Whether you are looking to build an ornamental pond for your own enjoyment or to landscape your yard, there is more to pond construction than simply digging a hole and filling it with water. Constructing a pond requires planning, but you don't need an engineering degree.
Determine what size pond will work in your available space.
Lay out the basic shape of your pond with a garden hose. Leave the hose in that place for several days to determine if this is truly the location where you want your pond to be. Pay special attention to how the pond will affect foot traffic, and whether you will enjoy watching it from your window, patio or other favorite resting spot.
Select a pre-formed liner, or PVC pond sheeting. If you select sheeting, purchase a piece that is twice as wide and long as your pond will be.
Begin to dig the hole in the ground for your pond by removing all of the dirt within the planned shape to a depth of one foot. Once the pond has been completely excavated to a depth of one foot, remove a second level of dirt to a second foot deep. If you are using a PVC liner, slope the sides of the pond and leave raised shelves around the side of the pond to act as shallows. For pre-formed liners, make the hole 2 inches larger at the sides than the liner.
When your pond has been completely excavated, cover the bottom of the hole with coarse sand to a depth of 2 inches. Dampen the sand with a garden hose, and smooth it completely.
Place the pre-formed liner or the PVC sheeting into the hole. For PVC sheeting liners, anchor the sides with rock.
Begin filling the pond with a garden hose. If you are using a sheeting liner, smooth out the wrinkles as it fills. If you are using a pre-formed liner, fill in the spaces around the liner with dirt to the depth of the water as the pond fills.
Landscape around the pond with rocks and plants to disguise the edges. Fill the shelves around the inside of the pond with marginal plants such as cattails and lotus. The deeper parts of the pond may be filled with floating lilies and fountains.