Digging the hole is only the beginning of our pond project. Now it’s time to place and connect all the components that will turn this crater into a flourishing aquatic ecosystem.
A straight 12-foot post across the rim of the pond gives Andrew a reading on the carpenter’s level. Rotating the post clockwise and checking the readings assures us that the sides are level all the way around.
An 8-foot post and level help us keep the inner shelf straight as we dig away the soil on top.
A layer of concrete blocks will serve as the foundation of our waterfall feature. Filled and packed with soil the blocks provide a sturdy and erosion-proof base.
Everyone pitches in to get the waterfall foundation and support shelf (which will hold our rock surround) completed. Actually, what you CAN see in the picture is Hannah working, and all the guys sitting around. But pictures can be misleading in this case.
The pond skimmer will keep the water surface clear and house the pond pump.
In a hole just behind the support shelf, Hannah places the skimmer opposite the waterfall. The crew dug a deep cavity and filled it with pea gravel to act as a foundation for the skimmer and as an aquifer in case of water overflow.
While lunching on the job, Narvas shows Hannah how to set up smartpond’s 2,000-gallon-per-hour pump. Despite its small size, this is a professional grade waterfall pump designed to continuously circulate pond water, creating a healthy environment for aquatic life.
With the skimmer sited, it’s time to dig a trench to bring both the water tubing from the skimmer to the spillway at the top of the waterfall and the wiring from the pump to the electrical box. And of course, all the trenches had to go through an area full of roots, rocks, and bricks. Good think photos don’t capture audio.
Now buried with the power cord in the trench, 1½-inch tubing attached with a hose clamp to the skimmer coupler carries water from the pump around the perimeter of the pond to the spillway.
The corrugated tubing comes in 20-foot sections so we needed to clamp two sections together with a coupler to make our way all around one side of the pond and back to the UV filter and spillway. Hose clamps keep the join watertight.
Electrical wire bringing power from the house to the electrical box behind the spillway is threaded through PVC pipe to protect inadvertent damage when planting or digging around the pond. The pipe will be buried in the trench with the water hose.
A pressurized UV filter holds filter pads and bio-balls to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, providing both mechanical and biological water filtration. A UV lamp inside zaps any murky, green water to improve clarity.
Sunk into the earth behind the waterfall, the UV filter looks like it’s taking aim at the spillway (cue the theme from Jaws). Hannah thought it looked like a cousin of R2D2.
Attached with a clamp, the water hose from the pump brings water into the UV unit where it’s filtered through the pads, bio-balls, and lamp before exiting through a second hose on its way to the spillway. A third opening will hold tubing for a back flush cleaning function. An indicator light turns red when it’s time to clean the filter components.
Kurtis attaches the incoming water hose to the spillway with a hose clamp.
While the guys were finishing the hookups, Hannah spread the 20×20-foot liner out to relax it a bit before placing it in the pond cavity.
Since our dirt was primarily sand, we used a landscape fabric for our underlayment. For a heavier or rocky soil we would have used something thicker like carpet padding as a cushion beneath the liner.
The weight of the liner is enough to settle it into the pond cavity. But once there, Kurtis has the enviable task of smoothing out wrinkles and folds in the bottom and sides as much as possible.
The moment of truth! It’s time to let the water work its magic. The weight of the water will help to settle the liner as it fills the pond. Kurtis will finesse the folds to minimize the bulk of the liner along the shelf and sides. Naturally Hannah would have a purple hose from Dramm—it’s her favorite color.
Narvas attached the liner to the faceplate of the skimmer opening. Once the plate is screwed into place (with an moderate application of black gasket sealer to make it watertight), he cut the liner away from the interior of the opening and trimmed around the top of the plate and skimmer lid. A small door attaches to the bottom of the plate.
Narvas and Kurtis attach the liner to the spillway at the other end of the pond. That makes our pond physically complete. Now it’s time for the power and all the cosmetic touches.
This is where it all comes together. In the words of Hannah-the-homeowner, ‘it’s going to be awesome!’
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A big thank you to Smartpond for partnering with us on this series! As always, all opinions are our own and products we work with are things we like or enjoy and would use ourselves.
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