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#502479 - 02/25/19 03:51 PM New to all of this and need help for new pond!
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Hello we moved to a new house and we have a couple acres behind the house. We were going to put a swimming pool in but I just canít justify the crazy costs so I looked into a pond. We figure we could get much more use out of it since my kids play hockey and they could skate on it in the winter. Hereís the problem. We sit up a bit and the water table is non existent. I had a contractor who is known in the area come and check it out and he agreed and said the only way it will work is with a liner. We are looking at a 100x100 pond with a liner about 8-10ft deep with a 20í Long Beach on one side. Cost with the liner all in is 16k. We could be looking at another $2500 if they need to bring in more sand for the liner depending what they get off the property. Thereís also another charge to comeback and grade dirt out once it dries. I have some questions and hoping you experts can help us. We are in Michigan

1- seem like a fair cost? They are also clearing out the trees that are there now and moving them to the back of our property
2- good idea? Do liners really work? Will this be good for swimming?
3- how the heck do we fill it? He said you can use the hose from the house which is on a well but how long would that take? Burnout our well? We also have a high iron count in our water.

Would appreciate any help! Not looking for fish now but maybe later.
This would be strictly for swimming and to look at.

Thank you in advance!

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#502481 - 02/25/19 04:22 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1514
Loc: West Central Missouri
Welcome to the club Larry! You have come to the right place. I'm no expert, but certainly willing to add to the discussion where I can.

Regarding question #3...Your looking at about a half million gallons according to...

https://www.gardenponds.com/Rectangular-Pond-Calculator.html

Take a five gallon bucket and fill it up from your spigot and time it to get the flow rate. I can fill a bucket in about 1 minute with my small well system...[500,000 gallons of pond water/5 gallons per minute (my flow rate, yours may vary )/60 minutes per hour/ 24 hours per day] yields about 70 days to fill your pond with a garden hose without any help from mother nature. If your pump goes out during the process, it was on it's last leg anyway, OR the water level may have dropped below the suction of the pump and burned it up. It's a craps shoot (with betters odds that nothing bad will happen).

Will the pond have any watershed? If not, you will likely be topping it of on a regular basis with well water anyhow. If it does, mother nature will fill it (eventually). Make sure you do not have too much watershed or it shortens the life of the pond by filling it up with washed in sediments and can lead to erosion issues over the dam.

I'm guessing the high iron will not bother your pond any and I don't believe it bothers fish either, but I look forward to the experts responses on this one (and the other questions as well).

Good to have you!
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#502483 - 02/25/19 05:09 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Quarter Acre]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Thanks Noel! No watershed to speak of becuase we are up on a hill a bit. We would be having to manually fill and hope for rain. Is this a dumb idea to put a pond in with no watershed etc?

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#502514 - 02/26/19 09:14 AM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2068
Loc: West Michigan
Larry,
Welcome and so good to see that others from MI are interested in pond ownership. There is so much to consider and discuss that it is really hard to do this in a written format. I'm happy to discuss further if you want to send me a private message. I'm by no means an expert but can share my experience.

In the big overview there are a few things to consider.

1. VERY few on this forum have achieved a swimming pond AND a natural pond that supports the food chain and fish at the same time. They ALMOST are mutually exclusive. There are a few who have naturally very good water quality, naturally do not have the nutrient load that leads to fertile water and the water quality issues that make a pond good for making 'green water' for the wildlife that lives in that food chain, but rather seem to keep nice clear water which swimmers look forward to. Some have enough water pass through that they can keep the priority on clean/clear water. You don't have a source of constant renewing water so you probably will naturally find that your pond excels at growing things rather than being inviting for swimmers. If you want a swimming pond then at times you may be using chemicals to control the natural tendency of water, and at that point then you are basically trying to manage a very large swimming pool again. Keep this in mind.

2. There are a lot of considerations in planning the location and construction of the pond. Many people are much better at counseling you on this than I am. Can you add a well with power by the pond? Having a second well by the pond will make construction options much more flexible and perhaps avoid the need for a liner. That well wouldn't have to be huge (but might be deep to hit the water table) Just upsizing your outflow pipe to 1.5" and hitting 8-10gpm instead of 5 may change how often you run the well, and will spare your house well.

3. Lots more on location, design, and cost but beyond what we can handle in a short email. Do you know what the soils look like at 10 foot down at your proposed pond location?

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#502532 - 02/26/19 05:52 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: canyoncreek]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
This is great info thank you so much! So without a constant of water will we have issues keeping it appealing for swimming if we have a large fountain and treat it with chemicals? Really arenít worried about having fish.
Thank you

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#502553 - 02/27/19 08:58 AM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2068
Loc: West Michigan
Let me see. So you are interested in using a liner to create a 100x100' swimming pool that you can skate on in the winter? I'm not sure that specific idea has come up before.

It surely could work, but then you have to think about your budget differently. Then you would have to calculate what it costs to keep a 20x40 pool at the correct ph and hardness using chlorine/bromine or some other chemicals. Probably a couple hundred dollars a swimming season in MI. If you need to do that on 100x100 pool that is 8-10' deep what is your chemical budget every season then, $5000? I guess you could let the water go green in the spring and fall and save some dollars on chemicals then?

For those who swim in their ponds and find ways to keep the algae to a minimum, how did you do it?

You would want a way to top off the pool as you will lose some from evaporation. The liner would limit losses from leaks through the ground or sides.

What about critters that make up the food chain, I'm sure you are OK if there is some life? But if you do chemicals to make it clear like a pool then the goal would be no life in the water.

There are lots of good threads in here about keeping healthy water, good clarity, less algae if you use an aerator rather than a fountain. The fountain is largely for looks. If you like the looks of a fountain great, then also consider adding an aerator.

Some of the local lake associations by us want the water (and the beach area in the shallows) to be more attractive, clear, clear of weeds, etc. They are adding bottom aeration and the results are dramatic.

Since you are planning a fountain then you must have power at the pond? How deep would the secondary well have to be to hit water and help keep the pond full?

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#502554 - 02/27/19 10:25 AM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: canyoncreek]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Thanks- so at the end of the day our goal would be to have a pond that is more attractive for swimming then anything else. Fish would be fine but again we want it mainly for swimming. We are looking for water that is appealing to swim in. I know that everyoneís opinion on that differs but for me with children itís going to have to have clarity to it. If your saying it could be 5k per year to keep it clean then itís a no go for us for sure. At the end of the day we will have s 100x100 pond with a liner. We will have power near it along with a well to keep it filled. What we are trying to figure out is if this is an option others have done or are we wasting our time? So in short a semi clear pond, with a liner, and low costs to maintain so that it doesnít turn into a mucky pit. Doable or waste of time? Cost effective? We live on a hill so the only natural water we will get will be snow and rain. If folks could chime in we would appreciate it. Any advice or guidance would be great.
Thanks


Edited by Larrypagel (02/27/19 10:28 AM)

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#502556 - 02/27/19 11:58 AM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
JJB876 Offline


Registered: 03/31/15
Posts: 8
Loc: Northern Michigan
Where are you located in Michigan? Cadillac area here. I am not a professional, but will share my two cents. To be fair I have a pool and a pond. While the pool takes routine maintenance, your pond will require the same but at a different level (unless the family isn't picky).

If you are only looking for a swimming pond and want to build it outside of a watershed, I think you should relook at the pool option...

Pond Needs:
- Liner 16K
- Clean up work 2K
- Drill second well just for the pond 5-7K to maintain it.
- Yearly Chemicals ?? (est 1K)


If you just want to have a place "to swim" that is clean and appealing and you are subcontracting all of the work... go with the pool.
_________________________
2 acre Pond (Northern Michigan): ~2.6 Million Gallons
Fish (Natural from Creek): BG, YP, BH, Pike, Bass, plethora of minnows
Fish (Planted): RBT, HBG
Aeration: 1/4 HP Compressor (MPC-60A @ 2.9CFM); 2 - 9" diffusers
Fed by creek ~100 GPM to 1000+GPM

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#502558 - 02/27/19 12:28 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1514
Loc: West Central Missouri
Larry...I think you need to clarify what you expect as far as how clean the pond needs to be for you and your family's satisfaction. Here in Missouri, if you are a pond swimmer, you will except several of the following...muddy water, FA slime, fish, snakes, muddy bottom, greenish water, fish, maybe even cows, etc. We do not have the luxury of the clearer waters that tend to bless the northern ponds. If you require pool-like conditions I suggest doing some reading on "natural swimming ponds". You can really get into those and spend some $$$ IF pool-like conditions are at the forefront.

Now, if your local, natural, mature ponds are more than adequate for your liking as far as swimming conditions are concerned, then your lined, sand beached, manicured, well-water topped-off, no watershed pond will be a several steps ahead of "the farm pond down the road". Especially if you local ponds tend to be clear to begin with.

Don't forget to consider a dock, they are much nicer to swim off of compared to the best beach front you can manage.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#502560 - 02/27/19 02:59 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: JJB876]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Hi there- we are in the Howell area. Iím not saying the water has to look like a pool but has to be much more inviting then most of the ponds I see with dark murky water. I mean the kids swim in the lakes around us all the time. We priced a pool out and itís about 60k as it has to be in ground per our HOA. The pond quote we have is 16k for a 100x100 pond with liner and 20 foot beach. We still have to pay to get the dirt graded when it dries out and then do any landscaping we need to and have 3-4K in the well. My concern is that because itís a liner with no spring or water other then rain, snow, or what we add coming into it wonít it just eventually become one big stagnant body of water almost like a swimming pool if you left the filter off forever and get mucky because we have no spring in it?


Edited by Larrypagel (02/27/19 03:25 PM)

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#502561 - 02/27/19 03:00 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Quarter Acre]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Hi there! Kids swim in the lakes all the time by us. I think what we are looking for is some clarity in the water and not the muck and weeds theyíve seen in a lot of the ponds weíve seen over the years.

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#502562 - 02/27/19 03:11 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
wannapond0001 Offline


Registered: 12/11/18
Posts: 184
Loc: Ohio
You could just do a small natural swimming pool.

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#502563 - 02/27/19 03:20 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: wannapond0001]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
But we want to be able to have the kids play hockey on it in the winter?

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#502565 - 02/27/19 03:47 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
I guess at the end of the day is it feasible for us to do the 100x100 pond with liner and keep it somewhat clean and inviting for swimming without spending 5k a year to do so? We are newbies obviously but not afraid to learn. Again where I am banging my head is the fact I never knew you could put a liner in pond and always thought the only way to have a pond was to dig until you struck water and that water would help the pond stay clean and healthy. Never thought of a huge liner being a possibility but in my head I just picture a huge body of stagnant water with no natural springs or creek or river etc running into it.

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#502569 - 02/27/19 04:34 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1514
Loc: West Central Missouri
I'm no liner pond guy, just a dreamer of schemes, but if I were wanting a Swimming Pond, I would consider making the hole as deep as I could, make the sides as steep as possible with smooth stones as the substrate that sits atop the liner. The perimeter would likely need to have some shallows to promote some emergent plants for filtering effects. The depth and the side slope would be determined by your pond liner guy's design capabilities. I would put a swimming platform or dock in and go swimming.

Deep water is not conducive to plant growth so long as the water is not crystal clear. The lack of dirt/sand in the pond reduces this as well, I would think.

A aeration system and/or fountain will help keep the floaty stuff to minimum and assist with any biological breakdown of debris by putting 02 deeper into the water.

There are also "natural" filtering systems that could be incorporated at a later date if need be.

Image search "natural pools" if you need some temptation to go nuts with it...there are some amazing examples out there!
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

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#502570 - 02/27/19 04:50 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Quarter Acre]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Yes natural pools are amazing but way out of our budget

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#502588 - 02/28/19 09:12 AM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2068
Loc: West Michigan
Larry, explain the HOA to us? are your neighbors all around you and close by? I get the sense that you have enough land and privacy that an above ground vs in ground pool shouldn't matter?

What does the HOA say about adding a traditional in ground dug pond? what if that pond started growing cattails and had a thick film of algae on it and started to stink, wouldn't the HOA want to address that or did it just never come up before?

Do you know how much it would cost to put a second well in by the pond? You would have to run 200V power and figure the depth to hit the water table and the cost to do wiring and install. You would have to decide if the hydrant attached to that well is going to be enclosed in a pond 'shed', is that shed lit, heated? Ideally for skating it is very nice to have a little 'pool house' or shed with heat and lights to put on skates, store shovels, and to put your home made Zamboni in.

The liner issue isn't a deal breaker for skating in a pond since the liner can be covered in the shallows too.

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#502611 - 02/28/19 06:47 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: Larrypagel]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 116
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Not a dumb idea at all in my experience. I think your estimated cost is pretty right, but you'll just be getting started if you want to make it pretty. Assuming you have a good flowing aquifer, regardless, don't run your pump 24/7. I know I can run mine as much as twelve hours in a "dry" period before I'd start getting hiccups in flow (the start of bad news for the pump and motor) where you are outrunning the well's recharge rate. You might look at a smaller pond like mine, about 120,000 gallons, one tenth acre. At that size it is actively manageable much like a large swimming pool. Won't cost you more than several hundred a year for bacteria enhancements, flocculant if needed, and pump power. If you really want no more than a swimming hole, no fish or plants, then go with a large sand filter, variable speed 3 Hp pump, 3 inch plumbing, and a chlorine generator that feeds on salt. The salt is only 1/1000 of sea water and feels good...tastes good off your wife's skin...LOL. I'd still go with aeration and the fountain. Pretty sure they make large pond size skimmers...which I expect you'd have two or more and you'd have to check regularly if you have leaves falling. My 25,000 gallon swimming pool required 16 of 40 pound bags of salt. It is indoors, so I don't worry about dilution due to rain overflow.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#502612 - 02/28/19 06:55 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 116
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Regarding the 3 Hp variable speed pump, for 25,000 gallon swimming pool I get good turnover and flow for running at only 600 watts or less than one Hp. I'd say near the limit for 120,000 gallons running at higher wattage near the max of 3 Hp. You'd likely want more than one pump, might as well have two sand filters and two chlorine generators. If you go for the 500,000 gallons...well.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#502615 - 02/28/19 08:30 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: canyoncreek]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Hi there! Hoa stipulates if you put a pool in it has to be inground with a very expensive aluminum fence all the way around. We are 1 of 2 homes that has 5+ acre lots so we can actually do a pond. I did talk to the well guys. They are estimating 4-5k to get water to the pond site,

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#502616 - 02/28/19 08:31 PM Re: New to all of this and need help for new pond! [Re: DannyMac]
Larrypagel Offline


Registered: 02/25/19
Posts: 22
Loc: Michigan
Thanks Dan! Could we get away with just treating with chemicals and fountains to keep the water moving?

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