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Hand building a clay pond

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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2014 at 8:35pm
Fabulous effort so far, keep us updated Gemma Clap
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 12:01am
Excellent Gemma! I can imagine it. I'm surprised you kept upright - the stuff is so slippery.
Good luck!
Suz
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 8:57pm
We didn't always keep upright Suz! Sometimes I just gave up and laid in the stuff whilst working!

Today was a massive effort to get all the Sodium Bentonite in before the forecast rain arrived. Started out by hiring a cement mixer and wacker plate thingy. 




The first ten bags of Sodium Bentonite (there were 20 in all) were mixed with dry soil dug from the pond.  The Bentonite is the grey looking stuff, out of the bags it is remarkably like cat litter.  The mixture was spread over all the sticky wet naturally occurring clay from yesterday.







That took the morning to do.

It started to be obvious the top edge would need some extra attention, so five bags of the Bentonite got mixed dry with the soil and then put in a bucket and thoroughly soaked. This was so a top lip could be formed using a trowel.  This top edge can be seen being started below. I went right round the pond doing this - twice!



We now had five bags left and the threat of rain. Some sources say the Bentonite should be mixed with soil, others that the ideal is actually pure Bentonite. So we compromised and flung four bags worth over what we had to give a uniform coverage.



Now the fun bit, add water:



and more water....


and more...


I then went in and had a bath, started to process the above pictures and it's still not filled up. It's been going for hours now! I wanted a fairly big pond, but realised it was over half filled and still had at least 18 inches to go!

I've held back one bag of the Bentonite in case we ever need to do a repair. There is also a bucket full of the wet mix for the morning when the water has  found a natural level to fill in any low bits of the edge.

In all not too bad a job, and we got the Bentonite in just before the first shower this afternoon.

I'm not overly keen on the grey, it reminds me a bit too much of commercial projects I've worked on that involved balancing ponds, so the plan is to throw plenty of sloppy Essex clay and some top soil in the water over the next few days to naturalise the look more.








Edited by GemmaJF - 12 Aug 2014 at 9:00pm
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Tom Omlette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Omlette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 9:31pm
ClapClapClap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 10:00pm
It's looking good Gemma. Hope the creatures appreciate the hard work.
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 11:26pm
Thanks Tim!

Can't wait to spot the first to visit Suz, be it four legged, no legged 6 or more legged, they are all welcome Smile

Just went and checked the water level, it's still filling up, about another 6-8 inches to go.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Omlette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2014 at 11:31pm
what do you reckon will be the first visitor/resident? frogs are pretty quick but you don't have many around you do you. probably an invert. i'll go for pond skater.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 7:16am
Pond skater would be a good bet Tim, or perhaps a water beetle as they were pretty quick to find the pond the first time around.

Was up early like an excited kid on Christmas day this morning! I switched off the hose at midnight last night with a few inches of water left to go. It hasn't dropped a millimeter in depth over night, so all is looking good. Hose is back on for the final fill, I'll be adding the natural clay to the water for the colour change this morning. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 6:19pm
This is how it looked this morning, still needing a few more inches of water:



End of today, with lots of soil added:



Did a fair bit of work re-profiling the top lip. I found it needed to be sloped more so that a minimum of the clay was exposed to the sun (else it dries and cracks). It will help newts get in and out more easily too. Smile

That's it for the pond (I hope!) plenty of work still to do to tidy up the surroundings (including the 5 foot high pile of spoils from the pond I was standing on to take the pictures) but apart from that and adding some plants, it's up to nature now. 


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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2014 at 6:31pm
terrific work for sure, Gemma.  I'm sure it will be appreciated by the local amphibians - and then maybe the grass snakes...
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