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    Thread: In ground Liner against dirt or build a retaining wall?

    1. #1
      Shanescaife2@gmail.com is offline Junior Member
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      In ground Liner against dirt or build a retaining wall?

      Not sure if the pic below turned out. But what I would like to build is like it.
      I知 looking to build a 40 ft by 3 ft by 4 ft deep. Stream/pond/fountain (whatever this is called) down the center path of a formal garden. I plan to use a bio filter Aquaponics system. I知 using a liner but,
      My question is cinder block walls or will the water pressure be enough to hold back dirt sides.
      Thanks Shane
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    2. #2
      batman is offline Senior Member
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      Soil varies greatly by region in it's structural abilities. Top soil has greatly less strength ability and depth varies by region. Most likely 4 foot deep straight sides will need some type of support to hold up long term. Since it's straight vertical either a deep concrete collar around the top circumference or some type of wall.

      Hand dig a test hole and see the depth and type structure you're getting into and then make a decision if a full wall is needed.

      Sloping the walls a little greatly reduces the risk of cave ins. Option 2 in the diagram is less risk.
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      Last edited by batman; 12-02-2021 at 09:24 AM.
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    3. #3
      Shanescaife2@gmail.com is offline Junior Member
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      Thank you for your reply. I could slope the sides a bit but I don’t want to widen the top more than three foot. That would only give me only like a 75*. I want to go that deep to be below the frost line and to gain so geothermal heat. If I went with block would adhesive work or is mortar a must? I know people fill the block cavity with concrete when it’s above ground but is it necessary when it’s below?
      How deep do koi go anyway?��

    4. #4
      One Poet's Garden's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Shanescaife2@gmail.com View Post
      How deep do koi go anyway?��
      Standard depth rule is four feet, both because in many places that gets you below the frost line, and especially to protect the fish from predators.

      The picture you posted is of a very formal garden. If you're going that formal, you probably do want block. A 3 x 4 by 40' trench, plus the width of the block all around, is a lot of digging, and quite a bit of dirt to move. Are you doing this by hand?

      Best,

      Bill

    5. #5
      Shanescaife2@gmail.com is offline Junior Member
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      No!! No way I知 digging that by hand!�� maybe 20 years ago. Going to attempt the dig with a skid loader at first. If that don稚 work I値l hire a backhoe. Excavated dirt will be used to fill in a raised walkway elsewhere in the garden.
      Block it is. Mortar or adhesive? Looking to save a little wherever possible.
      The bio filter (in the process of design) will first pump pond water to a quarter acre outdoor aquaponics garden. It will then return to the pond through aquatic plants that will line the sides of the pond. In the picture above you see flower beds along side the pond. Ours will be aquatic plants with little falls staged down the pond. Any suggestions on this type of filter system would be helpful.

    6. #6
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Hi, I made myself a 12k gal pond filtered by means of two wetland areas 1/2 the surface size of the fish pond. In July I started putting koi in, 25 in total some Tosai and Nisai. Throughout summer I have been feeding 10kg per month of high protein food and water parameters have been excellent. I gather that the main drawback of wetland filtration is that it can get all clogged up with muck. I have read on the forum of people having had a really bad experience with the usual aquablox/centipede/snorkel method.
      For this reason, and because in Italy those products are not available anyway, I built mine differently. I made my wetland areas by excavating only to a depth of about 1' and a half, various layers of underlay and a 40mil EPDM liner with bottom drains. Then I put in some ready perforated plastic pallets, some layers of mesh, yards and yards of pvc pipe with slots cut every 2" and covered with about a foot of pea gravel. The water from the aerated bottom drain and skimmer goes to settlement tubs that also house the pumps that push the water to the slotted pipes so it rises through the gravel (while muck falls down in the void) and plants to then fall back in the fish pond
      At the end of summer I opened the bottom drains and flushed the wetlands, I dug a hole in the gravel and it was clean all the way. With The caveat that it has been running only 5 months, I think this method could actually work, here is a link to how I built it
      https://youtu.be/_XtqNOtpeyY

      And how it looks now
      https://youtu.be/5Qj_wbGhqbE

    7. #7
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      Regarding your blocks. I suggest you spend the time to place concrete in a level footing (say 4" deep x 12" wide) every where there will be blocks, a level stable foundation is best and laying the blocks will be so much easier. I used landscape adhesive between all the blocks with success. I also made oversized notches in the blocks for horizontal rebar and drilled into the footing for vertical rebar (also secured with the same adhesive). Strongest if you place the blocks in a staggered sequence. Once the walls are up to top grade, fill the blocks with concrete. Be sure to vibrate while filling blocks, ask if you want details of home-made vibrator.

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Size:  290.2 KBThank you all for feedback. Nice pond Paul, it is similar to what I would like to do, mine being much thinner and longer. This is a total yard makeover I figure will take about 10 years to fully take shape. The pond being the first water feature. We just got done clearing the trees. Getting ready to dig. Will do 4 walls with footers and mortar. Not to sure about filling the cavity. We just put on a 30 by 24 addition to the house with 10 foot fountain walls. I can稚 fully understand why 4 foot walls would need the extra filling or the cavity for strength. You would think water pressure against the wall would add more support that my open basement. (Unless I知 missing something?). The garden will cover 1 and 1/2 acres. It痴 just open field now. Would like to have it all dugout by first snow.

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      batman is offline Senior Member
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      Typically DIY pond block builds are dry stack. The rebar and filled cells tie everything together and are extremely strong. Plus you get straight and level walls without a masons skills. If in a mild climate mortar only might be OK. In my region I'd be afraid if mortar only is used on an underground wall with no horizontal support on the very top. Block foundations on houses are supported horizontally at the top. For us over several years the 40 foot walls not reenforced would not not remain straight with the freeze thaw action. Maybe in a no ground freeze region it's OK to mortar only.

      As for block adhesive. I haven't seen any work long term at high rates. I occasionally have to reglue a loose landscape block.
      Last edited by batman; 12-03-2021 at 10:47 AM.
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    10. #10
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Shanescaife2@gmail.com View Post
      Name:  13F43C31-B7F0-4016-8345-131DB6284586.jpg
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Size:  290.2 KBThank you all for feedback. Nice pond Paul, it is similar to what I would like to do, mine being much thinner and longer. This is a total yard makeover I figure will take about 10 years to fully take shape. The pond being the first water feature. We just got done clearing the trees. Getting ready to dig. Will do 4 walls with footers and mortar. Not to sure about filling the cavity. We just put on a 30 by 24 addition to the house with 10 foot fountain walls. I can稚 fully understand why 4 foot walls would need the extra filling or the cavity for strength. You would think water pressure against the wall would add more support that my open basement. (Unless I知 missing something?). The garden will cover 1 and 1/2 acres. It痴 just open field now. Would like to have it all dugout by first snow.
      You sure have a nice looking plot there, do you have a plan for all the landscaping (really curious to see what you are going to do)? The Land seems quite flat, is there any gradient at all? You probably have accounted for all this but it would not be best to have the pond or wetland in the lowest part of the property where it could get flooded, are you having the edge of the water features a little raised above ground level? Also in order to "flush" the wetlands to clear sediment I think it is really useful to empty them by gravity (so you need a drain pipe running to somewhere lower than the bottom of the wetland).
      These are the pallets I used to make a false bottom and the mesh and pipework laid on them and then covered with gravel. Each of the orange slotted PVC pipes is fed by an individual pump at one end and has a standpipe at the other
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      Last edited by Paul Sabucchi; 12-03-2021 at 02:25 PM.

    11. #11
      One Poet's Garden's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Shanescaife2@gmail.com View Post
      This is a total yard makeover I figure will take about 10 years to fully take shape.
      Just curious why you want a long narrow pond when you have such a wide site? I must have missed the overall plan.

      Best,

      Bill

    12. #12
      Shanescaife2@gmail.com is offline Junior Member
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      Below is a basic layout of the garden. The Koi pond will be a total length of 160 ft not 40. With a small fountain in the middle. 70 ft each side of the fountain. The fountain part of the pond will be 6-8 ft in diameter. The narrow pond will the highest part of garden. 3 to 4 ft will will be excavated. Excavated dirt used to raise the walkway on the sides of the pond so the pond and walkway are somewhat level. Pond being slightly higher by 8 inches or so and leaving the pond depth about 4 ft. I believe we figured just above 12,000 gallons. All other garden squares will edged slightly lower than grass walkways. Walkways will be grass at first then possibly hardscaped years later. Ground slightly sloped to outer edges of garden where drainage ditches will be located. The 6 large squares on each side of the garden are actually independent miniature properties. Each having a 12ft by 24ft miniature home. Each home will be built as close to self sustainably as possible. Ex. solar and compost systems along with a hydroponic greenhouse on the balcony. (Build by my son who is opening a business selling such houses). Each house will be occupied by volunteers and/or workers who will be responsible for tending to the gardens as well as their own country style garden on each property and maintaining there own greenhouse. (I値l add a pic below of something similar to house style)
      The large structure on top the page (Or side in pic) is the back of the property and is a 42 ft by 130 ft gothic heated year round greenhouse that will be used for weddings, banquets, flower shows, and so on. That will be the last thing built on the back portion of the garden.
      What you can not see is the vegetable aquaponic system that will help filter the Koi pond closer the house.
      The idea is to sell all the flowers that are displayed as well as the eco-homes (my son痴). There will also be small stand that sells coffee, baked goods and vegetables grown at the garden.

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      Last edited by Shanescaife2@gmail.com; 12-05-2021 at 06:38 PM.

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      WOW, now that is a real project. Please keep posting as you go.

    14. #14
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      Great project, you will have plenty of meat on the fire.
      With regards to the pond/aquaponics if the pond is going to be the highest point are the aquaponic beds going to be at the same level? Are they going to be gravity fed from the pond? Are you planning to put bottom drains in the pond (will be awkward to get the bottom to mostly self clean being the pond so long and narrow), same for surface skimmers and the returns. Are you going to have a constant water level in the hydroponic beds or will it rise and fall? Apologies for the bombardment of questions but I am really intrigued. Ciao

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      nlkoi is offline Junior Member
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      Cave in

      As I understand it,

      With no support the walls will slowly cave in stretching the rubber until it snaps. If your set on doing it this way I would line the dirt walls with foam insulation board giving it a little more protection from puncture and support.

      With blocks, the blocks will rot from water exposure. Yes literally crumble and rot. I can稚 give you a timeframe on that but I have that directly from builder.

    16. #16
      Paul Sabucchi's Avatar
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      Just a thought but could precast concrete slabs somehow be used?

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      Thank you Nikoi, yes I do plan to use a liner over the block. I did not understand the support structure of filling the cavity as I have only done home construction (dry) but after reading the responses I now understand and will do dry stack ,glue up, and fill the cavities with concrete and rebar.
      Paul, I stand corrected. When I referred to the narrow pond being the highest part of the garden I mean the surrounding formal garden. Meaning all runoff rainwater will be directed away from the pond. The beds will be above pond level, at least most of them. I will not have a built in bottom drain. The plan is a surface skimmer and a bottom drain pipe inside the pond but not through the liner. Since the return will be in the center of the narrow a drain and skimmer will be on both ends. So two pumps each end. The ponics system will be both constant feed and rise/fall depending on the crop and time of year. There will be an outdoor constant feed system where pond water will be fed through pipes containing grow medium and plants. A outdoor bed with a floating medium will also be used and a few other beds with clay pellets, these will use the rise fall watering system. The water will also be returning through aquatic plant beds running the length of the narrow. I’d like to somehow filter the solids wast in a usable way. Maybe some grow medium that allows enough water through for the system but catches enough solid wast to grow in. Maybe some sort of bog . As far as cleaning, I’ll treat her as a pool with seasonal/or more pole and vac-brush. Keeping everything in the system.

    18. #18
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      Hi Shane, the project gets more and more interesting. As mentioned I just use two big tubs as settlement chambers rather than any mechanical pre-filtration, and probably in a different scenario I would use a sieve or a rotating drum. Having said that, as you are going to use pumps rather than gravity feeds, the solids will be somewhat "whizzed down" by the pumps so sieves/drums would be less effective and anyway you will need the nitrogenous substances and phosphates to feed the plants. I presume you want the water level to stay constant in the long pool, so are you going to have an overflow connected to a reservoir to accomodate the volume of water when the level falls in the grow-beds? Ciao

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      Yes Paul, thank you for question. I have only fooled around with hydroelectric and am now jumping in to a system that that is quite large, to say the least. But everyone tells me I don稚 know how to do anything small.��
      But yes, the system is based off a smaller scaled one and has a 100 gal tank after the ponics system and before the aquatic plant beds. The constant flow will take up small portion leaving the rest for rise/fall beds. I知 not sure how big the tank will need to be when all is done as I don稚 know the exact size I will end up with. It will probably change over the next few years.
      As for the waist, like you mentioned at that volume and the wast will remain suspended. That痴 why I知 thinking a some kind of bog system before the ponics. Something I can constantly flood and catch the solids yet still allow a large flow to move through to the system. I know there are lots of filters out there and DIY filters but I would like to self contain and reuse as much of the system as possible.
      My daughter is thinking of YouTubing the whole build.

      I was just doing some research and it痴 recommended if I go with a bog system I would need 15% of surface area of the pond. So I will have about 540 sq ft of surface area that痴 about 80 sq ft of bog or wetlands. Now this is not taking into account the ponics system will be working as a wetland removing contaminants. But if I use one side bed (which I planned on using for aquatic plants) as a bog and the other side for aquatic plants I can basically have the pond overflow it痴 banks on one side into a bog and collect the water for the ponics system from that side, run it through the system then up the other side the pond would be the water plants and have the water fall back into the pond from that side.
      Last edited by Shanescaife2@gmail.com; 12-07-2021 at 04:57 PM.

    20. #20
      One Poet's Garden's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Shanescaife2@gmail.com View Post
      I was just doing some research and it’s recommended if I go with a bog system I would need 15% of surface area of the pond.
      15% is actually low, and may lead to disappointing results. 30% would be much better, and save time and trouble down the road.

      Best,

      Bill

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