Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Pond Upgrade

When we bought our place 15 years ago we discovered the southwest corner of our front garden is where the outhouses used to live. For the first year or so we didn't really do anything with it. You could make out the two square, brick-lined holes and these holes would fill half way up with water when it rained. We decided that instead of ignoring the low wet corner of the garden, we'd take advantage of the situation and put a real pond there. The Man of the Place evened out the ground in and around the two former outhouses and did the best he could with these features. We lined our new pond site with old carpets that had been lifted from the house.

Not long after we moved in, we redecorated and pulled up some of the ugliest carpets ever produced. I have a theory about carpets, the uglier they are, the longer they will wear. The orange and brown swirly carpets we pulled up were actually 80% wool and must have cost a small fortune to put down at one time. The carpets and worn out underlay were used to cover over any sharp things that would puncture a pond liner.

We wanted a nice butyl pond liner but discovered that these premium rubber liners with a 12 year warranty also had a premium price and we could not afford a butyl liner. We saw that the next option on the list was a plastic liner that only had a four year warranty. It was about this time that I found myself at the local agricultural supply place getting poultry supplies and saw some silage pit liners off to one corner. Those are merely big sheets of black plastic. Even the smallest silage pit liner was cheaper than a plastic pond liner and was the same gage of black plastic. When we got the liner out to put in the pond we discovered just how huge a silage pit liner actually is. The old pond liner

The liner was folded in half and then in half again. It was then covered with stones and soil and thus protected from the destructive rays of the sun. This worked for over 12 years - the same as a butyl line would have worked. We love our pond.All sort of lovely things came to live in the pond. Frogs, newts, Great diving beetles (and their evil looking larvae), pond skaters and even some leeches!As the years rolled on the pond matured. Did you know that water lilies are fussy about the depth at which they will grow? We know now. The third water lily we tried in there worked beautifully. The fish we put in there did not. I suspect that local herons just picked them out as quickly as I put fish in there.

This year when I went to inspect the amount of frog and toad spawn I noticed that the water level in the pond was very very low. There was probably a puncture somewhere in the liner and it needed to be replaced.Last weekend the work started. The first part was the worst part of replacing a pond liner, cleaning out the pond. There was over a decade of leaves and other assorted detritus in there and it didn't smell very nice. In fact, it smelled like an old pond. Thank God for soap!

We think that it was a rodent that finally put an end to the pond liner. A labyrinth of vole tunnels were unearthed when the liner was finally lifted.Today the new silage pit liner was put in and the pond was re-filled.
The upgraded pond is deeper than the old one and much more level. When it was almost filled I was reminded of the clear cold springs that are found when canoeing at Juniper Springs in Florida.The Man of the Place has put his back out with all the work that has gone into the pond over the past two weekends. When he is feeling better, the surrounding stone will be replaced and some of the flora will be re-introduced back into our pond. We're hoping to keep the duck weed out of the pond this time and we're going to be extra vigilant about keeping each little tiny speck of that stuff out! Once duck weed is established - it is nigh on impossible to eradicate.Here is an evening shot of the upgraded pond. Still loads to be done, but the back breaking (almost literally) part is over. Well done darling!


Anonymous said...

Don't you just love ponds.

Last year was my first with dragonfly's so hopefully they will be back this year.

No, I don't bother with fish either. But I have bought a little vacuum pond cleaner and it does help keep down duckweed. So far this year, duckweed free.

nrs K

dogbait said...

You busy little bees. Looks like the sun is out too.

Peggy said...

Mrs K! - Nice to see your comments again! :-)

Dogbait - We all caught the sun a bit yesterday. We're not used to having it around. :-)

Anonymous said...

Poor Henry, I'm feeling his pain!
It'll all be worth it in the end, hope he's better soon


Anonymous said...

Been busy - visit Click on News and Events.

But I always visit once a week. One day I may make it up your way.

Keep smiling.

mrs K

Xtreme English said...

such a wonder, that pond! i would not be surprised at duckweed's fondness for the spot...being as it was once full of natural fertilizer. the same thing happened to our whole LAKE when i was a was crystal clear the year my dad bought it, but then the city of detroit lakes started dumping its processed sewage into big detroit lake (no floating bits, just the water). our lake was #5 down from big detroit on that small chain of lakes in becker county, MN. with all the fertilizer added, the lake suddenly turned into what looked like pea soup when the weather turned warm, and the algae bloomed. they tried everything--except stopping the city of d.l.'s disastrous action. they have stopped it now, though, and the lake still has a few days of heavier than usual algae, but nothing like the past. love the photos, btw.

Anonymous said...

To XE through Peggy: I remember Lake Sally full of weeds and other green stuff (including leeches)! I would never go swimming there beyond the dock unless I could get an inner tube to float around with my only my feet and butt touching the weeds.
Cousin Susan

Susie said...

What hard workers you are to redo that pond. But the payoff seems so wonderful!

Nicole Martin said...

Pond adds excellence to your home. By spending little sum lawn gets to be paradise desert spring. To keep up this take assistance from solid EPDM Pond Liner Repair