Home › Forums › SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION, ENERGY and WATER CONSERVATION › Backyard projects › Building a Pond (for zero dollars)
October 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm #255999
Hi all. Having wanted to build a pond for quite some time I started one yesterday and I thought I would document my daily attempts to create a water tight pond for free. I envisage the need to buy somethings (water pipe & kiddie proofing being the obvious things) but I hope I can offset any purchases with bartering, growing food in the excavated soil, selling & eating the water lillies & water chestnuts, and any other money neutral scheme I can think up. Filling it with water could be expensive but as I am sorrounded by properties with bores a bit of sly night time plumbing could be on the agenda.
30/10/2011 Day One; Started a completely different project that needed soil and presto the Pond was born. Its a handy development as it breaks up a long garden bed, provides soil, divides two quite different fruit growing areas, water for growing water plants, and hopefully attract lots of wildlife that will hassle the bad insects but not my F&V.
I marked out a 4 square meter space and broke up most of the the 120 mm thick compacted crush granite. A complete bastard of a job which gives me great appreciation of all those labourers/stone masons/foundation builders etc who work with stone.October 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm #513201
Day Two; After mincing around all morning trying to think how I could move the gravel without any more muscle pain I grabbed the rake, shovels and wheel barrow and assumed the excavators position. Having past the point of no return I tried to channel a bit of buddhist mindfulness and concentrate soley on the task by putting all pangs of pain and distracting thoughts out of my mind. Well that strategy lasted about 4 thousands of a second. As I lent over the shovel with my back & shoulders aching I realised I must have far to much bum crack showing and retreated to the house for a cuppa and to look for a belt. Sorry your highness I muttered as I thought how disapointed the Dali Lama must be that thousands of years of wonderful Buddhist practice dissapeared with the firing of one dodgy synapse and an excuse that only an Australian male could think of.
After more productive procrastination I tightened my belt, returned to site and begun shifting gravel. I really must master some sort of active meditation as I work and try and channel all the hyperactivity and mental distraction that wells up within to the task at hand. After a fairly grueling hour the gravel has gone and I have begun the relatively easy task of shoveling the exposed soil.October 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm #513202clareccMember
Wow Porgey you are getting mindful although perhaps not in the direction the Dali Lama would gently suggest. Some jobs are just horrible – have to spend ages knowing they need to be done then just run at them full tilt and hope you knock them over before the pain really sets in. I too am thinking of a pond – water plants like chinese water chestnut, azolla on the surface regularly harvested for mulch (or stock feed), duck potatoes (just bought some), maybe taro or arrowroot around the edges. But you have set me back some with your description of the labour involved.October 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm #513203
clarrecc, I have this amazing/dreadful ability to waffle. The best advice I can give for hard tasks like pond excavation is dont rush and just do a wheel barrow at a time. The crushed rock was really compacted so needed a heavy crowbar just to dint the surface so it was pretty tough going. The soil underneath is amazingly soft as it keeps moist and easy to dig ‘cos of the rain and covered surface.
I like your ideas of what to grow and will have to research more of those.
As for his holiness, the bald one, I think his prayer wheels will be spinning a bit faster when the ether from this neck of the woods reaches his mountain top. Told you I could waffle.October 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm #513204Lady BeeKeymaster
Porgey, thanks for the laugh.
Our pond is a “work in progress” (has been for about 4 years). We have an old trough with fish and plants in, and have gathered a few cast iron bathtubs off ebay over the last couple of years. We just have to somehow coalesce them together. That’s where we have sat for…um…well, quite a while.October 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm #513205SnoopyMember
I’m leaning on my shovel and waiting for your next installment!
We have some serious wildlife ponds planned for the future and quite a lot of the area is lacking in usable clay, so I’m waiting for the bit where you get to seal your dig site and watch it fill with water!October 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm #513206HummerKeymaster
porgey post=328289 wrote: clarrecc, I have this amazing/dreadful ability to waffle.
Sometimes it’s even interesting waffle.. hey porg’s 😉
Think that’ll be all from me tonight … hehe :hug:October 31, 2011 at 1:14 am #513207
Humbug post=328301 wrote:
clarrecc, I have this amazing/dreadful ability to waffle.
Sometimes it’s even interesting waffle.. hey porg’s 😉
Think that’ll be all from me tonight … hehe :hug:
I hope you find it interesting sometimes and perhaps even entertaining. 🙂
Hummer has left the building.October 31, 2011 at 1:54 am #513208JaimeKristeneMember
My husband and i (mostly he) dug a 0.5m square pond here in soft soil. We ended up putti down black plastic, so i am interested in your natural approach. Only took a couple of days for frogs to move in. We had grand plans of a solar powered water pump to keep mossies away. New house has a frog pond, a fountain, a little dam and troughs, but i think i’ll rebuild my little pond as well. Keen to learn more about water chestnuts!October 31, 2011 at 2:08 am #513209BlueWrenMember
JaimeKristene post=328307 wrote: My husband and i (mostly he) dug a 0.5m square pond here in soft soil. We ended up putti down black plastic, so i am interested in your natural approach. Only took a couple of days for frogs to move in. We had grand plans of a solar powered water pump to keep mossies away. New house has a frog pond, a fountain, a little dam and troughs, but i think i’ll rebuild my little pond as well. Keen to learn more about water chestnuts!
I am “ponding” as well ,but using two black plastic feed troughs.I was planning on having water chestnuts in one of them but read on Green Harvest that they do best in a container two thirds full of organic material,such as an old bath or launry tub.So I presume they wouldn’t be suitable for a small frog pond type pond.What are you going to plant ,Porgey?
clarecc What are duck potatoes please, and how do they grow? How are they used?October 31, 2011 at 10:08 am #513210WazzaMember
Porgey, if God had intended us to dig ponds by hand he wouldn’t have endowed us with the intellect to invent Dingo Diggers. The epitome of simple living is relaxing on the verandah with an ice cold beer watching the operator of one of these fabulous little machines construct a pond in minutes.October 31, 2011 at 10:12 am #513211KasaliaMember
:clap: :clap: for digging a pond. I have water chestnuts, bought from green harvest, in brown small rectangle washing up type dish, and they have come up this spring for the first time, you would need to buy hundreds I am thinking for a pond.
I have to now work out when to dig them up but I think I will just let them multiply for the next few years. 🙂
Don’t make the pond too small as by the time you put in edging plants, that grow inwards, and some water lilies, you can cover the whole lot up in no time. 🙂October 31, 2011 at 10:50 am #513212
So true Wazza. I have used Dingos quite a bit in the past but my budget wont stretch that far to hire one this time. The ones I have used had the front bucket that would be tricky to use for digging quite a tight hole but it would certainly be better than my creaking frame. Loosening the compacted crushed gravel would have been fairly easy with a 600 mm Dingo auger piece rather than a crow bar and the trenching attachment very handy for digging the pipe trench. I also have 10 meters of eucalyptus & tea tree mulch to move so again your Dingo idea would be very handy.
Thanks for the claps Kasalia. I am looking forward to finishing the hole. Its 4 square meters and will probably be about 700 mm deep at the centre so should be quite big enough for all the goodies I want to plant, although I still hav’nt decided exactly what will go in. This one will be mainly used for edibles and exotic ornamentals as I hope to build a more natural habitat pond in the area I have set aside for indigenous re vegetation.
Thanks again for your replies. Cheers, porgey.October 31, 2011 at 1:46 pm #513213October 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm #513214BlueWrenMember
porgey post=328337 wrote: I have taken a few photos but have had troubles uploading as the file is to big, but will give it a go.
Porgey, re pics . I find 600 x 450 pixels is a good size for ALS if you can resize them in Edit.
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