The rural land tract is 160 +/- acres located close to North Zulch, Texas. The terrain is mildly rolling with limited elevation changes for drainage and challenging soils for pond and lake building. The vegetation ranges from hay meadows and open pasture with mesquite trees to heavily wooded areas of primarily oak and elm trees. There are several houses and structures scattered across the property so design quality along with logistic viability are paramount for this lake building project. The client was at first only interested in a consult and planned on hiring a local excavation contractor to build the project. A month or so after doing the initial consult the client came back to me and said that after talking to other excavation contractors none of them seemed to have a concept of how the lake project needs to be built in order to bring out the full potential of the land. The client then asked me to take on the project simply stating “Build me a showplace”. I consult on many “after the fact” projects where the client is disappointed that his dream does not match the reality of his completed water project. These clients were not successful in finding a contractor that could really bring out the full potential of their rural property. When I see a finished lake building project that could have been so much better with just a little more effort it is always disappointing to me. Sadly enough, I see it all of the time. Most times, my “after the fact” consults bear some fruit and the client is able to formulate a plan to fix or at least diminish part of his problems. It goes without saying that more money will be spent to fix what could have been prevented by hiring an experienced contractor to begin with.
The main scope of work for this project is to build two ponds or lakes of approximately two and 4 acres. The client wanted larger bodies of water but available watershed and soil types dictated smaller water features to be truly successful. The main challenge is to design the downsized lakes to appear much larger so as to give the clients more of what they initially wanted. The smaller pond is located adjacent to the main house and has limited existing trees to design around so this location will be especially interesting. Along with building the water features; clearing, road construction, creek crossings, drainage correction, land prep and final seeding are included in the scope of work at this rural location.
The lake building project was delayed for six months due to exceptionally rainy weather (Spring 2015) and now less than two months into dryer weather some of the soils are getting too dry to work properly. Along with that, burn bans are being posted which hinders the clearing process. There are challenges associated with every project and I advise all of my clients to fully assess the challenges that go with their project and then choose a contractor that is capable of handling those challenges. Many people choose the contractor based on price alone and that mistake can lead to a failed project and years of aggravation dealing with fixing the project. The saddest part is that, generally speaking from experience, a failed project will never attain the level that could have been had it been done correctly the first time. There is no 100% fix for a failed project because irreparable damage has been done that can never be corrected. Resources are used up and lost forever. The real heartache is the time lost and hassle dealing with the failed project, not to even mention the additional financial burden.
It is always cheaper to do it right the first time.
Lake surface area of approximately 1.7 acres and depths of 7-13 feet.
Depth is added to the new lake construction.
Watershed diversion berms constructed with spoils dirt and designed to direct more water into the pond.
Aerial view of compound and proposed lake sites
Excavation equipment begins to arrive at the job. Every job requires different equipment.
Brush is never burned unless weather conditions are favorable and the client approves. Brush is piled and burned as the land is cleared.
The scraper pan deposits spoils dirt used to construct a watershed berm.
An area on the property where spoils dirt from the pond excavation is being used create aesthetic topography and watershed berms.
A portion of the soils correction process where a dozer is plating the lake with properly graded clay.
A tracked excavator placing hardwood trees across dirt structure in the pond bottom to create fish habitat.
Petrified wood uncovered during excavation.
Winter rye grass around lake prevents erosion.
2X2X5 limestone landscaping rocks being delivered for the retaining wall construction. Notice the proximity of the lake to the main house.
Ground prep for the retaining wall project.
The retaining wall construction process.
Backfilling the area behind the retaining walls.
Retaining wall being built with 2X2X5 cut limestone blocks.
Finish work -seeding the lake area.
Fishing pier and recreation dock under construction.
Lake nears capacity. Winter rye has good coverage
Pier under construction. Fish structure- partially buried timber and dirt channels with shelf. Existing house and miniature RR bridge to island in background
RR bridge to island and limestone block retaining wall
Limestone block retaining wall separates island and RR bridge connects island. Water is approximately 7' deep under bridge.
Shop built mini RR bridge connects the island and is suitable for foot traffic and utility vehicles.
Limestone retaining wall steps down topographical elevations and ties in to existing stone house
Extended area of pond promotes optical illusion of a larger body of water that accents the features including pier, retaining walls and RR bridge
Both locations for the new lakes contain existing small ponds.
These existing ponds will be drained and reclaimed as part of the new larger lakes
Draining an existing pond.
Five feet of mud is removed from the old pond. This requires a skilled operator.
Proper soil analysis is critical in lake construction. A lake that does not hold water is a failure.
Site of one of the new lakes.
This is the pond being constructed behind the existing main house. The challenges were blending the pond aesthetically with the existing house and landscape along with challenging soils.
Scraper pan hauling spoils dirt from the pond site excavation to be used in creating topography and watershed berms in other areas of the property.
Torrential rains of May 2016 fill the new lake full. 6" of rain in one day tested emergency spillway. It passed!
IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, WE CAN BUILD IT!
SoilMovers, LLC Bremond, TX 76629 254-493-6246
Big important jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones. – Theodore Roosevelt