Water Lily

The Ideal Pond

Do you have wooden railings? Are they ever in need of painting or oiling or other maintenance? Are they splitting? Are they splintering? Are they ever too hot to use?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to look at VinylHandrailCovers.com . Vinyl Handrail Covers make the answers to ALL those questions "NO" forevermore. Vinyl Handrail Covers have a Lifetime Guarantee.
Member Web Ring Member Member Internet Pond Society Ring Member
I know I'm probably the only person who ever daydreams about "THE IDEAL POND", you know the one that's the perfect size, the perfect depth, the perfect low maintenance filters, the perfect ...

(Note this will likely be a "dynamic document", that is it will be probably/certainly changing as dreams permit)


Well here goes.... It would have to be on a large piece of property, maybe backed up to some perpetually colorful woods (it's a dream, remember?) with a southern exposure so that Ideal Pond (IP) gets plenty of sunlight.

It would be roughly rectangular in shape, maybe 50' lengthways across with the woods at the back and 25' deep (not depth of the water). IP would be partially in the ground and partially out. The depth would vary up to as much as 5' with somewhere between 18" and 24" above ground. That's a comfortable sitting height for the wide shelf that will be on top of the retaining wall.

One section, probably 10 or 12' long will have a railing with a 6" wide cap and be 42" high, a perfect "leaning on" height. This will be located on the southern side of IP, so that loungers won't get the sun in their eyes in the late afternoons. Might even have one on the north and/or east side as well for those early risers, which I am (usually).

At one end of IP would be a set of stairs (with a hand railing) leading down into IP for maintenance and/or planting. (No more of this slippin' and slidin' on mossy rocks or buggy luggin my hefty ass over a railing.)

Across the front of the retaining wall (probably made from treated lumber) facing the house will be a fieldstone wall with a fairly level top. That will be the sitting area with lots of room for potted plants (preferably deep red roses that like a lot of sunlight.)

In the center of IP will be a natural wood octagonal covered gazebo with 12' sides. Plenty big enough for a large dinner party and big enough as well to provide cool shade on hot summer days for lunch or working at the table.

To reach the gazebo will be (naturally) a wooden bridge (not straight either but built in a pleasing arc). The deck of the gazebo will be at or very near the water level so that you will be able to easily see the fish swimming underneath.

That pretty much completes the esthetics of IP. (for now)


The IP hole will be dug to between 3' and 4' deep pretty much evenly which will give me an overall depth of 5' to 6' depending on the height of the retaining wall above ground. I will put a retaining wall all around the IP below ground as well, so that there is some spreading of support for the fieldstone wall. We didn't do that with my existing pond and where the waterfall is, the weight of the rock face has collapsed that end wall so that the liner has "ballooned" into the pond. Luckily we had left a long "tail" above ground there to accommodate the waterfall. Dunno yet if we'll (Kevin again under my, ah...., direction) have to take down the rocks (yet again), lower the pond level and dig out and put a wall in. It kinda looks like the "balloon" is growing. Dunno which'll be more work, Kevin doing it or me getting him to do it. Hope I don't have to remind him I used to change his diapers again, that was a pretty ugly scene. He's still kinda sensitive about that. At any rate IP will have a below ground retaining wall, probably 1" treated lumber.

Once that has been done, the liner will be spread out in place. I'll probably buy one from one of the lining companies on the Pond Links page, rather than using the rubber roofing material I have now, mainly because you can get big enough sheets so there's no need for seams (potential leaks). In the scheme of things, we're not looking at a lot of money here relative to the total cost of IP, probably well under $1,000 for the liner. (I'm not gonna go into details about how to lay it, leaving extra over the edges and all that stuff. Nobody would build an IP who hadn't done it before and learned all that stuff, would he? Well if he was a wealthy true ponder, he might. Course then he can afford the mistakes .)

Now that I have the liner laid. I'm going to cover the entire bottom with 3" of fine soft edge gravel (maybe with sand mixed in). Why am I doing that? Because we're going to be walking on the liner a lot to build the gazebo and planter boxes and stuff and the gravel will protect it.

The gazebo will be sitting on piers pre-made of 6" transit pipe filled with concrete. The pier bases will made of full 2" x 12" X 12" treated lumber for the piers to sit on and fastened to. (The relatively small footprint of the pier (19 sq") is now being dispersed over 144 sq" which is further dispersed by the gravel and sand, (no liner punctures). At the tops of the piers will be galvanized stringer saddles embedded in the concrete for the stringers to set in once the piers have been placed and leveled.

Now that I've got that out of the way the Kevin can build the gazebo with no further input from me (yeah right!). And I can turn my attention to where I want the different bottom textures and levels. I want to have a section of soft nutrient rich mud within 12" of the surface, so I will take from one corner, say 6' wide x 20' long against the woodland side and construct a solid walled pen of 1" x 6" treated lumber and be high enough to come up to 12" below the pond surface. And filled with top soil. This is where the frogs will winter. Sagittaria will get planted there, plus a few hardy lillies. Hopefully all the denizens (worms, micro-organisms, etc) of pond mud will eventually find their way there and set up a colony.

In another section, maybe right next door to the top soil, I'll have another one (probably smaller) filled with a clay base type soil. Cattails will root in well as well as various lilies.

Once I have the permanent bottoms in place where I want them, I will lay a out grid of holey plastic pipes, each probably 12' long, probably at least two radiating out from each pier on the gazebo. Each will have an elbow with pipe going up along side the pier cut off 6" below IP surface. They get covered with synthetic mating 1.25" thick. These will be the base for my under gravel (ug) filters/circulators installed later.

Next I will cover everything (except the top soil and clay bottoms) with WHITE gravel probably .25" - .5" grit, soft edges, 4" deep. Maybe a truckload of big river rocks dumped in the middle to give a variety to the bottom and places for small fish to hide. (You remember all the reasons for using white gravel form "Building A Pond", don'tcha?)

I will use pvc pipe for legs on tables built with egg crate tops. The "tables" will be various heights to hold pots of exotic lilies and other water plants. Maybe even a table only 2" from the surface with a big bed of roses on top in the middle of the pond. Talk about constant watering.


Before I get into the nitty filter stuff, I'm gonna have a really foamy fountain in the center somewhere for both aesthetic purposes and aeration (filtration) purposes. Keep the water oxygen saturated for the fish and plants.

IP is gonna be around 40,000 gallons in full sun so I'm gonna need a pretty good filter system.

The ug filter pipes will each have a "power head", probably 400 gph installed. There will be nearly 40,000 gallons of water in the pond and almost certainly more than the ug's will be able to handle. I want them for 3 reasons

  1. Cheap &Easy to put in

  2. Increased biological filtration at low cost.

  3. Provide more circulation (movement).

  4. Draws water nutrients down through the bottom for any plant/bottom life that gets established. (I'll probably put the same setup on the bottom of each of the permanent bottoms before I put the topsoil/clay in just to get circulation moving through. I would put a couple layers of fiberglass sheeting like is used under gravel yards. It's water permeable but not dirt. If they don't work, no big loss.)

My main filter is going to be a (are you ready now? big surprise) da....... da......... (trumpets blaring).......

A HOME MADE LAVA ROCK filter. Didn't fool ya huh?

Ain't going draw any diagrams here (remember everything's in my head) but all you have to do is envision bunk beds. Each bunk bed will have 2' sides all the way around. The bottom of the bed where the spring normally sits will be a grid on which will rest synthetic padding. The pads will be 1.25" thick (avl Pond Supplies of America on Links page) and be 2 deep, The water is pumped onto the top bunk and filters through the padding to the bottom bunk.

The sides are 2' high so that as the padding get plugged, the water will rise and the pressure will push more water through. When the water spills over the edge you know it's time to take the padding out and hose it off.

The bottom bunk is constructed the same way only instead of synthetic padding it has a 12" deep layer of lava rock laying in it. The top bunk should be at least 18" above the lower one which ensures significant aeration in the drops falling on the lava rock, which in turn encourages prolific bacteriological growth.

The bottom bunk should be again 18" above the stream meandering 30 or 40' colorfully babbling back to the pond it's going to feed for more aeration purposes. I'm thinking maybe I'll have my stream a couple feet above IP level so I can have a small water fall. (Won't have to bend over so far to do stream enhancement projects either.)

I am going to feed it with probably a 2" pool pump, something on the order of 10,000 gph. They aren't expensive and run reliably and pretty cheap (about $2 a day where I live - we have maybe the cheapest electric rate in the nation - .045 cents per kilowatt hour)

I will use the skimmer from Pond Supplies of America as the main pump intake. It's a really nifty setup. (Address on Links Page)

(Note - Since writing this I have designed a Large Pond Filter. The details can be found HERE.)


I'm going to start out with 20 or 30 bucks worth of 10 centers. After a month or so I'm going to start adding orandas, ryukins, stuff like that. I'm pretty sure you can get them pretty cheap, down around $2 apiece if you buy by the hundred. I'll probably part (reluctantly) with a few bucks for a couple of NICE koi (not culls). Don't want too many koi though, they're really tough on the plant life. You can bet one thing though, there won't be no steenking catfish in it. Well that's it (for today anyway). What's your ideal pond gonna look like? What kinda filter setup are you going to have? Send it on and I'll post it here.

End of Ideal Pond

Click here for my home page (Caution - Not for the faint hearted or politically correct, but plenty good stuff , not pond stuff though.) Building A Pond - My Main Pond Page.

Due to popular demand, I finally got a scanner ( Father's Day, Birthday, Anniversary & Christmas presents all in one, so I've been told by my wife.) Anyway click here for the long awaited pictures.

Letters and Tips from other Ponders and visitors to this page.
If you have any questions, you are likely to find the answers (in so far as I have any) here.

1997 End of Season Report A report on how I fared the summer.

Pond Links A fairly comprehensive list of Pond related sites.

USDA Minimum Temperature Map For comparison, my Pond is in Zone 6.

I would very much appreciate it if you would
take a few seconds to rate this

. Just click the appropriate button.
("Excellent" is pre-selected for you ( grin))."

Excellent - Well worth my time.
Pretty Good - Worth reading.
Just Okay - Not especially exciting.
Not so Hot - Would sooner be trimming my toenails.
Bleech.... - Complete Waste of Time.
No rating.... Just wanted to say I was here .

Other Comments or Pond Tips/Tricks of your own

(Note - This format is anonymous.
If you want a reply, you'll have to send an Email
(or include your email address. ).
(Note, many using this format have asked for a reply but have left invalid email addresses.)

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer
them promptly if you send me an email.
Thanks for stopping by.

This Tropical Fishkeeping Help Ring site is owned by A Very Sage Guy

[Prev| Next 5| Random| Next| List sites]

Want to join this ring? Click here
This IPS Ring site is owned by
A Very Sage Guy

Want to join the
Internet Pond Society Web Ring?

[Skip Prev] [Prev] [Next] [Skip Next] [Random] [Next 5] [List Sites]

Vote for this website!

End of Pond Builder(c)

This document is (c) Copyrighted by G. H. Lovgren. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part without this copyright notice.