Friday, July 25, 2008

DIY Large Water Feature

Well I have been busy. I am slowly sorting out my vacation images a little bit each day. I'm fitting in taking pictures wherever i can amidst doing work around the house. We just completed an archeological dig of one of our closets. It ended up being carbon dated clear back to 1989 when i first moved into this house. I will admit it looks a lot cleaner. The senior center thrift store got some nice stuff out of it too.

Well I wasn't satisfied with my last water feature. It was drawing in the birds but I didn't like its location and the fact that I couldn't always get a full reflection of a bird in it. It got me to thinking it's time to build another big pond like I used to have a couple of years ago. I had it on my neighbors property across the road for several years. When the property sold I had to take it down. They can be taken apart and moved and set up again but I never got around to it so the wood just rotted away.

This water feature is for someone with a yard with plenty of room as it is four feet by eight feet in size. The birds absolutely love it. Once they start using it you will have birds using it through out the day.
Basically the pond is a four by eight sheet of plywood set on top of an old table. An old picnic table will do as will a table picked up cheap from a garage sale.

Step one is to seal a sheet of plywood with varathane, polyurethane or some other type of wood sealer.
Step two is to cut two 1'x4'x8' diagonally lengthwise. One set will be used to make the sides for the pond. the other set will be placed lengthwise on the table to provide some slope for the pond to have a deep end.
The third step is to use some 1" woodscrews to fasten the sides and the deep end piece of 1"x4" to the plywood. This is a little tricky because you have to screw them down from the backside of the plywood. Be careful when you get to the shallow end that you don't go all the way through with the wood screws.
Step number four is to place the other set of diagonal 1"x4"s lengthwise on the table. The thick or fat end will be the shallow end.Now put the plywood on top of the wood pieces. Carefully cover it with black visquen plastic and fill it with water. If your table isn't level here you may have to add some small wedges or pieces of wood to help level it up. You want the water to hit right on the brim of the deep end of the pond. You can get better reflections this way.
Step number five is to place rocks all around the edges of the pond. Place two of your biggest rocks at the front corners to hide the sides of the pond. Place the rest of the bigger rocks across the back to provide a backdrop.
The last and final step is step six. Fill in between the rocks with what rocks and gravel you have left over. Then place a thin layer of the smallest gravel and sand across the center to cover up the bottom of the pond.
From here you can add plants, sticks,moss and any other natural looking thing you can think of. I attach a platform feeder to the side and fill it with black sunflower seed. On the other side I put a bowl of henscratch. I keep this away from the water as they tend to kick it around and knock corn into the water.
I set up my blind about six feet away from the deep end of the pond and i set my tripod height so that it is about two inches above water level. you can go lower but the water will sometimes look milky when you get that low.
This is a fun project. what's nice about it is that you can move it if you have to. First pick of all the big rocks. then get a flat shovel and just shovel he gravel and smaller rocks into five gallon buckets. with someones help you can easily move the plywood and the table to a new location and et it up again.
One final tidbit. I keep a hose with a small valve and a clear plastic line going from my blind to the pond. That way when I'm shooting if the ponds water level goes down too much I can add water without disturbing the birds.

God's blessings and love to all,


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