Aboveground vs. Belowground Ponds Overview

| 2/5/2014 5:02:00 PM

Ponds are amazing, mysterious, soothing and can magically melt our daily stress away. How are ponds able to creating these feelings? My personal thought is that they are part of what we are made of, because our bodies are mostly made up of water. Water gives life and it permeates our days with the gentle sounds of waves lapping on shore or from a fountain or waterfall, and with physical sensations from dangling our feet in the water and swimming. Without water, most life will cease to exist — which is why we need to consider the water resources on our properties. High quality water means healthy ponds.

Aboveground vs. Belowground PondsAboveground Pond With Water Feature

Let’s take a look at two different types of ponds. Both provide water, sound and various wildlife attraction. Let’s classify ponds into to two categories. The first one is built aboveground and the second is below ground.

Aboveground ponds. Some of the names aboveground ponds go by are Koi Pond, Water Garden, and Water Feature. These ponds are measured in gallons and, 99 percent of the time, they use a liner to contain the water. For a lack of a better term, we’ll call them a closed system, similar to an aboveground swimming pool where we install a liner to contain the water and a pump to circulate the water. Small aboveground ponds almost always have a waterfall built into them and sometimes a stream between the waterfall and the pond area. There are many variations to the abovegrounds: They can be built simply with a liner and a pump and would generally have Koi or goldfish. If you don’t want to deal with fish but want to have a water feature, you could build a pond-less waterfall, where the pond area is contained in a liner underground

Belowground ponds. Belowground ponds — farm ponds, tanks, pools or reservoirs — are measured in acres or square feet. Water fills the pond naturally from the watershed, springs or a water well. They are built using earth with high clay content to retain the water, similar to aboveground ponds, but building with the right type of clay soil saves on the expense of using a liner.

Components of a Large PondLarge Belowground Pond

There are three main parts of a large pond: The watershed supplies water to keep the pond full. A good watershed would be from a grassy field or woodland, while a poor watershed would be from planted fields or grazing livestock or from populated areas. The bowl or basin where the water is stored creating the pond is the area to be excavated to create the depression and the removed material will be the used for the dam. The final component is the water exit, a controlled area for excess water to leave the pond without creating erosion.

Generally, a stand pipe or overflow pipe is used to maintain the level of the pond water during regular rain events. But it is also a smart idea to include an emergency spillway for rain events such as a major thunder storm, hurricane, or even snow melt events.

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