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new project to pond-er - part 2


I’d wanted to stamp the soil down inside the raised bed to make a firm grounding for the pond, which would weight a bit when filled. Couldn’t manage the stamping, but used a brick as a “stamper” to firm the soil down as much as I could.

I’d decided to shorten the raised bed (to give me an end bed where I could plant something that would act as a windbreak, as that’s the direction the strongest wind comes from) so I built the new end wall shorter, to enclose the pond.

Not very well! The pond bottom fitted well, but the sides sloped outwards, so had to shift the bricks to match it. There was a gap at the top, too small for another row of bricks, so I stood the last layer on their sides to meet the pond rim.

The leftover bricks I built up into an end enclosure to get them out of the way

Filled the pond with the manky water from my “green pool” – I needed to get rid of that water and didn’t want to tip it on the ground in case the algae damaged the grass; was going to bale it out and tip it straight down the drain, then thought, the pond’s closer! So baled it in there.

The water level makes it painfully clear that the pond’s not straight!

Put clean water in the pool and added a bit of bleach, left it for a while then scrubbed it out – that water went into the pond, too. It’ll all have to go down the drain (unless I use it to scrub the paving)

I’ll have to empty the pond, take it out, take out some soil and try to level it more effectively than I did this time – I could add some and raise the level by another brick (no spare soil, since that went on to the bottom-left bed, but there’s a stack of broken roof tiles that should help to bulk it out)

This took me about a week, interspersed with relocating the bulbs, and I’ve got the backache to prove it!

I bought a small “pond ball” while on my latest shopping expedition; thought the bigger one would be too big for the pond, and not sure if this one isn’t too big either

There’ll need to be a lot more work on this, but think I’ve done enough for a few days!

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Fran you work so hard on your garden projects......I wish I had half your stamina.

18 Jul, 2014


lol Linda, so did I! I was so stiff after the first day (this was mixed in with relocating about a hundred bulbs) that I really wanted to take some time off, but I thought, if my muscles stiffen up more, they'll hurt more, so I mgiht as well give htem a bit more of a workout.

not sure if my logic was intact there

18 Jul, 2014


Fran I agree you do work hard but your brick work worry's me that something will move when you have filled it ,can I make a suggestion I can see that cementing them is probably out of the question however I you are prepared to take it apart to level it as you put it back together put a couple of blobs of silicone same as you would use in a kitchen or bathroom on each brick as a substitute for cement ,only thing you need to make sure they are dry when you do it the weight of the bricks does the rest .A builder gave me this tip some years ago when some coping stone came loose on a wall, did as advised and they have been secure ever since.

18 Jul, 2014


thanks Bjs dear. I've got some ready-mix concrete (left over from my first go at concrete-casting); if i can work out what proportion of water to add I'll use that.

I asked the gardener to day to move the small square stone trough back a bit - it was snug against the raised bed wall. Now I intend to take it all down and rebuild it a bit wider, so that the top will fit inside, rather than be perched over the top of the bricks.

The current brick-laying isn't safe at all, and I'd never have considered leaving it like that - it was just to see how the whole thing would look.

I had thought about filling the gap between braicks and pond with soil, partly for insulation and partly to create planting pockets, but the bed does need to be a bit wider, maybe only half a brick will do it.

i had intended the weight of the pond to be carried by the soil underneath, rather than "floating" on the top layer of bricks - i did turn the top layer of bricks flat after I'd taken these pics, so the pond rim does stick up a bit. the bricks are really only there to support their own weight, not that of the pond as well.

But in a while I'll empty the pond, take down the bricks and start again. lol of course it'd be eaiser and quicker to get someone to do it for me, but I'm determined that this is one thing that I'm going to do all on my own - with advice from friends!

18 Jul, 2014


Keep going Fran, but it's always a good idea to stand back, take a break, and allow the creative grey cells to work for a bit! :))

18 Jul, 2014


Fran you leave me breathless. If anybody ever deserved to have a new garden its you.

19 Jul, 2014


thanks @Karen - I did need to take a step back and look at this from all angles - by the end of the third or fourth day my knees and back and shoulders and arms were aching so much that all I could think of was to stack the bricks anyhow, just to get it done.

thanks, @Stera - :-} and I was accusing myself of slacking! so much to do, lol so little idea of how to do it!! but it's been monstrously hot - lol NOT complaining about the weather!! but even a tiny breeze would have helped to take the edge off. for eg, it's now 0134, the windows and front nad back doors have been wide open all day (only closed the front door ten minutes ago) and the temperature in the hall is still 24C.

lol maybe I should take up midnight gardening for a while!

19 Jul, 2014


Why use bricks? First, from your physical complaints, you are heading for the possibility of an injury which could have chronic consequences. Second, don't do anything that can't be easily reversed. Suppose you cement these bricks together and later on the plastic tank cracks or you change your mind altogether, do you think that you will be able to swing a ten pound sledge hammer to knock it apart? Why not just surround the perimeter of the tank with plant containers containing plants and vines of your choosing. In time the plantings will fill out, obscuring the water tank and giving you something much more pleasant to look at. Yes, do take a step back and put this project aside for a week or two to let your level of enthusiasm drop a bit.

19 Jul, 2014


The bricks were already there, Loosestrife, as a raiased bed. I just re-used them. The bed is a shade too narrow for the upper part of the pond, which is why the bricks had to be stacked slightly "out-lapping" half-way up, and still the top was too wide.

So I'll take it all down and move the rear section back a brick-width and try again; that should give enought width to accommodate the whole pond while still having the bricks firmly on top of each other. - I couldn't do this before because there was a stone trough at the back which I couldn't move (and anyway I didn't know then that it wouldn't fit).

I could just use the pond on its own but I wanted to give it some support and some insulation - I can't do much about the top but I can give the sides some protection from cold with bricks and soil infilled. Besides, I need it to be raised, so I can a) see it and b) reach it, and that means having something under it to raise it, which will need something around it to contain the "raising agent" - and the bricks are there already.

Then I can have plants at the back and to each side, and tubs or troughs at the front.

19 Jul, 2014


..and if you don't use those bricks for'll have to dispose of them.

19 Jul, 2014


I'm sure I'd find a use for them somewhere, Karen, but that'd mean a lot of lugging about the garden to where they'd be used - and they'd still need to be stacked to make something that I could saw before I actually fell over it!! And they'd need to be moved probably several times as I thought of something I wanted to do and found they were in the way.

I do want raised plinths for my small statues, but not sure a stack of bricks would have sufficient elegance! and the same "where to put it where I won't want to move it a couple of months later" still applies. lol these should be afterhtoughts, finishing touches once the main layout has been sorted, rather than the reason for the layout being as it is!

19 Jul, 2014


You could use them as lawn edging I suppose...

19 Jul, 2014


lol possibly, but I'm excellent at tripping over stuff that's only a little taller than its surroundings ....

19 Jul, 2014


A goog idea. I have some old bricks (with 19th century stamps on them) and need a small pool. Wil think about it. However, have to fix it more. For safety of my toes, lol.

21 Jul, 2014


Gosh! I feel exhausted just reading this Fran.

21 Jul, 2014

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