Site Pond Construction: Report on the Creation of My Film Pond

The idea to dig a pond on my site came to me a few years ago. But, since this work is laborious and difficult in terms of a creative approach, its beginning was postponed for a long time. Finally, during the next vacation, I decided to get down to business and step by step all the steps necessary to create a pond. It was decided to make the pond film, with a geotextile lining. Plant it with plants and start fish. Install an aerator for the fish. Water circulation is also planned due to a small waterfall with three cascades. It was originally made, even before digging a foundation pit under a pond, from a pile of stones laid on a man-made clay slide. Water will circulate in a vicious circle from the pond to the waterfall using an inexpensive bottom pump.

That's all the raw data. Now I’ll start directly with the story about the construction of the pond, trying not to miss the details.

Stage # 1 - digging a pit

First of all, I took a shovel and dug a foundation pit with dimensions of 3x4 m. I tried to make the shape natural, rounded, without sharp corners. Indeed, in nature, coastlines are always smooth, without straight lines, such must be followed when creating an artificial pond. At the deepest point, the pit reached 1.6 m below ground level. It would be possible to do even less, but in my case it is assumed that wintering fish will be divorced, which requires a minimum of 1.5-1.6 m

On the rise of the pit, 3 terraces were made. The first (shallow water) - at a depth of 0.3 m, the second - 0.7 m, the third - 1 m. Everything is 40 cm wide so that it is possible to install pots of plants on them. Terracing is done for a more natural look of water. And also for the placement of aquatic plants, the number of terraces and their depth will depend on the species. You need to think about this in advance. For planting a cattail, for example, you need a depth of 0.1-0.4 m, for nymphs - 0.8-1.5 m.

The pit under the pond should be multilevel, with several terraces

Stage # 2 - laying geotextiles

The pit was dug, stones and roots were selected from the bottom and walls. Of course, you can immediately start laying the film, but this option seemed to me too risky. Firstly, seasonal movements of the soil can cause the pebbles that were in the thickness of the soil to change their position and break through the film with sharp edges. The same will happen if the roots of trees or shrubs growing nearby reach the film. And the last factor - in our area there are mice that dig underground tunnels and, if desired, can easily get to the film. Need protection. Namely - geotextiles. It just will not let rodents, roots and other unpleasant factors damage the film.

I bought a geotextile of 150 g / m2, carefully laid it out and brought the edges a bit on the shore (about 10-15 cm - how it turned out). Temporarily fixed with stones.

Geotextiles laid with edging ashore

Stage # 3 - waterproofing

Perhaps the most critical stage is the creation of waterproofing. It can be neglected if the hydrogeological conditions of your site allow you to create natural reservoirs. But such cases are very rare and it is better not to risk it, so that later you do not have to redo everything.

So, waterproofing is needed. In my case, it is a dense butyl rubber film specially designed for ponds and ponds.

Initially, I want to dissuade you from using plastic films, sold in ordinary hardware stores and used for upholstering greenhouses. Especially if you have a large pond. Such isolation will lie for 1-2 years, then, most likely, it will leak and you will have to redo everything. Extra headache and spending are secured. A special film is needed, for ponds - from PVC or butyl rubber. The latter option is the highest quality, butyl rubber film strength is enough for 40-50 years for sure, or maybe even more. The plus of rubber waterproofing is that it stretches perfectly. The pressure of the water in the pond will sooner or later lead to subsidence of the soil. The film in this case is stretched. PVC can crack or break at the seams. Butyl rubber just stretches like rubber, it can withstand significant stretching without consequences.

The dimensions of the film necessary for my pond, I calculated as follows: the length is equal to the length of the pond (4 m) + double maximum depth (2.8 m) +0.5 m. The width is determined similarly.

I spread the film on top of the geotextile, bringing 30 cm of the edge ashore. I tried to smooth out the folds on the bottom and walls, but I did not succeed in this especially. I decided to leave it as it is. Moreover, the folds will compensate for temperature changes and pull it too tight just do not need.

A pit covered with butyl rubber film will retain water in the pond

After the layout, you must fix the edges of the film. You cannot leave them open on the ground, as water will enter between the film and the walls of the pit. Inevitably, the appearance of water bubbles, due to which the film will have to be removed. And it is very difficult, especially with a large pond.

I decided to stick the edges of the film and thereby firmly fix them. At a distance of 10 cm from the edges of the pond, I dug a groove 15 cm deep. I laid it inside the edges of the film and covered them with earth. Above all this business was overlaid with turf. It turned out a real coastline, overgrown with grass!

Stage # 4 - launching water

Now you can run the water. I threw a hose into the pit and pumped water from the well with a pump. Water collected for several hours. As the folds were filled, the films were knocked down, they had to be straightened. But in the end the stretch turned out to be quite uniform.

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A pond filled with water should be set aside for some time to set the bio-balance

And one more important detail worth mentioning. Together with clean water from the well, I poured a bucket of water from a natural reservoir into the pond. This is necessary to accelerate the formation of biobalance. In other words, water from a reservoir with an existing biosphere will help to quickly establish the same in a new pond. There will be no balance, the water will cloud and turn green in a matter of days. And soon it will not resemble a pond, but a swamp with a greenish slurry. Activation of the biosystem will also be promoted by plants planted in water at the bottom.

I plunged the pump to a depth of 0.5 m, they are fed water into the upper cascade of the waterfall and into a small garden fountain. Water separation is regulated directly on the pump.

Water circulation in the pond occurs due to the fountain and waterfall.

Stage # 5 - Planting and Launching Fish

Plants are a separate issue. I wanted to plant a lot of things so that the pond immediately, from the first days, creates the appearance of a natural, natural reservoir. So I went to the market and scooped up swamp irises, whiteflies, aquatic hyacinths, several nymphs. For landscaping the coast, I took a couple of bushes of lobelia, a loosestrife of mint, onions of white callas.

Upon arrival, this seemed to me not enough, so I made a sortie to the nearest pond (from which I scooped up water for biobalance) and dug up several bushes of a young cattails. Will grow and purify water. It is a pity that there is nothing more suitable in this pond. And I wouldn’t have to buy anything. Perhaps you are more lucky and in the nearby pond you will find all the plants for landscaping your own pond. Indeed, almost all aquatic plants grow in our natural reservoirs. With a certain amount of luck, you can find and pick sedge, cattail, yellow irises, kaluzhnitsa, calamus, derbynik, yellow capsules and much more.

On the upper terrace, I put balcony boxes and baskets with planted cattails, whiteflies, water hyacinths, swamp irises. He planted it in heavy fertile soil, covered it with pebbles from above, so that the fish did not pull the soil and pulled out the roots.

I put nymphs in baskets - I have 4 of them. He also covered pebbles on top. He placed the baskets on the middle terrace, the one that is 0.7 m deep. Then, as the stem grows, I will lower the basket lower until I have set it permanently 1-1.5 m above the water level.

Aquatic plants planted in baskets and crates in shallow water

Nymphaea flowers last only a few days, then close and fall under water

Lobelia and the loosestrife monetonous sprouted along the coastline. They also dug calla bulbs there. Verbeynik very quickly began to lower their branches directly into the pond. Soon, the films on the rise will not be visible! Everything will be overgrown with grass, loosestrife, Callas and other planted plants.

At first, the water in the pond was clear, like a tear. I thought it would be so. But, after 3 days, I noticed that the water became cloudy, the bottom was no longer visible. And then, a week later, she became clean again - biological equilibrium was established. I waited another two weeks and decided it was time to start the fish - all the conditions for its living were created.

I went to the bird market and bought some suitable specimens of comets (almost a goldfish) and crucian carp - gold and silver. Only 40 fish! Released all. Now frolic near the fountain.

Running fish pond looks magical!

For a comfortable stay of fish, an aerator was connected. The compressor is 6 watts, so it works constantly, it is not expensive to consume electricity. In winter, the aerator is especially useful. Saturation of water with oxygen and wormwood will be provided.

At this workshop you can finish. I think that turned out very well. The most important indicator of this is clean water. As such, I do not have mechanical filtration. The balance is regulated by many plants, aerator, circulation of water through a waterfall and fountain using a pump.

As for finance, most of the funds went to butyl rubber film. I dug the pit myself, if I hired an excavator or a team of diggers would have to pay, but the pit would be dug up quickly. Plants are not too expensive (and if you take them from a natural pond, then in general - for free), fish too.

So everything is real. If you are not afraid of significant labor costs (especially digging a pit) and the need for a creative approach - go ahead. In an extreme case, if you are not lucky with a designer vein, look through photos of ponds in magazines or on pages of specialized sites. Find what you like and try to make something like yourself. And then - enjoy the result and your own pond on the site.

Ivan Petrovich

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