Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Mess to (Almost) Best in 54 Days

It doesn't seem possible, but we started preliminary work on our pond renovation way back in April.

There were many reasons for the delay in finishing including weather (that was a big one), lack of knowledge, (I pretty much knew what we needed to do just not how to do it), and lack of time.

Our old pond really didn't look bad but it had some problems. There were areas where the dirt surrounding the pond and the landscaping were actually higher than the edge of the pond liner. Therefore when it stormed or whenever it felt like it, dirt and debris went into the pond. Also, a couple of years ago I asked for and received from my daughters a pond skimmer. This is an apparatus that causes floating debris to flow into a box and then be captured there instead of sinking to the bottom of the pond and becoming rotting waste. Another problem we needed to tackle was the box filter/waterfall. It stuck up out of the edge of the pond like a sore thumb. I never once liked it from the time we got it but a waterfall is important not just for its aesthetic aspect but also to help aerate the water. And the biggest serious problem with the old pond was that it wasn't level on all sides so in order to hide the unattractive liner, I would pile rocks along the edge starting somewhere underwater. Unfortunately it was impossible to hide that liner everywhere and also impossible to keep those rocks from constantly tumbling to the bottom of the pond. So you see, we were up against it - a lot!

Here's how it looked last year.

I'm laughing pretty hard in a crying sort of way as I write this because it actually looks kind of beautiful in a way doesn't it? But that's only because we worked so hard to hide the flaws right? And of course it's an advantage to have the plants all mature and everything but with the renovation the plants are kind of starting over. And lets don't forget, this was right after it was cleaned too.

I'll go take pictures tonight even though they probably won't do it justice but I did promise. Before I do that, though, let me describe the changes.

We took EVERYTHING out of the pond. Those irises had to go because they multiplied and grew like weeds. And they collected pond waste because they are filtering plants but they smelled bad. And they were taking over. So they're gone.

When we built the pond nobody that I remember talked about an underlayment but now that's all you hear. So we left the old liner in as underlayment and laid a cheap liner over it. Now when it comes time to freshen it in the Spring and Fall, we'll just throw this one away and put in a new one.

We used landscaping rocks all they way around the perimeter some two deep and some one deep to level all the edges. The theory is that with everything level, we can fill the pond right to the top edge and won't have to conceal bare liner with rocks.

We figured out how to and then installed the skimmer. Wow! That was a biggie and it held us up for awhile but thanks to online help sites, we were able to do it ourselves. Two years ago a guy was going to come out and install it for $100 but he never showed up. I wish he had so we could have used it for those two years but I'm also glad that we figured it out.

We lowered that box filter/waterfall. The waterfall itself isn't as spectacular but the box isn't as ugly or intrusive either and that's what I wanted.

Finally we got done at least with the pond itself. All the landscaping and rock moving still isn't finished. Anyway, we filled it and put the very relieved and happy fish back in. Here's how it looked on the 17th.

And here's how we got there:

Never mind. I was going to go into the steps we took to build it, why it looks like it does in this picture, and how it actually looks quite a bit different now; but, I just can't seem to get this post finished. So I'll chronicle some of the construction steps in a post next week sometime, including the drama that had us draining the whole thing on Saturday just before the big storms.


  1. I still can't believe you guys did all of this work all by yourselves. I would never have what it takes to do a project like this. It looks spectacular though and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in person!

  2. wow that looks great, good job. Ours needs some serious TLC right now, I think we have a goldfish that is sick, got some black spots on him and I don't want him to contaminate the other fish. Thanks for the two birds on the bench! ;o)

  3. OMG!! It looks so awesome!! You guys did a great job!! I really can't believe it, I didn't think it could look any better then it did!! Awesome!! I can't wait to see it in person!! How exciting!!


  4. PONDS ARE HARD WORK. Especially when you revamp the entire thing. I got a few blood blisters and aching legs just by thinking of re-doing mine.

    It looks amazing, and now you're enjoying it...and that's what matters the most :)

  5. PONDS ARE HARD WORK!! especially when you revamp the entire thing. I got a blood blisters and sore legs just thinking about re-doing mine.

    It looks amazing. I was sad to see the iris's go but I think I will be ok. NOW, you can just enjoy it, that's what matters most.

  6. It looks great. The single line of rocks along the edge looks better than the previous piles. Good job!


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