I've posted about my pond troubles a few times this year, and I've determined that I need to do something drastic.
This thing is a mess right now, something I don't want to even look at. When in good shape it's probably the most enjoyable part of my garden, but right now...
I got to the point a couple of weeks ago (before vacation) when I seriously considered just filling the whole thing in. Luckily it's winter so no action could be taken, and I've come up with another plan.
First though, let's review the issues here.
Number one is the liner. Now that raccoons have ripped it in a couple of places near the edge, the water level is too low:
To fix this I'll need to redo the entire edge, moving all of the rocks, leveling things. A lot of work.
Second, the sides of the hole* are too slanted (not vertical enough), I left a "ledge" around a portion of the bottom, and my idea of having a shallow "beach" area turned out to be a terrible one.
This low spot lets too much debris into the pond, especially since...
...it's on the uphill side. Heavy spring rains drain right into the pond, carrying so much mud.
Definitely contributed to my water quality issues this year.
The pond is also a bit larger than I can handle. Getting the netting over it in the autumn is much more of a challenge than it should be. This year I had to skip it due to busy schedule...
...which has almost definitely killed the fish. I'm sad about that, but there was a lot of stress and danger coming in their future (especially if I decided to fill the pond in!)
So I've come up with a new plan. It involves a lot of work, but should be a long-lasting solution. It involves removing the rubber liner, and replacing it with a plastic stock tank!
Something like this:
There are many choices in the 8' (2.4m) diameter size (about 600 gallons), including colors like green or dark grey. A few 9' (2.7m) options are available too (1000 gallons), but that may be too big. Heck, 8' may be too big to get into my back garden, and there are other considerations too, like cost.
I think this will be my best option though. More durable than the liner by far, smaller (the current pond is about 10'x12', but not uniform depth), and it will have an edge of uniform height that will keep the hill runoff out.
Good thing I have a couple of months before I can do anything -- gives me time to think it through more.
*Here's a photo of the original hole just before the liner went in if you want to see what's happening under there.
Any suggestions or thoughts would be welcome!