Remember a few months ago when I dug out a small wildlife pond for my bees, butterflies, and birds? Well, it sprung a leak and I firmly blame Charlie! I frequently found him happily splashing around in the pond and his claws damaged the liner.
Charlie has his own paddling pool now – a Tuff Stuff Heavy Duty Mixing Tank from our local Tractor Supply Company in Bulverde.
We’d briefly looked at the kiddy paddling pools you see outside grocery stores right now and knew they wouldn’t survive very long with Charlie.
This one, he can’t kill…
Wildlife Pond Repairs – Destruction
We decided to line my pond with concrete to make a waterproof layer that Charlie can’t destroy even if he decided to play in my wildlife pond. Even with a leak there was still quite a bit of water in the pond after an inch of rain a couple of days previously. I bailed it out with a bucket and then eventually with a plastic cup to get as much water out as possible. It was quite a workout doing this, whilst at the same time making sure that the surrounding plants weren’t damaged.
Why not just make a few more holes in the bottom of the pond and let the water seep out into the ground? Tried it, but that recent rain the ground was still pretty wet and any seepage was so slow we couldn’t see it.
The next thing I had to do was remove all the rocks and surrounding flagstones from the wildlife pond. It’s so much easier to put rocks in than take them out! Lots more bending, stretching and twisting. Even after only a couple of months it’s amazing how much organic debris had been washed into the pond.
Because my wildlife pool is going to be out of commission for a few days I worried about my bees (particularly) losing their water supply. I decided to fill a small bucket with rocks and water and leave it right by the wildlife pond for them to use as needed. It’s been rather hot and humid the last few days, so this solves the problem of maintaining a water supply for them.
We started this whole process on Wednesday and expect to have the pond back in full action by Sunday.
Wildlife Pond Repairs – Construction
Concrete is one of those things that you think… “a couple of 80 lb bags will do.”
We used SIX 80 lb bags.
You ALWAYS need more!
I think concrete has magical properties and vanishes into thin air when you’re not looking! We’ve also used this project to try out Stuart’s new toy – a small electric concrete mixer… So much easier than doing it by hand AND easy to clean up after. He was very happy with its performance.
The only tools I used was a small trowel and my gloved hands.
I used a double layer of nitrile gloves to protect my hands from the concrete. Some of the curved areas of the pond was hard to smooth with the trowel, which is where my hands came into play. Patting the concrete with my hands to smooth it out was actually very successful.
Finished project – nearly but not quite!
You’ve got to wait for the ‘Big Reveal’ and I will share that with you after Sunday. But, why the cover over the pond? I’m sure you all know that concrete has to cure. There’s actually a chemical reaction that goes on when you mix it with water and it hardens. Too much sun on it as it cures can also cause the concrete to crack and lose some of its strength. And yes, it’s to keep the dogs and any other wildlife away from it too.
We replaced the flagstones around the edge of the wildlife pond. On Sunday, we will put the remaining rocks back in. I’m certainly happy with the result so far. Originally, I worried about damaging the surrounding plants but they are still looking good. One last thing to note is that because of rising temperatures this week, we did this project in the early evening. As a result, the concrete could cure at lower overnight temperatures. Doing our best to plan for success!
Look out for photos of my finished wildlife pond in a few days time.
This should be a permanent fix –giving access to local water for my bees, the birds, and other wildlife around.
And here’s what it looks like now!