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Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/13/2010, 8:31 am

I decided to place this here rather than PM as others might be interested. Tim, I notice you have a pre-formed garden pond -- how deep is it? I've had ponds in the past and understand in Texas they need to be at least 24" deep. I'd prefer not doing one from scratch with the butyl liner as I've done before but the preformed ones I've seen are only 18" or so. How did your fare during last year's horrible 3 month heatwave? If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently? Thanks muchly!
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Post  timwardell on 4/13/2010, 11:01 am

The pond is 22" deep and holds 150 gallons. It is the smallest pond I've ever had. It survives the heat just fine for 2 reasons. 1) The lower 8"-10" is below ground level that allows it stay cool during the summer. 2) By the time it really heats up the water lily is growing strong and it's leaves blanket 60% of the surface in shade.

I'm not a fan of the preformed liners. I would have preferred to use a rubber liner instead. The preformed are VERY difficult to get level and if they are not it is instantly noticeable. With a liner, I've always found that I could easily hide any minor miscalculations. If I had to do it all over and HAD to use a preform, I'd probably put it even lower in the ground - even though that would mean another 3-4 hours of digging in heavy black clay and limestone.

So why a preformed pond? It was an after thought. Was walking through Lowe's one day and this preform was sitting there dirty and dented and marked down to $30! (They normally sell for $120+.) I hadn't planned to put in a water garden but the temptation was too great. Since it's been in I have redesigned it a dozen times in my mind and as soon as I have the means/$ I want to put in a larger (800 gallon) pond in the same spot. ... Like SFG, water gardening is an addiction with no known cure. I've built or helped build a dozen water gardens over the last 17 years. In a previous home I had one that was 4,000 gallons. <sigh> I miss that pond. 😢

Hope this helps.
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Post  junequilt on 4/13/2010, 4:15 pm

Tim, I'm glad to meet another water garden enthusiast! I would echo the liner concept, they're great. I used to have a small shallow lined pond -- really a bog -- and it not only had thriving water plants but also toads, frogs, and even some small fish that came out of nowhere. Unfortunately, it lay in the path of our new modular home being brought in, so it had to be dismantled and was destroyed in the process. I cried!

I have a couple of small preformeds and they're okay, but it's just not the same. That lined pond was a fascinating mini-ecosystem.

Relative to SFG, back then I also had a Dobie-Shepherd mix who loved to pull out my bog plants, gently chew the fleshy roots, then leave the plant with exposed roots roasting in the sun. I had just read Mel's original book, and decided to build a protective cover -- kind of a quonset hut shape out of welded wire fencing -- to place over the pond. Not only did it keep Miss Dog away from the water plants, it permitted all the birds in the neighborhood to safely use the pond as a bird bath, despite my six cats and my neighbor's three. Quite wonderful to watch on a hot summer afternoon.

Belfrybat and Tim, thanks for the trip down memory lane!
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/13/2010, 6:47 pm

I've had a garden pond everywhere I've lived for the past 30 years -- love them. Have always used a butyl or other liner, and yes, they are quite lovely especially when landscaped to look natural. Where I currently live, it would take a backhoe with a jackhammer attachment to dig down 24-30", and even then we'd probably hit a boulder that couldn't be moved. Had to reroute the plumbing and sewer lines when laying them because we hit a boulder that even the backhoe operator couldn't dig up. (I live on the side of a mountain.) But I figure I can dig down about a foot, which is why I was thinking of a preformed part underground/ aboveground. Hadn't considered the leveling issue since I've not had problems leveling a butyl liner (just shove a bit of dirt under the low spot).

I'll need to ponder which way to go -- Home Depot's price for a preformed or the liner is about the same, but the liner would make a larger pond. Tim, feel like a trip to lovely "rocking chair capital of Texas" to help put in a pond? Garden pond Q for Tim Icon_smile
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Post  Momma Pajama on 4/13/2010, 9:45 pm

We dug a little 3'x5' oval pond in our front yard last summer. It is 24" deep with a 12" "shelf" on one end. My husband and I just winged it, but it turned out lovely. We got a large hunk of rubber liner and felt from a neighbor who has a pond business and had removed it from an old pond. We covered the edges of the rubber with large rocks and some flat rocks.

The squirrels love to drink out of it in the summer, and the two 25 cent "feeder" goldfish we bought are three times their pet store size and doing great, despite the raccoon fishing and a couple of ice-overs this winter. We put some big rocks and a hunk of concrete pipe in the bottom of the pond for them to hide in. The only expense we had was the fish and a couple water plants. Sometimes in the summer when we weren't getting much rain, I would dip out a few buckets of "fishy water" and fill it back up full with the hose to keep the ammonia down. I put a piece of deer netting over it from fall to spring to keep out the big falling leaves and major debris. The pond is right next to our SFG beds and a little dwarf weeping Japanese maple, and it is beautiful!
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Post  timwardell on 4/13/2010, 10:48 pm

@Bellfrybat - I've been told it is possible to level a preform, it just takes a lot more time. With a liner, you only need to worry about your edges being level. If they are, you've got no problems. With a preform, it's the edges AND the bottom that must be level - and it seems one is always off. ... If you can build a box above ground (like I did) you can help insulate teh preform with the surrounding dirt. Hmmm... rocking chair capital of Texas? I was wondering where all the old folks got shipped off to. Very Happy

@Momma Pajama - my pond is also between my SFG's and I have a small watering can just so I can get "fish water" for a few squares if needed. The plants seem to do fine with a bit of fish poo in their diet.
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