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pond part 3


Saturday: started about 10 am – took the bricks right off – if I were going to rebuild it I’d do it from the ground up, to make sure that the base layer, which all the others would depend on, was stable.

Rain stopped play for an hour or so, so I did some wood sorting (the moving people had dumped 2 disassembled wardrobes, 2 ditto Ikea bookcases and three-years’-worth of wood projects in the living room, and that seriously needed to be sorted: I’d chipped at it before, but never had the energy or incentive to do it all.)

Once the rain had stopped, back outside: started placing bricks, using a spirit level – if I could get the base layer level, the upper levels would follow it (as they’d follow a wobbly base level!). so it all depended on that base layer being perfectly level and stable – or as near to perfect as I could get

Was a lot easier to say than to do! After a while I gave up trying to get the bubble dead centre of the lines; so long as it was within the lines I eventually called that good enough

More than one brick took at least ten goes to get nearly right – it was too high on one side or one end; I sorted that, and that threw the other measurement out, and when I’d got them both sorted, it wasn’t level with the brick next to it.

Sorted that and then found that that had changed the level of the brick so I had to start all over again. And sometimes the brick had got out of line with its neighbour, so had to start again. And again, and more than once, yet again.

(I’d never make a brickie! But then I assume that brickies have training, and better tools than I was using.)

As planned, I extended the bed width by half a brick, which meant moving the nearby plants out of the way, and in one case digging up and relocating a small geranium offshoot. And this new bit hadn’t been levelled for the bed, so had to do that as I went along.

Got three-quarters of the course laid when I had to give up for the day, just aching too much (and I’d had no sleep the night before!).

Before I packed up I checked to see how the pond fitted –was underjoyed to find out that it still wouldn’t completely fit within the bricks – the body would fit, but the lip would overlap a little.

I could take the bed back by another half-brick, but that would start to seriously impede the plants that are there.

Or I could build up as it is, and see how it goes – the bed itself will fit in with level walls, but the lip at the top will overlap, so I’ll have to make sure that the lip can rest on the top layer with no gap and no crowding – which will mean adjusting the soil level underneath to get it just so.

But that will be tomorrow. Or the next day.

Sunday: I really did not feel like doing anything – but I only had a couple of bricks to lay to finish the base layer, so I went for it – it wouldn’t do itself, and I wanted to get the base layer down to give it time to settle.

Annoyingly, the last brick (lowest in the right-hand vertical) wasn’t level with the first one I’d laid (right-most, bottom) though it was level with the one in the middle of the vertical. If I’d done it right, each brick level with the next, the last should have matched up with the first. I tried to stuff dirt and small stones under the last brick to get the bottom end level with the first brick while trying not to change the top of the brick, which matched the one above it. Got it more or less matched eventually.

(The concrete slabs were dug up from the bed; I can use them for stepping-stones around the garden beds)

Put another couple of layers on, to add weight to help the base layer to settle.

Some hours later, added another couple of layers

that flipping umbrella keeps falling over, I think I need to add some concrete to the water in the base!)

I’ve got enough bricks left for one more layer; thought I’d fill the bed with the spare soil that I’d dug out, putting back the tile fragments that I’d previously removed – they’ll add bulk, which I’ll need, as I already disposed of most of the excavated soil

Then I’ll have to measure how far down the pond base goes, and fill up to that level, leave it to settle, then add more. Once it’s firm, I can add the pond and put the final layer of bricks on top, holding the rim in place.

I don’t know how I can fill the sides between pond and bricks; there’ll be more gap lower down, as the pond sides slope outwards – the only way I can think of is that once I’ve found the right level of soil to support the pond base, take some bricks down and fill the gap as I build up again.

I’ll have to see when I get that far

As a side note, I’m surprised at how much I mange to do when I’ve only had a few hours’ sleep, or no sleep at all. But then, I’ve got a whole day in front of me, and am frequently energised to make maximum use of it. Of course, the bill has to be paid later! As I write this, I’ve been up for about thirty-seven hours and really feeling the need to find out what bed feels like ….

More blog posts by franl155

Previous post: new project to pond-er - part 2

Next post: recycling old joggies



thanis, Snoop! I really didn't want to start the last session,but I thought, it's gotta be done, so get on with it. Once I started, I was ok.

the main prob was that I could only work from one side, cos of the plants - I had to lean over to get down enough to see the spirit level at the back, and the only thing I could lean on was the bricks on the sides and I didn't want to do that in case i disturbed them.

I had thought of concreting the base layer in to make damn sure it didn't move, but knowing my luck I'd have disarranged them in the process - and besides, they stillmight settle a bit as teh soil under them compacts. I'll check the level in a few days and see how it's getting on.

22 Jul, 2014


Blimey Fran you've been working hard again. It's looking really good hope it doesn't settle too much on you. Now take it easy for a day or two give the batteries chance to recharge.

22 Jul, 2014


thanks, Sam, I do'nt have much choice about not doing much for a few days, my entire body has gone on strike for amything more strenuous than lifitng a cup of tea!!

23 Jul, 2014


Thats coming along nicely I really like this idea.
If it were me I would infill with sand and this can be poured around the sides till it fills up and you can more easily slide the bath around in it till its level, also it will support the heavy water bath better anything than on sharp that could possibly puncture it over time.
One other thought I have is you could try once the bath is in place - add another layer of bricks to hide the rim. I think this will also get rid of any unlevel water affect as the eye will not see the bath just the water.

23 Jul, 2014


Good grief Fran, I thought I could work hard, but you put me to shame. Please don't over do things in this heat we all seem to be getting. There's always tomorrow you know. That said, you've done a terrific job. Well done you. :)

24 Jul, 2014


thanks Drc and HB and Waddy

@Drc: the "filling" prob is how to get soil or sand down the sides when the lip is sticking out, preventing me from just tipping it in at the top!

So far I've thought of finding the right depth for the base, then take some bricks down in the middle of each face, tip filler in there, then put the bricks back - lol I can't take the pool out to check or the filler will fall to the bottom and then the pool won't fit back in again.

I'll use the tile pieces as far down as I can reach - maybe take some soil out then cover the tile fragments, to give some cushioning. (also, I'd thought of bubble-wrapping the pond for cold insulation, not sure if I will or not, I've got plenty to spare)

I'm going to use the leftover bricks to edge the pool top, to hide and to anchor it.

@Homebird - I hadn't thought of that! I'll sort the pieces and see if I can find enough of more or less the same size.

@Waddy, I had overdone it a bit, but at least most of this work was done in the afternoon when the sun had gone the other side of the roof, so I was in shade - didn't do much to alleviate the heat, though! My skin was glowing from more than exertion for a few days after.

24 Jul, 2014


Goodness, what a marvellous job you're doing, Fran. I bet your pond is filled up now if you have had the heavy rain that we have had in the last few days. Look forward to hearing more about this project, well done you :)

28 Jul, 2014


not yet, Gee - sigh. I've been filling the base with soil to cover the tile fragments - finally got round to emptying the stone sink taht i'd been planning to get rid of for ages, since it's abotu a ton too heavy for me to lift. that's filled some space, but not enough, so I need to report some grasses and used the spent soil from them. then let it settle and top up if necesssary, tamp it down before placing the pond.

Could have done it, or some of it, but not been in the mood much, still aching a bit.

29 Jul, 2014


I know what you mean, Fran. I spent Saturday morning & part of Sunday removing a couple of old stumps from the garden. Couldn't do it with fork/spade/saw so resorted to hammer and chisel (which I bent) so then it was a large screwdriver and hammer - took ages but I eventually managed to get through all the deep roots and lift the stumps out.

29 Jul, 2014


oh, wow, that sounds like a job and a half! and with tools to replace, or at least straighten out! do you have pics of before and after? even if not of "during"?

30 Jul, 2014


Wow Fran what you like, I 've just been reading all the blogs and I kid you not I'm aching on your behalf, ok I admit I've been hard at it in my own garden so thats part of the reason but cor blimey my hedgecutting and shrub pruning is a piece of cake compared to what you've been up to, no wonder your cream-crackered girl, I've been willing that pond to be level for you every step of the way, its going to be lovely for you when its done, I can understand your determination to do the jobs yourself but as others have already said you have to pace yourself, we're our own worst enemies at times and I won't be the only one admitting to that, lol...You have done wonders already and your garden is coming on in leaps and bounds,so different now to what you first showed us....
Really looking forward to seeing the next blog but that doesn't mean wearing yourself out, spend a little time recharging yourself first....

1 Aug, 2014


lol thanks, Lincs. lol if only the hard work could be done by willpower ... well it has, in a way.

I had a sudden thought a few days ago - my inflatable pool is empty, nowhere to put it - now if I'd only kept the original bed lengh ... but I'm not going to take it all down again now!

3 Aug, 2014

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