Developing our land has been a slow and tedious process. The location is remote, and the terrain is very rocky and steep. But one of our main priorities was to have a water source developed, be it a well, or a pond. We checked into the cost of both, and found a pond to be the most cost effective and offer more of a natural resource. People will argue that a pond may draw mosquitoes, snakes, and be a danger if you have children – and although all of these things are a concern, we believe the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks. A healthy fish population will generally moderate the mosquitoe population, snakes are a normal part of rural life (pond or no), and children need to be taught safety – not abstinence from risk.
The first task was to determine where the best location for holding water would be. Some companies suggest you have a “perk test” – the same water rate absorption test commonly done for sewer systems – in order to see if your location is viable. These tests can be quite expensive, and considering the depth we planned to reach – we had doubts on it’s validity as well. Instead, we chose the common sense way of looking for a naturally low and wet spot on the property. If an area tends to hold moisture naturally, it should certainly hold water if walled off.
The next task was to decide on the design we wanted. There’s two basic ways to build a pond, either by pushing dirt up to form high retaining walls – or digging a hole down in order to form a bowl. We chose to do a little of both. Because we live in the South and August can be so harsh, ponds do tend to go stagnant here if there’s no inflow and outflow of water. We decided to go the “watershed” route and center our pond over a natural drain off ditch coming down the ridge. Heavy rains come down the hill and right into the pond, effectively cleaning it out as they swirl around the retaining wall and flow out the other side. This also created a natural “drain off” for times when the pond gets really full.
And the last task was to price shop. There are companies that specifically build ponds, and some of them offer guarantees and the like that your finished pond will hold water. This sounded good, until they shot me the quote – low end being over $2400! My next move was to call private dozier operators. In the spring and summer I was getting quotes in the range of $1800 to $2000. So I bided my time and waited until November. Arkansas doesn’t really have a harsh winter, but November is prone to be wet and muddy – and cause the cancellation of construction work. Sure enough, the dozier guy I called was experiencing his “off season” and willing to negotiate price! We got the entire pond put in for the amazingly low price of $1100!
The entire pond was constructed with this dozier, and took about 8 hours one day and 4 the next to complete.
As you can see, the pond is quite large and deep! Over 12 feet at the low end.
This is a picture after it filled, and I’m standing by the run off ditch that flows into the pond, the run off is just to the left of here.