Making a small pond

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by Brett, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Brett

    Brett Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi there,

    I've been getting right into fixing up the garden at home, and I've got a couple of beds of vegies and some herbs and things going.

    I've been reading Linda Woodrow's book about home permaculture, and one of the methods of pest control she recommends is putting a pond in the garden to attract creatures (i.e. Predators like frogs and lizards) that will do the pest control for me, So Yeah!!! No Pesticides :D.

    Now I've searched the forum, and some of my concerns have been answered, and I might be coming across as a worry wart for asking so many other questions, but the situation is basic. It's not my garden alone, I have to justify any changes to the garden to my Dad (as it's his garden) and he wants to ensure that a pond won't become a greater hastle than it's worth.

    So basically, it's not going to be a huge pond (I can get exact measurements if it should seem relevant) but i'm thinking it should be about the 2 metres by 1.5 metres, I'm not sure how deep I will make it, but maybe about 3-4 feet.

    Ok so as for location, I'm looking to put it in a central location in garden under a few trees we have. Would it be better to have it in a sunny area?

    Now my dad was mostly concerned that having a body of stale water will be a problem (I'm not sure exactly what he means, but I can imagine, mosquitos, algea etc). Is it important to have filtering, or can you have a pond that doesn't need filtering?

    I plan to construct the pond from a piece of vinyl and secure the edges with stones, does this sound sturdy?

    And lastly, has anyone tried this, does it help control pests?

    Thanks for entertaining my post, I am just getting going with my garden, and it's really coming along. I hope one day that it will be a place where people can come and meditate, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

    I'm also just starting to make some artwork for the garde, that will be made with recycled materials. The more time I'm spending working on the garden the more energy I am having for other things in my life, it's truly fantastic, I can't wait to taste the first beetroot when they're ready in a month or so :D.

    (P.s. anybody want to see pictures of the development of my garden? I'm hoping to start documenting the process)

    Cheers,

    Brett
     
  2. teela

    teela Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hiya Brett,

    We have several ponds in our garden. I love ponds, almost every year we've had frogs and tadpoles in our ponds. Some had yabbies. I tried to put in native fish but they never survived, finally I caved and put in something I never intended to put in my ponds, goldfish. You'll need something to eat the mozzie larva that will most likely infest your ponds. Freshwater Mussels, if you can get some are also great in a pond, they help filter the water.

    We have plenty of aquatic plants in our ponds, this gives the taddies somewhere to hide from the goldfish. We also have the dreaded Mosquito fish in our ponds. In SA this fish is declaired a pest species. We have no idea how they got in there.

    I'm not sure where you live so hard to give advice as to what plants ect will grow well. Here ponds are best placed in semi shade because it's like an oven here in summer and the evaporation rate is so high. As far as I know if you want water lillys you need full sun. I also have water Iris in my pond.

    One of my ponds is an old bathtub, pretty good, the other one is like what you want to build, a plastic sheet with rocks around the edge. With the plastic liner, make sure you buy the thicker stuff that is actually sold as a pond liner. This is a little more expensive but it is well worth it as using normal black plastic always gets leaks. Make sure you line the hole with sand first as recomeded in all the books, or try our idea (a little weird but it worked) try lining the hole with a thick layer of old newspapers instead of sand.

    None of our ponds have filters or water fountains. We've never had problems, our water is always nice n clear, but have seen other ponds look dreadful, green, smelly ect, not sure what we are doing right but I suspect it is the amount of aquatic plants we have.

    Good luck with you pond Brett, yes we'd all enjoy looking at pics of your garden.

    Cheers
    Teela
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    I'd like to see your garden progress photos too :)

    With the pond, care is needed to make sure that anything that falls in can get out.

    Teela, with the bathtub pond, do you have that sunk into the ground? How do you plant in it? Are the plants growing in water, or in soil right beside the water? A bath seems like a very easy and accessible way to set up a pond, I just can't see how to plant things (being largely ignorant about water plants). Morrow suggests reeds all around ponds, so I guess they are planted in soil but kept moist?
     
  4. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    2,922
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    G'day Brett :)

    Great to learn that you are continuing with the gardening around your home, and that you are continuing to raise your Dad's level of awareness as to the benefits of this practice.

    For a little bit of a hand with convincing your Dad that a pond (wetland) is a good thing, check out the following fact-sheet put out by the ABC's Gardening Australia:

    https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1175687.htm

    One thing to remember when constructing a backyard pond (wetland) is to ensure that it will be safe for children, pets and native wildlife. A fence or mesh grill will stop children/pets from falling in and drowning, and rocks or logs protruding from the surface of the water - and extending to the edge - will ensure that native fauna can find refuge when they fall in.

    Cheerio, and don't forget to tell us how you get on,

    Mark.

    PS: How's the composting coming along?
     
  5. hedwig

    hedwig Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The pond site depends on the climate you're living in.
    I could maybe attract cane toads.
    You can plant edibles in the pond.
    Frogs do need something to climb out.
    Fish eat mosquito larvae.
     
  6. Brett

    Brett Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow so many helpful replies, thank you all so much.

    And It's really good to have some encouragement Mark, i've had to argue my case for just wanting to take care of the garden (as opposed to letting it just die), so it really helps.
    Oh and the composting is doing real well. I've been turning it about once every 1 to 2 weeks, and have been able to extract some of the compost that seemed usable.
    I'm now growing 3 different types of lettuce, leeks, beetroot, dill, parsley, mint, applemint, celery, beans, rhubarb, chinese broccoli (especially excitied about this one :D) and watercress.

    I mean how yum a salad does all that sound like? :-D

    So as for my location, I'm living in inner suburbs of south-east of victoria (Caulfield for anyone who's around melbourne). We have a very energetic dog, named Zulick (it means Wild Thing, I can't remember if it's in Afrikaans, or in Yiddish, but it describes him perfectly [16 years old and still runs around like a puppy, he's amazing]), so I'm concerned that any wildlife the pond attracts might be harmed by having the dog around.

    Also I'm still going to check with the local council to see if there is anything I should be aware of in what kind of animals start living in the pond. I think I would want frogs and some kind of mosquito eating fish.

    I do have two nephews who are starting to get around abit so I will be fencing off directly around the pond area.

    And Teela, there was a bathtub outside a house down the road from our place the other week, I was sooooo tempted to pick it up and use it for a pond. I'm really wishing I would've it would look so beautiful.

    As for growing things in the pond, is it possible to have plants grow if I use a vinyl lining? Do I just put soil at the bottom of the pond?

    Well as soon as I can get out there with a camera I'll be able to show off :D

    Cheers,

    Brett
     
  7. teela

    teela Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi all,
    With regards to my bathtub pond, yes it is sunk into the ground. At first it looks un-cool, like a bath buried in the ground. But disguise its edges with rocks and plant plants that will spill over the edges and in a matter of a few weeks no-one will recognise it as an old bathtub.

    My water plants are planted in pots and submerged. Some plants can be free floating, in other words they just float around in the water and have no roots in soil. Nardoo, Water Primrose, Foxtail and Duckweed are those types of plants, there are lots of others but those are the only ones whos names I can remember at this stage. Some people will tell you not to put Duckweed in a pond...bah!!! Duckweed is a prolific grower and will cover the surface of your pond in a matter of weeks, so what! Scoop it off and add it to your compost, I think it's great stuff. Same goes with any other plants in the pond, once they get too thick and you need to thin them out just add them to your compost. Nardoo goes mad in my pond.

    I have logs and branches sticking out of my ponds too. That gives the frogs somewhere to sit and rest on. We don't get Cane Toads here in SA, lucky! I don't think they are in Vic either, isn't it too cold? But maybe I'm wrong, someone enlighten me?

    We also have a bog pond. It was once a normal pond but I didn't use the proper pond plastic as I advised you to use Brett. So as I said it would, it eventually got a hole (or several holes) and leaked. We simply filled it with sandy soil and planted reeds, hey presto, bog pond!

    Have fun building your pond.

    Teela
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Thanks Teela, I'm feeling inspired, and a sunken bath seems like a good, easy place to start. I'll have to research NZ plants.

    Do you refill the pond manually, or do you rely on rain?
     
  9. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ponds

    Hey alll thanks for all the great information about ponds, I am planning to convert my familys Para pool which is about 4m wide into a pond in a few weeks and this information will be very useful. I am planning on using the pools plastic liner for the pond but maybe adding another layerof plastic or something because I'm afraid of it getting leaks.

    In terms of getting suitable plants is it ok to harvest low numbers from urban wetlands or should I research the plants to use thoroughly?
     
  10. kathleenmc

    kathleenmc Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2006
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Go for it Brett!

    Ponds are such lovely things...they attract so much diversity to the garden...not just frogs but lizards, birds and insects like the dragonfly....

    To have a healthy pond you really do need efficient water plants to help aerate the water. It is good to do research on this to what best suits your climate....I have arrow head and a stripey sedge in my water feature...a huge clay pot on the verandah. I also have ordinary goldfish because they are great survivors....and snails (2 types). I have a pot because I rent.

    As for liners...this is tricky as some work well and others can be damaged so easily...that's why a bathtub is so good. Some plants are notorious for sending their roots thru anything....Phragmites reed comes to mind here....a great aeration plant but bloody invasive to the max....

    Water features are a great compliment to any area in the garden...but in my opinion it is good practice to have them somewhere where they can be appreciated in silence...like a place under the trees or a small garden room....somewhere to sit and just be with the essence of nature. Lots of plants like to be near water as well....If you plant over hanging shrubs then birds will feel safer.....I have abutilon (chinese lantern) and fairy bells around my large, low placed, cement birdbath out the front of my place, it's regularly visited now....

    There is lots of info in this forum for large natural ponds, Squirrel. Just do a search.

    Keep on with the wonderful work Brett.....cheers Kathleen
     
  11. Brett

    Brett Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey everyone once again thanks for all the information. I think that with everthing I have here I should be able to plead a good case for putting a pond into our garden.

    That all does weigh down on whether I can put the appropriate plant and fish life into the pond. One question i have is whether there is a minimum required size for putting fish or plants into the pond?

    And this is a question for melbournians, could you recommend a good nursery or fish store where I could find out more about putting in water plants and fish?

    Thanks,

    Brett
     
  12. djb3500

    djb3500 Guest

    Pond design - my regrets.

    Hey mate - you are probably sitting out overlooking your pond by now however on the off chance you have not got around to it yet these have been my experiences with ponds 1 & 2 ( 1500 l & 4500 l respectively).

    Invest in a decent liner. Trying to find a leak JUST SUCKS. Be very careful measuring the amount you need and dont be stingy - you cannot join the stuff. Black builder's plastic is not a liner, it is an unending source of pain and frustration.

    Also, invest in a decent underlay. I used old carpet the first time but it rotted and a small stone pushed through my liner. Any spun polyester fabric about 15 mm thick will do (geofabric & etc). If you have rocky soil consider a double layer.

    Design is important. Make sure there is a nice flat area at least 30 - 50 cm wide around the edge that will be about 30 cm under the surface. This lets you put in lots of pot plants with reeds & water plants to hide your fish. Without this shelf pot plants always fall over or you have to make wire baskets. This area is essential for your frogs and breeding fish. Make sure that at least a portion shelves fairly gently to allow a "beach" so frogs can get out. With smooth river rocks covering the plastic this also looks pretty good.

    Make it bigger than you originally thought. I had barely finished pond 1 before I saw the obvious need for pond 2. 60 cm should be deep enough unless you want to raise barramundi, in which case you will need about 90 minimum.

    Make the edge irregular so it is more attractive when grown over.

    If you have a good slope, think about a waterfall. The layout is a bit trickier, and you are of course investing in a pump & the power consumption that goes with it however it gives you a lot more options not to mention a very soothing water feature. Failing that you can get floating solar power pump / fountains on ebay for less than $120 that will help a little aerating the water. This solves a lot of problems in terms of water quality.

    Without continuous water circlulation you are not going to be able to raise eating size fish.

    Definately locate with a fair bit of sun if you can. This increases the chances of algae problems however under trees will put a lot of biological load on the water and also you will not get any water plants to flower. Also, algae is the first stage in the food chain and with the right combination of algae and water critters you can raise feeder fish to feed to edible species.

    I have had no problem at all with native fish (Brisbane) I have Pacific Blue Eye and Rainbow fish. I Dont feed em in summer, just let them catch mozzie larvae. In winter dried and powdered table scraps in small doses keep them happy enough. They are breeding, so must be ok for them.

    Good luck. THe pond is my favourite part of the garden. I would not even think about it if I had kids, though, or at least no more than 1 ft deep. My uncle had one and he had to put a reinforced steel cage around it to keep us out.
     
  13. Duckpond

    Duckpond Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am a landscaper, and have built about 10 ponds for clients and 3 for myself. I do not recomend pond liner. It is expensive, prone to leaks and hard to peg down permanantly.
    Other options are:
    Precast poly troughs. THese can be bought from but are expensive. THey are small (max 2m) and only come in limited shapes. However they are sturdy as hell, but flexible enough not to crack.
    Fibreglass over paper. By shaping the area you want out of sand, then papering it with wet newspaper you create a nice base. THen use fibreglass resin and matting to build a shell. Use gelcoat fibreglass to finish the pond. These give complete discretion in shape, and are comparable price to poly but you must shop around for bulk suppliers as the price in small hardware stores is high. However they are not flexible and can crack.
    Concrete lined pond with sealer paint. dig the hole, line it with bricks or pavers and render over to form a shell, then paint with a pond sealer paint. This is a lot of work, and can be expensive depending on your resources, but is the absolute best for a large(20 000 liter plus) pond.

    I would use an existing vessel like a bath tub or half blue plastic barrel as it gives a solid shell for a low cost. Use the money saved on a small solar pump to improve water quality
     
  14. permup

    permup Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Brett,

    I used one of those old children's swimming pools you see thrown out on the side of the road. I lined it with some black plastic to make the effect more natural, dug a hole, placed it in and lined it with some rocks around the edges. I put a few inside as well to allow frogs some way to get out again. Make sure it has plenty of shade or you will get algae growth. A good way to eliminate this problem is with some azola weed (its a small plant that grows on top of the water) and blocks sunlight to the water.

    Frogs will spawn in your pond in no time, and the taddies will eat any mozzie larvae. I wouldn't recommend keeping fish in a pond this small as they won't survive for long.

    Plant some lovely ferns around the pond and place some old pieces of timer in and around it for the frogs, and you won't believe how beautiful it becomes.

    Good luck!
    Paula.
     
  15. TropicalRose

    TropicalRose Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2007
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Its a misconception that tadpoles eat mozzie larvae I'm afraid, they are vegos. But they will eat all the algae off the sides of plastic ponds and the resulting frogs will eat mozzies. :)
     
  16. permup

    permup Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi, Aparantly it depends on the tadpoles as to whether they will eat mosquito larvae. I can say from experience that there were wrigglers in my pond until the tadpoles were born, and the wrigglers dissapeared within days. They havn't returned since.
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,771
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Any ideas for pond plants in a VERY low light situation
    something useful would be great.
     
  18. margie pitcher

    margie pitcher New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    pond liner repair

    Hi I am wondering if anyone is able to offer tips on how to repair a heavy duty plastic liner in a pond that has a leak and also on while we have a repair "opportunity" what should we be doing in terms of clearing it out - it does not have a pump, many plants eg oxygenating plants, some lilies (which flower well) and some very hardy gold fish!! However there is also much thick matted sludge that seems to have almost filled the bottom level - should I take this opportunity to clean out - I am wanting to change it to a frog pond + bog (will relocate gold fish elsewhere). My ideas for fish are the murray river rainbow - I understand that some fish is needed for balance - many questions!!! We live in the foothills of Adelaide
     
  19. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,573
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi,

    Sounds like a good time to clean it out and perhaps completely replace the liner. There are a few different things your could try to plug the hole but if your going to have it empty any way, i'd suggest a full replacement.
     
  20. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    4,771
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think, of the 50 or so species of mosquito only two eat people.
    And then only the females of these.
    One reason why indiscriminate aerial spraying as in Florida USA is such an environmental disaster. (Their spraying "Air Force" is bigger than the RAAF)

    Pond Liner
    Once anything "waterproof" has a hole in it, I think it better to replace the lot. patching rarely works.
     

Share This Page

-->