More work on the pond

I had some time this weekend to continue working on the pond. The weather was dry, warm, and I was eager to keep this project moving forward. If you remember from the last post, I had filled the pond about 80% or so, but couldn't go higher because the retaining wall needed to be finished.

I've found that I usually have great expectations when it comes to weekend projects. My first thought was that I wanted to finish the retaining wall, backfill with soil, then start trimming and hiding the liner -- maybe get some rocks in place too. My second thought was that I have lots of other garden chores to take care of (like digging up bulbs and tubers) while the weather was nice, so I reduced my goals to just building the retaining wall and filling. Still a lot of work, but doable in the time I had.


As you can see in the photo above, I picked up some retaining wall blocks (on the left) and was ready to get started. Since I had built the back non-visible portion of the wall with leftover concrete chunks and mortar, and the new section of the wall would be interlocking wall blocks, I knew I needed something to tie both parts together. So I got these large "rumbled" blocks to cap both parts of the wall:

The concrete chunks section of the wall will be cleaned up later (there's a lot of loose mortar to remove), but the blocks look pretty good on top of it:

They'll be mortared into place on this part of the wall so I can level them out, but just glued (with landscape block adhesive) to the new part of the wall which will be nice and flat on top.

So I got started with the new blocks, making sure the lowest course was as level as I could get it, and was buried:

Then it was just a matter of placing the blocks, like Lego.

The tricky part was where the two types of blocks met. For some reason I didn't take a photo of that, but you can see it above if you click to enlarge.

I did take a nice photo of leaves on the water's surface though:

I kept stopping to look at the water -- this is going to be great when it's finished!

Here's the wall with the top blocks in place:

It does tie the whole thing together, doesn't it?

The next day (after letting the mortar set overnight) I had to get more topsoil so I could backfill the wall:

As much as I wanted to take a photo of myself heaving the wheelbarrow down here and figuring out how to get it up to the top of this short-but-still-too-tall-to-make-it-easy wall, I was too focused on the task to do so.

In fact, this is the best photo I took of the soil-backed wall:

I'll get more photos when I start trimming the liner.

With the back part of the pond "finished", I could then continue filling with water:

That's not quite the final water level, as I still had to walk around filling low spots and making the sides as even as possible, so it will be another inch or two higher. I also want to dig out a little more in front so I can have a better gravel "beach", but I'm almost ready to start placing rocks and hiding this liner!

I'll work on that later this week or over the weekend. It's going to be fun!


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (November 15, 2011 at 11:09 AM)  

I love these project-in-progress posts. I feel like I'm there watching you work :-).

Christine @ the Gardening Blog  – (November 15, 2011 at 1:54 PM)  

I agree with Gerhard - I enjoy these blow-by-blow reports. (they also make me realise I could never do anything this ambitious by myself). This is going to be an amazing pond ... I'm ever so envious :)

Alan  – (November 15, 2011 at 2:28 PM)  

This must be dashes-in-comments day. ;-)

Gerhard: if you were here you wouldn't be just watching, that's for sure -- I have 2 spades.

Christine: I bet in another year you'll be tackling stuff like this without hesitation.

Steve Lau  – (November 15, 2011 at 10:12 PM)  

Cool, looks like you can raise fish, water plants, a bog garden and other things that go with having a pond.

Christine  – (November 16, 2011 at 3:55 AM)  

Haha Alan, I wish! Maybe you and Gerhard can come over with your 2 spades - Then I'll give it a try :)

GrowingHabit –   – (November 16, 2011 at 12:13 PM)  

"I did take a nice photo of leaves on the water's surface though:" I laughed right out loud and woke up the cat when I read that. Have to agree with your distraction, and prioritizing, on this one. Water is endlessly enchanting.

Lisa  – (November 16, 2011 at 7:47 PM)  

Yay! The pond keeps getting more and more pond-like! It's going to be beautiful. You need to start planning your seating - you're going to want to spend lots of time sitting and watching the water! (Aren't you glad I stuck with the dashes-in-comments theme?)

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