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if the soil is disturbed, a lot of nutrients will be in the water column and trigger the dreaded algae.
By wading you mean walking in the pond right?
With containers, you can walk around the container and not walk on the soil.
Another possible solution would be to place some rocks at the bottom. When working in the pond they would serve as stepping stones, while normaly beeing more or less invisible due to all the plants.

Yet another solution may be to make a collum close to the wooden patio, and use a (temporary)beam from the edge to the collum.

If a colum is undesireable, a strong beam might be used temporarily, placed parralel to the wooden patio, supporting another beam in a T shape.

BTW: The last two possibilities, are probarbly no good if the depht is more than 1.5 ft, as one would lay on the beam, and arms tend to have a limited lenght.:)
 
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