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Pond_Happy Accident

 
Posts: 209
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
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This is my second pond which started out by hand and was then excavated with a small rented trac-hoe .
click here to see my first pond: https://permies.com/t/118651/Pond-Hand-dug-month

After digging down about 4 ft. while I was inside the pond, I hit some wet gravel and began to sink!
I immediately thought about what Zach Weiss mentioned in one his presentations. "When you hit wet gravel, Stop! Get out right away". Yes, good advice indeed.

A few hours later trying to drive myself out, the machine was up past it's tracks and was stuck in via. vacuum.
It started raining soon after & I had to call up the rental place to tell them I got the machine stuck.
They brought out a bigger excavator in attempts to pull it out - no avail. So they had a huge excavator & driver come out who luckily was in the area.
I was terribly afraid I was going to pay tons of money for all this trouble, while not having completed my pond.

The Huge excavator pulled the mini one out easily in about 5-10 min. Since this was such a short job I figured I'd ask the operator if he could dig the pond deeper while he was right there.
He agreed and in a few digs with the 4ft. bucket, the pond was over 8ft. deep!  On the way off the property I was starting to dig my WOFATI -ish foundation. He also did some roughing out for me saving weeks of manual work!

So when it was all done, not only did I not get fined for all this trouble but, made out very well!.

However, since this pond was very roughly carved out, it quickly filled in with loose soil to where it's only about 4ft. deep as of now.
I plan to someday muck out the bottom to regain a lot of depth.

Here's the results thus far:
Pond is based on contour lines, upper and lower.
This area was chosen as it's a natural drainage area in the landscape going right into the neighbor's property.
The damn wall is about 1-2 feet from the property line!
Overall shape is relatively round, approx. 12-15ft. across.

Excess dirt is planned to help cover the WOFATI -ish structure coming soon.



Pond-2_Happy-Accident_2017-07-18.png
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Jason Vath
Posts: 209
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
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hugelkultur purity forest garden chicken wofati woodworking
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Pic from 2018:

wild growth of natives unleashed from the natural seed bank hidden in the soil.

No leaks detectable anywhere. Holds it's water level consistently.



Pond-2_2018-10-02.png
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Jason Vath
Posts: 209
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
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hugelkultur purity forest garden chicken wofati woodworking
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2019 pics:

Pond-2_Happy-Accident_2019-07-26.png
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pollinator
Posts: 895
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Nice! I am planning on renting a trackhoe to do a whole bunch of ponds. I am still working out where the paddocks will be, because each pond will hopefully service 4 or more paddocks. It's a lot of planning, I found that out the hard way. I think the current 2.0 plan is to have a permanent fence in the pond, dividing it into quadrants roughly. I have a few areas tat are near the top of the hill and likely to drop in summer, and I am toying with the idea of a solar well running a couple gallons a minute while the sun is shining. This would be a bootleg trash pump well, cased to 4".

Not totally Zach Weiss approved, but think it will be cool...
 
Posts: 117
Location: Gaines County, Texas South of Seminole, Tx zone 7b
10
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wish I could dig ponds by hand relatively quick it takes me a month or two to work at mine as I have to use pick axe and rock bars to beat through the caliche.  but I love how yours are shaping up.
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My caliche land and pond I had dug by hand.
 
Jason Vath
Posts: 209
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
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James Everett wrote:wish I could dig ponds by hand relatively quick it takes me a month or two to work at mine as I have to use pick axe and rock bars to beat through the caliche.  but I love how yours are shaping up.



I can fully understand, looking at your photo, it looks to be very challenging digging by hand. I was lucky in that my soil was easy digging of a depth of several feet till I hit rocks like in your photo.
I'm thinking perhaps adding water to your excavation might help loosen things up? A sturdy broadfork could help break things up as well. Meadow Creature makes some that are up to challenge.
To see a broadfork I made from their inspiration check this out.
https://permies.com/t/119282/Broadfork-home
 
Posts: 1829
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Wonderful!!!
 
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Re: small pond. We have an acre with a house on it. I have been debating adding a pond in the back corner of the property--if it were square, two sides would be up against the property line. Do you have or know of a recommended percentage of pond to land? We have no water flow except rain, but the pond would keep the water out of the neighbor's yard. Any suggestions?
 
Jason Vath
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Location: Hardiness Zone 5
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Sue,

I personally don't feel qualified to give much advice. I just instinctually went for this and figured I'd observe and learn as I go.
There are various places online for calculating how big a pond per the catchment area up hill. Might need to spend some time searching terms such as "pond catchment calculator" etc...

In my scenario, I have my spillways exiting back onto my property to ensure no water dumps onto the neighbor's property.
The spillways lead right to many micro-swales all over my property so I'm not concerned of catastrophes.

However, with my limited experience, I'd suggest that you pay very close attention to where you're pond water runoff would occur.
Make great efforts to direct your spill way in a manor that will not leak water on their property. Pay attention to the contour of the land all around (especially downhill of) your pond site.
After the spillway, create a swale or drainage ditch tipped slightly towards your property if necessary as a redundant backup safety feature.

All of this of course depends on the site. You have to be aware of how all the land lays. I did not guess on this. I used an A-Frame level to survey the land prior to even thinking of digging.

Also, add extra clay to the pond were it borders the property boundary.

 
Posts: 69
Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
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Sue Morrow wrote:Do you have or know of a recommended percentage of pond to land? We have no water flow except rain, but the pond would keep the water out of the neighbor's yard. Any suggestions?



Depending on the distance from any buildings, you can put drain line directly from downspouts to pond.  I've built some flexibility into my system.  My downspout on the house can go into the cistern or into the pond.  
 
Posts: 9
Location: Allentown, PA but we bought off-grid property in Newark Valley, NY
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Thanks for the very informative posts!  Mother Nature is starting to build a pond on our property.  The last 2 years have been unusually wet and a seasonal stream has shown up that still isn't dry.  It's fed by a large tract of swampy forest above us.  There's a depression along this stream that's forming a DII (do-it-itself) pond.  When this dries out enough to work, we'd love to dig it out further and build a pond.  Might start some digging out near but not connecting to the wet spot where we'd like the eventual pond to end up.  But probably have enough other projects for now.

Didn't know about the "if you hit gravel STOP!"  This advice may come in really handy.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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As usual most things depend, but I think 10% should be pond/stream/water features and 25% should be nitrogen fixers.
 
master pollinator
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Sue Morrow wrote:Re: small pond. We have an acre with a house on it. I have been debating adding a pond in the back corner of the property--if it were square, two sides would be up against the property line. Do you have or know of a recommended percentage of pond to land? We have no water flow except rain, but the pond would keep the water out of the neighbor's yard. Any suggestions?



If you do decide to build a upon on your land, then based on S. Benji's citation, you would build one about 65 x65 feet in size if square, and about 38 feet in diameter if making a round pond. (An acres is 43,000 sq ft, so 10% of that would be 4300 sq ft)

The only caution I have is that you mention "would keep water out of the neighbors yard", but that is not really the case. Eventually ponds fill up and overflow, all ponds, so a spillway is always required. I am not trying to discourage you, all I am saying is, eventually water will get onto the neighbors land, but if it is going there already, it is no big deal. It is just that you have to plan for it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 301
Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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My pond is fed by roofwater. This IBC tote (1000 liter= 220 gallon) is sitting outside the back of my house. When it's full, the overflow on the side runs down under the garden through pvc piping toward the pond. When it's not raining for a while i open the valve at the bottom of the IBC tote and the hose runs into the same pvc pipe toward the pond. When it is really dry in the summertime and the tote is empty, i pump water from the 1500 liter (350 gallon) cistern the whole IBC tote set-up is sitting on, into the IBC tote. The cistern is fed by a pipe running from the front of my house under the concrete flooring into it.
It works a dream, never been completely dry, even though this has been the driest summer since 1976.
I've got fish in the pond, which is situated next to the veggie patch, so easy to scoop up some enriched warm water to pour around.
If it's raining terribly and the pond is flowing over, i made a marshy patch on the side containing rhubarb and cranberry. Under there i added a drainage pipe, with holes that distributes water evenly under the veggie patch feeding grapevines and hedges of herbs like sage, that block wind from stealing moisture.
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James Everett
Posts: 117
Location: Gaines County, Texas South of Seminole, Tx zone 7b
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I have it being filled by a leaky water hose for my dogs to drink out of all the time and with the 100+ days they enjoy laying in the water to stay cool.  but watching the fill and emptying of it I do see that the dogs them self have the area where if I want go ahead and dig it down a bit more then how deep it is now.   I may do so to expand it out some and then level down the dirt all around it so that I can dig in another swale to divert some of the driveway water to come flowing to fill up the area with each rain fall.  either case the area back around it has really been getting full of grasses rather then the ragweed and other thistle that was growing in the area before.
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