Pond Research Placement and Size

iain42June 15, 2011

This is the space I have to deal with. It is an urban setting. I just installed lots of exotic bamboo with a rhizome barrier. There is monkey grass in front of the barrier to keep the barrier hidden as it needs to be above ground at least a little. This is going to look great once it grows in. I think a large koi pond would be look great with this bamboo as a backdrop. I'm also trying to minimize the amount of mowing that needs to done.

I have a friend with a tractor who will bring it into town and dig for the day for a small donation of cash and beer. I know where the sewer line is as I replaced it myself a couple years ago and all other utilities are in the front yard. I do not want to get too close to the sewar lol not again!!!

I'd like an irregular shape so it appears at least a little natural. How much space should I allow between the back porch and the pond and between the bamboo area and pond? I would like a deep pond that steps down to 5ft for Koi.

The pond wouldn't just be for looks but also noise. Living in town is noisy and I'd like a water fall or two or a fountain to help drown out some city sounds.

Lets say I've decided on an approximate size of 20ft x 20 ft which is 5ft at its deepest. I understand underlayment can be add in strips but what size liner should I buy?

The trickiest part seems to be planning plumbing, pumps, fountains, and waterfalls. Given the map is it possible to run all plumbing to a small concrete pad under my back porch or would submerged pumps and filters be better? Is it possible to have pumps that are not too loud or expensive to run?

I'm going to keep reading about how to do this but I've found feedback from experienced ponders and past threads of this forum to be a valuable learning tool.

If something I've proposed seems like a bad idea please let me know. Hope I didn't start of with tooo many questions.

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It really sounds like you need professional advice on this major project. I would recommend checking locally with a service that will, at the least, provide the basics to get you started if you really want to do it yourself.
Here is one website that offers some solid advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pond Doc

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 4:14PM
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We just undertook a similar project. We initially wanted 20x20 and 6 feet deep. It ended up 16x24 and 3 feet deep. We dug it by hand :( tracter sounds nice!

What we did to determine the liner size was layed a string from one side to the other, going down each step and back up the other side. We made sure the string layed on every flat and verticle surface. Then we layed it out the other way. We then marked the string and layed it flat, then measured the legnth with a measuring tape. With a little over estimating we ended up with a 28x38 foot measurement, so I ordered a 30x40 foot liner. We had to order it as no one locally carriers that large of width. We did over gues by about 3 feet in the width and legnth. Not bad.

As far as space, I would say that is preference.

Check out pondlady.com. She has lots of advice and info on how to build a pond yourself.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 4:38PM
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I think you have a fabulous idea. I don't have much advice to give since I have a small 160 gal pond, except to say, "Do it."

Others who have large ponds will have to chime in with more specific answers.

Oh, Yeah, I do have one important piece of advice. The order is: Dig with tractor until finished. THEN add beer to the mixture!! Beer and tractors don't mix!! :-)

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 6:11PM
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I'm very impressed pcan. I think it would be very hard to estimate the needed liner for your situation.

I guess I should defer to other large pond builders, but this sounds like a huge undertaking. You would need quite a few beer drinkers to carry a liner like that into position, but someone with a video camera and Utube should come in handy. Again, defering to others, but I wouldn't risk a patch job.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 10:47PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

The very first thing to do is check out your city building codes.. These vary from city to city as well as time . Do it right the first time lol gary

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 4:13AM
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Thanks for all the replies. I'm not in a big hurry and I tend to research things in to the ground.

Actually the first thing I did was call the city for zoning info. They said there were no regulations for water features. There were regs for pools but not water features or koi ponds.

I have looked at many of the ponds here and associated equipment. I'll likely shrink the size of the pond. The idea of starting with a small area that bubbles out of the ground like a well and then gradually flows into a larger pond is probably the best I can do as my yard is so flat but at least I'll have some dirt for yard scaping.

The digging will be the easy part since there is a tractor and yes always beers after digging. My yard was a disaster when I moved in as there was decades of concrete and bricks under the ground. The same friend helped me remove 10 tons of concrete. It was a mess. My house is 114yo.

Now I'm considering a more narrow pond that starts in that elbow of the bamboo garden and curves around. This could create plenty of water sounds and still look nice. I can still land scape out around it and not have to mow so much.

This plan would have me down to around 5,000 gallons which is more affordable as well.

thanks again

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 10:38AM
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I think you have a coverage problem. You are not allowed by zoning to exceed the coverage ratio, and ponds counts as what is known as "impervious coverage". Also, a 5 foot deep pond counts as an inground pool and must meet the same safety requirements with regard to fencing, etc. DO NOT BUILD THIS MAJOR ITEM WITH UNDERGROUND ELECTRIC AND PLUMBING WITHOUT GETTING PROPER APPROVALS. If you do, they can make you take it all out later. I've seen this happen as I am in real estate. Get permits for everything and make sure you do not exceed your impervious coverage ratio without proper variances and permits.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:36PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

When you are ready for your liner, a reputable supplier like pondliner.com will be able to help you calculate.

For safety from raccoons and herons a straight sided pond is better than one that steps down.

I'd invest in a skimmer, bamboo does drop leaves on a regular basis and having a skimmer will help with maintenance.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 1:47PM
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You have gotten a lot of good advise all ready but I will add a few things. As far as the size of the liner using the string is the best method. I assume that pcan mistyped something as the size liner they came up doesn't make sense. But as a rough estimate you can use the following formula. Length plus 2 times the depth plus 2 ft for the length and width plus 2 times the depth plus 2 ft. The actual liner needed will be less then this formula. Also remember that liner comes in 5 ft widths such as 10ft wide, 15 ft wide, 20 ft wide and so on. If you get past 50 ft wide then you are looking at seaming two pieces together. You can get any length up to 100 ft. It will be cheaper if you buy the whole roll. Roll lengths are 50 ft and 100 ft. @00 ft is available but special order. 45 mil EDPM rubber liner weighs 30 lbs per 100 sq ft.

With a koi pond you are going to want a bottom drain and skimmer. And yes you want an external pump especially in California with electric rates there. You want an low rpm pump as they are very energy efficient. I would recommend an Artesian pump from Performance Pro. Filters become another question.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 2:56PM
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I gave zoning specifics on how big and deep I was planning. I asked if I needed permits and they said no. In fact that was my second conversation with that department. To be on the safe side I will get zoning information on pools and follow those closely. That woul

Thanks I will do that. I'm going to read some more and draw it out in the back yard.

mike il
I'm actually in Arkansas not California. I'll check out the Artesian pump.

Thanks again

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:24PM
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As far as the zoning goes that was talked about is usually determine by the local city or county government. The zoning laws can be absolutely crazy. At one time the EPA wanted to ban all water features from their new home guidelines. If that had happened a lot of states would have adopted the EPA guidelines as written and water features would have been against the law in quite a few states. This was stopped single handily by one organization, the IPPCA (International Profession Pond Companies Association). If you live in Omaha, NE then all the piping or plumbing on a pond has to be done by a licensed plumber. As an example on my property I built a pondless stream six years ago. The stream is 65 ft long and 3 ft wide. Since I filled it six years ago I have not added any water and no water that collected from the rain or snow that it gets has ever left the property.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 2:47PM
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