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koi pond & water gardens 2002

building our third pond in April & May 2002

- a plan based on what we've learned

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The existing pond is really two separate ponds, with a dividing wall of dirt between them. The project is to remove the wall, join the two ponds into one, upgrade the skimmer/pump system, and make the new pond deeper.

We have several reasons for upgrading our pond:

1. As the koi grow bigger, they seem to want deeper water and a larger swimming area.

2. We enjoy our water plants, which are beneficial to the pond, but the fish are now starting to eat them, remove rocks from the pots, and knock the pots off their ledges. We'll be adding a small "plant pond" to the left of the new larger pond. This area will not have any fish, only plants.

3. We've learned that a pond with a rock and gravel lined bottom is hard to maintain. Debris and fish dirt collect between the rocks. The bottom is almost impossible to thoroughly clean, short of draining the pond each year, which we do not want to do. The new pond will not have any rocks on the bottom.

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The hardest and dirtiest part of the whole process: dismantling the old ponds, clearing the area, and making sure that everything is properly saved for future use.

A small apple tree, which died last fall, has been cut down and its roots have been removed. This was in the area where the pitchfork is in the picture to the right. This section is where the new waterfall and small "plant pond" will be placed.

The perennial plants have been removed and potted.

The rocks and boulders from the bottom of the pond have been removed, washed, and sorted.

The fish are comfy in a huge 200+ gallon holding tank which we've borrowed from a friend who does landscaping and pond installations.

Our reward for all this messy work: we've found many small fish and tadpoles in the mucky mud remaining when the water has been pumped out. We also have lots of new perennial plants because of the necessity of fitting them into small pots.

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The dividing wall has been removed. The bottom has been leveled. To the extreme left is the canister for the bio-falls, this is where the new waterfall will be located. The mounded dirt on the left will be tamped down and will reinforce the wall between the actual pond and the new "plant pond" which has not been dug yet.
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Shelves have been cut into the edges of the pond. This is not for plants, but to arrange medium size boulders and to anchor and to camouflage the liner.
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A view from the front to the rear of the pond. At the extreme front are two steps which are for easy access and exit from the water. The water, when the pond is filled, will be approximately 3 feet deep. The steps will be a convenient way to step in and out for occasional maintenance and cleaning. The black container in the rear shows the placement of the bio-falls.
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This view shows that we have retained the berm edge that has served us so well in deterring animals and children and has also provided a convenient place to sit and for the display of colorful potted annuals and garden ornaments.
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Here, we're looking from the back of the pond toward the front. The black square box is the skimmer, which will contain a debris net, a filter pad, and a large pump to circulate the water from the pond up to the bio-falls.

To the right, the new "plant pond" area has been excavated. This area will contain potted water plants, water hyacinths and water lettuce, and is where the waterfall will spill into. The flowing water will filter though the plants and spill into the main pond over two smaller waterfalls.

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One of the trickier aspects of this project is the placement of the liner. We added water slowly and at the same time straightened and folded the liner so there would be no awkward creases showing.

We purchased way too much liner, a little overkill, but better too much than too little. The edges were tucked under the boulders and flagstone around the berm perimeter and the excess was cut away.

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Views of the pond from various angles before the excess liner has been removed.

The retaining wall between the main pond and plant pond has been trimmed with rectangular cut flagstone material.

Water lilies were planted in pea gravel in square mesh baskets and arranged on the bottom of the pond. Later during the summer we would decide that these were too low and put them on black plastic filing crates. The koi added their own touch to decorating the pond - within a few weeks, they had removed most of the pea gravel from the lily planters & had spread gravel all over the bottom of the pond.

In the top left photo, the door to the skimmer tube is visible. When the pond is filled, the water will rise to the midpoint of this doorway. In back of the skimmer box, the white tubing is a UV light to control algae growth.

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