For those of you wondering where I've been, this is just one of many projects sucking up my time this summer! Six or seven years ago my friend had this pond built while remodeling his backyard. It was truly a spectacular water feature, I had never seen one so large so close to the city. He stocked it with a few very large, very expensive Koi (many of which fell victim to a Great Blue Heron), cleaned it twice yearly, kept up on the maintenance, and in general was a very good pond owner. About three years ago he moved up the hill to a larger house, but the housing market was beginning to decline so he held onto this house as well. During that time I believe he did a couple things here and there, but just didn't have the time to dedicate to it that he once had. Two years ago he rented the house to an employee who I believe was tasked with taking care of the pond, but obviously did nothing with it, leaving it to itself. Four months ago he asked me, my girlfriend, and two others if we'd like to rent the house; we accepted. One of the projects we knew we'd be taking on is returning the pond to all its former glory, and then some. We believe this pond has much more to offer than simply a home for Koi; a full fledged 6-tier natural ecosystem bustling with life. We knew this wouldn't be an easy job, this thing was full of dirt, muck, compost, overrun plants, leeches, bacteria, and just about everything else you can think of that would be living in a stagnant three-year-old body of water. We estimated that with all the junk in it, it was probably less than half of it's original capacity, and that was all stuff we were going to have to remove. It's been three months of working on it an average of 10 hours per week each, and it seems like we've still got so much to do, but man have we come a long ways. I sure wish I would have taken before pictures! First we used a pump to drain the water the main pool and the pool on the #2 secondary waterfall. We then removed all the large rocks from the pools and vacuumed out all the muck with a wet/dry vacuum until we were left with only clean concrete. We then drained the actual pond using the pump. With the pond now as empty as we could get it, we built a channel down the middle using large rocks for excess water to drain into when it rains or when we're pressure washing. When the channel filled with water and ran to the end of the pond we simply pumped it out, which worked very well. We were now ready to start working on the South end of the pond. The gap between the large channel rocks and the edge of the pond gave us a 'workspace' to dump the dirty rocks full of muck, pressure wash them, then return them clean to the South end. Though we had to make two trips, one from the south end to the workspace then back again, this also worked very well. It was during this time we also removed the Iris that had taken over the south end. I swear, some of those root balls must have weighed 200lbs. with the rock and wet dirt! It was here we learned why it's so important to make sure all pond plants that take root are in proper pots. Once enough of the rocks were in our workspace, the plants were gone, and we had only clean liner, we began to slowly wash the rocks, sort them, and bring them back to be placed. The large rocks were stacked on the edges, while the small and medium are used on the bottom to maximize depth. As we scooped and dumped dirty rocks from one area into the workspace, we replaced them with previously washed clean rocks. It was here that we really started to get motivated because we were able to see our progress, building instead of just cleaning. That brings us to where we are now, about 2/5ths of the way done with the cleaning and rebuilding. As you can see in the pics the south end is almost done, aside from the pump housing and the screen that will go over it. This pond was not designed with an actual filter system, though I've seen some interesting DIY setups with garbage cans that we might explore. I forgot to mention, we have a very, very small budget for this. Our next step is to pressure wash that huge pile of rock in our workspace and create a pile of clean rock somewhere on the south end for distribution elsewhere in the pond once that area is clean. We're also planning on hauling out a truckload of rock, since we probably won't be using nearly this much (not sure how this much got in here). Once we have a clean pile on the south end and an empty workspace we'll continue taking dirty material from the middle, adding it to the now empty workspace, and distributing the clean material throughout the now empty middle section. Eventually this is going to catch up to our workspace, but we'll figure out how to deal with that when the time comes. Once the actual pond is clean, we need to reseal some cracks in the pond (what should we use for this that won't harm the fish, frogs, etc?), patch a few holes in the liner, attach the screen over the pump, clean out the new debris in the waterfall pools, and a few other small things. After that we're ready to fill it up! Below are some pictures I took today of the pond in it's current state: More to come, stay tuned!