Pond Pump Question & Building on a Slope

Aiken, SC(Zone 8a)

I am very new to these forums so please bare with me if this has already been asked... I want to build a pond but I have a sloping back yard. I will attach a picture but I'm not sure it shows the grade. And I feel somewhat awkward asking this question but Which way should the pump face? I'm assuming it should be on the uphillside of my slope. And does anyone has suggestions on preparation of the site? Or extra steps I should take.

Another question is My mother had a Koi pond and passed a few years ago. My sister has let the pond dry up and I have managed to save some plants. Now she says I can come get the Pump and Skimmer. She is going to fill in this area. The pump sits on a waterfall. I'm not sure how this Pump was installed much less how to remove it? Any suggestions would be greatly apprciated!. I really want to try to preserve what My mother so enjoyed

Thumbnail by DHaley5166
Aiken, SC(Zone 8a)

Another part of the yard

Thumbnail by DHaley5166


I don't mean to bombard you with a lot of questions, however.....

Where on that slope would you put the pond? My concern is if you have the pond at the bottom of the slope, that there would be a lot of run off water after rains.

The pump should just lift out from it's location. Do you know what type of pump? Is it a waterfall pump with a skimmer? If there are no leaks with your mothers' pond, I would salvage whatever you can - can you take the liner? Is there a skimmer and can you take that as well? How big was your mother's pond?

We have a number of pumps and there is a waterfall pump that fits inside our skimmer. The skimmer is opposite our main waterfalls as this pushes the water from the falls towards the skimmer and creates a current towards the skimmer to take whatever leaves or debris that is on top of the water to the skimmer.

How many koi did your mother have? Koi require quite a bit of room.

I would read as much as possible on the subject. Putting in a pond is a lot of work, but more than worth the work involved as you will reap the benefits for a very long time. This forum is a very good starting place.....


Thumbnail by Carolyn22
Aiken, SC(Zone 8a)

Carolyn, Thanks for asking so many question.. Now you have me thinking :-)

Ok I am not really sure where to put this pond. I could put it at the corner of the stairs and the house.. But there is a chance run off could be a problem. I did not think of that at all!! Maybe I could build it up with a retaining wall on one side of it?

I have no clue what type of pump she has. The pond was at least 10 X 5 and 4ft at the deepest part. The pump is separate from the skimmer like yours. The pump is at the top of a 3ft waterfall and skimmer at the shallow end of the pond. She had this pump for at least 7 years with no issues. The only issue was a leak somewhere in the Liner. So I most certainly will have to buy a new one. There were several large koi... some of which I bought for her. Of course now they died for lack of care.

I attached an old picture of her pond and additional pictures of the plants I salvaged.

Thumbnail by DHaley5166
Aiken, SC(Zone 8a)

My plants waiting a home

**Note- This is a picture of the plants just after puling them out of the dried pond. I have no idea wha tI have here. But the lilies are blooming a purple bloom now

This message was edited May 12, 2011 3:38 PM

Thumbnail by DHaley5166
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

You have a wonderful opportunity with that slope. I had to have tons of rock hauled in to simulate a hill and slope so I could have a falls. You get it naturally. Carolyn has a point about runoff, but I believe that building up the edges with rock and making sure the liner is placed properly would cure that. I have seen lots of falls and lovely ponds on slopes. Bet you have too, Carolyn. I absolutely agree you need to research. I just dove in (no pun intended) and regretted it the next year and the next year as I learned more and more all the things I did wrong. Still fixing. Very expensive after the fact. Carolyn is definitely the 'go to' person with ponds. She has had hers for years and has huge fish. And she seems to do it with the least amount of work. Signs of a well built and maintained pond.

New Hampshire, NH(Zone 5b)

Your mother had a very nice pond - what a wonderful project you've set out on to try to restore it in her memory! You've already gotten plenty of great advice so I can't add much. It's hard to tell from the pics what the grade is of your yard, but it doesn't look too steep that you can't work with it. As mstella indicated, slopes offer some great opportunity for a more natural looking waterfall/stream. With that slope, you could have a really nice stream. Plantings along the stream would help prevent run-off. I built my pond on a slope. I had to build up at the bottom to make it appear level.

Thumbnail by SongsofJoy
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Oh yes. The opportunity to have little bog areas on the way down. I would love to have that. Oh, to be able to start over.

Not so sure that I am the 'go to' person regarding ponds, but thank you for the compliment.

I know I have read on this forum about run off from roofs, slopes, etc contaminating ponds. I also agree that if things are set up correctly, a slope can be perfect for creating a very natural looking stream.

DHaley - one thing that is absolutely imperative, is that you have good filtration. Filtration will make or break the water quality in your pond. I know a lot of people swear by a bottom drain - is this something that you would want to consider?

Songs - I just love your bog areas. They are so gorgeous. I am glad you are back. I love looking at your photos of your pond.

Thumbnail by Carolyn22
(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I agree with Carolyn on that bottom drain. It really enhances the health of the pond. We couldn't do the bottom drain as a retro so we put a 2000gph pump in the deep end (it is about 10" in diameter and maybe 5-6" thick) to pump up to a pressure filter. At least then the water at the deep end gets some better circulation. And the filter has a UV inside also. We have the biofalls filtration as well as a skimmer with pads. Our water is crystal clear -- maybe too clear as I can still see debris that needs cleaning out from winter. I use Microbe-Lift Algaway 5.4 and ML's SludgeAway to keep the stuff broken down and feeding into the filters. Works pretty well.


I do not have a bottom drain in my pond, however, we have gone the extra mile regarding filtration. We have our shelves sectioned off by rocks and then the shelves are filled with pea gravel. Our plants are planted directly into the pea gravel as both the pea gravel and the fiberous roots of the plants all lend themselves to filtration.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Carolyn how long have you had your pond set up that way? What happens 'eventually'? Would you ever have to remove the pea gravel or find a way to clean it? won't it eventually be packed full of debris? Don't the plants eventually become root bound and need thinning? I think it sounds like a great set up, just not sure how to care for it!


We have had our pond like this for the last 6-7 years. We cut back the plants in the fall and in the spring, they come back without any problems. I have everything from Water Celery, Hibiscus, Rush, Water Iris, and a multitude of other plants planted that way - I even have a Fiber Optics plant that does come back most years and it is not hardy in my zone.

We have 700 gallon pump that feeds into the largest of the shelves. This helps to filter the water and in the summer months, we do put in a weekly dose of Pondzyme Plus that helps to keep the crud to a minumum.

We have not had any problems and these shelves are jam packed full of roots from the plants, but this also helps to keep the water filtered and we really don't have many issues in the way of clarity in the pond.

We did not put the bottom drain into the pond, because there is a gentleman down the street that has a gorgeous pond and he originally had a bottom drain and his fish were getting caught in the bottom drain. Based upon his information and the fact that he had been ponding several years prior to when we started, we opted to not put in the bottom drain.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

do you regret now not putting in the bottom drain if you were doing it over?

when you say water iris, do you mean the Japanese Iris? or?
I got a JI but I plant it in the ground for the winter so it doesn't freeze over.

No, I do not regret not having a bottom drain. It really has not been an issue for us at all. Our pond is just under 5000 gallons and I have 18 koi - most of which are between 18-24".

Just put JI in this year. Time will tell on those - the information I have on them states they will suffocate under the ice so I may heel them in my back yard in pots for the winter. I do that with various plants each fall.

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