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How to build a pond or lake on your property

After years of dreams, savings and endless searches you have found your almost perfect rural property.

It has the right amount of floor space, a gorgeous home site, unbeatable views, and is the ideal distance to and from civilization.

Yes, your dream property is perfect ... except for a small one Qu'est-ce.

Il manque un élément d'eau.

En particulier, il manque un étang.

A pond provides many benefits to landowners, whether it's watering livestock, entertaining children, or promoting eco-diversity in the landscape.

But despite its aesthetic and functional joys, there are many factors to consider before installing a pond of any size.

Factors such as:

Is your land and land really suitable for a pond?

How much does it cost to build?

Can you do it yourself?

Who should you contact to install the pool? (Hint: It's usually not just some guy with a digger.)

Are short-term costs worthy of long-term gain?

In today's article, Cliff Davis of Spiral Ridge Permaculture, a Southeast permaculture design expert, consultant, speaker, farm owner, and "applied agriculture ecologist" , will explain everything you need to know about installing a pond on your nearby property. perfect.

The importance and tremendous benefits of ponds

Permaculture design has become famous in drought-stricken regions such as Australia and the Middle East for landscape restoration into fertile oases through specific systems of water catchment, seeding and other land and animal design principles. management.

Cliff describes his role in permaculture design as follows: "Designing regenerative human settlements that mimic nature and the intelligence of ecosystems. As a permaculture designer, I use the ecology and eco-intelligence of the earth to design more efficient and resilient agricultural systems.”

Here's how it relates to building a beautiful, fertile and functioning pond.

"When most people think of the purpose of a pond, they think of it for fishing, irrigation, or livestock irrigation, which is their primary function in the Southeast."

But according to Cliff, a pond designed for permaculture, or a system of ponds, can offer so much more to both the earth and its inhabitants.

“Properly designed and positioned ponds create microclimates within a property. They help humidify the landscape: water retains a lot of heat, so if you can have a pond ecosystem near your orchards or home, you can further stabilize the environment around those areas and even prevent freezing and delay flowering in the spring. "

The Reef also explains that in addition to creating remarkable microclimates, ponds help create biodiversity by recharging the water table and providing habitat for frogs and wildlife that help control the ecosystem.

Ponds placed on slopes (called ridge dams) can also help sustain your land and livestock during times of drought (a fresh memory in the minds of southern landowners). world).

"When you start to see the meaning of one from this point of view, it helps you to start thinking about how much functionality you can get out of this thing you're on about to spend thousands of dollars.

Now that your mind is beginning to fill with possibilities, let's take a look at Cliff's step-by-step tips for successful pond integration.

Step 1: Decide what function(s) your pond will serve

Before you start dreaming about the location, landscape or size of your pond, Cliff recommends that you ask yourself the big question : Why do I really want a pond now and in the future?

“You don't just want to build a pond, you want to build an ecosystem. You can irrigate and water livestock from a pond, but you can also use it to create aquaculture, raise geese, fish, alleviate drought, and create microclimates. So there is a lot to consider in the function of your pond.


Take the time to carefully consider and research your big WHY before you start calling contractors.

This will determine a number of crucial design aspects such as the ideal pond location, size, expert opinion required and the type of aquaculture you want to create.

Step 2: Determine whether or not your land and soil is suitable for a pond.


Even though a pond can be installed on almost any type of land, your soil must be compatible or the water won't hold up.

Rural land for sale in Florida we have l

"At this point you need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it's really worth it in the long run, because there are other water catchment features you can consider."

“Whether or not your land is suitable for a pond also depends on the type of use you want to make of it. If you want to supply water with gravity irrigation pipes using a ridge dam (a pond positioned at a medium to medium-high slope), gentle hills are a must. "

" The best scenery is where you can get the most uses. "

Step 3: Do your due diligence (and avoid the biggest mistake aspiring pond owners make)

As a permaculture design consultant, Cliff was called in to assess and fix many ponds that have gone bad.

"I saw a pond built on two acres that couldn't hold water. If you can imagine that's a bit like pumping a dry well 500 feet, and c It's a big deal in the design process."

"What I usually tell people is that due diligence is the best thing you can do in the beginning."

br> Cliff references one of his permaculture design mentors, Darren Doherty, co-author of the highly anticipated "The Regrarians Handbook", explaining that there are 28 steps to building a pond - and during the first 14 you don't even dig.

"Managing water in a landscape is one of the most important things we design for.

Here are 4 key tips to make sure you've done your due diligence before building a pond:

1. Do "dry tests" with help from a professional

"Contact the National Resources Conservation Service (NRSC) or your local extension office, find out who the geologist is and tell them about your soil and the ability to put a pond in your area "Make test pits to see what the ground is like. If it's rocky, it probably won't work very well because you can't build a pond with loose dirt."


Consider rainfall AND watershed

While rainfall is an important consideration, Cliff points out that you also need to consider the watershed when determining the best location for your pond.

The watershed is an area of ​​land that feeds all the water that flows below it and drains into a body of water on your land. In this case, this body of water is the site of your pond.

"You have to do a study of the area and the watershed that will fill the pond. This is very important because I have seen ponds that don't fill because there is not enough watershed to fill the pond of this size, so you need to size your pond accordingly.


" And you need to build weirs (for the overflow) to be able to handle a lot of the water coming out, like a 100 year flood, so it doesn't spill out the back from the dam wall. These must be very well designed and constructed."

3. Do you want a clean, clear, full pond? Watch out for trees.

"The other thing I notice when the ponds don't hold water is that they have a lot of trees growing out the back of the dam wall."

"Not good because the trees will absorb water from the pond or may cause capillaries from behind the dam into the pond causing multiple drainage problems. So if the tree dies , the roots die, creating a network of pipes that can drain the water."

"If you want the pond to hold water and the water to be clean, then it is better that there are no trees around the dam wall (no pun intended)."


Remember to check the legality

In most areas there are legal restrictions on how far your dam or pond can be built from a creek, creek, stream, river, reservoir, etc. Ignore them for your danger because you could be prosecuted.

Then there's the hypothetical factor: "I don't recommend building a big levee wall above your house. If you have your house on a slope with the dam above and the dam wall breaks, it could completely destroy what's underneath. And you have to consider your neighbors too.

You should also look for permits, review your insurance policy, and determine whether or not your pond will be used for fire protection.

how to build a pond on your land

Step 4: Find and hire the pond construction and design team

Although you think you can hire a machine operator To dig a hole (or dig it yourself), you may need to consult with contractors, operators, geologists, insurance agents and even engineers before leading the way.

"First, find the portfolio of the contractor who will build this thing. You're paying someone between $100 and $150 an hour, so you want to know exactly what they're planning to do. do with your land and what they have done in the past."

" Ask them questions like: Do you know how much freeboard there is on a pond (it's the difference between water level and weight still on the dam wall)?

Do they know they're blocking a dam? How do they build dams? I strongly recommend that you study and research how dams should be built on your own. "

" Sometimes the pond scale requires multiple consultants or multiple people working on it. If your pond will be larger than 2-3 acres, you may need to hire hydrology engineers and remember that engineers don't cost you money, they save you money.

If you are interested in implementing permaculture design principles in your landscape, a regional design expert like Cliff can provide a wealth of knowledge and guidance for your unique terrain. .

While there are DIY options for building a pond, Cliff recommends asking for help when you need it:

"Even if the DIY is kinda my MO, I would say it's not too cheap to hire the right people to help you You make a major change to your landscape that you will have to live with forever, and the ponds are very expensive repair if they are not installed correctly in the first place."

Basically, be your advocate to research the specifics of your pond construction, but seriously consider asking the experts for help when it is the physical task of construction.

Step 5: Introduce plants and wildlife carefully

"Before keep ducks away from your pond (using a fence) as they will consume any plant material that wants to grow there.


" As soon as the pond is built, you should get a very good perennial grass, like fescue, on the back of the dam wall. You want to cover and mulch it immediately to help stop wall erosion. "

" You can start planting aquatics at the edge. Contact your Department of Fish and Wildlife to help determine agricultural rates and I highly recommend speaking to your local extension agent for advice and options. phase of its life, as it destroys aquatic life and introduces bacteria and parasites that disturb and pollute the pond ecosystem.

Ponds within Sustainable Water Infrastructure

For farmers interested in using one or more ponds to capture and use water sustainably, Cliff points out that it is important to consider them as one piece (albeit an important element) of your water infrastructure.

"There are many ways to capture and recycle water, such as cisterns outside barns that collect runoff, allow your animals to graze better and build the layer faster. so that it can hold water in the So when you think of water, don't just think of ponds, think of using them in a water infrastructure tool belt.”

As you can see, incorporating a successful pond into your landscape involves more than just digging a hole and figuring out how to fill it. Research, planning, strategic planning, investments and teamwork are required.

But when built the right way for the right reasons, a pond can provide lasting beauty, recreation, and functionality to your perfect yard.

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