If you need to fill in your pond or want to get rid of your pond, it can be difficult to know where to start. Both of these processes are often more complicated than they seem, so a bit of guidance can go a long way.
How to Fill in a Pond Using Water
If your pond’s water levels are low or if you are just starting a pond, you will need to add water. There are many ways to go about doing this, and depending on your site and circumstances, some will be better than others.
Use Collected Rainwater: For small ponds, you can collect rainwater and add it to your pond for an inexpensive solution to a low pond water level. For larger ponds, this plan will not work as well, although adding a few barrels of rainwater to your small pond can increase the water level.
If you live in an area where there is little rainfall, this idea will not work very well, and your pond will be susceptible to drying out easily.
If you decide to collect rainwater and add it to your pond, be wary of where the water comes from. Runoff from a roof might be contaminated with cleaning products or chemicals, which is often harmful to any plants or animals living in your pond.
Fill Your Pond Using a Hose: Another option for filling your pond is by running a hose in it until the water level rises to your desired height. This is another cost-effective solution compared to bringing in commercial water suppliers, although it comes with a drawback.
Many tap waters contain chlorine, which is harmful to many fish in high doses. If you have living things in your pond, you can test the pH level of your tap water to check if it is safe for your fish or other animals.
If the water is too high in chlorine concentration or other additives, you can buy a dechlorinating treatment to make the water less hazardous. Even small amounts of elements such as chlorine can devastate an entire population of fish, which is often very frustrating for pond owners.
You may also want to use a water conditioner, which removes contaminating chemicals such as chlorine, to remove contaminants from your hose water. The best water conditioners are safe for use on humans and can even remove salt from contaminated water.
Let it Fill Naturally: Given adequate time, many ponds will fill all by themselves from rainwater and nature. This method of adding water to your pond is the least hazardous and the least invasive, although it tends to take a long period, even sometimes years, to see changes.
Freshwater wells, if you have one, are also natural sources of clean, uncontaminated water perfect for adding to your pond. The rocks underground clean the water and filter out any contaminants and traces of non-water substances present.
If you decide to let your pond fill back up naturally, you may find that it simply will not. If this is the case, your pond is likely not in a very good spot in the ground and the area may not have very moist soil.
Your location essentially dictates how much rainwater your pond receives, and if that amount of water is minimal, you should consider using other options to fill your pond up or perhaps consider getting rid of your pond.
If you live in an area that has naturally occurring ponds and give your pond enough time to fill up on its own, your pond’s water level will likely rise.
Hazards of Bringing in Outside Water
Adding water to your pond manually works in some scenarios, although in others, ponds just do not seem to want to exist. Bringing in water from outside sources can get a pond started or temporarily help keep a pond from drying up, although problems often arise down the line.
In areas where there is little rainfall, ponds often naturally dry up. Unless you want to continue commercially shipping in water, which adds up very quickly, this drying up is nearly inevitable.
Of course, you can still have a successful pond in arid climates, although it is usually more difficult to do so than in areas with heavy rainfall. Consistently adding water to your pond can also disrupt the plants and animals living in your pond, especially if the water you add contains contaminants.
All ponds and substrates are different, although some are more prone to drying up while others are more inclined to thrive. Before building a pond or investing in a large project, keep in mind the likelihood of your pond needing water from outside sources.
How to Drain Your Pond
If you find yourself wanting to get rid of your pond for whatever reason, there are a few fundamental steps to go through. For larger pond projects, other steps are necessary to completely remove the pond without disturbing the flora and fauna in the surrounding area.
Drain the Pond Water Using a Water Pump: For small ponds, there are four main ways to drain the water from your pond. Depending on your circumstances and accessibility, some of these options will be preferable to others.
One of the easiest and most popular options for removing the water from your pond is by using a submersible water pump. This tool is very effective and efficient in pumping water out of areas where it is not wanted, such as basements and septic tanks.
The water pressure from your pond pushes the water into the water pump, which essentially reduces the amount of work that the pump itself has to do. These benefits make this choice relatively seamless and simple for pumping water out of smaller ponds.
You can also use a solar-powered pond pump, which serves the same purpose as the pond pump mentioned earlier. This one will work best for small ponds and you should know that it works very slowly.
If you expect to have to drain your small pond seasonally and do not need something that will remove water quickly, the solar-powered pump might be a good option for you. Some solar pumps have added features, such as aeration, and can save you money down the line since they use solar energy.
Drain Using a Water Vacuum: If you own a small pond and are, unlike with the solar-powered pump, looking for something that drains water quickly, the water vacuum is a solid choice. This tool will also help you in the future if you are looking to drain your pond of any sludge or buildup of sediment.
For one-time usage, pond vacuums are probably not the best choice as many are quite expensive, although there are some less-expensive products on the market. These products will not drain as fast as the other pricier models, but they are more cost-efficient and will get the job done on smaller ponds.
Again, if you are looking to drain your pond once and for all, a water vacuum, unless you already have one on hand, is not the best option. If you are temporarily draining your pond for whatever reason and plan on cleaning it or further draining it down the line, you may want to consider the pond vacuum.
Drain Using a Siphon Water Hose and Pump: Another method you can use to drain your small pond is the siphon hose and pump. Adding a pump to your water hose allows you to manually siphon water from your pond, and although it takes a bit of extra work, it is a cost-effective and foolproof way of draining water.
The siphon hose and pump work best on higher ponds, although it also works on those that are level with the ground. Larger hand pumps will save you both time and effort if you end up pumping all the water out of your pond.
Another benefit of using the siphon hose and pump is that you can control how much or how little water you extract from your pond, although this is not important if you are getting rid of your pond. If you can spare some time or enjoy doing things manually and inexpensively, the siphon and pump is certainly an option to consider.
How to Empty and Fill the Pond Hole
Now that you have drained your pond, your next step is to fill the hole that remains. Smaller holes are easy to fill, although with larger holes, you may need more help to fill them properly and completely.
If you have a small enough pond, you can simply fill the hole with clay or other substrates. Be sure that you pack in the material before you finish the job, as the material can settle over time and lower up to a foot after a few months.
You can also add rocks to the hole to lower the amount that the material will settle over time, although remember to pack it in tight to limit the ground lowering. If you choose to add rocks, the material you add on top of it will also fill in any gaps left from the rocks.
Once the hole is full with your substrate and/or rocks, you can add grass seeds to the top layer and pour water on it. Alternatively, you can plant other plants or simply leave the dirt on the top.
What to Do with an Old Pond
Whether your pond was preventing you from building something else or you simply did not want to continue maintaining your pond, there are a variety of options to fill the space left.
Fill it and Make a Garden: If you do not want to integrate, leave the dirt spot in your yard back into the rest of your yard by growing grass, you can turn it into a garden spot. If you decide to take this route, do not throw your pond water away if it is non-contaminated, as you can use it to fertilize your soil and surrounding plant life around your yard.
Fruits, vegetables, and flowers and great replacements for a pond even if you do not yet have a green thumb. If you are into rocks, you can gather some rocks and create a rock garden.
Turn the Area Into a Patio: Free space in your yard is an invite to add a few chairs and create a conversation area. If you like fireplaces, you could also add a chiminea or a campfire area.
The opportunities are endless when you have free space in your yard, and many options require little effort and experience to create. Whatever you decide to do with your old pond area, it will probably be less work-intensive than a pond.
There are two ways that you can fill your pond: one with water and the other by draining your pond and adding material to fill it in. If you fill your pond in with water, this means that you are keeping it, and if you decide to drain and fill it, then you are getting rid of it for good.
There is a basic, effective process to drain small ponds and fill them with sediment, although larger ponds often need professional work. Draining your pond is a very important step if you decide to fill in your pond hole; fortunately, there are many ways to do so.
Once you drain and fill your pond hole, the freedom is all yours to decide what to do with the new-found space. A couple of ideas are to build a garden or to transform the space into a small patio, although there is an infinite number of other things to build or create.
Whatever you decide to do with your pond or pond hole, be sure to take the proper steps to minimize the risk of any injuries to you or the plants and animals in the surrounding area. With this in mind, you will enjoy your pond transformation process.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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