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Build a Beach at your Pond

We have a nice pond, but no beach to sit on and bask in the sun. Snapping turtles have taken up residence at our pond, and I won't fight them for sunning space. However, if we were to build a beach, it would be on the north end, where the ground gently slopes into the water. We wouldn't even have to grade it.

The best site for a pond beach is one that is convenient to get to, and has clay soil to hold the sand. Before adding even one grain, though, put down shade cloth to route moisture and gasses into the ground and prevent the sand from pushing into the clay.

Bob Lusk is a pond expert, and says to determine how much sand you'll need, measure the area. Plan on a sand depth of at least 6 inches, but no more than 18 inches. Calculate that to cubic feet or cubic yards, then head to a sand and gravel company.

"The best kind of sand to buy is called beach sand or mortar sand, like what masons use to mix mortar with," Lusk says. "That's an outstanding sand for beaches and it's easy to get."

Keep the sand in place

Once you've gone to all the hard work of building the beach, the last thing you want is for it to wash away. Lusk says an easy way to keep it in place is to build a retaining wall just an inch or two taller than the sand depth.

"In other words, you're going to build almost the equivalent of an underwater sand box," Lusk says. "I've seen people use cross ties, I've seen them use landscape timbers, I've even got a few clients who set some forms and poured a concrete curb out in the pond and that keeps the sand from washing down into the pond."

If you do build an underwater wall to hold the sand in, float buoys on the surface directly above the edges so swimmers don't stub their toes on it.

Grass and weeds will eventually try to push their way through the sand. Get a sand rake like those used at golf courses and drag it across every now and then to keep seeds from germinating. You could also rototill the sand a couple of times a year to fluff it up.

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