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Est. amount of rocks

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by Muskydude, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Muskydude

    Muskydude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Great forum - spent all my spare time this year reading here. Now it's time to do the great pond experiment #1.

    I've dug a (finished rock to rock) hole that will be 13x16, depth averages 1.5' and deepest pocket at 3' (small 2x3).
    It's feed by 9' stream which Y's around a small "island" thats about 3' across by 5' length. Left side of Y around island will be a shallow bog for filtration, right side of island the main stream. I've placed all the dug out dirt at the top area, above/behind the island as we "look up" the stream to the waterfall area. It's also going to have the plumbing run up there and to backside and I'm using natural waterfall vs a plastic weir. The WF drop will be staged, about 1' to a tiny pond, then it splits to feed the stream and bog so it drops another 1' there for sound.

    If I can figure out how to post up some pics of the site I think it would help - I'm explaining all as best I can but pics always do it better than words.

    Here's where I'm at:
    Liners - 20x20 and 5 x 50 for streams. Fabric for under liner.
    Pump - undecided but CalPonds Mag 5200 gph looking good.
    Skimmer? - Atlantic Pro or Savio I think. Plumbing - pvc tied into the flex.

    Rock? - likely river/field. How much I have no clue? Any thoughts on it? I know it needs to be a mix of sizes - beyound that I don't know. What mixes good with river rock for variety anyway? Does this stuff really matter? I'm using flagstone buried as steppers in one area to access the water - thats where I stop in thought process.

    Bottom of pond will be small river rock/pebbles too with a small area for "beach"

    20 more yards of black dirt for build-up and surrounding garden areas. Total gardens back there must be close to 3000 sf already and growing:dizzy:

    I think the total height of the WF area will end up about 36-40" above the pond level when all is done. I'd like to build up the stream to get some additional flowage and speed but that would require what exactly? I assume I could build up with dirt to slightly higher level than surrounding area right now, slope it out with some of that dirt baeing hauled in but won't that settle on me and cause issues?

    Right now I need to address the rock matter I guess - I've got a line on some fairly reasonable river rock and would like to get it while it's there. At the same time this is all manually hauled to site so I don't want an extra 5 tons worth if I don't need it either. Hmmmm - is there anything that might clear a 35" arbor opening that maybe a rental shop would carry? I got a 'cat but that's out - 2 feet to wide. I have this painful feeling it's manual all the way.

    Great forum and you guys know your stuff. I need some help and advice. Thanks
  2. Venturewest

    Venturewest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    Hi, I will try to help with a few general guidelines. I would say first of all sounds like a neat project. You have obviously been thinking about it a while.
    I would say your liner is a little narrow. Go with 20'x25'. (16'+3'+3'+2' overlap is already 24' and a little to spare is nice.
    Also on the stream try to do a 10' liner if you can. If you use a 5' liner and you put a nice 1 1/2 or even 1' diameter boulder on each side of a little fall and you just burned the whole stream.

    A decent rule of thumb formula for your rock is:
    length of pond x width of pond/ 65 = tons of boulders
    gravel is: tons of boulders x .45
    this will get you close

    I personally really like Savio skimmers. The cal pump puts out a lot of water but they recommend you really restrict them, and they end being equivalent to other manu's smaller pumps. Still probably a good value for the price though.

    I would look through some of the water features people have posted on here. Find some that you really like and study how they were made. There are some definite tricks to creating really natural looking features. I know I didn't answer everything but hopefully this will get you started.
  3. Muskydude

    Muskydude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Thxx Venture - knew that I was tight on that big pond membrane. Problem is I already have it - good thing is it was a freebie. I may do some backfill or whatnot to do a workaround there vs new liner.
    Had not thought the stream liner width thing would be factor - what you say makes sense. I have a spare (free also!) 10x15 - maybe in the areas I do a small WF drop I could cut this to the amt. of area and use this? Long as a drop to a drop with slope I think there would be no problem (??) in doing so. Gravity should take care of it if pumps every failed and don't think the stuff would flow uphill.

    Re: pump Didn't know they rec doing restriction of this one - that would be done with a valve I assume? What's logic on that anyway? I'm looking at the numbers here - roughly 9 + (22 total-11 + 11 around island) + 6 for 26' of stream or 37' with the bog length included. WF will be 24-26" wide and include some water flowing over top into the bog side. This stream bog is more wet bog planting thing - my main filtration bog will be at top above the
    1st WF and where I'll feed the plumbing to.

    I'm gonna grab some pics today of site and put up here. It's pouring out now-may be tomorrow at that. Funny - in the 2 weeks since I finished the main digging it's been perfecto growing season. The "weeds" and stuff that have grown in the excavated area have almost made it all look level like grass around area. Bad - someone could be walking there at night and drop in:laugh: Good thing it very private here and I got all the area fenced off.

    BTW - been looking and reading and copying pics from here all summer. I've been to many hardscape suppliers too - opened my account and bought from pondliner. Hope to get into this for a living someday in future maybe. Exciting, creative, rewarding. All good things. Experience is another thing. I've talked to every pond installer around area even offering a free hand a couple of times (they took that). Things are real tough for them all here - hard market anyway with a million lakes everywhere and crashing real estate market. One guy said he knew of 7 companies who did this only and all have gone under or sold. Margins way to tight right now they all say - but we all know things will come around again too. Or better - I got a mortgage payment still.

    This pump thing --- it's troubling me as I type. Any other suggestions?

    My calcs using above rock formula gives me 3.5-4 tons-pond only. The stream -- calc'd kinda the same way but just using smaller stuff I assume??
    I was thinking of grabbing 7-8 tons - means maybe 3 tons gravel too?
    I gotta figure out a way to get some small power equipment back there to spare my back - 34" is mighty narrow opening to work with.
  4. XStream Aquatics

    XStream Aquatics LawnSite Member
    Messages: 239

    Qoute:"I've dug a (finished rock to rock) hole that will be 13x16, depth averages 1.5' and deepest pocket at 3' (small 2x3)."
    Why a 2' x3' hole? This is way to small. By the time you put rock inside that wall you won't have anything left for the fish. Any mag drive pump with any amount of head will loose way to much flow. Why not just go with a commercial grade pump. Easy Pro is one of my favorites along with the Savio skimmers. Do you want a Hummer or a Neon? The Atlantic doesn't come close to the Savio. The Savio is an injected mold verses alot of the others being extruded. The bog area as you described sounds almost useless. To get the true filtration of a bog it needs to be an upflow bog not a run over bog. Also as the plants grow and start to dam up that small sized stream it's going to cause problems. Qoute:"I'm using natural waterfall vs a plastic weir" it sounds like to me your doing one of the worst things possible, and that is cutting corners to save money. Your stream bog will not be suffient to filter this size pond so if you don't have a biofilter (or a proper sized bog) you are going to be among the statistics whos pond fails in the first year. If the homeowner isn't wiiling to pay to get the job done right then do not do it. Are you trying to figure your head with all those numbers? Take length of hose divided by 10. Add 1 ft. per 90 elbow and 1/2 ft. per 45 elbow. Now take the height of your waterfall from the water surface to the wf spillway. Add these together and this is your head. Now you ought to think about friction lose in your hose and consider that too. Plumbing should be flex pvc not the plastic corrugated stuff. It dry rotts and will crack on you. As for your rock tonnage I need to know what sizes you are using and what type. Like are you using boulders or flats? 1 man up to 3-4 man boulders? This makes a difference. Also on your pump how much water do you want over the spillways, 1" or more. You are limited on your flow due to your 24-26" spillway. When figuring out gallons in pond alot of people forget to use the final number. I use L x W x Avg. D x 7.48 x 80%. I measure outside boulder to outside boulder and get the avg. size of pond, the 80% is for the boulders in the pond that are taking up water space. Definetly go with the 10' stream liner!
  5. Muskydude

    Muskydude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Well - didn't say nothing about any fish but if one enters the picture it will be just that. One. Anything else I'll winter over inside - have 3 110 gal tanks that are empty.

    Don't think I call the not using of a weir "cutting corners" since I had already bought a big old one from AS. Just hate the look of plastic and all I see when they on the pond tours is .... PLASTIC. They don't ever seem to do a good job in hiding them that lasts. I saw over 70 ponds this year on the tour and everyone that used plastic showed plastic. Some did not last year but this year with settling and maybe some changes in rock placement? or whatever the plastic shows. Got pics on them all so it's a fact - it happened.
    Top of WF and the bog area there is 7' x 5' or 35 sf - really think that's too little? The bog stream that's off Y is just a water/wet area for plantings-if it also provides some additional filtration great. If not it's serves it's purpose as simple plant bog. Fine by me either way.

    Pump - maybe I'm missing something or calculating wrong. 47' of piping including factoring in the 45's and single 90_ 47'/10 = 4.7 plus 3' for WF = 7.7 so call it 9 or 10 for extra X factor that may be changes. Below Cal Mag shows 3140 at that 10' - I can't see me that much. More like 8. Means about a little less than 2x turnover per hour by my calcs figuring rock in pond and stream. That to little?
    I can get another backup pump and still be dollars ahead vs the Savio, which I've heard from some that really falls off with to much head. Great pumps I know - use one at the cabin for continual feed up to the cranberry bog. Things never died and takes a beating but .... if needed or can be substantiated I need that kinda pump I'll happily do it too.

    I could care less on the pvc - flex or sch 40 and tied to flex. We get -40 here in winter and I have never had the sch 40 crack up on me in bog - been there 13-14 years now this season. I don't even blow it out - just let it drain down on it's own when I pull the Savio for winter. Another $70-80 for flex don't make sense to me in real world application IMO - if the needs there again I'll do it. Sch 40 smooth as babies but and I don't lose much there due to resistance. Flex would be more so. Saves me an hour labor is all I can see. No biggie there.

    Boulders - this be the area I am unsure of. As stated - this may be a manual labor all the way job unless I can figure out a mechanical means to work thru that arbor area. It's actually 39" wide but I used 35" to give me 2" clearance each side. I need 5' for my 'cat's bucket - that out. The area is trapped and landlocked or water locked. I have that arbor area - period. So boulders will be either what a commercial wheelbarrow can handle or I don't know what else I can get to work in that constrained area. It's a beech but is what it is and can't do much about it. And no - it's not level either, rather uphill. Mighty labor intense I'm afraid.
    I suspect all river/field boulders and round - some flagstone outside pond on walkways.

    Vol - estimating using that formula to be about 2040 incl stream and all.

    Liner - ordered out 10'. I smell a ton of waste but you guys know the ropes better than me so I'll likely be wrong and use more than I can imagine.

    So still unsure on rock and now...maybe...the pump. 2 places told me this one would work but know you have me wondering if I am in need to make some more calls?

    Variables everywhere in these things I see. :dizzy:
  6. Muskydude

    Muskydude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Here's an EasyPro that fits IMO the criteria ... I know my cost isn't this steep with them but it's still almost 3x higher than the Cal Mag above. Everything I've read on the Cal's been good - hear of only 1 that's failed. That seems really pretty fair and probably below average failure rate(s) at that. But ____ I am open here and nothing is cast in cement as they say so all ears. Big ones

  7. tedfrk

    tedfrk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    any pics?would be great !!!!
  8. Toker

    Toker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    me a rookie at this but can say the Cal pump you looking at and listed is same as one I have in use. Doing fine by me - seems cheap to run which to me is important.
    there are a lot of good pumps out there and I know some are better than mine but for the money how can I complain. If it gets me 3-4 years it's $35-40 a year amortized and I start fresh. It goes out sooner and I may feel different.

    Dudes over on a couple other forums use them all the time - that's how I found out about them.

    Yeah - some pics would be nice. I wanted to do one somewhat similar if I am visualizing this right. Ran out of time, money and patience. Always next year to expand what I did if I get the energy.
  9. XStream Aquatics

    XStream Aquatics LawnSite Member
    Messages: 239

    Feel free to use the cal pump, but I wouldn't think of it. Ask them what size solids it can handle verses what I use is 1 1/4" , that pump can't handle ANY. If any algae or debris like mulch gets down in the bottom of the skimmer you have to unclog the pump. I GUARANTEE it. I just had a customer that had his Leader pump in a skimmer inside a bucket with screens and mats around it to keep it from stopping up. I come across it all the time. Also have seen frogs get sucked to the bottom of these pumps, but not with a 1 1/4" inlet.
    Okay if you are confident enough on all your couplings that you glue together on sch 40 go ahead. I like my one piece flex that can be shaped around the way I want it. I'm sure that when you tie your flex into sch 40 you are using pressure fittings and a hotter glue.
    You didn't mention a bog at the wf earlier. What depth is your bog. Here's a site on bogs. http://www.bogfiltration.com/
    Yes I dislike biofilters plastic too, but it can be disguised easily if done right. I much prefer not to use them, but alot of times I have to.
    Your turn over ratio is fine at almost twice an hour. Do you know the difference in friction loss from 1 1/2" to 2" to 3" Alot of people don't but you need to learn this. What size plumbing are you using? Are you using a check valve?
    No not all field stone is round, I have laid hundreds of tons of flat fieldstone(weathered limestone). They're called ledge stone or ledge rock.
    If you are going to snake your stream around the 5' liner will come up short in the bends. And there will be some waste from the 10'.
    The TH400 is a great pump IMO. It does have 1 1/4" inlet for solids.
    Can you use what we call a georgia buggie to haul the rock? Concrete guys use this alot. I used one in Mrytle Beach 2 yrs. ago. It worked out nice.
  10. Muskydude

    Muskydude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Not sure what to do now on pump --- sheesh, I thought I had it ironed out and now??????? I was told they have a screen thing that goes on the intake side and actually lifts the pump up too off bottom. Extra cost of a few bucks but I figured it was a given for reasons you stated. Can't find it online but its in catalog.

    Using 2" plumbing - gives me some upside to larger pump maybe in future if needed. I'm comfortable in glue up on connections - never had a leaker yet in many done (knock on rock) in irrigation and farm use.

    You sound real confident in hiding...forever...a plastic weir. Wish everyone was as competent, including me. It would simplify this process and actually take up less space which I'd like but ... I yet to see a good install on one thats forever-ishly done.

    Stream - it'll snake a bit but not much. Still - you guys very correct on having extra margin for error. I can always use whatever excess I have to triple up a cushion under larger rocks in pond. Assuming I can find a way to
    get bigger to site.

    I gotta make some more calls and see if I can find something like that buggy you referenced. Someplace had a MT that was close to working - assuming I had all perfectly lined up and a straight shot. A little tilt or anything else and the arbor gets wacked so I trashed the idea. Murphy assures me something gonna happen:laugh: Thanks for heads up on this buggy - figured there must be something out there. Rentals all seemed clueless that I talked to so far. Thanks again

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