Neglected Gardens – Garden Ponds
Many a gardener taking over a neglected plot is charmed to find a pool, overgrown and neglected, perhaps, but nevertheless a garden pool. Yet when he comes to clear it and fill it with water he finds that the concrete is cracked and broken and that it will not hold water. He tries to patch it, but nothing seems to make it completely water-tight, so in the end he breaks up the concrete in disgust and fills in the depression.
Obviously, there are degrees of damage and dilapidation. Where the pool is badly broken, no amount of make do and mend will ever bring it back into a good state. But bear in mind always with a pool of any kind that the major part of the constructional work has already been done — the actual digging and carting away of excavated— so it is always worth trying to take advantage of this earlier work.
Where the concrete of the pool is merely cracked in places, it is possible to bring it back into good condition by painting all the surface with a special sealing compound such as Aqua-seal. This is a bitumenous material, thick and sticky but not unlike paint. If several layers are given to the, concrete, special attention being given to the more obvious cracks, then the entire surface will be sealed and the pool will hold water again. Be very thorough about this and do not imagine that because you cannot see a crack none exists. Far better to go over places which are already waterproof than to neglect some parts, only to find that the water must be drained out again and the whole, pool be given another coat.
On the other hand, if the pool is obviously in very bad condition, some pieces of concrete having fallen out or broken away, do not despair. It is still worth the effort of rehabilitation. First patch the broken places with fresh concrete. Then coat the whole pool with a bitumenous compound and, while this is still wet, patch the worst areas with plastic sheeting. Use a patch considerably larger than the hole and smooth the sheeting evenly over the area. Finally paint again with at least two coats, over the entire area. The bitumenous compound may be obtained in several colours, usually black, blue or stone.
But sometimes the concrete pool will be so damaged and broken that it is past all repair. Nevertheless, the hole exists, so try to make use of this. Carefully break up and remove all the existing concrete, leaving the whole of the hole with a mere soil lining. If the soil is stony or if there are projecting roots, line the base and sides with fine sand or peat. Then lay over the whole of the area a sheet of heavy duty plastic lining material specially made for pools and make the pool just as you would a new one.