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#222828 - 06/20/10 11:56 PM Digging A Pond For Swimming
Zanna Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 3
Loc: North Carolina
Im digging a pond for the kids to swim in but i want to keep it nice and clean and yuck free. where we are digging it there is lots of clay and i want to put beach sand on the bottom. Its going to be about 50ft in diameter and the deepest part will be 8ft. Anyways does anyone know the ratio of slop i should have? What kind of chemical should i put in to keep it weed free, and cyrstal clear. I wont have fish in it. It will have a pump to help keep the water nice. Any help would be great!
Thank You

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#222831 - 06/21/10 12:04 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Zanna]
esshup Offline
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Zanna, welcome to PB. It sounds like you want to dig a clay bottom swimming pool.

For the slope, I'd go with something in the range of 4:1 (for every 4' you walk, it drops 1') in the beach area, and 3:1 everywhere else.

As for the other stuff, I can't give you an answer, sorry.
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#222834 - 06/21/10 12:13 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: esshup]
andedammen Offline
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#222863 - 06/21/10 09:41 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Zanna]
Omaha Offline
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Zanna, were you planning on using a liner to keep the sand from seeping into the mud? If not, that would be a good idea as your sand will eventually disappear. Also, consider making a brim around the beach to keep the sand on the beach and not into the deeper waters where you won't be walking or swimming.

Welcome to the forum and we'd love to see some pictures and some more updates on your project. I'm working on a pond that will have a beach as well, so I would love to see how you go about your project.
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#222935 - 06/21/10 04:06 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Omaha]
Zanna Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 3
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks Guys For The Help....Esshup I Will Probably Go 4:1 I Want It Beach All The Way Around It...Ohaha No I'm Not Putting A Liner But Maybe Instead Of Of Sand Thru The Whole Thing I Will Put Sand More The The Beach Area/Shore and As It Get Deeper I Will Put Smooth Rocks...We Have Alot Of Natural Springs In Our Back Yard And Im Hoping That Will Help With The Fresh Water And The Pump Will Keep It Really Nice...I Found This Stuff For The Water Its Called Bluemajic and Its Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate...Has Anyone Used Or Heard Of Anyone That Has Tried It and If It Worked?

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#222937 - 06/21/10 04:11 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Zanna]
Omaha Offline
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Zanna, let an expert weigh in on this because I could be wrong, but I believe that rock and sand, if put onto clay, will eventually disappear. How thick were you planning on putting it down?
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#222942 - 06/21/10 04:21 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Zanna]
Todd3138 Offline
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Zanna, not familiar with that product, but just had a thought that might be worth you considering if you don't want to go the route of a liner. How about pea gravel all throughout the bottom of the pond, clear up to shore, then pile your sand on top of that where you want a sandy bottom? I agree with the other suggestion that you really do need to build a berm of some sort to keep your sand from washing down into the deeper part of the pond. You're probably going to have to replace sand periodically anyway, but no need to let it just all wash down without much effort.

Aside, while most of us like having fish in our ponds, I think your idea sounds really cool and is a fun alternative to a traditional swimming pool. I hope you'll stick around and keep us updated with pictures of the progress. In the end, you may still want to consider one or two species of fish to help keep things in balance, such as bug larvae and the plants that you will inevitably experience short of using chlorine, perhaps.
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#222969 - 06/21/10 05:58 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Todd3138]
andedammen Offline
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Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 414
Loc: Norway
Don't knov if you can make any use off this link (danish)
http://www.junckerhaven.dk/Svoemmesoeer/Designprincipper-og-skitser--klik-her/
It have 20 design layout proposals(click on drawing) if google translate can help you they explain the principals on construction to keep natural crystal clear and clean water.
Swiming ponds has become more usual here in Europe the last 10-15 years.
Here is a couple of UK links
http://www.angloswimmingponds.co.uk/index.htm
http://www.theswimmingpondcompany.co.uk/construction.html
http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden_products/water/swimming_pond_construction_natural

And a video BBC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hRlvFFe6sQ&feature=related
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#222974 - 06/21/10 06:34 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: andedammen]
Zanna Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 3
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks For More Info!! I Guess Its Gonna Be Trial and Error HaHa...I Might Not Do It Round Anymore But Im Hoping To Start This Weekend!! I Cant Wait!! It Will Be Nice To Have My Own Place To Swim Then THe Nasty Lakes Around Here...I Would Rather Not Fish Haha! I Know It Would Be Good But If I Use That Bluemajic I Cant Put Anything Like Plants Or Fish In It...They Wont Live. I Will Take Pictures When We Start So You Guys And See What Were Doing

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#222991 - 06/21/10 09:48 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Zanna]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
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Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Zanna:

I'd contact the company and ask them specifically about using the Blue Magic in a non-lined pond the way you are talking about using it. From what I've read, it's made to be used in pools and spas, which are lined and won't interact with any ground water.

My concern is that the copper will build up in the pond bottom over time, and might leach out into potable water sources.
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#222998 - 06/21/10 10:12 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: esshup]
CoachB Offline
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Registered: 02/18/09
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Loc: Southeast Michigan
It really sounds like you want a pool, not a pond. Maybe think about approaching it like a garden pond. I know that they sell filter systems and such for recycling the water. I don't know if it would work on that big of a pond. I think a liner would work best for you. I agree with esshup's warning about using pool chemicals in a pond. Good luck with the project and keep us posted.
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#223022 - 06/22/10 05:29 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: CoachB]
andedammen Offline
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Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 414
Loc: Norway
Another link DIY swimingpond
http://www.grit.com/Tools/Build-Your-Own-Natural-Swimming-Hole.aspx
I also think the chemical aproach is no good.
Part off the pond zones have to be reservated for the natural cleaning job off the water.
The quality on the water will deepend on the flowpatern you can create within the pond it self, or if posible a flowthru system.
Don,t expect a bluelagoon, then you can get disapointed, but fore sure you can make a fantastic swiming pond.
A thumb rule here is aprox 1/3 of the pond area is the swiming zone the rest of the pond is the filter zone, when you dig it remember the need for shalow areas for filter plants.
Good luck, it will be exiting to see how your project dewelops, and remember kids tend to love the aquatic life as a playground even more than the swiming part.
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#224464 - 07/02/10 12:50 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: andedammen]
hang_loose Offline
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Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Sunbury,Ohio
You might want to consider some type of minnows to keep mosquitoes and their larve to a minumim.

Good luck

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#224595 - 07/02/10 10:26 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: hang_loose]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12465
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
This will be an interesting and maybe frustrating project for a first time pond owner. The link above (and following) makes it all sound pretty easy.
http://www.grit.com/Tools/Build-Your-Own-Natural-Swimming-Hole.aspx
Not really so. To make the pond a clean swimming pond it takes a lot of work to keep it clean and to not resort to turning it into a chemical dump keeping it "clean". I have quite a bit of experience with numerous ponds that the owners try to maintain them as Better Homes & Gardens swimming ponds. It can be tricky management especially when trying to keep the bottom sediments and gravel / sand from becomming anoxic, black, and smelly. That is a real challenge for most people and fairly difficult.

Depending on the cleanliness you expect, maybe rethink what you are doing and go with a standard pool. It is very difficult to maintain a natural earth bottom pond for the long term with pool like conditions. Mother nature ALWAYS wants to put natural things into the pond; numerous plants for one. Often unwanted ones. Many bugs and critters for two. Some of those bugs can be pretty nasty biters of unsuspecting swimmers. I always suggest a few (8-12) bass only for smaller (0.1-0.2ac) swimming ponds. They never bite swimmers and keep the bugs and nuisance invertebrates to a minimum and allow for proper zooplankton to thrive and promote clearer water.

Note the amount of plant biomass that is suggested in the above link. When all that plant material dies at the end of the year (winter) what happens to all that gunk/muck? If you or a filter has to remove it that is a daunting task in cool fall conditions.

Another concern - the side slopes. The above link suggests a 3:1 slope, which I agree with. Shallow water is the enemy of swimming ponds due to light always reaching the bottom and plants usually FA and slime constantly wanting to grow there. For 3:1 slopes and a depth of 8 ft the pond has to be at least 48 ft wide plus probably 8-10ft for a bulldozer to create a flat area in the belly of the pond which means 58-60 ft wide / long. Ideally the bottom of the pond should not be a V due to several reasons I will not take time to discuss here.

I disagree with some of the suggested plants for a pool pond in the above link (Elodea, hornwort, & duckweed). They tend to be rampant and cause too many problems for a lower maintence clear water pond. Hornwort can be okay but expect to annually harvest a lot of it out as it grows rampantly.


Edited by Bill Cody (07/02/10 10:44 PM)
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#224597 - 07/02/10 11:29 PM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Bill Cody]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Registered: 08/08/02
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Loc: Northeastern Indiana
What about not worrying about the bottom, insects, weeds, etc. by simply building a pier out over deeper water to avoid those things? As long as the kids have life preservers on the depth shouldn't be a problem. Most likely you'd have life preservers on them anyway wouldn't you? At least that's always worked for us although last year a couple of ducks brought in swimmer's itch.


Edited by Cecil Baird1 (07/02/10 11:30 PM)
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#224610 - 07/03/10 06:43 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: Cecil Baird1]
RAH Offline
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Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4223
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
I also took the approach of building a dock (floating) for swimming. No compaints from our friends or their kids - solved all the problems with upkeep - Great wildlife pond and swimming hole. Great place too jump in the water after a Sunday afternoon soccer game on the farm.

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#224629 - 07/03/10 11:15 AM Re: Digging A Pond For Swimming [Re: RAH]
jeffhasapond Offline
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Although I have none of the expertise of Commander Cody I completely agree on the Elodea issue. Having battled Elodea I can't imagine why anyone would intentionally add it to any pond. To say that it is highly invasive is an understatement and it will grow in both shallow and deep water.
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