So You Want to Build a Duck Pond - Basic Build Principles

smithmal

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5 Years
Jun 29, 2015
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Numerous duck pond threads in this group but they are usually centered around individual build questions rather than a general discussion on basic principals that should be understood before attempting to build a duck pond.

First off let's start with the pros and cons to using a pre-form vs. liner:

Preform Pond:
Pros:

1. Rigid and more rugged (less chance of holes occurring)
2. Easier to clean due to solid bottom
3. Reusable (if you want to more your pond)
4. Placement versitility - can be below ground or above ground
5. Cost? This would be depending on size though you can find them pretty cheap on craigslist (I got mine for $50).
6. Easier to install a drain making solid removal more effective (is this so; not sure)

Cons:
1. Shape and size is set
2. Getting preform level can be tricky
3. Preform can settle during settling making the pond not level
4. Requires additional material to set it (sand, gravel, rocks, etc)
5. May not look as natural as liner pond
6. Due to shallow depth usually these pond types are shut down during winter so no ability to keep fish

Liner Pond:
Pros:

1. Can design pool specifically to your specifications in terms of length, width, depth and character of bottom
2. More natural athestic look
3. Due to the unlimited depth options can keep fish and over winter pond
4. Cost is relativity inexpensive for new simple pond: just need liner and some rocks or heavy material to hold down liner

Please comment on which type of duck pond you have (preform vs. liner) and let me know if you agree, disagree or can think of additional comparisons that I did not list. Would also be great to add some lessons learned when installing a liner vs. preform pond as well.

I'm going to continue this thread with additional design and hardware including: pumps, filters, waterfall designs, sediment filters, biofilters, hydroponics, etc.
 

AllenK RGV

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I have an above ground/in ground swimming pool currently in the deconstruction phase and plan on using that hole for a simple pond/black molly/aquascape. I am interested in hearing about the best low cost fish safe ideas for my conversion idea. :pop
 

AllenK RGV

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This thread is not about my pond, its intent is to discuss general design principles. I'm building my pond now and will also make create an individual pond build thread.
I found this website but didn't find it very useful for me https://www.gardenpondforum.com/

Use a water level as a main tool for the build is what common sense tells me.
 

AllenK RGV

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Ok after a little research I am planning on simply packing my pond build with bentonite clay. It is approximately $100/ton and for my soil 2.5lbs per square foot combined with 0 maintenance the easiest way for me to go.

Pricing for 5 gallons of sealants for either liner based or concrete based it is just a simple no brainer for me. Plus "dirt" historically has been pretty UV stable in my experience.
 

smithmal

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5 Years
Jun 29, 2015
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Maryland; Carroll County
AllenK,

Interesting. Why did you decide to go this route? I'm assuming you went this route due to the lifespan of a rubber liner? What is the typical lifespan of a liner? For people that use liners, what material/thickness/manufacturer is known for their quality? I haven't heard of any people reporting that the needed to redue their pond due to the liner (unless it was torn from a rock, etc).

Thanks!
 

AllenK RGV

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Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2017
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Deep South Texas Laureles,TX 10A
AllenK,

Interesting. Why did you decide to go this route? I'm assuming you went this route due to the lifespan of a rubber liner? What is the typical lifespan of a liner? For people that use liners, what material/thickness/manufacturer is known for their quality? I haven't heard of any people reporting that the needed to redue their pond due to the liner (unless it was torn from a rock, etc).

Thanks!
Scaleability was my main issue and the price + durability. 800-850sq ft coverage per $100. I also know a natural clay isn't going to leech anything into the water. My ground shifts alot based on the seasons but clay won't care.

Your post just got me to thinking how I would do it and researching the paint on and masonry sealers gave me sticker shock.
 

smithmal

Songster
5 Years
Jun 29, 2015
85
34
104
Maryland; Carroll County
Have you seen others try and build a pond in this way? How deep are you planning on building your pond? I wonder what the bottom would look like after awhile with a clay bottom. I know that most people regardless of what type of pond they build need to clean out the build up of muck on the bottom of their pond as it's almost impossible for all of it to be naturally captured by the pond pump system. I'd be concerned that you'd have a thick layer of muck on the bottom after a while which could cause problems.
 
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