Hi Folks :o)
Had a busy couple of weeks again, finally the new pond is 'up and running' ;o)
Here's a before, the previous 'puddle' sized one - it holds around 50 gallons (200 litres)
I had to 'strip it down' ready for our builder to come and dig out the other 'half' of the hole for the new liner. This is how it looked after I had removed the rocks and stones from around the edge and along the waterfall. I went on to scrape back the gravel too as I wanted to re-use it.
(The blue ring, which is around 8" diameter is used for feeding - the floating fish food is placed within it's sections and prevents it floating all over the surface, this makes it easy to remove any uneaten food.)
We then had to empty out the pond, carefully saving the water so that after removing this liner we could replace the water in it for the one remaining fish to live in until the new pond was up and running.
This is a Ghost Koi Carp. He's just a foot long! We've had him for the last ten years - he was around 5" when we first had him. We also removed 5 large frogs which we put back once the liner had been lifted and filled.
One had already made his escape into the garden by the time I took this. The next one to make a break to freedom was the one on the far left - it's HUGE, around 4" across! The one on the far right is almost golden in colour, and is by far the most vocal of the group.
The new liner sits next to the hole that the old liner was removed from. The old liner is behind.
(Now, here's where I admit to not taking any photos of the rest of the hard work of digging- out.)
Mark, (our lovely, reliable builder who has done quite a few jobs for us over the last few years) arrived with his son Bradley on the arranged day - it was raining hard :o( A little later younger son Reece arrived too.
The mini-skip (dumpster) arrived on time, the only problem is that our house in in a crescent, and the houses are arranged in such a way that the road access is to the rear of the properties - the pond is positioned at the front, with only pedestrian access. Poor Mark and Bradley had to wheel each wheel-barrow full of dirt around 500 yards to the skip! There was a LOT of dirt to remove...
They worked on through the rain, (warmed by plentiful cups of steaming hot tea) and by around 1pm the new liner was in position. Mark had placed 45 gallons of rainwater from my water butt into it to ensure it had bedded down correctly and was level. (The new pond holds 150 gallons, 600 litres when full) He tried very hard to clear up the mud from the paving - but as it was still raining, I told him not to worry about it and I would hose it off once the rain had stopped. I settled the bill and Mark and Bradley left for home, I imagine to have a nice warm shower and get into some dry clothes as they were both soaked through. At around 3pm the rain had stopped, and of course I decided to hose down the paving before starting to replace the stones and gravel. By the time I had finished I too was muddy and wet! I tidied up a few other things, and watered the plants in the greenhouse and went indoors to get dry and change into clean clothes....BUT I didn't turn off the water supply to the hose pipe :o(
To explain, the water wasn't actually 'running' when I left it -the end fitting on the hose is a 'gun' type, and the water is turned off unless the trigger is squeezed. Hubs came home from work, had a quick look at the new pond, and was as happy with it as I was. We sat and chatted for a while with a cuppa, then watched a TV programme I'd recorded. Two hours passed before I went back into the garden.
To my absolute horror the water pressure had built up and had pushed the fittings completely from the hose which had run for around an hour and a half unchecked. The garden was flooded, in fact part of next doors garden was flooded too, and the new pond liner with its 45 gallons of water was floating 8" above ground level instead of sitting snugly in it :o( I was rendered speechless!
We decided the best plan of action was to leave well alone for an hour or two, to allow the water to soak away before starting to tackle the problem - the hole that Mark had so carefully dug and shaped had caved in around the sides, so that the liner would not just 'drop back' into once the water had soaked away.
We went back out after another couple of hours, the flood in the garden had soaked away, but the water in the hole had only dropped 4", so the liner was still floating 4" above ground level. We couldn't leave it overnight as it was as I was very concerned about our hedgehog visitors falling in and not being able to get out again as the sides were so steep. So I had to bail-out the 45 gallons out and replace it back into the water butt so that we could reuse it later. Then we lifted the liner from the water filled hole. Then we bailed out the muddy water from the hole until there was just about six inches deep of mud left - ugh! (The hole is 32" deep!) I made it as safe as I could by placing metal grids on the sides (Which by now were sloping in) so that any unfortunate hedgehog that dropped in had a very good chance of escape. I was on tenterhooks all night long, and kept getting up to check that all was well. Next morning I was exhausted, but happily, no hedgehog had come to any harm overnight even though it had rained again and the water had risen in the hole.
I had breakfast, but couldn't get the mess in the garden off my mind, so I decided to ring Mark and ask advice as to how to tackle the devastation. He said it would be best to leave the water in the hole alone until the weekend when we had the time to tackle it, as rain was forecast again and as the bottom half of the hole was clay it wouldn't soak away... Then, we'd have to dig out all of the soil that was sodden, replace it with more earth and sand, then shape the hole again before replacing the liner. (This was pretty much as we'd feared.)I thanked him for his help and advice, and prepared to go out for the morning. I returned home at around 3pm, only to discover Mark and Bradley in the garden replacing the pond liner! I was again rendered speechless. When I could finally speak, and through tears, asked them what on earth they were doing, Mark's reply was "I'm helping a friend." I just couldn't believe his kindness. I insisted I pay him for the work, he argued that he hadn't done it for payment, and didn't see why I should pay twice as I hadn't asked him to come back. I of course insisted he accept payment, and told him that there wasn't words to thank him for his kindness and care. He has a truly golden heart :o) An hour later the liner was replaced, the pond was FILLED with water, so there was no fear of it floating again, and they left for home apologising for the mud on the path!
So, on Saturday hubs and I visited our local aquatics centre for advice on which was the best filter, UV light and pump to use with the new pond. They were as always very helpful and pointed us in the right direction. Over the last ten years things have improved in leaps and bounds - they now make combined pump, filter and UV light in one unit. We decided upon a Hozelock Easyclear unit, (which I can highly recommend) and a new pre-formed resin waterfall. Then, we replaced the stones and gravel, and set up the pump and waterfall. Oh, I forgot to say the new pond is 6' x 4'.
Finally, here's the 'after' photos...
And the waterfall
and some of the new fish!
As you can see the water is crystal clear :o) and safely netted against herons and hedgehogs taking a dip.
Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post :o) I appreciate tham all.
Also, a sincere welcome to Jenny my 100th follower! I shall have an upcoming giveaway to celebrate as promised!
Sending very best wishes to all.