Years ago we purchased a pre-made pond kit at Costco. It was a hard shell and we set it up next to our patio. We didn't even dig much of a hole for it, but rather a shallow hole to rest in and then propped it up with parts from an old concrete birdbath. It wasn't pretty, but it still gave off the sound of water with a fountain. When we built our deck six years back we extended it farther than our concrete patio and took up the spot where the pond was. So we cut a hole in the deck and laid the pond liner in it and continued our enjoyment of water. We liked the pond so much we put in a real pond in our lawn. When I say "we", I mean the people we hired from the Home Show. They specialized in putting greens, but were getting into the pond business and gave us a great deal to be their guinea pig. For another few years we had the big pond and the little pond, neither of which I could ever claim to be a creator of or do any significant work on other than writing a check.
A few summers ago the hard pond liner cracked. She served us well, but it was time to throw the old gal away. So for almost two years I have had a huge hole in my deck. The pets have loved it, using it as an entrance to the netherworld of under deck exploration. We did get a quote to cover the hole, but at $1800 for labor and materials we said, "um, no". Yes, it was an eyesore, but with two kids in college you can turn a blind eye when asked to lay out that much cash, especially when it is NOT for a Chanel handbag. I just looked past the hole to the nice pond out in the lawn.
I did search for another pre-made hard liner, but never found one the same shape. So as a new challenge I decided to tackle the hole and turn it into a pond from scratch with my own two hands. Luckily there was no hole to dig, only a hole that needed some sand to soften the dirt. The deck had been boxed in with the framing around the hole for support so I bought a flexible pond liner and got out the old staple gun and started attaching the liner to the frame. It went pretty well for awhile, but as I tend to cut corners and take shortcuts I decided to just fold up the excess liner rather than cut it to size. As it filled with water it became apparent this was not one of my better ideas. The water pressure pushed the excess liner out under the deck frame like a balloon and there was a slight leak from one of the creases. This would need to be fixed. But I needed a new focus before tackling that problem.
I decided to work on the pump and filter to make sure the waterfall would work properly. The pond guy had sold me everything I would need. Well, everything I would need if the dang pipe didn't need to go at a 90 degree angle. Plus the fittings were so tight I could barely get them together even when using a blow dryer on the pipe to expand it. I hit Lowe's to see if they had the more flexible tubing, which they did. Hooray! However, they have no fittings for the tubing...boo hiss. I managed to use the fittings the pond guy provided by using my dremel tool to sand the ridges off two of them. This made plastic dust get all over my clothes and resulted in experience #12 (read previous post) and delayed any further work on the pond for the day.
On day 2, I emptied the pond and fixed the liner so it was the correct size for the hole without any excess. I then put the waterfall together. The fittings were still tight and required a blowdryer, but I somehow managed to get them on the pipe. The waterfall for this pond is just a single fall from a black plastic reservoir. It is unsightly, but the pond guy had sold me rocks to stack around it. Lots of rocks. Rocks that were supposed to be put together like a puzzle to both hide and support the reservoir with a flat rock placed on top. This did not go as planned. My first attempt was a bit wobbly so I decided to try and put in one more rock to stabilize it better. Plop, plop, plop, plop...one by one the rocks all tumbled into the pond. Attempt number two went much better, except after standing back to admire my handiwork I saw the pond liner was scrunched up under the reservoir and was leaking onto the deck rather than back into the pond. This time I took all the rocks off by hand and only one or two fell in to be retrieved. The third time was the charm and actually turned out looking the best.
Once the waterfall was set, I added some stones over the edge of the deck to give it a more finished look. At some point one or more of the dogs will step on one and end up in the pond, but I'm hoping they won't do it a second or third time. Last step was the plants. Pond plants are nothing new to me so that was the easy part.
I shun hard work and manual labor whenever possible, but on those rare occasions when I push myself I do end up with some nice results. This is way better than a big hole in my deck and a nice addition to the big pond. Tomorrow I shall BBQ ribs and steak as I sit out on the deck and enjoy my handiwork...