Finishing Touches

Once the pond was dug it was time to put in the under-liner and liner and then fill it up. I did this on a hot day and discovered that the black liner heats up in a hurry when exposed to sunlight. Besides, it isn't a good idea to leave the liner exposed to sun and heat for long. Liner should be kept wet, so I neglected to get pictures of the liner without water. Got ahead of myself.

Liner and water in

First view of filled pool

My first reaction when I saw the pond with water in it was one of astonishment. When you are digging, you are concentrating on the bottom and sides, not the final shape. Once water is in, you can hardly see your recent work and are forced to view the total pond. It turned out much better than I had expected.

For the main pond I anchored the edges with stones right away. The upper basins, I played with for weeks. Once the water is in the main pond, there is no way you are going to change much of anything. Make sure you have it right before you fill it up. It doesn't hurt the fish to turn off the pump and waterfalls for several hours (probably it's OK for a day or two), so if the smaller basins aren't working correctly, it's quite easy to empty them out, pick them up, wash them off and redo the dirt underneath before restoring. I've done this three times and may yet do it again.

Basins with water

View of basins and liner

The extra liner and underliner which I cut from the main pond went into the upper, small pools that cascade into the main pond. Because of the way I angled the liner, I was left with long, pointy triangles that dictated the shape of the upper basins. I probably should have purchased additional liner for the job as I have a chronic problem with leaks around the edges of the basins.

The pump is a 4,000 gallon per hour (GPH) pump. Since the pond is only about 2,500 gallons, it recirculates about once every 25 minutes. However, the fish and plants need lots of oxygen in the water and the four cascades provide way more than necessary. The waterfall makes a wonderful sound, as well. Even with doors and windows closed, you can hear it inside the house. Outside, it is like being next to a small waterfall -- because that is what it is. The picture on the right shows a small, flat stone cascading into the last basin (middle of picture). That stone didn't allow enough water to flow, which caused the middle basin to fill up and overflow. In the finished picture on the next page, you'll see that I replaced the small, flat stone with a much larger one -- about 40" wide.