View Full Version : Finished Pond Renovation

10-08-2007, 12:31 AM
This is my third thread to post about this pond. The first two were for planning and questions. I am a landscaper in Memphis, TN and have had experience with water features, but this was my first attempt at building a true koi pond. I most certaintly couldn't have done it without this forum and the great people on here that love koi. :bow: Thank you all who have given advice and encouragement.:bow:

The pond is finished with the exception of plants and those should be done by the end of October. My only regret is that I didn't take enough pictures to show in detail each step as many of the experienced people on this site do. I'll try to do better next time on that.

Below you will see what the old layout was. It comprised of a lower pond which was filtered by a bog that was about 1' higher in elevation. The water would flow over a 5' wide weir into the lower pond. The lower pond was about 2 1/2' deep with 1 skimmer and a waterfall that was fed by a submersible pump.

Some Changes - turn the bog into a pond, make both ponds 5 1/2' - 6' deep, put 5 skimmers in lower pond, put 4 bottom drains in lower pond and 2 in upper, install returns, use nexus filter system, renovate waterfall, make weir from upper to lower pond wider.

I will add pictures and stories (good:yes: and bad:no: ) as time rolls on.

10-08-2007, 12:45 AM
Very pretty country you got there! Will the other ponds be filled?

10-08-2007, 01:19 AM
Ellie, above are the pictures of the old setup. I will be showing the renovation of the ponds that are in those pictures. Sorry if I didn't explain well enough at the beginning.


10-09-2007, 12:22 AM
After draining the bog, removing about 3 yards of pea gravel, and pulling up the liner it was time to dig. We took this pond from 2 1/2' to 5 1/2' deep. It was my first time installing pipe for a project like this and it was tough at first. I am using 2 koi toilets and 7 returns(3 are returned from the nexus filters and the other 4 are from the lower pond that will feed the falls from upper to lower pond) After fighting with the rigid pipe for the returns I finally decided to use flex pvc.(not pictured) I found that I wasn't as confident in the bond of flex pvc with rigid as I was with rigid to rigid, but no problems yet! I was glad to have the plumbing of the upper pond finished!:yahoo:

Next: the concrete collar.

10-09-2007, 02:03 AM
Looking good...:cool:

...After fighting with the rigid pipe for the returns I finally decided to use flex pvc.(not pictured)You can use weed burner to bend the rigid pvc pipes....:punk1: :punk1:

10-09-2007, 10:48 PM
To sure up the walls around the upper pond we were advised to pour a concrete collar. We also poured the foundation for the new weir. I wasn't expecting concrete to be such hard work. We rented a concrete buggy to haul the concrete from the truck in the front of the house to the back. Highly recommended!! Some more advice for the first timers like myself - it is better to have too many supports for your concrete forms than have your forms give way. Also, have the concrete a little more wet than normal so you will have plenty of time to work with it. That's all for now.

10-10-2007, 08:26 PM
After taking down all of the concrete forms it was time for underlayment and liner. I made sure to have enough liner. I don't have any pictures of the holes being cut into the liner for the BDs or the returns, but I was sweating bullets. Everything turned out fine thanks to Kent's pl roof and flashing adhesive. Until next time.


10-16-2007, 08:51 PM
After completing the upper pond it was time to get started on the lower pond. After moving 6 albino catfish up to the completed pond we drained the lower pond and had a serious cleanup of sludge just to get to the liner. After removing the liner we found 3 inches of concrete that needed to be busted out because we were going deeper. It was my first time to use a 90lb jackhammer and it was a workout. It went into the concrete fairly easily; it was the getting it back out that was tough.

With the concrete busted up in 3' x 5' sections it was time for the fun. The skid removed the concrete rather easily. I moved into the hole forward and backed out with the load. I tried to turn around one time and got stuck. It was quite soupy under the concrete in low areas. I was a male with a BIG machine- I could do anything.....right?:To funny: The skid did most of the digging and we used shovels to get the finish grade.

10-17-2007, 10:07 AM
Very nice. Can't get enough construction photos.

One question - have you considered removing that one large tree on the left (as per pictures) of the lower pond? My experience is that trees like that don't ususally live very long when half of their root system is covered. I don't know how long the original pond was there - if its been there for years then that tree may have developed its roots in the other direction as it grew from a sapling, so it will be OK. Although even then, a huge tree right up against an expensive new pond that has an uneven root system... Personally, I'd consider removing that one.

10-17-2007, 07:10 PM
Nightstorm - Good eye! We ended up taking out the tree for those exact reasons. The tree was also not allowing us to create a smooth edge for the pond. It's outa there!!


10-17-2007, 09:50 PM
It was time once again to build forms for a concrete collar. I at least knew what I was getting myself into now that I've completed one collar(upper pond). Not really... this pond was twice the collar length and it also had areas that needed extra lap board to smooth out the wall. This was the form that we didn't have enough supports for and as we poured the concrete it pushed out the bottom. We quickly made more supports an fixed the problem before it was too late.

The other pictures are showing how we installed the skimmers. YES we concreted them in. I'm not sure that was the best, but we weren't planning on moving them any time soon. We were going to try to pour all at once, but we couldn't get the skimmer to line up flush with the form because of the form's curve. So we poured the collars and left space for the skimmer to be installed later. i guess if we have to move the skimmers we can bust up the concrete around the skimmer without disrupting the rest of the collar. We have a total of 5 skimmers in the lower pond. You can see our methods of installation of the skimmers in pictures 4 - 8.

10-18-2007, 01:02 PM
Five skimmers ????? Why so many ?

10-18-2007, 07:12 PM
Dwight - there are several reasons for five skimmers. The big one being that the ponds are directly under quite a few trees and the ponds catch alot of debris. There were several areas that were notorious for stagnant surface water and these skimmers take care of that. I'm also using three of the skimmers to feed the upper pond about 12,000gal./hr for the overflow from upper to lower. As they stand the skimmers have to be cleaned daily to keep up with the trash and we aren't even in Fall yet. Nets are ordered. Thanks for the question. What surface area will a skimmer with a 8.5" weir handle?

10-18-2007, 08:38 PM
These next pictures show the plumbing for the lower pond. We installed four 4" koitoilets with air, seven returns, and one midlevel pickup for the stand alone water fall. The filter pit was to be tucked away so it wouldn't be visible from the pond area. We ended up putting it around the other side of the pool house which put it about 150' away. Wow...a big trench and alot of damage!! The filter system is gravity fed and so far so good.

10-18-2007, 11:31 PM
Looking good...:cool:

You can use weed burner to bend the rigid pvc pipes....:punk1: :punk1:

Also, they make extra deep couplers for flex PVC. Kent sells them and so does flexpvc.com (http://www.flexpvc.com/cart/agora.cgi?cart_id=6360527.10544*A60RZ7&product=PVC-Couples-Unusual they are at the bottom) but I would get them from Kent. I only like using flex for very short lengths where things either just aren't lining up correctly or space is too tight. I tend to use 16th turns and/or heat and bend. Be careful with the heating as it is easy to get the pipe seriously out of round.

10-22-2007, 10:00 PM
The first picture is of the old waterfall. The water from the old waterfall was hidden too much by the rock that made up the feature so it had to be renovated as well to match the new design. I really didn't have an idea as to what I wanted the falls to look like until we got in there and started working. I believe it will match up well with the falls from the upper to lower pond. I am attempting to plant a jap. maple inside the smaller block wall that you see in the 5th picture. We'll see. The falls will be powered by an external pump drawing from a midlevel pickup.

10-29-2007, 08:31 PM
Next on the list was underlayment and liner. I wasn't concerned about the underlayment as it was light and easy to maneuver, but the liner was a different story. 35' x 70' Ouch!! I still don't know how 6 guys were able to move that liner into possition and stretch it out. I wish I had it all on tape. You guys would have had a really good laugh. Liner went in and we all went HOME!

10-30-2007, 09:07 PM
Sorry, this is where we started to take even fewer pictures than before. Here we used "midway brown" flagstone for the weir. What a challenge!! Since we knew we were only going to have about a half inch of water flowing over(about 12,000gal/hr.) we didn't have much room for error. We layed the flagstone as best we could and waited to test. After some tweaking we felt satisfied with the results. This will act as the skimmer for the upper pond. We had to get in the water to place all of the boulders under the weir. First, we moved the large boulders in by having 4 guys in the water(yes, me included)with a plank that we made out of 2x4s. The lucky guys, out of the water, would roll the boulder over and get it onto the plank that was already half way in the water. We then lowered the plank and rock into the water so that it would be lighter and walked it to the other end. At the destination we proped the board onto the ledge and worked the boulder into place. What fun.:no: I was glad that my crew was willing to get in the water to get the job done.

11-01-2007, 09:12 PM
I really don't know what to say about this step. Plug in the pumps and let them do their job. The total waterfall feature has a flow of about 24,000gal/hr. The weir is supplied by 3 Savio skimmers (8.5" weir) containing Tsurumi pumps(3pn). The other falls are supplied by an external pump(Performance Pro 2hp) fed by a 3" midlevel pickup. All of the skimmers have the new Savio 50 watt UV lights and they are working well. The skimmers are also doing well as I'm catching all sorts of leaves an frogs. I'll try to answer any questions you might have about the things I left out.

11-01-2007, 10:30 PM
I was just wondering, when you stack big boulders, like the ones under the large spillway, as well as the retaining wall rocks, what you use to hold them in place?

11-02-2007, 12:27 AM
d.koi - The boulders are dry stacked with the bottom row being farthest from the wall and as you add rows you just set them closer and closer to the wall. Sometimes you have to add a rock or two behind to help support the next row. Once you get a boulder good and set it's not going anywhere. To get the dry stacked look on walls you lay the stone in layers and only add mortar to the back half of the stone as you go. We didn't use mortar for the stones in the waterfall because I always like to be able to change anything if need be. Stay away from round stones when dry stacking a wall. Hopefully that answered your question.

11-12-2007, 07:27 PM
Last thing on the list was to install all plants around the ponds. I was able to find just the right Jap. maple for the waterfall. That could have taken a while since I can be quite a perfectionist. The filter pit contains 3 nexus 300, 6 dolphin AV50 air pumps, 3 performance pro pumps, and some wild plumbing. That is all for now. Gene has ordered some fish for us from Japan and those are do in within 3 weeks. WOW!!

03-19-2008, 12:41 AM
Thank you...it was a lot of fun to build. I was given freedom to design it any way I wanted. A once in a lifetime opportunity.:yes: I can't wait for spring to get here. It will be nice to see the plants sprout around the pond and watch the jap. maple leaf out.