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Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Sparticle, Jul 1, 2005.
How close would you say is safe to have a pond near your house and near trees?
Trees don't matter, over flow does, if the soil is stable the cabin can be right on the water. How new the pond is may matter, if the building of the cabin breaks the seal of the pond, you would lose the pond.
The house is in place. The homebuilders, in an effort to control flooding, are going to elevate the ground around the house and said they would also build a pond. After talking to several experts, I learned that you never take out trees and replace them with a pond to control flooding. A tree can aspirate more water than a pond can hold. However, I have a 50x50 foot area pretty close to the house with 3 skinny pathetic trees (one 1/2 dead) that could easily be taken out. Everywhere else on the entire fenced area is covered in trees. So, since there really aren't in trees in that area anyway, I thought I might take them up on the pond offer. I just wonder about having that close to the house. It would be about 22 feet from the house and 4.5 feet from the closest tree the way I mapped it out. So that would be ok?
Also, one of the guys brought up another idea, what do y'all think about this? My top lay of dirt is very thick and dark. The next layer is clay, then sand, then a salt dome. His idea was to build a french drain straight down into the sand layer. He said the layer of clay would keep the water down in the layer of sand.
I don't have a clue about the french drain idea with a salt dome to deal with.
But for the pond it sounds ok, depending on what kind of tree it is, digging for the pond might kill it. If everything is done right, 22 ft to open water calls for a nice big window to watch a few ducks swimming around.
If the pond is for flood control then it needs to be able to hold a lot of extra water. We have two manmade lakes at our place. Because they are fed by running water (from springs) they don't hold a lot of extra water when we get a large rain. Design for overflow is important. Our neighbor has 3 small lakes and when there is a really heavy rain the water pours over a sixty foot earth dam on the one just to the south of our property. It's amazing to watch.
The pond will need to be properly lined (ours have a layer of clay). If it isn't done properly then you will have seepage and you can have some mighty nasty outcomes (sinkholes, quickmud which is kind of like quicksand but is soil that is saturated with moisture to the point it is liquidy).
As usual, jsut my 2 cents.
Quote: Also, one of the guys brought up another idea, what do y'all think about this? My top lay of dirt is very thick and dark. The next layer is clay, then sand, then a salt dome. His idea was to build a french drain straight down into the sand layer. He said the layer of clay would keep the water down in the layer of sand.
Whoa no definitely not. If anyones studied what helps a mudslide or even avalanche to develop you don't want to get such a liquid surface under a heavier surface like that it's a slide in the making.
Even in absence of a slope I would think it would make the ground around the home unsettled and shift. Your house would then sit on a bed of jello.
For a pond so close to the house if it's built right, the only issue I could see would be that of luring in wild animals and children liability it may cause the insurance to rise.
Catch basins, or in this case a pond, and diversion I think are the ways to control the flooding as long as it's adequate for the heaviest rains. 2 ponds, one controls the overflow, with trees planted on the banks.
Thank you for the really good advice!! I have so much to think about.
If that's costing you money, I'd stop and do some research first.
1. How do you know it floods?
2. Out of curiosity, why was the house built where it could be flooded?
3. How much acreage is upstream/uphill from you?
4. Has the builder figured out how much flow will be generated by the design rainfall?
Building a pond seems like the builder figured out another way to spend your money. If the pond is full and you get a design rainfall, where does the water go?
Another option is berms and any combination of these suggestions.
If you do the elevation of the ground around the house with pipes planted in the ground near the house where the rainwater drains, and pipe them over past berm #1 from berm #2 you have another pipe down into the pond. We have pipe buried right along the walkway next to the house, they drain down the hill. You will need lots of pipes and a downslope to the pond. To get over the berm with auto or on foot you make a bridge out of railroad ties and the steel beams from a mobile home frame.
The pond has to hold all the water. Out of our ponds and the way it drains they never fill up. Pond 1 never goes to the top the overflow is set much lower than that. Pond 2 also has an overflow into a ravine. Mississippi gets some heavy storms and Texas does too but we're in hills so if you're flat you better make sure those ponds can hold the water. Seen lotsa footage of the Texas rains maybe you could jack the house up a bit?
A Good Site with Answers to all sorts of Pond Questions is
They helped me a lot, in reconditioning my Pond.
I'd think a pond within sight of my home would be a real asset, but I'd want it below the house (lower) and have an emergency overflow tube near the top of the dam and an emergency spillway in case the tube cannot handle the flow if there's a heavy downpour. Have a good ravine or 2nd pond area for the overflow and emergency spillway to flush away from the home.
I'm not familiar with french drains or salt domes at all. That clay will be an asset in holding the water in the pond if the pond's lined well with it. We had our pond dug with fairly steep sides, rather than gently sloping, to keep the weeds and moss down to a minimum and it's worked great. Now that our pond is complete and finally filled, there are a couple things I wish I'd have had the excavator do, but now it's too late. I'd love to have a little 'island' out in the middle somewhere. I'd also like to have an area that's only 5 feet deep for the smaller kids and myself, but also have it shaded, since they took out all the trees down there. The trees were growing from the ravine that feeds the new pond.
We're told we cannot plant any trees near the dam because the roots could breach the dam. That's the side (west) I could use some shade from but I guess we'll have to figure something else out. We set the posts in cement before the pond filled for the decks we want. It's a 2 acre pond, 20 foot deep (one area is 10 feet deep near the 'beach' area), so we wanted a dock on the east and west sides.
My cousin had a pond put in and it apparently wasn't excavated by an expert so he's had trouble keeping water in it for years. He's had it emptied and fixed twice with several other attempts at 'fixes'. I think the main problem he had was it was never lined well enough with clay when it was dug.
Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
Don't forget where you live..near Houston, right? That's guaranteed to have zillions of mosquitoes! Hope you will add some fish
I've got this prior post going into some of problems, there are several posts in this thread and I think it's the last one that talks about the flooding...
in a nutshell, moved in Nov 2003 and it flooded immediately and for 7 months with 1-3 feet of water around the house. With serious pressure on the county, they re-graded the ditches, so last year's rainy season was a little better but still had substantial flooding on the property. I ran a sump pump 9,000 gallons per hour 24 hours a day 7 days a week for quite a while.
I'd say I've got about 20 acres upstream of me that flows through my yard (flow is a bad word because it really just kind of sits there) on the way to the creek (which also loops back around and cross the very back of my property).
The house was built where it floods because the builders didn't consult any sort of experts regarding drainage or get any of the proper permits.
I don't understand your last question.
But, I think I've decided against the pond for a couple of reasons. 1. It would be like scooping out a cup of water from a full bath-tub, not really going to make a dent because the water will just keep coming. 2. when I am under 1-3 feet of water I won't be able to see the pond and neither will my animals. I can't afford fencing right now so I think it would be a bigger hazard than it's worth. 3. When the water subsides, I'd have a big muddy mosquito fest 20 feet from my front door like Ted said (P.S. Ted, where have you been?)
I've thought long and hard, read everyone's advice and I think that the home builders just need to come up with another solution. The only reason they are even doing this in the first place is that I threatened to sue them and got HUD involved. I don't really have the money to sue them but they dont know that. I put together a killer package with official rain fall reports, letters from the Asst District Attrny, road and bridge dpt etc... that would be presented as evidence in court and now all of a sudden they are helping me out. They even sent 2 VP's and their attorney to talk to me and decided after seeing the situation, they had better do something to try to fix it.
In order for a pond to do any good with the amount of flooding I have it would almost need to be a small lake and that would take up most of the property. The property in the very back never floods and is beyond beautiful (to me) so I might just start building a small cabin back there as I'm going to start collecting scrap wood from all the construction projects going on in Houston.
I think that the only thing that will help is relandscaping around the house to get the water away from the house, drainage pipes back to the creek and getting the county to force wingnut behind me to clear out all the blockage in the creek that is on his property. The part of the creek that is on my property has lots of growth on and near the bank, but the creek bed itself is maintained during the dry season so that the water can flow.
A neighbor and I are also involved in presenting a package to Austin regarding flooding from another source due to a huge scandal that we've uncovered that I don't want to go into here or we'll "give away our hand". Let's just say there are many offical people involved and they are being very bad boys.
I honestly think it might take 3 more years to get this all hammered out.
They came out and levelled the house last week and did jack up one side about 1.5 inches. That's how unlevel the house was. I don't know what a berm is, I'll have to look that up.
Wonder how much it would cost to have the house put on pillars like people that live on a river? Probably pretty expensive.
IF "they" (whoever they are) are willing to help by putting in a pond, then maybe you should suggest they either move the house to the location you were mentioning as a good site for a cabin, or have THEM elevate the house, or have THEM put drainage tile in to get the water away from your home faster.
This whole thing sound like one of those "cluster" activities.
I re-read your posts, and I think you should sell. This nightmare property isn't worth the headaches. You are likely to spend more time, money, and tears on it over the next few years and still have boggy land that floods.
How funny. I had a lady come up to me yesterday at work and said the same thing!
I tried that. HUD said absolutely no way can I move the house. The FHA loan is for the house in that particular location and I will violate the loan if I have the house moved. I don't know what they'd do to me, but I'm sure it wouldn't be good. I took this issue to the highest level of HUD I could go.
In order to do anything about the situation someone needs to figure out how much water you may have to accomodate. If any scheme whether it's a pond, diversion, ditch, whatever, isn't capable of carrying or holding the water from the design rainfall, you'll still flood.
Twenty acres doesn't sound reasonable. Is that the total acreage between your place and the highest elevation?