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CplDevilDog 06-01-2012 07:19 AM

My Summer Pond Build
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So, as some of you may know I am currently an out-of-work Construction Semi-Pro. I know how to dig a ditch and some days I can even layout a Hip Roof if I have a book handy, but this is my first real Masonry and Concrete project and I'm sweating bullets.

My wife and I are building a Koi Pond in our backyard this Summer. We are going with a Concrete Slab Bottom and CMU (Concrete Block) Walls. I hope when it is done it will look something like this:

Attachment 51765

Its basically a swimming pool for fish. It is 4' deep to help resist our cold winters and drains to an off-set pump house behind the corner of our house.

So the cheapest quote I got on this pond was 23k and the most expensive was 47k. Since I had already done most of the take-off and estimating I knew there was about 7-10k in Materials and couldn't justify the expense since I have the time and some of the skills (although I'm still trying to figure out which ones :whistling2:)

I started the dig for this last Summer and ran into so much bedrock (sandstone) that I froze up. My original plan called for a trench footing and with no way to do one I punted. I jumped inside and rehabbed a couple of things and educated myself for the coming Spring.

The design has evolved considerably since the initial ideas due to a lot of extra knowledge on the subject and the cold hard reality of jack-hammering a flat building pad. There was no plan for a Filter House originally but they do seem to be the way to go versus the less vigorous "Water Garden Style" pond.

The folks over at have been very helpful in getting my head screwed on straight.

A few of the design ideas I have:

The Wall Detail:

Attachment 51766

Not shown are the core pours every other cell and the plastic barrier below the capstones to act as flashing for wall top.

A view of the block walls:

Attachment 51764

The Filter House:

Attachment 51763

Well my Toro Dingo has arrived. Time to move some dirt :thumbup:

JohninSC 06-01-2012 08:32 AM

How many bottom drains, TPR's, and what size piping are you planning to use? I'm a poster on Koiphen also.

CplDevilDog 06-01-2012 11:54 AM

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I'm going with a KASS 4" Bottom Drain but I'm going to neck it down right away to a 3". There's a no-niche Skimmer on a separate 3" line and they meet up at the Settling Chamber.

Attachment 51776

I'm doing a single Pump with 2 returns, one to a Waterfall for 3 Seasons and then turn that off and a TPR for the Winter

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CplDevilDog 06-03-2012 07:45 AM

Today I Learned....
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Heavy Equipment is no substitute for brains (or dynamite). Even the hydraulic breaker was no match for the honest to goodness bedrock I found beneath the sandstone.

Attachment 51875

Good for the house foundation, bad for the pond location :no:

So I'm going to have to move the whole mess 12" closer to the house, which means more of the front half will be sitting on Fill. Picked up the 12" Auger attachment when I returned the Breaker just in case the sandstone is 4' down instead of 1'

The 1st 80lb bag of Concrete weighs 80lbs, the 40th bag weighs 2,452lbs :eek:

coderguy 06-03-2012 06:27 PM

I thought some of my projects were big in scale. I hope you post lots of pics. I love your renderings, were those done in Google Sketchup?

oh'mike 06-03-2012 06:45 PM

Fancy filtering system---My folks had a big (14x 25) pond---they used a stepped water way filled with plants to filter the pond water--the roots pulled out enough of the pond crud that the water was nearly clear---

The only maintenance was ripping out plants as the spill ways became to over grown to flow properly.

They also had post holes set around the perimeter--in the winter they added metal hoops and made a greenhouse over the pond--

I know your plans are drawn--but I thought you might find that an interesting approach to pond building.

CplDevilDog 06-03-2012 07:20 PM


Thanks Mike. That's what I had originally. :laughing: That's a "Bog Filter" style and up until February I had never heard of any other type. They work well for small fish loads and they're extremely cost efficient.

I had read about a dozen books last year on Water Gardening and Ponds and none of them ever mentioned any other form of filtering... I don't recall how I found myself over at Koiphen but the Koi and Fancy Goldfish Hobbyists take filtering to a religious level.

All the fancy stuff is supposed to make your life easier in the long run. I'll report back with my results.

By the way, the 80th bag of 80# Concrete weighs slightly more than Baltimore.

oh'mike 06-03-2012 09:15 PM

I found the answer to that heavy lifting problem----He's my assistant!

CplDevilDog 06-04-2012 06:11 AM


Originally Posted by coderguy (Post 935487)
were those done in Google Sketchup?

They were.

I wrote a short tutorial and as soon as I get the slab in and it can cure (aka A Little Break) I'll post it over here.

no1hustler 06-04-2012 09:49 AM

Post more pictures! :)

CplDevilDog 06-09-2012 08:05 AM

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Major setback yesterday.

I layed out the block on the dirt yesterday and the thing looks like a watering trough. A combination of using 12" block for the base course and having to continually narrow the design due to rock.

I didn't come all this way to end up with something that looks like a grave in the backyard.

So the solution is to completely do away with the back block wall and parge the underlying rock with concrete. Which is what petrified me last Summer. I've never done enough with concrete to feel comfortable working with it outside of a form.

Attachment 52173

JohninSC 06-09-2012 09:24 AM

That stinks on your setback. I'm fortunate that I don't have rock, just a sandy clay mix that stays hard but yet is still easy to dig in.
This was on my rebuild
Filter pit.

Jim F 06-09-2012 09:46 AM

Are there any concerns about digging that close to your house foundation?

CplDevilDog 06-09-2012 10:11 AM

If I was on anything other than rock I would be concerned but based on my neighbor's claim that the original Builder had to blast to get the foundation in I'm pretty certain I'm on 6-10' of solid bedrock.

The 1st couple of feet were kind of loose and fragmented sandstone but the last 2 feet have been something else entirely. I won't say granite for sure but it doesn't have any layers like sandstone.

It won't fracture along any seam and it has laughed at the Dingo Breaker.

Nice picks John, thanks.

I'll try and put some up tomorrow, I have a bunch but I need to figure out a faster way to resize them.

CplDevilDog 06-09-2012 10:31 AM

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if history is any indicator, I probably have something more like this.....

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