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pond where spring house used to be

 
Posts: 30
Location: nova scotia
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hey all!

i've been contemplating building a spring-fed pond since we moved into our new place this october. there were spike rush all over this one section of the yard and the grass is quite marshy, and rains cause some little streams through the yard along the currant bushes along the driveway. the driveway got a few tiny wash-out ruts last rain storm because all the snow thawed at the same time. needless to say, i am interested in facilitating a better system for letting this spring water escape the property.  i plan on busting up the grass to make more garden beds and i don't want them flooding and washing away.


the old owners recently sent us some photos of the house pre-renovation. turns out, up until the 80s there was a springhouse right where i wanted the pond to be, so my intuition that the area had a spring was correct! (i know nothing about springs or ponds at all so it was just from googling stuff that reinforced my suppositions.)

so, my thoughts are to dig down about 5 feet in a small section and have long side areas for marginal plants. i would say the area is 80x30 feet. there are some established french drains on the property that are clearly not working well. there is a swale along that side of the property channeling some water down the hill toward the fruit trees, but it doesn't seem to really gather much of the water, and it has a tendency to head for the driveway instead. the driveway has the well next to it and then there is another swale that heads through the trees toward the road, but again, the water is going along the driveway instead.

any tips for ensuring the water goes in the swales instead of spreading all over the yard and channeling into the driveway? also, should i be concerned with the soil being contaminated where a spring house used to be, from any building materials?

PS: i have no intention of using a pond liner or using heavy machinery, just building it slowly over time, somewhat like edible acres does. i've been reading about our soil in the area and it seems to be imperfectly to well-draining but there is enough clay and silt that it compacts easily, which i think is contributing to my issues with it running all over the yard.

according to a soil report for the area "The tills of the area are nearly always tightly compacted (bulk density >1.6 g/cm ) beginning at the 30 to 60 cm depth. Valleys and lower slopes of the ridges throughout the survey area typically have coarse loamy soil materials and a coarse fragment content ranging from 5 to 50%. Coarse fragments consist mainly of weathered sandstone which breaks down easily, making an accurate determination of the gravel content difficult. The composition of the fines is in the following ranges: clay 5-30%, silt 30-50%, sand 30-80%."

obviously, i have to do a soil test of the area when all the snow melts to see what my specific composition is, as that's quite a range lol.




 
pollinator
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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Some photos would help a lot.
 
vv anderson
Posts: 30
Location: nova scotia
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I can post some photos soon! Life got real busy between work and our cats getting altered and etc etc. will share photos when the snow thaws a bit more
 
Posts: 1007
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Since your soils report says it's loamy, you might need at least some clay lining it to make the water stay in a pond.  It might collect there in the winter when it's raining, but is likely to not "pond" in the summer since the water can run right through the loam.

If you have a 5-foot deep hole in the summer with muck in the bottom of it, is that going to bring in mosquitoes?  Are kids and pets safe?  Are the neighbors' kids and pets safe?  Mud is a real kid lure.  A 5-foot wall is not an easy one to climb out of.

You might want to live there a whole year, go through all the seasons, before you make a decision on something that permanent, with that much labor involved.

Springs are very valuable, as in making your property more valuable, as well as providing a water source.  Sure you don't want to develop it as one?  Then controlling the outflow of it  through a pipe is easier if you change your mind.

Think of your foundation of your house, if you slow down the water flowing through your property, that means that the soil "upstream" from the pond and "downstream" from the pond will be wetter all year round if there's enough water to keep it a pond all year round.  Ground water that is slowed down tends to fan out, so even if it's 100 feet away, it could easily fan out and affect the soil your foundation is on.  Even if the foundation isn't bothered by water under it, there will be new dampness under the house causing moisture to be under the house, possibly in a basement.

That's why pond liners are helpful, because the overflow can be directed by buried pipes out away from any structures, septic tanks, septic leach fields and driveways/roads.
 
vv anderson
Posts: 30
Location: nova scotia
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Thank you so much for that!! I definitely will be working on my gardens and shelter belts before attacking this pond.

The issue with the spring is itโ€™s already developed and leaking full time into the yard, the only thing the previous owners did was bury it, dig a swale along the eastern edge headed down toward the orchard, and run a small French drain along the currant berry bed which heads toward the drilled well. There is no  shortage of water here 95% of most years, and Iโ€™ve never heard of a well running dry in the area (one running low when they processed a ton of meat birds during the peak of summer, but thatโ€™s it and it was their residential well and probably not equipped for a farm-sized operation)

Ideally Iโ€™d use the dug Swale as an overflow and make a key line on the low side beyond the house, so the foundation wouldnโ€™t be affected. The foundation is just a few years old, poured concrete and is fairly water tight. The driveway separates the yard from the area where the pond would be and we have occasional spring runoff into the driveway which needs correcting as it creates little washouts, due to the lack of upkeep on the French drain.

Re: the kids - we live in the middle of nowhere and all the nearest neighbours are retired and are quite far away from us. We're 15 mins from the nearest village of less than 2k people, so the location is remote. The whole garden will have an electric fence around it as the deer are the biggest menace here and our county literally has culls, beyond regular hunting because it's so dangerous for cars and forest regeneration. Not sure how deep my pond actually needs to be dug as the water table is so high here, I doubt it needs to be 5 feet deep! Still considering a liner if necessary but we will see!!

Pics to follow!!

Cristo Balete wrote:Since your soils report says it's loamy, you might need at least some clay lining it to make the water stay in a pond.  It might collect there in the winter when it's raining, but is likely to not "pond" in the summer since the water can run right through the loam.

If you have a 5-foot deep hole in the summer with muck in the bottom of it, is that going to bring in mosquitoes?  Are kids and pets safe?  Are the neighbors' kids and pets safe?  Mud is a real kid lure.  A 5-foot wall is not an easy one to climb out of.

You might want to live there a whole year, go through all the seasons, before you make a decision on something that permanent, with that much labor involved.

Springs are very valuable, as in making your property more valuable, as well as providing a water source.  Sure you don't want to develop it as one?  Then controlling the outflow of it  through a pipe is easier if you change your mind.

Think of your foundation of your house, if you slow down the water flowing through your property, that means that the soil "upstream" from the pond and "downstream" from the pond will be wetter all year round if there's enough water to keep it a pond all year round.  Ground water that is slowed down tends to fan out, so even if it's 100 feet away, it could easily fan out and affect the soil your foundation is on.  Even if the foundation isn't bothered by water under it, there will be new dampness under the house causing moisture to be under the house, possibly in a basement.

That's why pond liners are helpful, because the overflow can be directed by buried pipes out away from any structures, septic tanks, septic leach fields and driveways/roads.

 
vv anderson
Posts: 30
Location: nova scotia
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here are some photos of my yard!!

i have tried to upload 3 times... yikes. HEIC format failed. then the description under the photos were too long... so i typed all these long messages under each photo only to have them deleted twice!! my poor brain.

first photo is standing where the pond would be, looking north.

second photo is drainage ditch, along east.

third photo is looking west/northwest along french drain, currant bushes, driveway, toward drilled well, and west-facing "cliff" where there is a river gulch beyond the road.

fourth photo is behind the house facing north, my small orchard area, beyond which i want to make more beds, have more fruit and nut trees (some were planted this fall) and berry bushes. the right of the photo is where the swale/drainage ditch empties into. would like to do keyline system and lengthen the swale to spread water into the upper field so that i can grow things free of irrigation.
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I can't beleive you just said that. Now I need to calm down with this tiny ad:
Own 37 Acres in AZ - good water wells - 44% discount, only $22k!
https://permies.com/t/96159/Acre-site-Northwestern-AZ-sale
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