Ponds 103

Chapter 1

Layout and Setting Water Level

So, you’ve chosen the style, designed your water feature, drawn it out to scale and purchased the equipment, liner and underlayment. Now you’re finally ready to actually build your pond. We’re going to talk about a Hybrid Pond design as an illustration; simply modify the depth of the shelves to suit your design.

First, transfer the drawing onto the actual ground you’ll be excavating, as accurately as possible. Remember, you bought just enough liner to build the pond as drawn – if you don’t follow the plan the liner won’t fit! Take a rope or hose and lay out the shape of the water’s surface, adjusting as needed, but taking care not to exceed those longest or widest points. When you are satisfied, use powdered lime or markout paint to make a more visible, durable line; this line marking the water perimeter will act as the key line that will guide the excavation.

Mark out the area for the coping stones and all the other features on your sketch. Using a spirit level, find the lowest point on the line indicating the water’s edge. In order to appear natural, the pond’s water surface should be set at least 4” below that low spot on the line. Clear an area that will end up just outside the pond, where the perimeter stones will go, and pound in a stake so the top of the stake marks your final water level. Make sure the stake is set solidly, as you’ll be using it to set all the other grades.