Retaining Wall

It is now 1996, one year after completing the greenhouse/hot tub addition. As I finished reworking the upper stream to the front pond, I began thinking once again about the back yard. After much contemplation and research, I decided on another Koi pond [See essay].

First a retaining wall had to be built. The grade was steep and I needed to establish a flat area where the pond would go. This block wall could only be 4ft above grade without requiring lateral supports (thus two walls] and at least 3 ft below grade, half the depth of the pond. [I initially built a scale model to work out these details]. I barely had enough room for a small loader. Before I lost access, I needed to bring in the bigger boulders and place them in their approximate positions yet out of the way [how I was going to move them into their final position I would worry about later].

Next I built the main waterfall. I formed it with sandbags and then patiently placed one boulder at a time until I had the look I wanted. After moving them off to the side I placed an over sized liner over the sandbags, molded it with wire mesh, and then poured the concrete. With help, I replaced the boulders before the concrete was completely set. I might note that [most] of the boulders would be on the periphery and cantilevered for aesthetics, leaving the water to spill over smoothed concrete surfaces [much easier to clean].


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Next we started the excavation. The trick was to dig as big and deep as we could without stranding the backhoe in the hole! We started at the water fall and worked our way around to where the pump house would be. Patiently we chopped through the hard sandstone with the backhoe, alternating its power hammer with its small scoop. You can imagine there was very little maneuverability. As a result, I spent the good part of two summers shaping the hole and shelves using a jack hammer, sandbags, a wheel barrel and a lot of beer! Most of the PVC piping would have to be placed in a bottom trench as there was no other room.


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