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Repairs can be virtually impossible

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by mdvaden, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Thought I'd share a repair project I got called about last autumn.

    Some folks bought a foreclosure, and wanted to get the ponds running again.

    The small front pond with bubbling rock was not running at all, and the power line and pump location were invisible. So I gave them an estimate to spend about a day trying to figure out the back one.

    Really nice looking visually.

    Installed by the previous homeowner. But a mess for problems.

    There are two pumps that send water to 2 falls. Those are the back left and back right. The water dumps up in the back and diverts into two water courses, with the right one going over stacked rocks.

    Another pump sends water to a raised miniature pond on the right with water spilling over more stacked rocks.

    What a mess. Just the back water course had water spilling over the liner in about 10 different locations. And splashing of the far back left narrow fall lost more water.

    The stacked rock was settling, with the faces of both falls leaning inward.

    This pond is one reason why I'm not a firm believer in aggregate water features if the liners and pipes are going to be inaccessible for inspection.

    Anyhow, a day's work reduced a ton of water loss, but not all. I suggested they abandon one of the back water falls, trying to figure out which leaked - if not both - by diverting water away from one at a time to see if that curbed the leak.

    Their funds were very limited, and have not heard back yet.

    Looks like they gained a water feature with possibly as many as 30 points of water leakage.

    Amazing how so much eye candy can be so non-functional.

    Their biggest problem is probably money. We learned that the main body of the pond does not leak. The shortfall was the cash to start dismantling the falls and rebuilding - especially not being able to tell where the problem was and how much work it would take.

  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    DIY's should never consider tackling a large and/or intricate project (you said the previous homeowner installed this one). They do not have the technical knowledge or experience to make it function correctly. Unfortunately, DIY's will continue on this course as long as the industry keeps telling them how simple it is to.... 'Do-It-Yourself'. This one looks like a real nightmare!
  3. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Looks like the homeowner was reasonably confident with his stoneworking skills, just didn't know much about waterfeatures. You could always just work on it as their funds allow. T&M on that one.
  4. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,617

    I have to say the design of it is awesome, well at least the steps through.
  5. Venturewest

    Venturewest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    What a beautiful back yard, that water course above the stacked stone walls is awesome. At least the main body of the pond doesn't leak and won't have to be abandoned. Hopefully at some point they will let you rebuild some of the upper courses. Would be a shame to lose all of that.
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    I think part of the reason, is that the main body or pond was dug from undisturbed earth, but the stacks of stone were put on some fill material and non-reinforce edges.

    The steps look like one of the more sturdy construction aspects. Concrete blocks beneath. And they choose quite thick pieces of flagstone.
  7. tatmkr

    tatmkr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    Looks nice enough to almost forgo the falls. The simplest option would be to rework the upper areas into planting and adding movement to the lower pond. Cheap, but not ideal!

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    Looks good on payper
  9. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    The Flagstone step bridge does look nice. Did they pour a footing under the liner to support each step and did they incorporate some type of protection between the concrete blocks and the liner?

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