The Great Pond Make-Over

Since we purchased Hollow Pointe in 2012, we planned to change to look of the pond.  It looked like a swimming pool.  The pond was spring fed, and occasionally in wet years, the banks would erode and wash out.  The former owners decided to put in a cement wall to eliminate the problem.  Then, they painted it sky blue, and a local artist painted aquatic plants and animals to the water line.  Additionally, they built a nice dock.  The circumference is approximately 300 feet, the average depth is 8 feet, holding approximately 750,000 gallons.

We knew we wanted the pond to look more natural, but needed to keep the concrete walls.  After several wet years that caused the sides of the pond to cave in, the former owners erected the concrete walls and installed a drain to run 200 feet to the creek below (crick as they are called here in PA).  They also took the opportunity to divert water from the house gutter run-off and other rain water collection areas of the yard to the pond. Over recent cold winters, with freezing and thawing, several cracks appeared and needed repair.

DJ took vacation the first week of July and our plan was to complete the project in that time.  The weather forecast concerned us somewhat, as we received over 2.5 inches of rain the week before the scheduled project.  In the days leading up to his vacation, as preparation, we pumped water out of the pond through the above mentioned drain so we could walk around the edge without getting our feet wet.  As long as the pump could evacuate the water faster that it was flowing in, we would be in good shape.

We were set to begin on July 4th.  Unfortunately, in the early morning hours, it started to rain.  It only rained an inch that day, but because it rained so much previously, the ground was completely saturated.  Even a small amount of rain created a tremendous flow downhill to the pond.  In a matter of hours, the water level returned to normal.   The pump could not keep up with the volume flowing into the pond.  Day 1, no progress.  We took advantage of the break in the rain to enjoy a visit from John Wayne.

Fortunately, on the 5th, out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy, bitsy spider…oh sorry, I digress.  Anyway, we were able to pump out enough water to get started.  First, we had to pressure wash the walls to get rid of scum and loose paint.  (I bought DJ a great pressure washer for Father’s Day several years ago so we could clean all the stone walls in the garden, and I’ve logged more hours on it than he; it’s really fun to operate!).

Once I cleaned an area, DJ followed behind me and started the patching.  After I finished the pressure washing, I followed behind DJ and painted a primer/sealer on all the patches.  Completing these steps took 3 days.

Painting took up the remaining 5 days of DJ’s vacation.  We used 2 coats of Behr Textured DeckOver (this is an unpaid endorsement).  There aren’t many options for waterproof paint, but after much research, we chose this paint because we were extremely happy with the results on our concrete patio.  Pool paint would have been the best choice since the paint does go below the water line, but color options were extremely limited and unnatural (sky blue, black, white and marine green), and pool paint was extremely cost prohibitive.  I mentioned the circumference is 300 feet, and the average height of the concrete wall is 4 feet, doing the math, we needed 25 gallons (yikes! That is a lot of paint!)

Enjoying the completed work, and watching the water level rise.

Enjoying the completed work, and watching the water level rise.

Work was completed on schedule and DJ went back to work Monday, July 13.  The above picture was taken July 14, and the water lever is not yet up to the drain.  On July 18, it rained just over 2 inches and water was flowing in faster than the drain could put it out.  Water rose well above our summer high water line, up to the bottom of the dock.  The fish were happy though with the influx of so much fresh water.

We are very pleased with how the pond looks now.  As a follow up, next weeks post will cover the animal life in and around our pond.  Some time next year, I will update you on how the work fared through the freeze and thaw of this winter.

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