the pond be sure the liner extends at least 1 foot past the pond edge. Trim off excess liner then cover with boulders to hide the liner.
Once you have all the rock and gravel in place it will be necessary to wash down the rock and gravel. Place a sump pump in the bottom of the pond and using the garden hose keep washing the gravel and rocks till the water is all clear in the bottom of the pond. This may take as much as 2 hours but if it is not done the water will have fine sand and dirt particle and be murky and will never clear up.
Once you have completed the cleaning of the pond you can start on building the waterfall while you let the pond fill. Start by placing the bottom stone and setting it in place over the edge of the pond. Use smaller boulders to level and keep it in place. next set the next stone on top set back several inches and continue the stone up to about 6″ from the lip of the weir.
When the waterfall is flowing the way you like make sure that the edges of the liner on both sides are far enough away from the water flow and that the are turned up to form a U shaped channel about 3″ above the water flow so water fill not escape use smaller boulders to keep them in place. The goal is that all water and splashes end up within this channel and are returning to the pond. Once the waterfall is the way you like it trim the excess liner and hide the top using smaller boulders and rocks.
Landscaping The Finishing Touch
Looking at this photo taken during year two it is important to realize that while the pond looks a bit bare the first year the plantings will quickly grow and fill in so when you have finished your landscape installation do not worry. During the first year or two you can use some annuals such as coleus, sweet potato vine, and inpatients to help fill the empty areas.
Another advantage is that as your landscape matures you will have a chance to decide what you will replace the annuals with that will best compliment your existing plantings to bring a cohesiveness to the whole pond area.
Preparing The Planting Area
The first step should be to rake and grade the area around the pond be sure that the soil slopes away from the pond so that you will not receive runoff into your new pond. A 3″ deep layer of gravel all the way around the pond 18″ to 24″ wide will help to keep the pond free of soil and debris.
You may have noticed some pond plants already in the pond this is to help condition the water and to start stabilizing the balance we will talk more about that in a section on the actual management of the pond latter on. While over all the pond will become not much more complicated then an large aquarium to maintain there are some things that you will learn in the maintenance section which will help shorten up the learning process.
Along the back of the waterfall we used some large boulders to form a retaining wall to prevent the soil from shifting and causing the weir to move. And become unlevel.The soil was then graded and smoothed to pitch away from the pond at a gradual slope to help avoid erosion.
When all the excavation soil has been used it may be necessary to bring in some additional soil t help finish the planting area. once you have completed the grading you are ready to lay out your plantings and decide your final planting plan.
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