Garden Endeavors




In constructing a pond, there is always the problem of determining exactly where the water level will be once the pond is filled. Accurate determination of where the water level will be will avoid problems such as excess liner exposure.

Fortunately because of the much reduced cost of laser tools, use of lasers in pool planning is within the reach of just about everyone. (In 1980 I paid $365 for a simple laser; laser pointers are now available for less than three dollars.) Many laser tools are available that will be useful in pool planning. Those that include bubble levels are best, and the more expensive “self-leveling” models are easiest to use. More powerful models are useful in all but the brightest sunlight, whereas less expensive models can be best used in the evening when ambient light is low. Here are several examples:

The objective is to mount the laser on a tripod close to the center of your excavation. Of utmost importance is to adjust the tripod so that the center post be perfectly plumb (vertical). A pipe level such as the silver colored one in the photo above is useful in accomplishing this. Hold the level vertically against the center post of the tripod in alignment with each of the tripods legs and adjust the leg length until the center post is plumb. The key to success is to have the laser tool perfectly level as you rotate it 360 degrees. Your laser may be either mounted to the tripod in the same manner as a camera or just attached “Red-Green Style” with duct tape.

Here is a “pipe-level” laser on a tripod:

Next is the inexpensive Harbor Freight laser level. Not that it can project a horizontal line. Be warned, however that you may need to adjust it with a screwdriver to achieve a true level horizontal line.

This next example is a very inexpensive “chalk-line” style laser.

Home Depot has a nice laser level for $29.95, which comes with a carrying case and a tripod. It looks like this:

In the outdoors, in bright sunlight, you can still see the laser spot on the rock.

Here is a “self leveling” laser, retail cost around $230. The self leveling feature is nice, but you don’t have to spend that much.

The drawing below illustrates what you will be doing. Raise the laser beam to the desired water level and rotate the the laser around the pool perimeter. Every few feet, set a stake with the desired water lever marked on it with an indelible marker. In this way, you can plan the edging treatment you want, avoiding excess exposed liner, not to mention unintended "waterfalls" in a low spot in the edging.


Copyright 2000,2004,2005 JRJohns

Last modified on December 31,2004

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