Our ducks spend a lot of time on the banks of our pond, or swimming around the pond. Being in the pond is safer for them at night, being less accessible to predators.
I have added several upturned pots in the pond as mini islands for them to rest on, as additional options, but there aren’t enough for everyone.
So I recently had the idea of using an old dinghy (that we inherited with the property) as an island.
Here’s the old boat:
I dragged it to the pond:
Then waded in the pond, flipped it over, and pushed out most of the air (the boat has a big hole in the bow), to make a larger island, wedged on top of one of the pots:
However, that isn’t ideal either, as (a) the ducks seem to be freaked out by it, not wanting to go near it, (b) it’s kinda ugly, and (c) it doesn’t seem great for roosting or nesting.
So I decided to build a wooden island, with a thin layer of dirt and grasses, contained by some spare pond liner. And to make it a bit more island-like, I thought I’d make it an octagonal shape.
The first step was to sketch various sizes to determine a good size; big enough to be useful, but not too big, and considering materials (cutting 8 foot boards into various lengths efficiently). I sketched it in the excellent Linea Sketch iPad app:
I decided that an octagon 6 feet across would be ideal, with some platforms around water level to make it easier to get on and off. Here is the design I came up with:
Here is a GIF time-lapse of my drawing (a fun new feature of Linea Sketch):
I surveyed the wood I had on hand, and started to construct it:
The edges are 6×1 boards, screwed into blocks; here I’m laying out the pieces:
Below the edges are 8’ 2×4 boards to help hold the shape and support it, with bits sticking out beyond the edges for the water-level platforms (this is upside-down):
That’s where I’m at currently. On Sunday I’ll add the platforms.
My original concept was to add legs, so this would sit on the pond floor to support the weight of the wood and dirt. But I’m now planning to make it a floating island. Floating would have the advantages of rising and falling with the pond water level (which can vary about 10 inches throughout the year), and perhaps be movable for maintenance. But it also has some complexity of getting it to float at the right level, and anchoring it in position.
So I need to figure out how to add sufficient buoyancy. There are complex formulas for that, but that’s beyond me, so I’ll probably just add a bunch of foam pool noodles, and/or closed pipes, and hope for the best. If anyone has any advice on this, I’d welcome it!