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Digging the pond exposes an underground room

Digging the pond exposes an underground room. What is it?

Okay, slow down and relax.  Before you decide to run out and buy all the pond items you will need, first sit down and ask yourself these questions:

1.  Can you afford it?  For the men out there:  Will your wife go along with your plans?  I put this as number 1 because I know how you may think it’s the greatest idea that you just came up with to build a big pond in your back yard… but I would bet your wife might just have other ideas for the money or the spot you’ve picked out.  So you might as well bite the bullet and include her in the decision, to avoid aggravation and lonely nights down the road.  Maybe take her out for dinner or bring home flowers… or will that tip her off that you’re up to no good?  You can always do what I did and make it sound like it was her idea from the end of last summer.  “Remember when you brought up how nice it would be to have a pond with waterfalls and Koi fish in the backyard…”  I was lucky that my wife was pretty cool about the whole thing.  So our pond now became a plan.

2.  Do you want to build a pond yourself, or hire someone to do it.  Of course having someone else do it for you is a great way to go if you can afford it, but its also a lot more expensive.   Most of us can’t afford the luxury so you might have to, like I did, do it yourself.

3.  If building it yourself, are you prepared physically for all the back breaking work?  I had to dig the hole (no small feat to contend with huge boulders stuck that get in the way and have to be hauled out of the hole. Then I had to buy rocks to build around the pond… and guess who had to haul them from the front yard, where they were delivered, to the back yard pond site.  I swear those rocks were having babies as I was working on the pile… so many rocks to move.  I tried to hire the kid up the street to help, but he just looked at me with a blank stare.

4.  Do you have a spot picked out?  If you do, physically pick yourself up off the couch and go out and look at it.  It’s amazing at how big a spot can be in your mind and then when you go to actually look at it, it shrunk.

5.  Visualize the spot you picked out and measure it out.  Make sure the pond will fit with all the borders and plants included in the layout.  Draw it out on a piece of paper, make a note if anything needs to be moved, like your wife’s garden (not a good idea).

6.  Ponds do require some upkeep, are you willing to keep doing the extra work and don’t stick your wife with it, she has enough to do.

7.   Make sure that you’re digging into a safe area… where no gas lines, water or sewer lines, etc. are located.  Don’t do what I did.  I just started digging.  What could possibly be underground in the back yard.  After digging a huge hole I hit a cement slab, that was next to other slabs… huh?  I removed the dirt from one slab that was at least 5 feet long and cautiously lifted it up, not knowing what might pop out.  Wow a huge room was under my deck and under the spot that I wanted to put the pond. I took my camera and snapped a picture, which showed a pipe coming in from the top of one side.  I was excited, I thought I’d found a bomb shelter (after all the house was built in 1945) and I don’t think it was a septic tank (too clean inside) so who knows what it is.  I carefully put the slab back on, covered it back up while filling up my hole and then had to move my pond over (uh oh, closer to my wife’s herb garden).

8.  What type of pond do you want and how big?  Do you want a waterfall?  Keep in mind, that if you do go for a waterfall make sure you have the type of neighbors that will tolerate it.  What is nice and calming for you might be an annoyance to them.  I’m lucky, my neighbor liked the sound of ours so much, she had one put in her yard (she was smart she paid someone to do it).

9.  If you have young children will you be able to safeguard them from the pond?

10. Do you need permits from your town or prior approval?  Better check your town codes before you start digging.  Some towns require a certain setback from neighbor’s properties.

Ok, if I didn’t scare you away already or make you want to rethink your decision my next post will be how to build a pond, or should I say at least how to build a pond the way that I did it.


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