Our first clay bottomed lake project

Howdy fans,

Where do I begin?  Well back in December of 2010 my wife and I purchased the acreage you see to the left.  It encompassed some 3.5 acres which consisted of both semi wooded areas and large expanses of turf.  Campbell’s nursery had done all of the landscaping up to that point and I must say they did a nice job on many of the trees.  I quickly realized the true potential of this property and have made it my goal to turn this acreage into my own garden paradise.  In the spring of 2010, we set about tearing out all the foundation plantings and hardscaping which surrounded the home.  We broadened the beds, introduced a small water feature and installed new larger areas of pavered patio’s and walkways.  We reconfigured the outdoor lighting and added new.  We added a fire pit, a bridge over a dry creek bed and cleared pathways through the wooded areas for the kids.

Yet something was still missing…

Alas, after tactful communication and a great deal of begging, I convinced my wife that a pond, make that a small lake was in order.  I’ve always wanted my own little fishing hole and I just don’t have the patients to fish, so it needs to be close and I need to get results!  We also didn’t care to mow, and we definitely didn’t care to water all that grass.  The planning encompassed installing a 1 acre lake with surrounding wild flower and native grasses in addition to some more naturalistic landscaping.  This lake would allow for us to harvest rain water which we would irrigate the remaining turf with.

Prior to excavation, We hired Hampton Enterprises to move some of the largest trees so as not to kill them.  We rented a large excavator from Murphy equipment to handle the primary excavation work.  I have quite a few years now on excavators and have always felt quite comfortable behind the controls.  Over the course of 3 long days we displaced roughly 3,000 yards of soil to other locations on our acreage.  If we were to buy that amount of soil and have it brought in the bill would be a fortune!!!  Yet, the excess soil was but a by product of the lake.  The large berms which we built with the excess soil allowed for greater privacy and added interest in the landscape.  The lake measures roughly 200′ by 100′ by 20′ deep in places.  I was worried that I might have to line the lake with a rubber liner but at present I feel the lake has a high enough clay content that it will hold water quite nicely.   We created terraces and sunk various natural elements to provide fish habitat.   We laid the lake out so it would catch most of our rain runoff and we connected a portion of our downspouts to the lake to conserve that water as well.  We have since added some 30 or more trees around the lake and have plans for more this spring.  This will be an ongoing learning experience in keeping the lake as clear as possible.  The trees will add shade to help combat algae.  I plan on dying the water as well to help with that cause.  An aeration system will also be added to help keep the lake as healthy as possible.  In some of the best swimming areas, I intend to add sand for a better feel when walking across the bottom.  I would be happy to discuss my thinking and or planning with anyone interested in adding something like this to their acreage.  I will continue to make additions and post them here as our project continues to unfold.  We have some wild ideas for a zip line that you will want to see.  Stay tuned.